Human Systems as Mirrors

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Systems created by humans mirror the behaviors and desires of their creators. Trace the development of a government and one will see the priorities of the citizens who play an integral role in its development. To an extent this is obvious, humans as creators create according to their desires; though, some complications do occur.

Compromise is the primary agent by which human systems defy human desires. Each participant creates a personal ideal of the system under development but is forced to compromise in the development process. As a group gathers and hashes out the details, each individual must alter their conception of an ideal system and work towards one that holds consensus. As the famous quote so succinctly reminds us, the best deal is the one where nobody is happy.

These systems are powerful things. Trace the development stage from initial thought to fully fledged public use and one will witness a vast expanse of influence. Systems that gain popular traction take on levels of importance beyond the system level- often these systems and their related items absorb a user’s personal investment and become, to some, an integral part of existence. As the revolution in Egypt continued a notion of technology as public right gained media traction and some began to consider whether access to social networking had become an essential human right.

Technology is prone to these personal investments largely due to its extensive systems. A technological device or service is unique in that it branches out on the basis of user endorsement. Unlike a commodity, which functions as an essential component to social function, the technological device is a non-essential utility that becomes important as more people use it. Tech has a “mob dynamic” whereby power is derived by expanded use. Devices and services that gain traction are quickly redefined as crucial social tools.

Plato’s Republic linked systems of government to the humans who functioned within them. The text worked to link the connection between society and the figures who maintained it and considered the development process as simulation. Plato’s ideal leader was the philosopher-king or wise elder whose knowledge and experience created the ideal system of government. The Republic is fraught with concerns over the common man and in many ways looks to the general public as the least common denominator in society. Contemporary systems work in direct opposition to the system and embrace the general public as the essential ingredient to success.

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