Barely tolerable

Some diseases and other problems limit themselves. A parasitic colony must limit the level of exploitation of the host, because a dying host will kill the parasite with it. The colony must limit itself. It can also be limited by circumstances. A sick and hungry host might mean that the parasite will also be hungry and weak.

Today’s computers don’t seem faster than 10, 20, or 30 years ago. I’m sitting in front of a computer with an Intel processor clocked at 2.7GHz, but when I press a key, I’m waiting longer than I did when I used a computer with a Zilog Z80 processor, clocked at 0.0035GHz. This means that the clock is 770 times faster. Why do I have to wait for a reaction longer than earlier? Or, why do I wait more or less exactly as much so that it irritates me a bit, but doesn’t frustrate me to the point where I want to give up using my computer?

Making code changes is annoying, because I can’t just change what I need to. I have to make changes in 8 other places, because different parts of code aren’t fully independent, and layers of abstraction are leaky. I curse, and painstakingly make my changes, hitting one snag after another. Still, the problems I encounter are not as grave as to discourage me from making my changes, or to begin a project to clean it up.

Car drivers are stuck in traffic. The state keeps on building new roads, and makes the existing ones wider, but somehow the traffic is getting worse. A long time ago a journey from A to B was slow, because you had to use a horse and a cart. Then came the automobile, but it was as slow as the horse. Later, a fast car came along, but speed limits and traffic lights also appeared. Other fast cars are in the way, and once you get there, it’s hard to park, which takes additional time.

Extrapolating all this… why do we live in an environment which we can barely stand?

It has to be that way, by definition. If the environment was not bearable, we would have done something to change it. When we accept the environment as is, we let it drift, and that drift has only one direction: to the worse.

Why only to the worse?

A sand castle is only one of many possible configurations of grains of sand. However, from all the possibilities, the orderly ones are a staggering minority. The majority of possible configurations are a gravity-flattened mound of sand without any edges, corners, circles, walls, or any other regular shapes.

From all the possible states of our environment, the majority is sorry, messy, ineffective, not gratifying, and ugly. The number of possible orderly states is much smaller. Thus, when our environment is drifting from the current state into an adjacent random one, it is almost certain that it will transition into a worse state.

There is a higher number of inefficient versions of our computer program, than efficient ones.

There are more ways to cram the city with cars, than to maintain free space on the streets.

Everything around us undergoes something akin to evolution, except without natural selection. The pervasive disorder surges in all aspects of our lives.

We know from experience however, that it’s not always like that. There are some fast computer programs. Some cities aren’t choking on cars. There is computer code that’s pleasant to work with. I’ll ask again, then: why do we live in an environment that is hardly bearable?

Aren’t we guilty of this? Why do we only react instead of working proactively? Why do we wait idly until the environment is intolerable?

Author: automatthias

You won't believe what a skeptic I am.

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