Politics and emergent behavior
(also see Freedom and Emergent Behavior)
Ok, had a worse than 'normally bad' day at work (again) soooo.... RANT switch ON!
Politics are disconnected from reality
Politics exist in an alternate and arbitrary reality. e.g. There can be a devastating disclosure about someone-- to no effect! It's as if a 1000lb bomb is dropped on a dog house-- and there is no damage! Or conversely, a fly lands on a building... and the building collapses! The only reason this aberrant reality can continue to exist is ignorance and acquiescence. If people were aware, and didn't ignore hard reality, the warped cesspool of politics would immediately implode!
But, politicians have to keep the Sheeple in the dark, or the Sheeple will rebel and the politicians will lose the arbitrary control they love. The trouble with arbitrary realities is that they are inherently unstable-- you have to pump energy into them to hold them together! e.g. politicians have to lie to people to get them to accept a false premise, then cover up/reinforce BOTH to hold it together!
This is why totalitarian regimes end up killing large numbers of people-- they are imposing arbitrary rules that force people to do things they don't want to. To effect the changes they want, dictators most force so much political/social energy into political/societal systems-- people burn!
Smooth running, sustainable systems
An example of an opposite-- molecular self-assembly (proteins, etc). Self-assembly is a desirable emergent behavior (of groups of atoms) that has virtually no energy input! Very efficient and reliable.
This is like a business that creates and maintains a good work atmosphere-- everyone can work happily in a productive and sustainable fashion. No need to use force to keep the system running! By sustainable, I mean (e.g.) don't work anybody so hard they get tired and angry, or don't be so budget restricted that systems get old, or improvements can't happen!
And yes, a business has to constantly improve to remain in business. Just keeping up with mainstream changes is a minimum. Lag too far behind, and you get eaten in the marketplace!
A good system will self-correct problems without large effort from management. You build the system robust enough to handle excursions from the norm. And no need to micro-manage either!
Micro-managing is a sure sign that something's wrong. Does your boss's boss keep asking you for more work? Does a manager manipulate the process directly, with no input from workers? Managers taking direct control not only robs workers of respect, pride, and job ownership, it creates a downward spiral requiring even MORE micromanaging.
A smoothly running system doesn't require micro-managing! Instead of tuning the business so each person and subsystem can do it's job unimpeded-- inept managers try to directly control everything themselves! Fix the damned system, not just the parts that break!
This ain't rocket science people, why is this so hard to see?
Unprofessional and barbaric Mangers
Many (most?) managers are NOT professional managers. Managing is an actual profession, with educational degrees awarded after years of study. Most managers I've known merely inherited a managerial position, and have no clue about the enormous knowledge-space of management. Promoting untrained managers is an example of companies actively building an ineffectual, unsustainable system-- they just promote an untrained person into a managerial position. That new 'manager' learns by mistake, and the business and employees are sacrificed to train that 'manager'.
Can you imagine if engineers were trained the same way? Buildings would collapse, and planes would fall from the sky! With untrained managers, instead of falling planes-- we get unhappy employees, falling profits, and even failing businesses.
Untrained, but reasonable people can with time and sacrifice, turn into effective managers. But a managerial position is often insular, and people with ignorant and aggressive personalities can quickly become unreachable and unbearable managers. A properly run business will self-correct a bad manager-- he will be accountable. But, in an inept business structure, that incompetent but aggressive manager will create a corrupt political network to protect his weak position. He'll groom and promote other ruthless people below him-- and the downward spiral begins.
And just as in any corrupt dictatorship, the first subordinates to be demonized/removed are the best ones-- the ones who are intelligent and virtuous. Can't have them making waves, it will collapse the house of lies the manager/dictator has built! So, the downward spiral accelerates... while careers and people burn...
A point about making changes
Complex/chaotic systems can have unexpected emergent behavior if manipulated without understanding. e.g. management personnel attempting to make a positive change, but manipulating variables that have a negative emergent behavior. Often a cause of poor morale! So, more energy is expended by management to overcome that negative response, in an attempt to force the original 'positive' changes! The employees become more negative, management gets angry, and the whole process enters a downward spiral.
Management has stumbled on a negative feedback loop, and doesn't even recognize it, let alone realize what it takes to fix it. An insensitive Management usually blames the employees, and can't see, let alone admit, that they themselves are the problem! Admittedly, fixing widespread systemic problems is difficult, but management has to become sensitive to the sometimes limited feedback the system provides. Only then can they begin to comprehend how to manipulate the system.
A further change complication is related to the Neural Network concept of...
Global and Local Minima of Energy Function
Excerpt from - http://ulcar.uml.edu/~iag/CS/Intro-to-ANN.html
"Apparently, letting an ANN to evolve eventually shall lead it to a stable state where the energy function has a minimum and can not change further. The information stored in the synaptic weights therefore corresponds to some minima of the energy function where the neural network ends up after its evolving.
When the input neurons are clamped to the initial values, the network obtains certain energy as indicated by a ball in the above figure. Further evolving will cause the ball to slide to the nearest local minimum."
Minima of Energy Function
The unaware system manipulator can easily misinterpret system responses, especially management in the daily fog of business battles. In attempting to 'shake' the system into a new configuration, they may only move the stable state from one localized minima to an alternate minima, with no positive effect on the global system. If the system is 'shaken' hard enough, the stable state can jump to a WORSE minima!
In other words, beating the system WON'T fix it!
I'm trapped in the dark ages, and the barbarians are closing in!
Management people are often unaware, ignorant, and aggressive-- so like an irate caveman, attempt to beat the system into 'compliance'. Violence AIN'T gonna work with a complex system! Can you picture that pissed-off caveman beating a computer with a bone, and thinking it's gonna work? Yet this obscenely bizarre scene regularly plays out in government, business, and personal relationships.
But, if the system DOES respond to the beating-- these aggressively ignorant people sometimes THINK they have accomplished something! Like the irate caveman's blindly swung bone randomly hitting the computer's 'on' button-- the 'beaten' employees figure out how to make the system run better on their own, and in spite of management's hindrance!
No wonder I feel like I'm trapped in the dark ages, and the barbarians are closing in!
Well, for now.... RANT switch OFF