Discover more from Wysr by Cameron Armstrong
Everything is Held Together with Duct Tape
All of it. Every last thing. Seriously.
Nothing is going as well as you think it is (and that’s really empowering)
Welcome to my First Principles series.
I think all models of the world are wrong, but some are useful.
This is one of the ideas I default to when I have to make a decision with imperfect information.
It’s All Worse Than You Think.
We project confidence.
It’s what we’re conditioned to do.
We have parents and proxies that confidently answer our questions.
We go to schools that confidently explain what happens now and what happened before us.
And eventually we do our jobs, we send our emails, and we continue to watch, talk to, and emulate other people… who are also projecting confidence.
It’s through this mutually reflexive assimilation that we build out our operating model of the universe.
Then we experience new things, attempt to parse the signal, and ultimately incorporate the useful bits into that operating model.
But over time, as we gain proficiency in our niche knowledge fractals of personal and professional choice, we continue to experience new things, but start to notice the glitches.
After reaching a certain level of domain competency, we start to notice the world as it really is - an emergently designed, duct tape tapestry of dissonance stemming from the collective I/O chaos cycles of all 120 billion people who have ever existed.
Notably these dissonances tend to exist not at the jagged edges of human knowledge, but in the haphazardly spackled cracks and interior holes well away from the experimental frontier.
A sitting U.S. President wanted to inject light into your veins.
30% of all digital advertising is piped through a vertically integrated black box monopoly process that’s incentivized to increase participant lock-in over advertising “true price” discovery.
But also liberating.
Despite the insanities seemingly revealed by each statement above, these systems (initially constructed accidentally, but over time increasingly purposefully and iteratively) are still crucial to the function of modern society and stay crucial because they sorta kinda mostly do the thing they’re supposed to do.
Let me say that a different way.
Regardless of how arguably ridiculous parts of these monstrously impactful systems are, they are still very useful.
Okay maybe a third way.
Despite the waterfall of weirding moments that seem to suggest how inertially fucked all of this is, it’s not trivial to say we’re doing pretty okay through this entire bonkers process (all things considered).
And every meaningful construct in history was birthed, built, and bettered in this way.
Accordingly, no matter how much ambient stress you internalize, anything you’re working on will go through these growing pains, so maybe don’t hyper-fixate on the cracks so much.
Of course, fix ‘em if it’s the next right thing to do.
But don’t forget that they’re always gonna be there in some way, shape, or form
I hope this added value to your day.
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