In the last post, mariner used the transition from cash to online as an example of how humans shift behavior because that is how everyone else does it and there is some benefit attached. Money, credit cards and online shopping are obvious systemic adaptations – even the first telephone was a systemic adaptation. However, systemic adaptation is more complex when it is political, emotional or behavioral conditioning.
For example, is the MAGA movement an example of systemic adaptation? Why has a significant portion of the citizenry modified their behavior in a very similar fashion? What happened in our society that provoked this unified behavior?
Even more subtle is the shift in attitude within the democratic party. Why did the party become elitist and forget its roots in labor? Was it because everyone was behaving that way, aka systemic adaptation?
Why is it that rural folks typically are conservative while city folks tend to be liberal? The common behavior is too precise to be an individually determined mindset. Why is there a distinct difference in assumptions when comparing a rural town, a suburb and a slum?
It turns out that systemic adaptation is the same awareness that explains how a flock of thousands of birds can swirl through the air without breaking formation. It is a common subconscious ability in any species that requires social awareness – birds, mammals and even some fish.
Giving the frontal lobes their due, conscious manipulation of the environment is a survival skill that requires conscious focus and abstract reasoning – just like beavers, mice, magpies, monkeys and apes.
But most of our survival is managed by a deeply complex subconscious machine which requires an approval before anything is decided – frontal lobes included. It is the subconscious that allows humans to behave as they do – good or bad; the subconscious mind can be flawed like anything else.
Given a rare and extremely unusual reasoning power, humans are capable of complex uses of systemic adaptation. Hence, humans, clearly a social creature, adjust their behavior in many ways (MAGA or democrat? bowling league or flower club? college graduate or service worker? engineer or poet? parent or single?) adjusting social behavior accordingly.
What has motivated mariner to ponder systemic adaptability is the paradox in the last post: Do politicians, economists, and corporations control our systemic behavior or do we as citizens allow them to do so because of our indifference – in itself a systemic adaptation?
In any case, the trope is true: birds of a feather . . . .