Originally published Sep. 2016.
Posted Jul 16, 2020 at 16:30. Revised Jan 10, 2021 at 19:26.
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The summer foliage mostly obscures our wheeling buzzards. In the Spring when the trees were bare it was easy to see these ChaosFarm birds interacting above the treetops.
The obscuring of the buzzards seems eerily similar to how the ever-growing complexities of civilized life progressively obscure more of the life around us. Increasing complexity increases narrowness of focus, which in turn increases disconnectedness. A plaintive ChaosFarm birdcall of “come here, come here” suggests that even nature is seeking an ever more elusive connectedness.
The complexity series
OberlinChaos’s more recent articles have barely touched on complexity, focusing instead on the Oberlin College BOT’s and Administration’s blundering. Nevertheless, complexity has been an essential contributor to the College’s bungled management.
The now-defunct Complexitytrap.org blog published the original Complexity Series articles. The Complexity Series discusses principles and events that encapsulate the mess at Oberlin. The updated materials contain revisions for clarity, and that comply with OberlinChaos.com’s presentation conventions.
The chaos at Oberlin College is a microcosm of this bigger picture. The political and social predictions and observations in The Complexity Series have proven to be prescient, while some have occasionally turned out to be wrong.
Writing in ZDnet on July 27, 2020, Scott Fulton III published the following complexity trap related observation:
The unsustainability of our environment, along with that of our government and our culture, is something we’re able to reasonably ignore, within limits, as long as economies of scale — such as the one Gordon Moore discovered — chug right along and don’t collapse on us. We know we live today with a technology infrastructure that is unsustainable, in and of itself, for the long term — not just in x86 processors (the “brains” in most computers today), but the entire infrastructure network that supports them.
It will be left to the reader to decide to what degree the ComplexityTraps articles match the academic politics of Oberlin College and particularly its BOT. Politics is theater, and the leadership at Oberlin is a case study in educational and political theatrics.
Browse the complexity listings in the Index by Category and enjoy the tragic theater.
/s/ JD Nobody, OC ’61.