I have talked before about timings, how 95% of the change happens in the last 5% of the time period for that change, such as most of the volume of a ship sinking happens in the last minute or two, its not a linear process.
This is different, but similar and closely related, and it is about how quickly things can change, and I don’t mean “whoa, I know we hit an iceberg, but she wasn’t sinking much for hours, what the fuck is happening now!” so much as going in to town and seeing a shop that was open and trading last week all boarded up and closed this week.
It’s usually a question of proximity, if you worked IN that shop, you were on the ship that hit the iceberg, if you walk past it, you are in another ship in the same waters.
In my day job, I see all kinds of ships, so for example this business here is creaking along on an xDSL connection, an old cisco 837 that you can BUY-IT-NOW on fleabay for less than a tenner, and an old netgear 8 port switch costing about the same.
I can go down the road and see a similar sized business in terms of employee numbers and square footage, and we are installing a synchronous 50mbit fibre circuit, which costs tens of thousands.
The first business is under capitalised, but at least if she gets holed beneath the waterline and the site goes hard down most any old crap can be used to get it back up, somehow or another.
The second business is much more robust, but it has a much higher burn rate and the bottom lines are much higher, and you certainly can’t use any old crap to fix it when it has issues, only the expensive stuff will do.
Either one of these two businesses can and do fold apparently overnight, as far as the employees of the other business across the street are concerned.
Take a look at what is happening in the Crimea now, depending on your proximity and awareness you can be thinking this is all rather sudden and alarming, or you can have been expecting *something* because trouble has been brewing for years, but neither one is really expecting “shit to change, real quick”
Shit changing real quick is not even really when it is the OPEN shop or business that suddenly stands out amongst all the closed ones, though that is an indicator of portents to come.
Shit changing real quick is when something that is doable, or permissible, or possible, or legal, or practical to do, today the 15th day of the month, is suddenly not doable, or not permissible, or not possible, or not legal, or not practical to do, when you wake up on the 16th day of the month.
In my experience, on the 16th of the month, you can look back and see it was all pretty fucking inevitable really, there is no real surprise it got to this, only that it got to this so fast, if only I had sold or bought or done or not done X **yesterday**
In my experience, on the 16th of the month, what does not change is the whole hordes of people taken apparently TOTALLY fucking unawares, no idea at all, no premonition, sleepwalked right into that shit.
See, were human nature not thus, what would happen on the day they brought in the first of the new laws about marriage and divorce and children in the UK in the mid seventies, is every single man in the country would have said “Whoa, at a stroke of a pen you have unilaterally changed the contract of marriage or cohabitation that I entered in to with my woman, at a stroke of a pen you have altered this contract, therefore I have NO OPTION WHATSOEVER but to immediately and permanently annul the ENTIRE contract, and walk away from it ALL”
They / We didn’t. That is how you boil a frog.
The mid (nineteen) seventies saw the pendulum at one extreme, it was at the other extreme in the (eighteen) thirties, with the Tolpuddle Martyrs, unlike actual pendulums, human societal ones seem to take shorter and shorter periods for subsequent swings, and boys and girls, we are not at the other extreme yet, we have quite some way to go, nevertheless, for those who have eyes to see….
Back in the 8 bit days I wrote a small computer program in BASIC, I was not the first, I just wanted to write it myself, my way.
Biorhythms, they were interesting, because you took three regular periodic cycles, each of a fixed period or frequency, 23, 28 and 33 days, start them all at zero on the day of your birth, and start the clock ticking, what you get is a new combined waveform, one that takes nearly 60 years to get back to zero and start again.
The interest was not that there was any reality or practical use, the interest was that these three simple and quite short periodic frequencies could combine into something far more complex, something that took 21+ thousand days to repeat.
And out of my grasp, but tantalisingly just within my peripheral awareness, was the idea that this applied to *everything*, human relations, society, the economy.
What was tantalising was the idea that at no point on the resulting combined curve, was it possible to predict what was about to happen, it could wibble along unchanged for a bit, or suddenly leap upwards, or downwards, unless you had the precise fundamental data for each of the three constituent curves at that point in time, you had no fucking idea.
And biorhythms were laughably simple, in real life it is not just the sum of three different fixed frequency and amplitude curves, there is fucking feedback too… and on many levels, and hysteresis, and attenuation, and damping, etc etc.
And so, at an early adult age, I had before me visible proof of a thing that I personally came to call “complex”
“Complex” problems such as these were ones that I could watch, much as a sailor watches the sea and weather before deciding to leave port, but which, by their nature, forbade any accurate prediction.
I don’t care *who* you are, *what* data sources you have access to, or *how much* computational power you have, your predictions are no more valid than mine, because nothing less than total awareness will suffice for complex problems, and the moment you get total awareness, it ceases to be a complex problem.
This is not to say that ATTEMPTS to create ever more accurate models of the weather, for example, are wasted, I applaud them, what I abhor is the idea that the VALIDITY of your model is greater than mine, just because your model is run on a supercomputer tended by 200 programmers in a project that has been running for 20 years… your model is incomplete, that’s it.
There is an old farmer just down the road from me, the computer models and everything else tell him he should be out planting crops RIGHT NOW, if not sooner, what with the delays already caused by all the recent flooding.
He has an old steel prybar, it’s about 5 foot long and a inch and a half or so in diameter, it’s pretty heavy, he walks out into his fields and holds it vertically, in the middle, and then releases his grip so it slams down point first into the ground.
See, putting a tractor out there, and adding attachments, ploughs and see drills and the like, all effects the torque the driving wheels have to put out, and the force the land has to take… the land *looks* dry enough, but the pry bar sinks 6 inches, and the old farmer knows if it sinks more than 3, the land won’t take the weight and torque, he’ll just tear it up and make mud and fuck up his machinery…. and waste expensive seed crops, and diesel, etc.
This doesn’t help the farmer get a crop in and earn any money, or minimise his outgoings much, he is still between a rock and a hard place, but by doing a physical test, yeah, it’s rough and ready and quick and dirty, it stops him making a bad situation worse.
Farmers, see, when I was a lad we knew all about “crop failure”, things change real fast, all year you are looking good, as a farmer, as a food producer, as a supermarket, as a customer, as a country, and then there is a fucking crop failure, the early barley crop yield is maybe 25% of what everyone thought it would be, and none of it is great quality.
Shit suddenly changed.
Like I said, “complex” problems,but I have eyes, I can see, for the past week the roads have been unnaturally quiet, not much traffic, is it half term? no, has fuel suddenly gone up 10p a litre? no etc, wonder what is going on then?
Nevertheless, the roads have been fucking quiet the last week.
I go talk to someone, they tell me the town, which they go into three times a week, is “dead” when they went in.
I go to the trade cash and carry to buy my 750g tins of instant coffee and a few packets of real coffee, it’s like visiting a cathedral open for tourists… there are only two tills manned and only one person in front of me, and they also are only buying less than 6 items.
I go to fill the tank up with diesel, (which I do 3 or 4 times a week) and I can basically pick my pump and drive up to it.
The tobacco counter that I always avoided at the supermarket because it had queue of assholes wanting to cash in this lottery ticket and buy that one and some scratch cards and this that and the other and oh can I have some smokes too… I can walk up to now and maybe one person in front of me.
My 4% wage rise in line with inflation (4% of fuck all is still fuck all..lol) that I responded to with a “Is that fucking it? that’ll buy fucking tank of diesel once a month!” which really did not go down well, you know, maybe they really did think I should have been grateful…. certainly enough other people have said pay rise, heard of them…. never seen one mind.
The point I am trying to make, all the change that has happened to date since the mid 1970’s, by this time next week there could be other changes that are so big they wipe out everything that went before, where went before is “in living memory” for everyone under 60.
It’s like one of those hideously complex late 70’s synthesisers, but each industrialist, each banker, each politician, is only given control of one knob…. now go make beautiful music.
Everyone assumes that no-one else is an intelligent agent that actually does see what is going on, if they have control of a knob, it isn’t a significant knob, and frankly my knob is the significant one, and if you cunts would just stop twiddling yours I could get mine set right… we could be the new Tangerine Dream