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Why is Better Worse?

The fire that broke out of Notre Dame, which had an explicit fire-safety procedure, and the crash of two Boeing 737 aircrafts, which is the most modern aircraft of all… Why did these accidents happen? Is it possible that by making things better, we only make them worse? This is what some experts suggest. The more we modernize the systems, the more we complicate things. Thus, accidents are more likely to happen. Kind of like entropy. The more variables, the more unpredictable.

...Now something of a cult classic, Normal Accidents made a case for the obvious: Accidents happen. What he meant is that they must happen. Worse, according to Perrow, a humbling cautionary tale lurks in complicated systems: Our very attempts to stave off disaster by introducing safety systems ultimately increase the overall complexity of the systems, ensuring that some unpredictable outcome will rear its ugly head no matter what. Complicated human-machine systems might surprise us with outcomes more favorable than we have any reason to expect. They also might shock us with catastrophe.

More on The Atlantic.

(Image Credit: Stephanie LeBlanc/ Unsplash)


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Why is better worse? Because better, like the word "free", is what I call a non-word. Meaning, we created the concept. Nothing is actually free, and nothing is actually better. We call something better when we see an upside without seeing everything else under the hood. We call a person "immoral" when they don't do exactly as we do. It's all offensive and defensive mechanisms. If I can use a quote from Tao Te Ching "whether you're moving up or down a ladder, your position is shaky".
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