photo from Alex on flickr
When I was younger the world looked like a network of incontrovertible systems: the Education System, the Banking System, the Motor Vehicles System, the Restaurant System, even the Movie Rental System. It seemed like all you had to do was work these systems properly, and you would be rewarded with a happy and successful life.
So after graduating from college I expected that, having completed the Education System, I would quickly be plugged into some other lucrative System, like the Banking one.
But it didn’t happen. And even more disconcertingly, the closer I looked at these systems the less they looked like big, incontrovertible systems at all, and the more they looked like a bunch of people just figuring things out, hacking things together until they worked.
The systems, I realized, weren’t systems at all. They were just particularly successful hacks that many people came to rely on.
Everything is a hack. When this first dawned on me it made the world seem terribly complex and fragile. But then I saw the great opportunity of it. These systems aren’t incontrovertible laws of society, they’re just our best ideas so far, our most successful hacks.
So if I can come up with such a hack, I can build into the world the sorts of systems I’d like to see. We are not bound by the systems of today, but rather the world relies upon us to come up with the hacks that will create a better tomorrow.
[Cross-posted on Charles Lee’s Blog]