💬 Tangle Logic

Replied to Tangle Logic by Venkatesh RaoVenkatesh Rao (ribbonfarm.com)

Millennia of human building have convinced us that orderliness (with or without greebles) is somehow efficient and tangles are “messy and inefficient.” And it’s not a modern or even medieval phenomenon. I recall my high-school history teacher instructing us that the streets of Indus Valley cities were “efficient” because they intersected at right angles and were “well-laid out” in an obviously planned way, compared to other Bronze Age peer civilizations. She taught us the usual textbook justification: that this somehow made them self-cleaning because the wind swept the streets naturally. More modern thought typically treats straight lines anywhere (roads from capitals to airports, and colonial-era boundaries being the classic examples) as a mark of an authoritarian presence. There may be some accidental benefits for narrow use cases, such as street-sweeping by prevailing winds, but that’s not the reason they exist. They exist because an authoritarian has carved out an island of surplus resources for himself and his buddies, and decided to lay it out as a neat, untangled zone.

Complex answers, how else to describe a complex world? This reminds me of Dave Cormier’s discuss of complicated and complex in education.

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