August 18, 2011

We're all scum to Nathan Myhrvold

But a slime mold doesn’t have eyes or a brain -- or any other organ, for that matter. Creating an organ requires a deep subjugation of interests. The heart has to trust that the brain will run things and that the reproductive system will look after its long-term interests.

Although it may be tempting to think of social institutions as functioning like organs, human societies behave, in practice, much more like slime molds. They don’t have eyes or brains that are anything like human eyes and brains. So although any one of us can learn from our mistakes, foresee problems and act reasonably to solve them, collectively we don’t do a very good job of this.

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