Societal Breakdown and the Importance of Trial-and-Error

Recently my wife and I decided to repaint our kitchen and living room, which required everything to be moved out of both rooms. 

When it came time to putting things back, we found many items that were no longer useful and simply took up space. In other cases we thought of re-arranging cups and plates and tried putting things in different spots, just to be different. Our goal was to improve efficiency in our new environment. Instead, many of the things, coffee maker, silverware, wine glasses, ended up in the same place they were before the massive paint job.

I gave pause to this and realized that everything had its proper place because over twenty years of living in that home, efficiency found itself. Do you understand what that means? It means that actual living experience determined where things should go that most efficiently served our purpose. Glasses and cups went into the cupboard above the dishwasher because, at some point over two-decades, we figured out it was easier to put things back this way. Plates where near the stove, again, a natural choice that was determined at some point to be the most efficient. We tried moving the coffee maker in different places “just to be different,” but it ended up back in its original spot because it worked best.

From this I drew the conclusion that society works in this way as well. In the natural evolution of things, people learn over time what works best through trial-an-error.

You have heard of Justice Commissions or Truth Councils? Some civic leaders and activists in political circles have suggested we set up community councils who decree judgement upon those charged with crimes against society. It’s a throw-back to customs still practiced in some smaller governments in Africa and Asia, a Tribal Council of sorts, so-called truth commissions

Trial and error down through time has taught us that such councils needed to be improved upon and that is why we today have a Supreme Court, it’s why we have judicial courts, judges, juries, attorneys, the right to an attorney, juris prudence, the Fifth Ammendment right not to incriminate oneself; these were improvements made to the original Tribal Council concepts. So when I see a modern intelligent people suggesting we go backwards in time to revive some old style of retribution court, I worry that these people are just “trying new things.”

Man has lived in this house a long time, and there are reasons certain things are the way they are. Most likely because they are most efficient for the largest number of people.

Another example is Marriage. 

Thousand of years ago there was no such thing as private property. Everyone in the village was everyone else’s business. And it didn’t work out. This kind of communal living didn’t produce a strong foundation for a later-appearing local government, or at least one that stood the test of time and could grow into an enduring society

What did work out was husband and wife, man and woman each raising and rearing one family, raising and rearing one’s own children. Man, because of his belligerent behavior and propensity to fight, naturally preferred his own home, and thus it is so that today, we are a collection of single family dwellings because it was the better arrangement, it produced more happiness among the individual members and provided a healthy competitive spirit among fellows within “the tribe.” The family unit – and not the communal structure – laid the foundation of States becoming united with power evenly distributed throughout, and this system worked best for the most people, as we have seen. Trial-and-error led us to a much-improved system. The kitchen was in order.

Socially speaking, we are moving things around in the kitchen of humanity to see if they are more efficient and in doing so we ignore the fact that all of this stuff has been tried before, and what didn’t survive didn’t do so because the ideas didn’t work. The Village cannot overrule the family, which is what is happening.

You see, man learned through trial and error that a strong family is the foundation of a strong community of family, which leads to a strong nation of families, not overpowering government or tribes that control out lives. 

If you look at the breakdown of family in our large cities, the emancipation of our young who only visit Mom and Dad annually, if at all, the way we ship off Grandma and Grandpa to convalescent homes, we also see a steep decline in younger people getting married, and less babies being born each year, we start to see the signs that perhaps our kitchen isn’t arranged so smartly, that perhaps we moved things around too much and things aren’t as efficient as they once were. The fabric of society is frayed and will continue to fall apart as long as we move towards a Tribal State and away from strong family unit. Time has taught us this lesson.

Or is it that some lessons must be learned more than once?

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