Law #6: Slower is Faster

The law says, “Slower is faster”.

Yet the song we sing everyday is “Faster is faster” or “faster is better”.

The story of snipping the cocoon to “help” the butterfly itself release from its cocoon. I tried to go faster. But the butterfly died.

Delay the time it takes for something to happen eventually, is an inherent part of nature. The mechanistic systems cuts out delays. Natural systems build in delays as natures way of avoiding cumbersome and expensive transformative systems.

But the song “faster is faster”, where did we learn to sing that song from?

Did you say the from the industrial age. Manufacturing. Yes, you are absolutely correct.

The industrial age, taught us as we shifted gears to the next higher level of speed, that we created more outputs and that had meant it was better for all (humans) around. We then notched the thinking up that if we can now “train” to notch their speeds up just as machines would or even match it, it was even better for all around. Very soon people learned, to behave, well, just like machines. The faster we got, the better we became. The better we became, the faster we got.

Still, I would like to think though that people and machines are not the same. They are different in two fundamental ways. Take a look at the five disciplines of the Learning Organization. Which one of the five talks to this fundamental difference? What does that mean?

Machines do not have the capacity to create personal aspirations (of course some of us as with robotics, would dispute this comment, but like all my arguments, we are looking at the rule. Not the exception). If should one day, my car decides to be a motor bike, all I would say to the bike when I take it back to the manufacturer for a refund is, “Your job is to stay as a car, as defined by your specification. There is no room for your aspirations here”. Of course, we sometimes, say of the same, to humans as well.

Machines also do not have the capacity to create their own mental models (alright I hear you robotics diehards). Machines go as fast as man set it to be. No more. No less. When machines do not have their own mental models, it can go even faster.

And so, for people to behave like machines, they would need to take care of just two things. Suppress their personal aspirations and resist the temptation to disagree with someone who thinks differently from one’s own mental model. That way, we can all go faster. And that is better. For all.

Except when it or others “push at it” to go faster, often the individual reacts by pushing back faster. Illnesses. Stress. Conflicts. Divorces. Crime. Accidents. Rages. Declining economy. Desertification. These are different ways the push backs happen for all of us. You ask what about machines? Well, guessed it. It is almost inconsequential re-actions.

So, what does it look like to go faster in the natural world by first going slower? Think of mini snowballs. What would they become eventually? How did they start? For a long time, it looks like nothing is happening. That project or idea is certainly set to go far and wide.