Defrag Blog

The Systemic Anomaly

by Eric Norlin on Oct.31, 2008, under conference topics

Call this an “off-topic” defrag post, though not totally off-topic…

At the end of the day yesterday, I plopped on the couch, firmly ensconced in “potato” mode, and caught the last half of The Matrix Reloaded. Remember when Neo meets the architect, and they walk through his existence as “the One.” It turns out that he’s just a “systemic anomaly” — essentially, a necessary evil that is the left-over balance that comes from summing the equation that is the Matrix. Why the leftover anomaly? Because it turns out that the only way to get the humans to “accept” the program that is the Matrix is to have them “choose” to accept it at some sub-conscious level. And that slightest bit of individual choice ends up throwing the whole equation into an unbalanced sum — that results in the eventual systemic anomaly. The systemic anomaly’s job, then, is to essentially “reboot” the whole system by choosing 23 humans to live and start over.

So, I’m lying there thinking, “Those wachowski brothers are genius! They’ve given us the PERFECT analogy for free markets and capitalism.” Which is to say, the systems - by their very nature - come with a systemic anomaly that simultaneously brings about the collapse of the system AND reboots it again (choice). And we’re right in the middle of that “anomaly” moment. A built-in, painful and completely necessary reboot.

Can we come up with a “better system?”

Well, the architect tried. But the program upload always failed. Humans simply wouldn’t accept perfection and it’s accompanying lack of choice.

Does that apply only to capitalism and free markets? Probably not. It’s probably also exactly right for social networking, communities, conferences, etc.

Food for thought….or maybe, complete crap. But that’s what my brain thought about last night. ;-)

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