Civilization Is Composed of Fast Layers and Slow Layers to Absorb Shocks

Resilient systems that can absorb shocks (short peaks of rapid change) have multiple layers that move at different speeds. For example, technology is a fast moving layer—it changes very quickly. In contrast, culture is a slower moving layer which, over the course of time, is nudged along over a longer time period.

In fast to slow order, we can model civilization as fashion/art, commerce, infrastructure, governance, culture, and nature.

See also:

  • The Clock of the Long Now introduced this model and talks about how violations in this framework cause problems e.g. radical fast change in governance like the USSR.
  • Amara’s Law might explain why this is a difficult model to understand