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Infrastructure is a Historical Context that Can Span Several Centuries

Having become somewhat mindless and numb over the past few days, when I awoke this morning I had pretty much no significant topics swirling around in my brain. 😐

No worry — mainstream media came to the rescue! But first let me backtrack a little to the foundations … literally.

Infrastructure is a part of our environment. It is a very significant element of our habitat. While I do not want to downplay the significance of developments like climate change, there are undeniably huge advantages we reap from technologies such as roads, buildings and a wide array of institutions that have evolved since not only centuries, but even across many millennia. Yes, we could even add languages to that list, but things such as health, medicine, law and order probably seem far less abstract.

In many long-since civilized parts of the world, the same roads were traversed by traders and travelers back so far in time that for most of those people there is not a single remnant on Earth that brings forth any image of their time spent living upon it than the ancient stones they tread upon that still exist today. Many religions “offer” enormous stuctures which in times of war and turmoil function as safe havens from the cruelty of the outside world.

There was a local radio program on this morning which I had heard ads for during last week, and the topic seemed rather insignificant to me. I was not disappointed: it completely measured up to my expectations of insignificance — it was about how back in the 18th Century there was a program to bring some settlers from central Europe to parts of Andalusia … all presented in a narrative style mildly reminiscent of a detective story. The names of the German-speaking settlers have been by and large lost over the intervening two and a half centuries. Much of the historical context — namely how Spain was awash with gold, and how many Spaniards were probably much busier acquiring that gold than in remaining settled in their own country — was not even mentioned.

And this reminded me how written languages managed by error-prone humans can lead to less-than-perfect interpretations of the past (or even the merely phyically distant present). How much of the reports coming from Ukraine or other war-torn parts of the world which use entirely different languages, leading to so much getting lost in the translation are reliable enough to make any kind of rational decisions from afar?

As we look forward towards a more and more machine-managed future, we need to balance the advantages we can reap from less and less errors against consuming resources which are becoming increasingly scarce and the consumption of which are harming ecosystems we need to live healthy lives in the habitats — both created by “nature” and also constructed by humans — we surround ourselves with. For more about the concept of managing our habitat, please see also “How to Fix a Problem (in 60 Seconds or Less)” [ ] .