That's been happening since the dawn of time, in pauses & spurts. From hunter-gatherer humans to tribal/cultural humans was only the latest step.
Our biggest, perennial question is, how to keep growing the spurt/digest cycle across bigger aggregates?
We ALWAYS face demand for more thinking, and bigger cultural building ... on a greater scale?
So how we do that? Where do we go from here?
That's a huge topic, yet it just occurred to me that the physiology of sleep is a useful lesson. The physiology of sleep involves multi-tasking, but one function seems to be the review of reality-navigation options.
Basically, an analog network of cells takes in a LOT of information everyday. To navigate unpredictably changing contexts, it has to take time out to re-iterate, digest, review, recognize and SELECT replicable, ADAPTIVE, useful patterns from that data.
Our bodies & brains simply can't keep up with adaptation in real time. Adaptation requires analysis, testing & SELECTION.
[Mathematically, that implies that we're only chasing context, at maybe 1/3 it's rate of change. We can chase by plodding, but never keep up, let alone catch up? There may be some exceptions and advancements, via delegation of interleaved tasks, but that's a topic for subsequent discussion.]Most histories of humans suggest that we've achieved ~the following in the physiology of humans and the culture of human-aggregates.
1) 5-8 hours/day of USEFUL data gathering (maybe only 2-5, really);
2) 5-8 hours/day of USEFUL inter/intra-person waking review (discourse & thinking);
3) 5-8 hours/day of neural cycling/reviewing/distilling (sleep).
Anything less than that, and individuals & groups stray too far behind the data onslaught, & are labeled as "insane," or aristocrats, Control Frauds, politicians, rogue states, or ... "empires." :)
What's that imply about nations & cultures?
We're just a larger ensemble. Trying to stay sane, on a national, not just a small-group level.
Our net numbers take in full bandwidth data.
Our own actions & interactions throw off all the additional data we need.
So the data regarding adaptive policy-options is always there. Sensing it, and reporting/analyzing/testing/assessing enough of it, fast enough, among one another? That's what is rate limiting for the adaptive agility of any and all groups.
What about our nation as an adaptive group?
All indications suggest that we're spending far too much time haphazardly doing, and not enough time reviewing? At least as a functioning nation-group.
Reviewing comes in - at least - two forms (and likely in a near-infinite, tailing curve of interaction "levels," going all the way back down to molecular & even quantum statistical evolution).
1) reviewing local data in local ensembles (personal thinking, small group discussion)
2) reviewing subsets of national data, in national ensembles (national thinking, national group discussion; of necessarily limited topics)
Multiple questions immediately arise.
For 320 million people, how many levels of review is required, to distill topics and data down to agile segments? (e.g. tactics, strategy, policy, milestone goals, Desired National Outcome)
Perhaps we need to delegate far more decision-making to county and town levels, not just state legislatures, let alone agency bureaucracies?
How do we achieve - and maintain - enough crosstalk between all processes at all levels, to achieve national agility?
I could go on and on, but it's already clear that our whole nation is missing what's perhaps the most pressing question of all. How to train students in K-12 education to even be aware of the most pressing question of all? We need to change K-12 education as fast as economic challenges change. We are obviously NOT doing that right now.
"How to achieve - and maintain, and GROW - net Agility of a growing aggregate?"
If we don't teach context awareness, or Situational Awareness, to a large enough proportion of our students - before they reach voting age - then we obviously can't maintain an informed electorate capable of navigating through unpredictable obstacle courses with adequate group agility.
Suggestion to citizens. Start volunteering at your local elementary schools. NOT, I repeat NOT to do mundane busywork, but to tell students real life stories, and update their situational awareness of where their country is, and where it is going. If upcoming citizens are not far better prepared to be far more involved in updating context awareness, at far higher rates than at present ... then we cannot attain and maintain a functioning democracy. It's that simple.
There is no alternative?
"We know not of the future and cannot plan for it much. But we can ... determine .. what [group, adaptive rate we can express], whenever .. the hour strikes ... ."
Paraphrasing Joshua Chamberlain