I had a dog until a few years ago. We got along greatly and I enjoyed to take the dog for a walk. It wasn't like with many other people and their dogs. I didn't need a dog leash for he never attacked or threatened strangers and he never crossed the street on his own.
He always ran ahead of me and simply walked around the bent when we came to a road interjunction. He had his fun with traces of smells and with leaving his marks and ran back to me once I reached the road interjunction as well. Then he looked up to me and waited for me to do the first step on the street before he himself began to run to the other side.
There were simply no troubles thanks to the one rule that he had learned; to never cross the street without my consent.
I always think of this when I see how other dog owners keep their dogs under control with short dog leashes, forcing the dog to walk at their relatively slow pace. That's so suboptimal, stressful and no fun. And then I need to think of something else because I begin to miss him again just as I do now.
Normal traffic isn't much different. In some places it's chaotic and full of "friction" and crashes while elsewhere it's an orderly flow. Sometimes I'm sitting in a café and watch the street. Everything works neatly, no collisions, no arguments, no electricity blackout - many rules are at work to keep the complex action on street in the precinct and on the nearby street going. I could hardly count the rules that all those people - and electronic hardware! - obey all the time, without exception. Well, until some drunkard comes along and violates the limit on how loud he's supposed to be at most.
We spend many years to learn to conform with the myriad of rules in our society (and immigrants have understandable problems to adapt). We consider people to be (almost) mature at 18 - as opposed to about 14 in less sophisticated societies. Four additional years of learning, till the age of 18 - and then the learning only begins for many young people.
A university is supposed to educate a young man for a profession and awards a title when he's done. That's nice, but in effect it doesn't train for one, but often for at least half a dozen different professions. It would take about 10 to 15 years to really attend (and learn for) all courses as a MBA student, for example. Even after this time, the student would merely have learnt the basics. It's no wonder that few MBA students can live up to the expectations of others when asked to comment on some particular economic legislation proposal.
The age of universal geniuses - people who knew all advances and insights of Western art and science - passed sometime in the early 19th century. Nowadays even Nobel prize winners from the same field of science can disagree fiercely on topics like the present economic crisis. The difference is usually easily explained with a look at their specific research, for they aren't really top experts beyond their narrow field of research - and thus they're excessively influenced by whatever their speciality suggests as interpretation and solution for a problem. The fair synthesis of existing knowledge busts even their capabilities.
The increasing specialisation and division of labour is extreme. Look at a "soldier", for example. He's not just a soldier; he's more. A soldier is (supposed to be) expert, specialist in something. Modern armies have hundreds of different job descriptions just like corporations have hundreds or thousands of different job descriptions.
Today we've even got Powerpoint soldiers. Their job (description) makes them produce the flood of at times neatly decorated Powerpoint slides. These decorations remind me of ornate medieval books. It's no wonder that there's a dedicated job description for this job; such a job existed even in the dark ages when people were really able to recount all couple dozens different professions in their society.
It's a weird feeling to relax, to empty the mind and then simply think of the world as if it was strange to you. Suddenly you can see all those self-evident things as a terrific, super-complex and clockwork way beyond your abilty to explain it. You think of the park bench you're sitting on and realise that you couldn't produce such a thing in a thousand years because you have no clue how to make such a green paint. Or the steel. Think of all those mine workers, steel workers, truck drivers, salespersons, metal workers involved in producing that simple park bench.
How could anyone make a decision or develop something new without ignoring almost the whole world? You need to ignore almost the whole world, after all. You couldn't handle its complexity if you didn't dumb it down to the point of near-total ignorance.
Think of a general; do you think that he could recount every military job description of every soldier under his command by title? How many could he recount in detail?
What does this necessity to simplify everything to the point of near-total ignorance mean for our ability to advance without primitive trial-and-error?
Are we locked into evolving, never revolutionising our institutions because building new ones would require a Herkulean job of constructing a new rule set?
I still miss my dog badly.