The opposite trends of evolution:
from neutralizing to elimination in technology, but from elimination to neutralizing in human societies

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

In technology eliminating the root cause of an unwanted effect is preferable to coping with its consequences by trying to mitigate them or even neutralize. The progression of technology goes

from tolerating an unwanted effect to its mitigation, to its complete neutralization, and to its eventual complete elimination by eliminating its root causes.

This pattern is a particular case of the TRIZ law of tending to ideality. The ideal means of coping with something are no means, which means that no means are needed anymore as this something does not exist anymore.

This trend was in use since times immemorial everywhere, not in technology only. Do you remember "no man, no problem" ? It was much easier to eliminate an opponent than fight his ideas.

Why did the Spaniards destroy all books of Maya after conquering the Central America ? In order to root out the source of harmful (from the Spaniards' prospective) ideas amongst Mayas. They knew that it is better to destroy the source of ideas than to neutralize and distract from them somehow. Why did Nazies burn the books ? For the same reason. Why were all idols in the Arabia destroyed after the Arabs were converted to Islam ? For the same reason. Etc., etc., etc.

But since inception of humanism the opposite trend emerged. It was noticed that in socio-economic systems pluralism and tolerance spurs progress. Neutralizing of harmful ideas and influences by dispute and counter-propaganda is preferable to shutting up their sources.

Unfortunately, technical systems do not progress on their own. They are advanced by humans. Maybe when self-progressing technical systems emerge, it will turn out that mitigating and neutralizing unwanted effects rather than their elimination is a necessary condition of their self-advancing ? Maybe dissuading, distracting, mitigating, neutralizing etc. rather than eliminating of anything is a pre-condition for a robust self-progression of any system ?