The Life Cycle of a System

document.write(" serif;">Thinking men and women design the new system. It won't have the faults of the old one, because humankind learn from experience.

Although not without glitches, the kickoff is a success. Soon the new system is running smoothly. The people rejoice. They had grown tired of meltdowns.

The people begin learning the ways of the new system. The sharp spades dig in deep, specializing in the system's arcana. It is not long before this aristocracy gets a handle on how to subtly tilt the system in their direction. Happy generations go by as the new nobles become convinced of their birthright.

For a while the plebeians are peaceful. Perhaps their religion asks for peace and the dignity of the person. Or maybe there is only so much you want to know.

Now generations have gone by and among the birthright nobles are some new spades, chips off the old block, but not quite as sharp. Or subtle. But they do manage to come up with cunning plans. Slightly insecure in their birthright, they are not to be outdone by parent or grandparent. This cadre comes to be known as the smart-ass set. Their mission in life is to game the system.

And sure enough, some smart-ass does. He takes the art of system-rigging to new heights. His rhetoric lauds the splendid robes as the emperor passes by. And for the most part smart-ass speech falls on ears willing to receive wisdom.

But plebes have children too. They come into the world fresh. They have not yet received wisdom. They can see the naked emperor.

They argue with their parents. They find that although their parents see the splendid robes, they do not like the emperor. Almost without realizing it, they have become angry. They have been losing their trust in the system.

It is a subtle aging, but a steady one. The system creaks and groans. Its life force weakens, and it loses function.

And so another system finds itself on the dustbin of history. Presently the children will probe among the ashes and build anew.