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The power of exponential growth

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posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 07:19 PM
Yes -- the pun in the title was intended.

To start off, here is a pithy saying: survival is the only proof.

What does that mean? It means that anything which exists is right, in the sense that if it were wrong, it would not exist, because it never formed in the first place, it was forcibly eliminated, or it simply died off. Opinions are like this: people who hold unpopular opinions are ostracized or forgotten.

Then what is exponential growth? Let's say you are the first to hear a piece of news. You tell 2 new people. Those 2 people each tell 2 new people, making 4 more. Those 4 people each do the same, making 8 more. And so on. If it takes 1 step to tell someone, then it would take 1 step to reach a total of 3 people: yourself and two others; 2 steps to reach a total of 7; 3 steps to reach 15. N steps would reach approximately 2^N people. That means in only 20 steps... a million people would be reached. If instead each person tells 3 new people instead of 2, N steps would reach about 3^N. That means a million people would be reached in only 13 steps.

Victor Hugo once said: there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Precisely. When an idea is spread in an exponential manner, those who hold the idea quickly outnumber those who don't. A government may try as it might but there will already be too many people. A tree starts out from one trunk, splits into some branches, which split into more branches. Cutting the trunk may kill the tree but cutting off one of the later branches does not affect the rest of the tree. The only way to crush an idea spread exponentially is to attack it at the trunk.

Furthering the analogy, the ultimate goal of a police state is to find trunks which are undesirable and crush them. But how? It is impossible to tell apart the undesirables if people just keep their mouths shut. Then the police state must first assume that every person is a potential trunk... the result is that they spread themselves too thin. To remedy that problem the police state may use a propaganda machine to broadcast ideas to a large audience quickly. But the weakness of propaganda machine is that it can be identified right from the beginning.

Where does that take us? That's right -- disinformation agents. They act just like regular people who want to spread ideas in an exponential manner. Now there is no way to tell which ideas are undesirable, except by using one's own judgement. And so, the major deciding factor in which ideas are spread is how early it began to spread. In other words: get there before the disinfo agents.

Good luck to everyone. What are some ideas worth spreading? Are you going to tell two of your friends, or more?

posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 11:23 PM
reply to post by Tadeusz

If only disinformation "grew" at a ln(x) ...

Great writing & great analogy.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 12:12 PM
I think it is worth spreading -- and feasible to spread -- the idea of patronizing local businesses. One could recommend a local restaurant to a friend for the next time she wants to eat out, for example.

Another feasible one is the idea of buying vegetables from farms. Be sure to mention how good they taste, but don't be discouraged or angered if people ignore you or resist you. The point is not to force-feed people information or tell them what they can easily find out from broadcasts, it is to influence others so that they can in turn influence others.

A bad example is to tell your friends to use Firefox over Internet Explorer, as horrid as IE may be.


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