Efficiency = Erosion

Efficiency is a biiiiiig value in society. We are always on the run, got a never ending to-do list, & just want ample time to enjoy life.

We try to be efficient with our time to accomplish everything. We make short cuts. But when is efficiency NOT a good thing?

You’re probably thinking: Never. Lol. That was at least my initial thought when posed this question. But, efficiency can totally cause major damage to systems.

Even though a system might be slower, having layers of processes backing up a system can provide security, strength, stability, & sustainability. Less efficient… can still be a really good thing because of these four S’s.

Let’s check out a few examples…

Cell phones. It is miraculous that we were able to develop a technology that allows us to speak to each other thousands of miles apart. We have insane access to information in a matter of microseconds. However, as cell phones have become more and more equip, it seems human connection– the entire purpose of cell phones – has been lost in many ways. “The art of conversation is dying” as many would say, arguably due to the literal barrier cell phones are between us.

Dog training. My fiancé and I have a dog. His name is Coach & he is my little love bugger. Coach is a great puppy and is learning well. We want to train him early and often in order to prevent any futures problem behaviors when he gets bigger. At first, we wanted to get him to an optimal state of being, if you will. To do this, we increased our optimization by always having treats on hand, keeping a very consistent schedule, and stimulating him often – AKA we created a super efficient system to ensure he was on the fast track to perfect pup . At first, all was going great with Coach. But then our schedule had to be changed due to life circumstances, and Coach was really thrown off and in a bad mood for a few days. He didn’t respond well. He also “expected” treats often and would throw a fit or bark if he did not get one immediately after each command. Following this “efficient” system made so that when a problem arose, the subject of the system did not respond well.

*Check out this picture. Which one seems to be the most efficient? Why might the strengths in efficiency be poor for overall system performance & capability?

Finally, Soil. Agricultural management. When we try to optimize the food system to give us the absolute max amount of food quantity, we make it more efficient by… Spraying pesticide to rid the area of plant predators. Stuffing pigs, chickens & cows into filthy stalls so they are easier to manage. Tilling soil to allow for TEMPORARY, SHORT TERM abundance – enough to make a lot right now, not caring for the future. It’s like that toddler marshmallow contest. The toddler can either have one marshmallow now and none later, or wait and get three. Usually, they chose to eat the one. We can do better with our big kid, non-toddler brains!!! Spraying pesticide kills the bad AND THE GOOD. It gets into our waterways, then we drink it (In case ya didn’t know, pesticides are toxic. How would you feel about being trapped inside a dark, damp, poopy, ammonia-smelling box all day? If you think animals don’t have feelings… spend more time with animals! Digging up soil causes erosion. The gold in the ground (soil) gets brought to the surface, blown away by wind and washed away by water into larger bodies or water… then gets drowned by the water. Lost. FOREVER! Well, now forever. But might as well be, since it’s down their for hundreds to thousands of years.

What I am trying to say in all this. Is being the fastest, most rigid, and most mass producing is not really ideal. Sometimes, maybe. But if you look closely at any system you will very likely find that efficiency is eroding. This is especially apparent in society’s most wicked problems. Homelessness. Water Safety. Health. Energy. When we try to mainstream these systems, creating only ONE WAY & optimizing that process, we restrain ourselves. We make it more difficult to withstand shock.

HOWEVER – Efficiency is not all bad news bears. Efficiency will be the key to a more abundant world. Think of fuel efficient cars and lightbulbs. Details on how efficiency works in this regard coming at you soon in the next post!

That’s all for now.

In Soil We Trust,


*Potential problems with the ball - Harder to stop the ball vs the square. 
Potential problems with the square - Only one person pushing - no back up. 
Potential problems with the three squares - Three squares may be overload. 

There are many more examples that what's listed. 

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