Diversity. Yes. I know. Important. Cognitive diversity, that is.
When our brains are wired differently, we respond and think differently. Something that is required for creative problem solving.
People prefer to hang out with like minded people. It’s easier on the brain. Easier on the emotions.
Easier. Comfortable. And requires less energy.
Now here is the kicker.
In changing environments social systems with high diversity would be more resilient. However, changing environments will cause stress and people prefer homogeneous groups under those circumstances.
Our most resilient social system is also our most unstable one.
Now is a good time to talk about the adaptive cycle for social systems.
Lets assume that people prefer like minded people. In an environment that changes these homogeneous groups would become larger. It is more comfortable to be among “your own people”. So, a changing environment would create large clusters of homogeneous closed social systems.
Homogeneous closed social systems become less and less resilient. Because of their lack of diversity and lack of outside feedback. When the environment keeps on changing, the large clusters will collapse. These social systems cannot perform their function under the new conditions.
The collapse of these large clusters levels the plain field for new groups to form. Deviant groups can get the spotlight and become an attractor for others. New clusters will form. And another cycle of growth has set in.
Of course, it’s simplification. I mean. Really. A very simple way of looking at social systems.
It explains why diversity is so hard to create and maintain. It explains why closed homogeneous groups are dominating our society, and will keep on dominating. Until they collapse. And they will. Always. Making room for something new.
Image by James Cridland.