The frontier and freedom
There’s a wonderful thing about the frontier. It’s a place where the rules don’t exist. Anything is possible … so long as it sustains existence on the frontier.
America was a frontier—”The New World”—a place where humanity was able to experiment with new ways to exist as a society—ways forbidden by the prevailing powers in the Old World. Perhaps more than anything, frontiers lack structure and reigning institutions, regulations, and norms. It’s within this vacuum that novelty has a chance.
The Internet, too, has been a frontier. A digital plane where new business models, new ways to engage and communicate, and more could all be tried.
Freedom is found on the frontier.
The tyranny of the status quo
And what’s the opposite of the frontier but the rules, norms, and prevailing powers of the status quo? Ruling states, businesses, wealth, and more exert monopolistic constraints that choke out the possibility of alternatives. The chance for novel ideas.
It is the established order of things—the status quo—that makes it hard to think differently. So what do you do?
All is not lost
Thankfully, the status quo is stagnant … systems wound up like a mechanical watch that can only work in a very calculated way. Rigid.
Over time, systems start opposing their proper purpose. They grow so large—or even so specialized—as to be inefficient, brittle, and unable to adapt to changing conditions.
This stagnation results in opportunity because the status quo can’t adapt to changing conditions. And it’s innate inefficiency means some are under-served. Before long, there emerges a possibility of new frontiers.
This is a cycle
It’s this ebb and flow between the frontier and the status quo that we cycle back-and-forth, iterating and evolving over time. It’s the way of evolution. It’s the way of systems. It’s the way of life. And it’s been this way for millions of years.