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Organization is Recursive

While talking with one of my former professors yesterday, I had an unusual realization.

Organization is recursive.

Which is, to say, that if you look at the way things interact all the way down to the microscopic level, you will see the large behaves like the small, the complex like the simple, as long as there’s a concept of organization.

Consider academia. Most universities (all I’m aware of), are organized into departments / schools. Each department has ownership over a particular area of study. So, within Math, you expect to see calculus, geometry, and algebreaic methods. In business, marketing, business intelligence, international relations. And, in Computer Science, Computer Architecture, Software Development, and Algorithmic Analysis.

Each of these departments, however, is constantly in a struggle to acquire more resources: Teaching Talent, Research Grants, and of course, Registered Students.

So, when a field takes on unexpected popularity such as AI, which is traditionally a Computer Science topic, you see Business offering courses in Applied AI, Math offering courses in Data Science, and so on.

This encroachment is done politically correct, and it is justified by statements such as “AI is multidisciplinary”. Peeling back the layers, it becomes clear, however, that it is simply a tactic to grow larger and acquire more resources, even at the expense of the other departments or even the university as a whole.

And… these conflicts are invited anywhere we have organized and created boundaries and distinctions.

Maybe it’s inherently human. Maybe it’s inherently part of evolution. But tribalism and breaking out into us vs them mentality can only take us so far.


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