The Rule of Splintering

I’ve made up a new law called The Rule of Splintering. If psychologists and economists can do it, anyone else has the same power. Ready?

The Rule of Splintering: every idea fractures into variations, and each variation has a trajectory and lifespan independent of the original idea.

Is its earliest form, human mobility meant human powered-movement. Walking, running, being carried by another human. Then, mobility progressed to include animal carriage, human-powered vehicles, animal-powered vehicles, wind-powered vehicles, electric-, gasoline-, alcohol-powered vehicles. You get it.

But, advances in technology have not eliminated the earlier forms of mobility. We still use all of the forms of transportation that I mentioned. We walk, ride horses and camels, pedal bicycles, and even drive alcohol-powered cars. There are many forms of mobility that survive, independent of the original form.

The Rule of Splintering can apply to anything: architecture, economics, marketing, agriculture, whatever. Our advances create an “and scenario.” We can build the Burj Khalifa and tin-roofed sheds in favelas. We can barter, pay cash, and use digital currencies. We can plant a lettuce seed in our personal garden or a hydroponic greenhouse. We experience it all.

The present is made up of ideas that have come into favor, been pressed upon us, transformed, persisted, crumbled, and resurfaced. When we read history in a rear-facing format, it unfolds to explain what happened to get us to our modern point. It’s presented as an explanation or unfolding of events. Often, it misses the mess. Today’s politics are a mess. Politics in 1715 were a mess, too. But those ideas still live on today… as splinters.