But can you actually see anything?

I love metaphors about hills and valleys. If it’s an uphill struggle, imagine the view. Hills and valleys is a great metaphor for the concept of a local maximum: It’s visually clear (standing atop a hill) and mathematically clear (at a local maximum) that it is “down” in every direction. But only a special sort of hilltop is actually interesting. A hilltop that is really large becomes a flat tabletop. And a hilltop socked in with fog is easily mistaken for not a hilltop. Only hilltops which are pointy enough, and from which we can see other things, are interesting.

[…] our economy—resource allocation based on employment […]—is a local maximum and we cannot expect to arrive at a good outcome without activism.


But, unless we automate a lot more, we the species will never have enough wealth to offer a decent basic income, and everyone will continue to waste half their lives at work.

~ Gavin Leech from, https://www.gleech.org/automatic/

Is it clear that every direction is “down”? Can we see anything else; if we can’t see anything else we can’t be sure this is a local maximum. How can we explore “down” in some of the directions… when we’re talking about global scale culture and human lives?