The Octopus Defense

by Zoë Pollock

What the natural world can teach us about problem-solving:

Nature teaches us that adaptation to environmental risk carries no goal of perfection. In human society, it’s politically expedient to propose top- down security initiatives that promise total risk elimination, such as “winning the global war on terror.” But trying to eliminate a threat like terrorism is like trying to eliminate predation, and trying to minimize it with a single, centralized plan is the direct opposite of adaptability. Well-adapted organisms do not try to eliminate risk—they learn to live with it.