See my previous post in which I lamented that life has become too complicated. More accurately, it has always has been infinitely complicated but we are only now beginning to realize how limited our grasp is of what is going on around us. That is progress! We are also beginning to realize that our thinking about problems in a mechanistic way have been a bit off target. For this we have the success of science to blame, but it seems that scientists are now beginning to recognize and deal with the problem. Society is also beginning to wrestle with the reality that humans are extraordinarily different in the particular yet fundamentally of the same stuff, and that ‘one mold for all’ is a complete aberration.

What strategies have humans historically employed in dealing with the combined assault of unlimited questions and limited answers?
– DELEGATION to Gods, religions, prophets and other authorities in various combinations has been by far the most popular strategy, based on the assumption that other agents must have the answer. Relieved of the personal responsibility of having to worry about the goals of the community or the meaning of life, citizens could concentrate on the important things: procreation, providing for the family, paying taxes, having fun or going to war. Appeals to authority, however, are rapidly loosing credibility. Authorities will use power, deceit and intimidation to hide or compensate for their lack of mastery of the problems facing society.
– Achieving PERSONAL MASTERY of problems has been attempted by those with heightened awareness and an appetite for study and hard work. A few of these intellectuals, aka philosophers, were deluded into thinking that they were capable of answering fundamental questions regarding the forces of history and the true nature of Man and the World. These individuals have contributed tremendously to our fund of information and understanding, so much so that we now realize that personal mastery is impossible. Philosophy has tripped over its own successes, but therein lies a new opportunity. One could master oneself, but that can NOT be RELIABLY extrapolated to others.
– TRANSCENDENCE of the bewildering here and now through intuitive meditation essentially solves the problem by discounting and devaluing it. This approach has been surprisingly successful in some respects. At least the idea is simple and easily understood.
– SCIENCE as a formal discipline is a relatively recent arrival, but has grown rapidly in influence because of its tremendous power. There are many that believe the revolutions in communication, transportation, entertainment and medicine, to name a few, are somehow a distraction from our true nature and should be either ignored or vigorously opposed. The latter position should be vigorously opposed. However, attempts to define humans or society through reductionist means, such as scientism, positivism or social Darwinism, have been inadequate and have been properly criticized. It appears that scientists themselves are recognizing that their framework for looking at information has been too simplistic and should be different when dealing with complex systems.

These traditional strategies are still universally used and have gotten us thus far despite their limits. It has been an extremely difficult journey though, with persecution, discrimination and violent conflict marking our history. Perhaps by finding a better way to deal with information we could diminish all the strife that has marked our progress. We seem to be at a point where we are ready to talk about how to avoid our ingrained errors. Or to put it another way, Are we ready to start talking about our delusions? Unless we change, we will repeat the mistakes of the past.

Conceptualising population health: from mechanistic thinking to complexity science.  Jayasinghe

The Complexity Policy Frame. (Economics)  Coldender

Appearance, Reality and Science.  johanneslubbe blog