This conversation is closed.

In the modern world, is simple actually more complicated or is complicated actually simpler, and why.

This is a pretty straightforward question and any input would be appreciated to delve further into the intricacies ofhow the world is organized, why the world is organized the way it is, and how human-intervention (some would call it interference) affects the world around us.

  • Apr 13 2011: The world we perceive is actually based on the model we have in our heads, individually and collectively, about it. It is that model that allows us to make sense of the inputs of our senses. New knowledge "knits" itself onto the knowledge (i.e. model) we already have. We recognize "truth" when it fits our model. You will agree with what I write here if it "fits" your own model of existence.

    Our collective model of existence is rather simplistic; it under estimates the real complexity of what is out there. For instance, we grow up with the reductionist concept that for every effect there is a cause. That is very simplistic. We are, each and every one of us, embedded in multiple recursive systems - work systems, family systems, economic systems, political systems, belief systems, social systems, biological systems, ideology, etc. and each of these exert some torque on our thinking and actions. To isolate a single cause for anything is woefully inadequate - hence the difficult time we have at solving societal problems.

    A great example is our political system - essentially designed around the notion that governance problems are simple enough that they can be solved by polarized partisan debate and, as a mechanism to keep the guys in power honest, an opposition party to demean anything proposed. So we have two perspectives on the whole complexity of governing a country: liberal vs conservative. Binary simplistic and, as we see in the news, ineffective at the most basic tasks of governance. As if the complexity if the issues facing us as a nation and as a species could be reduced to a binary choice model.

    This is why most human intervention ends up being interference.

    As a species, we are very powerful technologically, but we have not yet mastered the final frontier: how to rewire our governance systems away from being paternalistic, command and control self-serving organizations. We need a sustainability, 100+ year perspective.

    I think this is our next challenge.