Thursday, March 23, 2017

Where to Shop for Your Universals?

50's Safeway ad
If you employ the paradigm of physics, most people think in Newtonian terms when relativity and quantum mechanics might provide better explanations or solutions to their problems. This is certainly apparent when we look at the current populist revolution, which has resulted in the election of Donald Trump, Brexit in England, and the rise of right wing politicos in both Italy and Germany. Exasperated voters point to terrorism, lost jobs and unfavorable balances of trade and then devise a strategy that’s right back there with Newton’s apple. There’s some truth to it, but it doesn’t address more profound issues and problems. You don't treat an infection by simply attending to symptoms. Otherwise it will simply come back. That's why antibiotics were devised. Yes, jobs might be lost to foreign workers who accept lower wages, but technological innovation has been equally responsible for rising unemployment in certain sectors of the economy. When you look at human psychology a similar attraction to surface cause and effect still seems to prevail. The emphasis on behavior and cognition is not mistaken. It’s just that it doesn’t tell the whole story, which ultimately relates to motivations that fall outside the province of reason. Why do some people make the same mistake time after time when they know better? The answer is that something else is driving them—perhaps the need to fail. Relativity and quanta are hard to understand, particularly because it’s practically impossible to see them in action. The same is true of the notion of the unconscious, originally proposed by Freud. However, when simple explanations and solutions to complex phenomena start to fail, the uncomfortable, unwieldy world of complex thinking, with its disturbingly un-salt-of-the-earth type analyses will likely provide the only direction in which to turn.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.