• Posted: Dec 06, 2009 16:32:23
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Ideas define and govern the reality we see, understand, and live within. Without ideas, nothing makes sense. There are times, though, when the reality before us still doesn't make sense. Within these new conditions, our ideas fail us. We are suddenly adrift, confused, befuddled. And perhaps, with each passing minute, more and more afraid.
In caution, and maybe desperation, we seek safe haven, someplace where things do make sense, someplace where ideas we know well still work. If we are lucky and haven't completely lost our way, we may find a route back to such a place. And if we do, thankfully, there is relief. The only problem: we now know for certain some of our usual ideas won't always work. The neat thoroughness of our worldly understandings has been flummoxed. Actual reality, not the one we thought we knew, is much bigger and more complex than we'd imagined. And the puny little bubble of a safe haven we've found our way back to is, in fact, precariously floating within that more complex reality.
So, now what? What is the remedy?
Well, some folks, actually a great many folks, will choose to wall themselves off from that larger more complex reality. For them, their good old ideas are just fine. They worked for our ancestors, so they will likely work for us too. Unfortunately, some of those same folks will eventually rationalize killing as necessary to preserve the integrity of their old ideas as historically righteous.
Second, a few folks will conclude all ideas are limited in scope and utility, that the human brain is just not capable of anything more exacting or comprehensive. Some of those same folks will eventually descend into depression, a few will become cynically cruel, some will whimsically decide all ideas are arbitrary and therefore any will do, and a few practical souls will decide to choose a set of ideas they kind of like because they seem to work and stick with them until something better comes along.
Finally, there will be some constitutionally headstrong individuals who refuse to believe the human mind is incapable of an exact comprehensive understanding of things, that there are ideas out there that will fit the bill. True, such ideas have not yet been discovered, they acknowledge. But, they intend to do just that.
Given the precarious limitations of all known safe havens, it is a virtual certainty our collective long term future depends on the incremental successes of that determined third group of people. If you aren't planning to be among them, may you at least not hinder their progress.
Sunday, November 8th, 2009