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On Truth

The more I think about it, the more I think this past election was really a referendum on communication and what we wish was true about the world.

The world is a complex place to begin with. Ecosystems, air and water currents creating chaotic unpredictable weather on both a micro and macro scale.

Atop of this we built more and more complex meta-machinaries. Many the natural result of humans settling in. Laying water pipes, electrical lines, communication lines, transportation lines, economic centers and money transfers. The logistics of our food, economics and politics alone all are so complex that no one human could ever fully understand it, even in a single state, if all they did was study it for their whole lives.

It is scary to think of and of a scale which is breathtakingly horrible when viewed from the perspective of a commercial airplane (speaking of complex machinery that we depend on).

No one likes to think about this. Everyone wishes it was simpler. That we are not all penned up next to one another, fully dependent on the competencies of strangers for a multitude of complex things we require each day.

We crave the simple, and the postulate that accompanies a simplification that we are capable of understanding a thing.

I know in my last post I spoke about Equality, and the backlash against it, but what if it is actually a backlash against complexity?

After the election SNL's Colin Jost made fun of Tinder's 27 gender options, quipping "or why democrats lost the election"

I find a couple interesting things about this joke.

The first is the math of it, the simplest view of gender identity is that there are two options, men who like women, women who like men, and this was the essentially the only acceptable answer for most of human history. It is not scientifically backed at all, and led to many, many people living very unhappy lives, but it is a convenient view of the world.

I myself had a lot of trouble coming to grips with the "T" in LGBT several years ago. "Wait, it isn't just cross-dressing?". It was unsettling and uncomfortable to be confronted by an entire dimension of "gender identity" to "gender" and "sexual orientation", and then you add in asexual options, and pansexual (which is what you are supposed to call bisexual people now), and it is a lot of complexity.

I don't think that is bad. I often like to chirp that "Truth is a Fractal", and I believe these deeper complexities are true and important revelations about the kindest ways to treat each other.

The name of one of my favorite shows ever is Chicago's "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind".

At our core, we are pretty much still apes who got really good at long distance running across flat terrain. We have our limits. Each thought, each truth, all of it takes its toll and what we choose to explore with our lives has an opportunity cost.

We all choose, every day, what truth about the world we leave simple, and what we allow to blossom into complexity, and while some of Trump's supporters probably do have repugnant views on Race and Gender roles. I think it is possible that many of them just wished those topics were far simpler.

People having different colored skin as you being different from you is simpler to believe. The sex with bigger muscles being the dominant sex in all things is less fair, but also simpler. It doesn't necessarily stem from a hatred of those genders or races, but a reflexive squinting against one of many sources of overwhelming complexity.

We are a complex society who face complex social, economic and geopolitical problems. After Trump's Taiwanese phone call mishap, I read up on the "One China" US foreign policy compromise. I found it to be a startling thing of ridiculous beauty.

It is plain illy. It is both convoluted and complicated while also intentionally simple. It is not a layman's solution. It has the joint work of a master craftsman. A logical fisherman's knot that has staved off war for decades.

In all trades, there exist non-obvious, beautiful complexities.

I still can't believe grafting apple limbs allows orchards to work. It surprises me every time. Everything I think I know about basic biology and science seems like that shouldn't work, but it does.

We all wish we lived in a simple world where we could all do each others job. Where it doesn't take decades of study to learn absolutely everything about a single, very narrow subject.

But we don't, and there is almost no modern job that you could do well without experience and indepth knowledge. That isn't the world we live in, as much as we wish it was.

1 comment:

This time, I think you nailed it! The belief that there is someone who can use common sense to solve the problems of the world I think elected Trump, in large part. That combined with the liberal (and republican establishment) idea that if you believe in common sense solutions, you are uneducated and a simpleton, which pissed people off.

One of my favorite economics, FA Hayek, coined a term, the "synoptic delusion". I dug up an old quote from him that I really like. It was his opening to an entire essay on the subject.

"The Socratic maxim that the recognition of our ignorance is the beginning of wisdom has profound application to social life. If we are to comprehend how society works we must first become aware, not merely of our individual ignorance of most of the particular circumstances which determine its actions, but also of the necessary ignorance of man as such regarding much or most that determines the course of his society.

It is no exaggeration to say that this unavoidable ignorance of man concerning most of what affects his own action is the most important single fact from which any attempt to understand social life must start."
by: Mike (contact) - 07 Dec '16 - 15:02


Meta Information:

Title: On Truth
Date posted: 05 Dec '16 - 23:44
Filed under: General
Word Count: 805 words
Good Karma: 88 (vote)
Bad Karma: 51 (vote)
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