Zacharias ๐Ÿ Voulgaris

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The Other Big Issue that Plagues the World Today and That Few People Talk about

The Other Big Issue that Plagues the World Today and That Few People Talk about
This post was inspired by Jim Murray's recent post, where he talks about the issue of climate change (thank you Jim for this!). That particular post got me thinking about another issue, which in my view is much more subtle but also more severe. Fortunately, it is something we can tackle ourselves, without the aid of any external institution which may or may not be willing to solve any problems since they seem to be too complacent to take any meaningful action.

So, the issue I'm talking about is not fences per se, as the image implies; it's the problem of boundaries and subdivisions (there is a very nice song about this from the Canadian band Rush, which illustrates the same point, on the urban level). Namely, all the different (usually superficial) fences that have been placed among ourselves, in an attempt to divide us into group A and group B, for pretty much every topic out there. Note that the divisions are usually binary with no middle ground, yet they can be ternary too, depending on the topic. The common denominator in all this is that the people of group A cannot communicate with the people of group B, largely because there is no information or data they both agree on as being reliable. I'll get more into that in a minute.

Problems in Science are tough, so though that they require a long time (oftentimes years) to be solved adequately. All that, with people dedicated to solving them, people who are well trained to do just that task. Fortunately, many of these problems have a clear-cut solution, e.g. cigarettes are a direct cause of lung cancer; if you are without oxygen for X amount of time you die, etc. However, some problems are not as simple since they are still work in progress and many scientists approach them from different angles. Sometimes the data they are given are different, leading to inevitably different conclusions. That's normal in science, which is why it takes a while before a consensus is reached. In some things a consensus is never reached and we have different schools of thought, as in the case of Quantum Physics whereby some scientists are adamant about the theory of parallel worlds (universes) while others don't accept this explanation of the quantum reality they are trying to explain. The idea of a superposition of a particle, for example, seems to make more sense to them and they avoid theorizing about other worlds since that would make for a more complex explanation, unable of passing through the Occam's razor test.

Yet, nowadays we rely on science for immediate responses to problems we are facing. And that's good in a way because we deserve to know what's what, since these problems affect us all. However, whenever we force a slow-moving system to yield an output right here and now, we risk obtaining an unreliable result. That's not to say that science won't ever yield a reliable result for these problems, but it's important to know that there are limitations to what it can yield at the given time frame. People tend to forget that and end up using the premature conclusion some scientists arrive at as fact. I talk more about this on the Scientism article I published here recently.

Anyway, not all topics are scientific in nature which is why it is even harder to take a stance on them. Take immigration, for example, a social-economical problem that is too complex to adequately understand, especially if we need to make our minds about it yesterday! Perhaps it's no wonder that we often decide on what we believe about topic X or topic Y, without thinking about it enough and trenching ourselves into an opinion that may or may not represent our view of the problem in the future. As for the objectively right decision on the matter, perhaps that doesn't exist or it's too complex to understand, so claiming that we have it is a bit pretentious, at best.

The point I'd like to make is that all these topics and problems manage to do one thing: divide us into camps of views and beliefs. And although it's OK to have opinions on the different matters that concern us, sometimes we go a bit too far and start mini crusades to convince everyone else about the righteousness of our convictions. Not to be dramatic, but it's this attitude that's often a prelude to violence and when applied on a larger scale, even war. One just needs to look at history a bit to verify this.

In our time where instant stances on various matters are expressed and even expected from everyone, it's easy to fall into the trap of playing this division game. On some matters you are not allowed to have a different opinion, when you talk to certain people, because for them it's the equivalent of championing [insert ideology you detest the most here]. Sometimes I wonder if all this is fruitful in any way, since the people disagreeing with me are unlikely to change their minds and even if they do eventually, I doubt they'd ever say that to me. Psychology teaches us that there are few things as satisfying as being right (or thinking that you are right), a privilege we are generally unwilling to give up. Such a feat would take a lot of humility and moral strength, something that's becoming a rare commodity nowadays.

So, next time someone comes to me and be super convinced that the earth is flat or some other idea I disagree with, Iย  may not argue about it, since it's likely to be futile and I have other more pressing things to do. But even if I do argue, it doesn't mean that I will view that person as a bad one, just because they disagree with me. What about you? What would you do when you find yourself being on the other side of the fence with someone, on some topic?

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John Rylance

2 anni fa #12

#11
If you mean face to face conversations. Perhaps all us buzzers/conversationalists should link up on Skype and conference calls.  Maybe those sitting in coffee shops on their mobiles, should switch them off and talk to those around them as in days of yore. Use them for what they originally were set up for. As T S Eliott wrote "measure out their lives in coffee spoons" rather than text messages. 

John Rylance

2 anni fa #11

#11
In response to your last comment re conversation. I first thought what does he mean surely beeBee is a conversational platform. Then it occurred to me you were talking about the lack of face conversations, in which perhaps beeBee contributors  people in coffee shops should switch off their phones etc and do what coffee shops originally 

Jim Murray

2 anni fa #10

In my opinion this tribalism is something that has come about fairly recently. And I have noticed it too. My theory is that things like social media provide people with the ability to seek out information and opinion that agrees with their own point of view and after a while become inured to that way of thinking ever more deeply. The thought of an opposing or different point of view then becomes threatening to them. We had this debate ourselves in the comments of the piece I did on the environment. The difference is that the two differing points of we each have are, in reality, both equally valid and both part of the problem or challenge. And you are right when you point out the lack of tolerance for different points of view. My worry is that this intolerance seems to be growing at the expense of genuine conversation despite the fact that that many people seem to want to have a conversation. I just wish I knew where they hang out.

Jim Murray

2 anni fa #9

In my opinion this tribalism is something that has come about fairly recently. And I have noticed it too. My theory is that things like social media provide people with the ability to seek out information and opinion that agrees with their own point of view and after a while become inured to that way of thinking ever more deeply. The thought of an opposing or different point of view then becomes threatening to them. We had this debate ourselves in the comments of the piece I did on the environment. The difference is that the two differing points of we each have are, in reality, both equally valid and both part of the problem or challenge. And you are right when you point out the lack of tolerance for different points of view. My worry is that this intolerance seems to be growing at the expense of genuine conversation despite the fact that that many people seem to want to have a conversation. I just wish I knew where they hung out.

Jim Murray

2 anni fa #8

In my opinion this tribalism is something that has come about fairly recently. And I have noticed it too. My theory is that things like social media provide people with the ability to seek out information and opinion that agrees with their own point of view and after a while become inured to that way of thinking ever more deeply. The thought of an opposing or different point of view then becomes threatening to them. We had this debate ourselves in the comments of the piece I did on the environment. The difference is that the two differing points of we each have are, in reality, both equally valid and both part of the problem or challenge. And you are right when you point out the lack of tolerance for different points of view. My worry is that this intolerance seems to be growing at the expense of genuine conversation despite the fact that that many people seem to want to have a conversation. I just wish I knew where they hung out.

Jim Murray

2 anni fa #7

In my opinion this tribalism is something that has come about fairly recently. And I have noticed it too. My theory is that things like social media provide people with the ability to seek out information and opinion that agrees with their own point of view and after a while become inured to that way of thinking ever more deeply. The thought of an opposing or different point of view then becomes threatening to them. We had this debate ourselves in the comments of the piece I did on the environment. The difference is that the two differing points of we each have are, in reality, both equally valid and both part of the problem or challenge. And you are right when you point out the lack of tolerance for different points of view. My worry is that this intolerance seems to be growing at the expense of genuine conversation despite the fact that that many people seem to want to have a conversation. I just wish I knew where they hung out.

I doubt there will ever be a time when all minds agree but I hope there will be a time when mankind will agree to disagree respectfully.

Jerry Fletcher

2 anni fa #5

Zacharias, I like your fences analogy. it put me in mind of a book I read a while back that essentially defined the clashes between countries based on the geography of this orb we live upon. It explains how early empires (like Persia) keep trying to reincarnate and how centuries old disagreements continue into today. The point is, all of this is about the differences between individual viewpoints whether we consider science of other arenas. And so it goes.

Debasish Majumder

2 anni fa #4

always few will talk and that makes the difference. you cannot expect all will subscribe with your views Zacharias \ud83d\udc1d Voulgaris.

#2
Yes, and I agree.

#1
You make a very good point my friend. The answer is I don't know but I'd very much like to know. Perhaps science (at least at its present form) raises more questions than it answers. In my view this new role you mention is the actual role of science, even if many scientists forget that. Anyway, I look forward to reading your next buzz!

Zacharias \ud83d\udc1d Voulgaris- it is interesting as I am busy collecting my thoughts on my next buzz. I am going to discuss the controllable and uncontrollable events in our lives from various (and I hope a novel approach) to these events. Now, you bring a similar issue. Can we give definite answers to all questions? Is this what we expect from scientists? Can we ever predict the weather with 100% accuracy? Can we predict the effects of a chemical drug in our bodies? Can we ever dream of identifying every chemical in our bodies? Even if we could do this, can we understand how these chemicals interact with each other? I want to conclude that there are simple answers for simple questions. But, questions related to complex and chaotic systems such as the weather and stock markets maybe beyond our reach. A small change may drastically change the answer. Is the new role of science is to make us aware at greater depths of these realities?

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