Americans are not good problem solvers until problems reach a crisis stage. Then the focus is on immediate symptomatic relief. The causes recede into the background and simmer until they erupt again. Problem analysis must precede efforts to solve problems if they are going to be lasting solutions.
Problem-solving starts with defining the "object with the defect" and the "defect on the object." Otherwise, we risk wasting our efforts trying to fix the wrong object, the wrong defect, or both.
In my soon-to-be released new book, "Loosing" Your Mind: Critical Thinking in an Age of Chaos, I start with the above formula. The "objects with the defects" are our psyches. The "defects on the object" are all the conceptual garbage and misperceptions in our unconscious minds. The next question is, how did it all get there?
It came from narratives, our nation's shameful historical and our familial. These are the narratives within which we grew to adulthood. If you cannot withstand a critical look at both, don't buy this book because critical thinking has a prerequisite step. We must be able to argue with ourselves.
To be specific, we need to argue with our automatic first responses to external stimuli as it floods our attention. In the popular vernacular, we must "stop and think," so we can entertain a second thought.
This inability seems to be the critical cause that spawns the symptoms we suffer in the U.S. today. Few people who are well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society stop to think about anything. Their solutions are right on the tips of their tongues.
This reminds me of Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity." This passionate intensity is that first visceral reaction that disguises itself as "thinking" or "deeply held values," when it is simply coming from our lower levels of consciousness; that primal part of our brains that allowed us to exist in the prehistoric savanna.
What is really happening is we are attempting to manage blindingly fast, chaotic changes driven by our technological advances with our million-year-old brains. The speed of those changes is no longer driven by human needs, but by the technology itself. When futurists predict Artificial Intelligence will take over the world one day, this is a rather good example.
And of course, no commentary on our post-modern world would be complete without recognizing the living fable that consumption brings fulfillment. Put this all together, and we can see how most of us are so distracted that we can't see the grand larceny happening right under our noses. We have just arrived at a point when "the 50 richest Americans are worth as much as the poorest 165 million." (Source Yahoo News 10/8/2020) This disparity didn't happen because these 50 people work harder than 165 million other people.
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