What's the problem with
Oh, wouldn't it be nice if there were one nice tidy answer to this query. Sorry, this problem is not that simple. But, there are some clear answers that reveal powerful leverage points to fix a lot of what is broken.
Enact a Developmental Perspective
First off, what is tragically missing in our pondering is
application of a developmental model of our individual and collective lives.
No, "people" is not a useful, in fact it is a violently harmful, term. We must
enact a developmental model that reveals "which people, at which level of
development". When we have adults who can only think in binary terms, the truth
is they can only think in binary terms, black and white, this or that. Grey
areas are invisible to these minds, and that fact has to be appreciated to be
caring toward them, and caring towards ourselves. Adults on the other end of
the complexity spectrum can see an object of inquiry as it is embedded in
cultural contexts, as it is related to other matters of import, and how these
related matters all interact and change over time. It is of no use at all to
make policies, programs, initiatives, or any kind of offers to make things
better, while we collapse all levels of comprehension into one useless barrel
of mush. What level of development do you live at? Figure it out, cuz if you don't, you are
blind to both the problems you create and the solutions you could offer. That means
we have to solve the problems without you. That is a loss.
Attend To "Code"
Additional progress in fixing the USA, or any biz, or
family, or person in the USA, is to appreciate that vocabulary is essential in determining what
can be comprehended and what can't be. Consider what Newton would have said,
had he had chaos theory or systems theory available to him. He didn't. He
couldn't think that way cuz the words, the ideas, to express that kind of
thinking were not available. Pay attention to what Hanzi Freinacht calls the
"code", the lexicon, the concepts, the vocabulary that are available to any
person or group. Not everyone even knows
the words "standard deviation". So, don't expect them to understand. Simplify
communication to match the code available to the listener. It's not their
problem, it's yours. Then, where possible, add new code to your audience so
that they can conceptualize at a more complex level. We do this with children
when we teach them letters, then words, then sentences, etc. Growing up doesn't
stop when we get to chapters, or even books. Growing up goes on a whole life
time; there is no end to adding and refining code. This means there is no end
to an increase in coding complexity, in any domain. There is only an end to
learning, if you stop. Don't. And don't expect others to be done learning.
Offer new code. Then get better at offering new code. The complex world that is
forming around us requires this, or we are just diddling around with antique,
unworkable, destructive, outdated "code". We can do better. Do it, please.
Those who do not know systems theory cannot access their full cognitive complexity, and thus cannot serve us in attending to the real, complex problems that appear before us daily. Do notice, that you couldn't know the problems are complex, unless you had the capacity to see complexity. But to see complexity, and think about it productively, are two very distinct things. Code must match insight, or insight remains latent. Systems theory is the most complex idiom, code, that we have available to communicate about complexity. Learn it. Speak it. Teach it. And, recognize that you couldn't think systems theory when you were 8 years old. Many, many, adults at every age can NOT think in systems theory. What does that do to the general concept "people"? It means you don't want low-complexity minds determining actions in a highly complex context. Lower-complexity minds cannot comprehend the relationships of variables that change through time and different contexts. Don't trust complex problem solving to low-complexity minds. BUT, honor those minds for what they are. Lower-complexity cognition does not mean low IQ; does not mean low morals or ethics; does not mean less compassion; does not mean less valuable. It just means you don't take a water bottle to put out a 4-alarm fire! Bring the tanker truck!
Attend to Subjective States
Let's also add to the discussion by including the notion of
subjective states. Most of the time we look to change things in the world to
make the world better. But what if you changed everything you wanted to, and
most people were still feeling all those states lower than "happy and hopeful".
Is that success? No, of course not. Remember "the pursuit of happiness". That
is why we have come together. So, let's pay attention to it. What leads to
people having higher states, pleased, full of hope and light, regular bouts of
gratitude? If we don't attend to that, what have we gained by any other
changes? You want to be happy, right? We all do. Does that program, idea,
policy, product, support higher states, or lead to depression, loneliness,
doubt, hopelessness? All our actions do
contribute to raising, or lowering, your state, my state, and everyone else's.
Who cares? Better be you or I don't want you affecting me and mine.
Affirm and Value Cognitive Objectivity
To address complex problems it is essential that we
distinguish the presence or absence of cognitive objectivity. Cognitive
objectivity is the capacity to think and feel about one's own thoughts and
feelings. Most people cannot enact
cognitive objectivity, regularly, and reliably.
This is a developmental artifact; i.e., minds are always preobjective before they
emerge objectivity. And most people don't grow into objectivity, yet. And those
who do, have more complex cognition, and thus have a wider scope, and more
options available to address problem solving. Don't bow to the truths of anyone speaking from
preobjectivity; such truths are tightly context bound, and can NOT be trusted
to apply to wider problem areas. Do support the process of multiperspectival thinking and evaluating, that goes
along with objectivity. And in doing so, recognize that most work in the world
is served very well, even expertly, by preobjective minds. These minds learn
the rules, follow them, and do their best to be good people. This is honorable,
and valuable. You just don't allow a pre-midnight Scrooge to care for the
Cratchits. You could trust the next-morning Scrooge, the one who now enjoys
objectivity. Since you are still reading, you are the next-morning Scrooge.
Good. We need you badly.
That's enough for now. Another time I will advocate code for other simple things that will help us fix everything, things like "stages" and "phases"; assuming moral responsibility, always; assuring safety and security for every life form; learning to control our emotions; appreciating depth; being kind; what we need beyond making an idol of capital; listening deeply to what others say matters to them. But until then, get ahead of me, and read Hanzi Freinacht, "The Listening Society" (2017) Metamoderna, and Anderson and Bjorkman" The Nordic Secret" (2017) Fri Tanke.