24 January 2010

What Impedes Progress?

Many things contribute to the drag coefficient of progress. Three are
  • Dubious reasoning
  • Delusion
  • Denial

Dubious reasoning?
  1. The world is flat.
  2. The science of climate change is inconclusive or politically motivated.
  3. Independent voters are post-partisan and objective.
"I get sick of people valorizing independent voters. Studies show that independent voters are really just uninformed, not post-partisan and objective."
~Jonah Lehrer, verbatim from Twitter.

  1. Aliens are spying on me.
  2. I am going to win the lottery.
  3. Jesus is my lord and savior.
  1. This isn't happening to me.
  2. Don't think about it and it will go away.
  3. They're at fault, not us.
Cows, Pigs & Chickens tell us about other impediments:
  • Half-hearted Commitment
  • Indifference to Differences

cows, pigs and chickens
Half-hearted Commitment

Half-hearted commitment is recognized in The fable of The Chicken and the Pig

Pigs are committed or it'll be their bacon. Chickens consult and are informed of progress. By extension, a rooster struts around offering uninformed opinions.

I have been asking, what is my level of commitment to my ideals? And what is my commitment to incremental progress?  I fear I'm a chicken. Or worse, a rooster.

Indifference to Differences

There is a geography of thinking. There is a geography to the window frame from which a person views the world. There is a geography to how a person understands and reconciles his existence.

Many of us are indifferent to our differences. Societies self-segregate. I suspect things would be better if we acknowledged, then worked to understand differences -- cultural, geographic, or political.

"Survival is the second law of life. The first is that we are all one." ~Joseph Campbell

The barely perceptible line I draw in the sand is around accepted and observable facts and repeatable and observable phenomena (i.e., there's no reasoning with someone that simply makes shit up). After that, I am all eyes and ears.

Here is a compelling bit of knowledge about geographical differences that, taken in aggregate with other bits of knowledge, might help us to live better
"When we presented people with three words such as cow, chicken, and grass, and asked them which two go together, we got very different answers from Easterners and Westerners.
Americans were more likely to say cow and chicken go together because they are both animals; that is, they belong to the same taxonomic category. Asians, however, focusing on relationships, were more likely to say that cow goes with grass because a cow eats grass."
Richard E. Nisbett, excerpt from Intelligence and how to get it: why schools and cultures count
NASA's Mars Lander remains silent, but NASA continues to listen for signs of life from its robot frozen stiff near Martian north pole.

I am listening for signs that I am committed to progress and that I understand needs to be done.

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