Saturday, March 17, 2012

The magic works

Science and technology operates on one basic principle: the world works. And because it works, it can be made to do all kinds of interesting things. If you only know how it works.

Of course, the caveat to this is that the world sometimes faces obstacles in its workings. Knowing how it works (science) becomes that much more powerful once you get around to get around these obstacles (technology).

The way to make progress, then, is to define these obstacles and overcome them. Which, as any no-nonsense person will tell you, is the proper way to go about it. See the problem, tackle it, grapple with it, fix it - problem solved.

No need to fuss over it. Just get to it.

Which, evidently, works. Just take a look around you and behold the marvels of technology at work.

The problem here, of course, is that one can go too far in this problem solving-mentality. Science/technology works great when what you need to do is to make things work, but it does so on the condition that all it has to do is solve predefined problems. The returns quickly diminish if you leave this frame of reference.

For instance. Science may look at an unhappy person, and conclude that the unhappiness is caused by an abnormally low level of dopamine. The problem is this lack of dopamine, and the solution is to get those levels back up again. Which can be done by medication of some kind.

However, the cure for the sadness you feel because you are lonely is not a pill. And the world would be a truly sad place indeed if it were.

Trust science. It works. But don't put too much trust in it - that will only cause more problems than it solves. -

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