Idealism and Corruption:
The road to Hell is paved with good
is a favourite saying that, in my
experience, often proves to be true.
I believe the reason is that people often put too much emphasis
(the desired results of a
) and not enough on the "Means
" (the way those "ends" are to be
achieved within a
Somehow, traditional western
seems to believe
that the world is essentially "linear
" (i.e. changing something will always cause a
predictable, proportional, reaction somewhere else
example: Turn up the gas supply to a boiler and the water
inside will become warmer.
However, in practice, it seems that
life (and nature) are
example: In many cases
turning up the gas supply will increase the temperature in
However, in some cases, the
boiler might explode, killing several people.
If that happens, then there
will be many complex and unpredictable reactions
-depending on the circumstances. Such as: How powerful are
the people who's family members are killed? Who owns the
boiler, who was responsible for the explosion, etc...
again depending on circumstance, each death (or injury)
involved will also set off a chain of actions and
reactions. The death of a teacher will affect all their
students. The death of a person with rare specialist
knowledge or skills can effect a whole community, etc.,
The World is not Homogenous:
preaches Universal Truth
i.e. That which is true in one place must always be
true everywhere else. A good solution to a problem in one context
should work equally well for all other similar problems in
this too is not true.....
Living on a mountain top is
different to living in a valley. Weather and climate will
be different. Temperature, rain and sunshine patterns will
also vary depending on where one lives.
In some places, there will be lots of rain, in others
almost none. Rivers may be fast flowing and liable to
unexpected flash floods, or they may be sluggish and
Some places may be full of trees, while in other places
only rocks, or mud. So the readily available building
materials will be different. Of course, this can be
modified by importing other materials (as fashion or
necessity dictates) from other places -but this too will
be dependent on the internal and external socio-economic
structures -and is likely to have an influence on how they
both develop further.
may be encouraged or
enforced by trade
and/or military force
-however, under the facade of similarity
, the differences
almost always remain.
One can change local climate conditions through
the introduction of foreign materials and technology
-but the cost/benefit
will not be the same everywhere.
For example, the amount of energy required
for heating or cooling in extreme areas will be
different for those in more moderate areas. The cost
of importing (certain types of) food into some areas
will be different than in others. Production costs
will affect wages and profit -which can affect
investment in better materials and technology.
Wages, profits and living conditions can vary
depending on global currency exchange rates (set by
the rich banking countries). The price of copper or
rice may be low -but the cost of machinery to mine
the copper or grow the rice may be high.
Under these conditions,
it is difficult to see how solutions that are
effective in one place will be equally effective
in another place with totally different
socio-economic or environmental conditions.
Fools rush in, where Angels fear to tread:
Of course, one cannot think of all the consequences
of every action one takes -if one did then there would be no
time left to actually do anything.
when planning new projects, it might be a good idea to try
to understand how the various components fit together
-within the specific context of the intended action.
things are usually seen in a moral context -but it is also to
see such things from a more functional perspective.
Imagine one is on a journey to a
certain place. One is heading in a certain direction and
navigating by various objects visible in the landscape.
Suddenly, one encounters a large rock. It is very difficult to
climb -so one walks around it.
However, while navigating around the obstacle, one
looses sight of some of the orientation points -and so one
misjudges the new direction. One believes one is still
heading towards the original destination -but because one
is actually heading in a new direction -the original
destination is getting farther and farther away, instead
of getting nearer.
For example, Labour
saving devices can sometimes be like the big
rock: One thinks that one will save energy by using them
-but in fact, they are so expensive to buy and to use,
that one ends up working much harder than before, simply
to buy the labour saving devices.....
One may think that smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or
taking drugs makes life easier and more enjoyable -but in
the long run, they ruin ones health, cost a lot of money
and energy to obtain -and, in the long term,
actually make life more difficult.
A focus on short term gains
which ignores the long term effects may cause one to
fall into a trap of one's own making.
However, of course, it is possible that others
have set a trap for you to fall into:
The Labour saving device salesperson
may not worry about the fact that you have to work
harder in order to buy these devices, as long as they can feed
their family well on the proceeds of your foolishness.
They may just be happy simply to sell you the products you
think that you want -but they may also have a friend working
in the advertising industry who is working (more than) full
time to persuade you to buy the things you don't need -just so
they can feed their families at your cost.
upon a time, I was told the tale of a drunken student.
Apparently, he came home from a party late at night and
discovered he had been locked out of his dormitory. Knowing
that he lived in walled compound inside another walled area
-he climbed over the outer wall and staggered around looking
for the second wall. At last he found it -and climbed
over -only to discover that he was back on the street
Natural Disasters and Human Foolishness:
The last time I was contemplating
the writing of this text, I was interrupted by a 7.2 magnitude
earthquake. I was distracted for nearly two weeks, while my
family and I wondered about aftershocks and safety -and wrestled
with some of the resulting inconveniences.
if I had not been distracted by the earthquake, it would
have been impossible to continue working: For several days
afterwards we had no electricity (and no water) and it took
even longer to get the internet connection back again.
However, I was inspired to add
this section on "Natural Disasters"
Clearly, we are sometimes (or
maybe always) faced by circumstances beyond our control.
question is: How do we react to them:
If they can't be prevented, can they be
Can their effects be minimized?
we be fatalistic and accept the consequences?
Do we understand enough about
the world we live in to be able to make wise choices?
Do we have the intellectual skills required to analyze the
risks and to take appropriate action?
Is it worth the bother -if one can never solve all the