Sunday, October 02, 2005

Paradigmal Faith

My AI course started out by failing to define "intelligence". My Public Policy course seems to be starting out by failing to define either "policy" or "power".

Science and economics, then, are closely aligned in terms of ways in which we can look at the world. Both seek to quantify everything into discrete packets, so that we can line these packets up and manipulate them to our hearts' contents. Perhaps this is why science and economics both occupy such a fundamental position in modern society - they reinforce each other, and sit kindly within the tiny pockets of "intelligence" inside our heads.

But this seems to be the kicker - neither is capable of defining a large part of the real world. Science measures physical things. Economics measures ... value, but only in a very limited sense. What price love? What price jealousy? How much happiness can you fit in a 100cl beaker?

In short, the tools and paradigms we have available to us, and that we concentrate our effrots into, are not sufficient for actually going about our living. They are there to prop up an idea of control. They are ways to make ourselves as a race feel better for the true lack of control we actually have. So long as we play by the rules we have set out for ourselves, we are safe.

Alas, then, that so many of life's little challenges are so unmeasurable. And alas that we will continue to try and shoehorn global efforts such as our relationship with the environment, and our societal priorities, into these under-performing paradigms. This is why we will fail, but we are too blinded by our own machinery to truly think "outside the box".

The debate is no longer about capitalism vs socialism. We need a debate on "progress" vs the nature of reality itself. Reality is scary, we'd better get used to it.

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