Challenging Views in Times of Change


In time of change, one needs a view on human nature in general and on society in particular, which is broader, than one which one used before, even when it have been used before quite successfully.

     Without such broad view, people vacillate between variants of decisions, which seemingly cannot be compared, and anxiety settles in. Having lost hope to find acceptable decision-making tools, people start looking for some way out of this anxiety even at expense of quality of decisions. Thus, emerges a social call for a leader, who should take on himself decision-making, or for a radical ideology, which provides a logically complete system of views usable for simple decision making. Often, they are combined.

     Such pathological development manifests itself with tell-telling symptoms.

     Leaders are useful tool in decision making of a society in uncertain situation. They are not specialists, who could make more researched decisions; they are specialists, who can break emerging vacillation not using knowledge, but using other tools of decision-making.

When this tool (leadership) is spoiled, leaders are idealized, their decisions are not questioned and they grow detached from society and from reality.

     A narrow logically coherent system of views could be helpful, when a social group or even an individual try to overcome limitations of another narrow system of views adopted by another social group or an individual. In this case, it is used is a challenge, which suppose to bring a broader system of views. In addition, it is useful, when a society has to be brought into a different state. In this case it is useful as a tool focusing one’s energy on task at hand. When this task is completed, this tool is abandoned.

When this tool (limiting oneself to a logically coherent system of views) is spoiled, the narrow logically coherent system of views is accepted as unquestionably and forever right, even when it is quite obvious that this system of views contradicts reality. It is accompanied with demands of faith either overt, when it is brought as a radical religion (usually a radical form of existing one), or covert, when it is accompanied with demand to be committed to an “idea”, “course of history” or something of that sort taken without questioning.

There is no absolute broad logically coherent system of views, which could solve this problem of vacillation and anxiety once and for all.

We do not discern universal patterns. We create models with varying degree of applicability in given circumstances. In some areas, we have substantial experience with such models and ways of their use. However, in a such important area as development and change of human being in general and development and change of society in particular, we have neither developed models nor have good experience of use of those few models, which we have. 

However, a “broader” system of views could be achieved through challenge of an existing system of views.

The most efficient challenge is a logically coherent view, which clearly does not fit logically in a system of views accepted by a social group or an individual. Usually, such view is simply ignored. However, in times of crisis, when one’s system of views does not keep up with the change, one is ready to consider a look at such view-challenge.

Following is a set of such views-challenges. None of it describes situation from a broadly accepted point of view. However, they could be incorporated in a logically coherent system of views broadened to meet their challenge. Actually, it is a goal of their presentation here.

These views are brought now, exactly because we are living in times of such quick and dramatic changes.


[Alexander Liss 2006-02-12]