Sunday, September 23, 2012

Interpersonal trust issues, cultural anthropology and the solutions to problems

People love consistency, unless that consistency is something that has rotted away and once people understand that the consistency has become stagnation and rot they will reject the rotten stagnation.

WTF does that mean?

Suppose you put some water in a canteen and take a sip of 1/10th of 1 ounce every week.  How many weeks before the water becomes so disgusting you can't drink it anymore?  Instead of the canteen being a solution to the problem of water storage it has become a problem of stagnation.

Often the solutions become stagnant.  Once more we return to the rejection of the heliocentric universe theorized by Aristarchus and the acceptance of the geocentric universe theorized by Aristotle.

Aristotle's theory eventually became stagnant and was rejected, yet, very few people run around talking about how great Aristarchus's ideas were.  This is because Aristarchus's theories were rejected as "rotten" hundreds of years before Christ.

I am a very inconsistent person, on purpose.  I rarely do anything the same way all the time.  I am constantly stressing myself by changing how I shave, the route I drive to a place, etc.  I develop almost no routines.  Consistency breeds stagnation.

Consistency also encourages trust.  If something is always the same people can trust it to be the same.

Aristotle was usually right so people trusted Aristotle to be right about the universe.

Unfortunately consistency eventually becomes stagnation.  How quickly something "rots" away depends on a bunch of things.  It took almost two thousand years for Aristotle's geocentric theory to "rot" away.

Since scientists seek to have their work trusted they try to be very consistent in what they do and say.

This creates a level of emotional involvement.  If you want to see a temper tantrum just prevent an obsessive person from completing a ritual.  The more obsessive the person is the more of a temper tantrum they will throw because the rituals involved in consistency become emotional.

We HAVE to do those rituals.

We also HAVE to question those rituals constantly or we are no longer scientists, we are religious nut jobs and our religion is the consistent ritual we engage in.

Maybe, like Archimedes, our Ritual is the unwavering support of a scientist we believe in, like Aristotle.

Maybe our ritual is something different.

Maybe our society, our culture, has rituals or consistent actions that it takes as a group which no longer make any sense.  Maybe the argument can be made that those rituals never did make any sense, yet, at some point the group required them because the group believed that they did.  Aristotle's geocentric theory is once again a perfect example.

In hind site it is often easy to see problem rituals.  When we as individuals ,or we as a society, are engaged in those rituals it can be much more difficult to see how ridiculous they are.  History often ridicules "rituals" or "customs" which have fallen out of favor.

We, as people, as cultures, as societies, need to question our "customs" and our "rituals" constantly.  We need to debate them and discuss them.  We don't need to fight about them, but, we will because we become emotionally involved in our rituals and our customs the way Archimedes became emotionally involved in his support of Aristotle and his opposition to Aristarchus.

Our emotions help us trust people.  Consistency helps us build trust in relationships.  Trust is important in the acceptance of cultural solutions and our emotions play a huge part in building that trust.

Emotions and consistency can also become stagnant pools of rotten water which can kill us if we continue to drink it after it turns.

Question emotions.  Question trust.  Question consistency.

Now, these questions won't make you popular.  People will attack and condemn for questioning "truth" as given to us by our authority figures such as our teachers.  Eventually someone else will take credit for your theories the way Copernicus now receives credit for the theories originally postulated by Aristarchus.

Yet we can stir the waters preventing stagnation and even death with our questions and our sacrifice.

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