C-98. That other climate change

Problems change. Some, like the earth’s climate, get worse. Problems can also change for the better via solutions. Solutions change. Some get better. Some get worse, with costs coming to exceed benefits. Our concern here is for the solutions that get worse – and still more worse. They are worse and worsening because of changes in our minding climate (a climate more familiar in concepts such as “cultural climate,” “intellectual climate”; see 0:S-P).

Most dramatically, but hardly solely, this change in minding climate reveals itself in a growing imbalance between problem solving and decision making (XI: D.M./P=>S > 1), with dysfunctional dynamic implications, as, for example, trauma, lack of complementarity and loss of their potential interdependence (C-71). Historically, humans started out as problem solvers. Until there was more than one solution advanced for a given problem. Then they could decide. They could even decide to decide – i.e., opt for decision making instead of problem solving as a behavioral metastrategy, thereby perhaps easing their behavioral problem (I) – or just deferringit if, as, say concerned citizens, they tried (often in vain) to weigh alternatives with incomplete information and/or to resolve nonsingular data matrices (e.g., X better than Y on one attribute but Y better than X on another attribute). And, if choice entailed a purchase, and the market wanted unavailable monies, then decision making as an option would be thwarted – or become but the stuff of dreams.

Over-emphasis on decision making also reduces the supply of new solutions. This even to the point where responding to the behavioral problem (“Do something!”)encourages using old solutions for new problems … when the new problems need new solutions.

Over-emphasis on decision making fosters management over leadership, and breeds a responsibility without commensurate capability (XI), whereby lack of productivity is defensively excused as due to a lack of information.

Technologies implementing decision making, such as menus, may impose (passive, routinized) performances in addition to obligatory learning.

Substituting for problem solving (e.g., “what to do with one’s time”), decision making (e.g., “what to choose”) may lend itself to an overemphasis on wants over needs (XI) – especially with regard to strengthening one’s self to cope with the ever forceful behavioral problem (C-41).

Now too we see the dangers of late-stage functionality (C-97). For what we need is development, the products and process of the first three stages of consequentiality (App. XIX)– as a resource for and a source of new solutions. A resource that gives the behavioral problem its due … that does not pretend that this or that situation somehow evokes (in the molecular crudity of “stimulus-response”), with enough effort (see “whatever it takes”), the (or a) solution appropriate to it. (Did the punishment ever fit the crime all that well?)

An effective interdependence of problem solving and decision making is what we need to develop. Decision making can assist problem solving (e.g., voting technologies to help on the individual <=> community interdependency). Problem solving can assist decision making (e.g., ways to resolve nonsingular data matrices).

Here, as with all the many dynamic challenges (XI; App. XVII; C-80, C-82), balance and its corollaries come into the picture. The decision making disposition may have us simply respond to a dysfunctional emphasis by suggesting its opposite (e.g., strict vs. permissive training programs, one political party vs. another) … back and forth, with increasing oscillatory momentum … toward trauma. Decline and fall (C-51) loom.Individually and/or collectively.

On a more positive note, behavioral architecture (C-90) points to the art and science of serving humanity. (See HAS: App. VIII). It points to the whole of building. It tells us to look to the development – i.e., realization — of needed capabilities with respect for their dynamic character (XI), to the exercise of these capabilities to build steps as well as step-built bodies by making the most of composition’s cognitive and communicative resources (X; App. III, App. XII).

(c) 2013 R.F. Carter