Addressing Complications

The world seems to be coming increasingly complicated.  Everything seems connected to everything.  It seems reasonable to argue that this has long been the case.  Diseases migrated from the old world to the new world, as did social and cultural norms.  However, this process took years or decades.

Now, accelerated by technology, it takes days or less.  Communications technology, in particular, has enabled rapid access to information and social connections, ranging from CNN and the Internet to Google, Facebook, and Twitter.  Consequently, we are engulfed in connectivity.

We thought this connectivity would be a total blessing, but it truly is a mixed blessing.  We all used to get the same news, perhaps from Walter Cronkite and Newsweek and Time.  Now many people get only news tailored to their preconceptions.  They never see or hear anything at odds with what they already believe.

In fact, media and personalities design news for them, independent of any factual basis.  If they think Jewish space lasers started the California wild fires, the news they see will encourage that.  If they think Donny Cheetos won the last presidential election, the news will reinforce that.  The goal is to get their votes, while not committing to doing anything to directly benefit these voters.

This is truly unfortunate, but Darwin will take care of this conflict, as the current surge of coronavirus cases among the non-vaccinated illustrates.  However, the complexity of the relationships among national security, healthcare delivery, higher education, and energy and climate are more profound, even without adding transportation, power, water, food, etc.

We cannot address problems in each of these areas like we are playing Whack-A-Mole.  Simply moving problems around seems momentarily successful, but ultimately a failure, wasting resources and the time to respond effectively.  Society needs to address this matrix of interacting challenges wholistically.  It is not about who wins today.  It is about how everyone wins tomorrow.

It starts with understanding the complications.  Education leads to health.  Education and health lead to productivity.  Healthy, educated and productive people contribute more to the economic pie that they all share.  The equation is simple.  If more people are contributing to the pie than are drawing from the pie, then everyone is better off, everyone has the potential to join the contributing class.

Quite simply, if someone is drawing from the pie to eventually becoming capable of contributing to the pie, then over time everyone will be better off.  Everyone needs help at some point; everyone can provide help at some point.  Helping everyone enables everyone at some point to give back.  The gift may be large or small.  The key is to make sure that everyone perceives the gift.

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