Stephen James's Shortform

by Stephen James23rd Mar 20211 comment
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It's humorous how quick we are to cast judgments on things that we think we have a full understanding of, when we only have an adequate representation for our purposes and are yet completely oblivious to the full potential left untapped.

Not to be highfalutin, imagine you were a young adult acquiring your first vehicle. It's a truck - a fixer-upper, even. You repair the leather seating, replace the radio, undergo an apprenticeship as a mechanic, get it "humming" again, even adding an ECU and improvement suspension. You've done a lot and you have quite the understanding. And yet your representation is merely adequate. You stretch and strain to represent the engine to a novice such that they might build one from scratch (or the nearest thing to it, these days); the implementing engineer just doesn't have the information from you.

Then, one evening: you pull into the driveway, turn off the engine, exit the vehicle and open the garage door. You walk towards the garage door, when suddenly your truck turns on and is in full reverse, backing into the street! You're surprised at the acceleration you haven't yet experienced, all these years later, and then WHAM! You're pulled forward and knocked back by some gravimetric anomaly, causing you to scorpion flip. Getting up and dusting yourself off, before your very eyes your truck transforms into Optimus Prime.

That was quite the potential you had been sitting on all these years. This was inspired by someone I read about the impracticality of our community's "brand" of rationality, namely the scarcity of ideation methods in a sea of methods to cull bad ideas. And then I read Babble and Prune. This self-same individual wrote self blog posts about this shortcoming and failed to propose a solution, even one as simple and Babble and Prune. This was a willingness to right of the potential based on your limited experience.

I think this is a limiting factor in the world at this time. As emergent skills, technologies, and demands confuse the legacy left by our forebears, the jaded grab to conspiracy and self-disenfranchisement, the elite oblivious to the troubles of the day, and enough people are awake to enough problems that there's infighting regarding which problems should be solved first.

We have an issue of coherence in coordination on our hands and something has to be done about it, and quickly.