Inquisitive Report 44/52

Week Ending November 30th, 2018

Content Covered: Wicked Problems


Love tells me I am everything. Wisdom tells me I am nothing. And between these two banks, flows the river of my life. Nisargadatta

There is a malaise that ails our society today; and amidst the wicked problems of terrorism, sustainability, climate change, immigration and a general lack of self-worth it seems like there is little hope left for peace and happiness.

And yet, we’ve talked about this before.¬†We’ve talked about contradictions before.

More specifically, we’ve talked that the ability to find solutions to contradictions lies in holding conflicting perspectives in tension, and using that friction to synthesize new ideas. This is how we will solve those wicked problems.

So how do we train for a skill like ‘reconciliation’? Quite simply the same way we train for creativity.

What ails our society today are problems that are ever changing, there is no one solution to climate change, no one policy that can be enacted that will result in saving our planet. Rather what we need to train for is a mindset.

To solve a non-linear, unstable, ever-evolving, wicked problem we need the ability to ‘depattern’.

It is by learning techniques to disrupt our habituation, thereby interrupting predictability that we can encourage our neurology to adapt to lateral thinking.

So what does training for this mindset look like?

Quite simply, it means disrupting all that has been set to autopilot: brushing your teeth, the route you take to work, where you sit, how you button your shirts, what you do first thing in the morning, what you notice when you step outside your house. Depatterning starts first by waking up to all that has been ignored. What comes next is engagement with curiosity: why do I button my shirt bottom up? Have I always worn my belt left to right? Why can’t I write with my left hand? What would happen if I only used my left hand to drive?

Sounds easy enough, and yet I caution you: creativity isn’t a skill that can be developed through prescribed steps, creativity is an outlook to life. It is a form of engagement with all that is around you; it is a way of being.

What I can guarantee is that by engaging in this way of life, we can take the first steps necessary to revoking habituation, and developing a mindset that will help us solve wicked problems.

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