Sancho Panza to the Rescue?

Sancho Panza to the Rescue?

Science is in trouble. Or maybe, we're in trouble and science is unwittingly contributing to it. We might be giving too much credibility to science to solve the wicked problems we are facing today. Science is like Don Quixote; Idealistic and impractical. Wicked problems need a Sancho Panza; Witty, practical and rational.

A wicked problem is a highly complex problem that is impossible or next to impossible to solve because of multilayered interdependencies, and one which has incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Any solution to one aspect of a wicked problem might lead to further complications. Science is ill equipped to solve such problems. One such problem is global climate change: The problem is imminent but the threshold is not obvious. There is no practical way to establish a central authority to deal with the problem, and individual states have conflicting interests. As each state pursues their own prosperity and growth, they are both causing and accelerating the problem. And, science is focusing on the wrong causality.

If I stated that global climate change is primarily a "spiritual problem", you'd probably accuse me of gibberish and call me insane. Science, especially hard science, legitimizes itself with the claim of adhering to causality - cause and effect. True, the dependency on fossil fuels and deforestation is leading to catastrophic climate change, but the other cause can be thought of as greed of the few, or more generally, the human condition. In other words, the wicked problems like climate change can not be solved unless we understand that we are all on the same planet and establish a culture of global cooperation while eradicating greed. Social Darwinism is collective suicide.

Human cognition and cognitive capacity has not changed much in the 60,000 plus years humans started leaving Africa. Descendants of previously uncontacted tribes perform the same as their "civilized" peers when they are given the same opportunities early in life. We might argue that humanity has made huge leaps in science, technology and civilization - especially in the recent centuries. But, cognitively speaking, we are pretty much who we were a hundred-thousand years ago. And that is the problem! Our current level of spiritual development is insufficient for us to deal with our technological power. And unless humanity spiritually transforms to handle the rapid growth and change, she is doomed. What that roughly means is, we have to voluntarily give up on the very thing that civilization has been founded upon - exploitation* - if we want to continue with civilization. Otherwise, lights out.

*Exploitation of human beings, non-human species, natural resources and the environment.
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