Friday, January 16, 2009

The Vicious Cycle

Too many thoughts today :). Ever since I read SUMI's post Nothing's Enough, I've been raking my brain on and off on a poem I read; a Hindi poem we learnt back in school. I unfortunately can't remember the name of the poem, the exact words, or the poet. Pretty vague recollections, but the thoughts conveyed remain fresh. I was going to leave a comment on her post with the poem, but put it off. But over the week I have had more impetus to recollect the poem's thoughts, so here it goes:

The moon looks down at us Earthlings, sad and frustrated
"It is indeed a mystery to me", the moon tells me
"I have looked down for millions of years and nothing has changed"
"Nothing?! Well, surely we have progressed in all these years. Look at all our innovations, our inventions!", I quip
"Well, that maybe so. But why did you have to create all those innovative things?", the Moon wonders
"To make our lives more comfortable of course!", I shrug
"Are your lives more comfortable now? Why doesn't it stop.... how much do you want to simplify", the Moon sighs
"Well... we are comfortable, but we still have problems to be solved. We need to creatively solve all problems", I mutter, fearing what the Moon will say next
"Hmmmm... my dear, that's your problem. You people seem to want to solve a problem, by creating one yourself. For millions of years I see all of you create confusions and problems due to your own faults, and then spend years solving them, and create more problems through the solution.... It is a vicious cycle you're stuck in. You put yourself through constant misery by constantly creating more problems to be solved. There is no peace, no rest. And I am tired of seeing it repeat over and over and over....will it ever end?," the Moon cries

I'm currently reading a book called "Normal Accidents" (well it's a text-book) that talks about inherent dangers in high risk technologies. The author makes you want to frame Murphy's laws and hang it over your desk. But anyways, 200 pages of that book (and more to go ) got me exasperated. I feel so very much like the Moon. The author's point is that even safety devices in risky environments can add to the risk.... a nuclear plant to solve energy crisis is a solution, but that solution has innumerable threats and risks... we try to solve those problems and more problems surface, and the cycle continues. Is there even an end? Are we really creating problems just to keep our thirst for challenge alive? Or is it purely because the environment is so inherently complex that we can't completely solve problems by reaching an end?


Perception said...

Talking of complex,the airport checkin, the kind of security alert, the stress, removing shoes, laptops and such. Wonder how complex things are going to be?

SUMI said...

Hmm... mundane problems will never end. And as I said in my post, I think I dread the day when we'll have no more goalsand no more problems to solve. :-) Is it all about keeping our sanity and keeping us going and itnerested in life? I don't know. And should our outlook ideally be to figure life out instead of living it? Should we only worry about existential kind of questions and if all of us worried about them would we be able to solve them? So many questions... Hopefully with technology and neuro sciences and AI etc. we are better able to understand our own selves (minds/consicousness) which are on the border of the existential realm I suppose...

Neeraja said...

Perception - Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment :). Optimizing airport checkin and security are multitudes of PhD dissertations in the making :). Maybe we'll reach a peak and the whole system will be revamped... sort of like tearing down a house that can't take anymore remodeling :)

Sumi - Thanks for adding another interesting question - Living life, or figuring it out? Hmmm... most of the times we need to figure some aspects of Life, to live it "properly". I think our minds themselves need to go through years of evolution to be able to answer most of these questions :)

SecondSight said...

This post reminds me of two favorite quotes... so am just going to c/p from memory here !

"A problem cannot be solved by the same consciousness that created it."

And this one, which is fairly similar..-

"Science and technology create problems, which can only be solved by more science and technology" ... :)