Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Staring Into The Abyss: Wicked Problems Revisited
Chaos has posted before on one sentient being's take on wicked problems, but the subject deserves a second look, since these are becoming ever so much more visible to the naked eye (and by naked eye, Chaos is referring to visibility by the great masses of unconscious individuals who make up most of the public). Specifically, industrialized society is now faced with multiple predicaments that resist solutions or even an honest appraisal of the scope of the problems, i.e., global heating, the exhaustion of fossil fuels, overpopulation, habitat destruction, water depletion, and many more. In the US, wicked problems continue to manifest in the area of drug "wars," the healthcare system, major and growing inequality, and quite recently, the economic debacle. Chaos finds the discussions and attempted "solutions" to wicked problems to be fascinating, since they illuminate the black holes of industrialized society: areas of nonmatter which suck up energy and resources without any tangible reward. The very nature of wicked problems ensures that most efforts to solve or at least mitigate them are doomed to failure at best, and might even be counterproductive.