Thursday, April 13, 2006

Muddling Through, Hoping For Light

My blogfriend Pooh has a thoughtful post up which contains this gem of a paragraph:

One downside of the 'information superhighway' is that people have become so accustomed to instaneously finding answers to any inquiry is that we now assume that these answers are easy. Complexity, beloved by me, is a vice. So simple, even simplistic solutions, are seen to be instrinsically better, and that just clearly isn't so. Almost nothing of consequence is 'simple'. We are left making the best decisions we can given the information available. However, that entails considering all of the information. So yes, the best we can do is muddle through "in darkness and try our best."

I would say that people have also become so enamoured of "quickness" that even with the great convenience and ease of that superhighway, they often don't bother to wait and do a little deeper research before making up their minds. Instead, too often we all want to insta-judge, insta-comment, and insta-accomplish, no matter what the topic or its stakes. (And yes, of course I include myself in that indictment; it is in the nature of the blogging beast, to a greater or lesser degree.)

But that's a digression from the point of Pooh's post, the most provocative part of which I didn't excerpt here--hint, hint. Don't miss the interesting discussion in the comments section, either.

Optimism is a good thing, and we need more of it to counter what sometimes seems to be an almost terminal cynicism, distrust-on-principle, and smug irony laced through our public discourse these days. Not "blind" optimism, but the type to which Pooh refers. Of course, being optimistic doesn't solve anything by itself. Nor does that mindset automatically lead to positive outcomes, which are impossible to guarantee.

I wish I could say the same thing about negative ones.