Happy soon-to-be 2016!

I feel sure that no one held their breath waiting for the second half of the blog reporting the October 2013 ‘Mapping the Systems of Science and Technology,’ and that cliff-hanger ending paragraph: “Next I will be writing about what I believe THE major global challenge is, how we are addressing the major chasm we have discovered, and how the Bauhaus movement of last century has valuable input for our current generations.”

However, much has happened since then, and I like to finish off the end of the year by cleaning up unfinished tasks….

THE major global challenge is best painted by Absence of Mind  by Marilynne Robinson, where the author astutely observes the quandary of having reality separated into 7 billion human brains, where we can have no way of knowing, for sure, if our view is truly in sync with another’s.  The result:  really ‘knowing’ one another, having sensitivity to another’s truth, point of view, and mental model, is dependent on trust and communication….and can never be verified.

Add to this the unstable foundation of ‘truth’ in science, and even math, at this juncture in history.

The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty by William Byers, gives a good reason to question the absolutism assigned to mathematics – and the ideal of ‘one truth’ that is ultimately discoverable through the human lens of interpretation.  All mental models are facsimiles of what they describe, and only the original captures all reality.  But models are useful, and give access to predictions that allow bridges to be built, airplanes to fly, and moon shots to hit their target.

However, in this age of major changes in our ecosystems on the planet, it is a wonderful time to soften our edges as scientists, becoming more ‘porous’ so that we can have access to the closest possible representations of reality during rapid changes.

* originally posted on Blogger as THE major global challenge