As time goes on, humanity's big, self-created problems (e.g., global inequality/poverty, climate change) are going to get worse. Progress is an illusion, despite the heroic and delusional efforts of elites and intellectuals to convince us otherwise.
I've been thinking about how humans will rationalize their increasingly obvious failures over time. If you read and understood the Flatland essays, you will see this statement as axiomatic:
(1) Regarding these big, self-created problems, humans do not have the capacity to pin the blame on themselves (i.e., on their own nature) because they do not have the capacity to understand themselves.
(This should not be misconstrued with one group of humans blaming another group of humans for causing some problem, which is typical political behavior.)
In this context, I've been reading about so-called "wicked" problems lately. Here's a definition by example from The Conversation website.
We live in a world burdened by large-scale problems that refuse to go away: the refugee crisis; terrorism; rising sea levels; frequent floods, droughts and wildfires; not to mention persistent inequality and violation of basic human rights across the world.
What do these problems have in common? They resist any simple solution. In policy research they are called “wicked.” This is because cause-effect relations are complex and solutions unclear; many of these problems are urgent, yet there is no central authority to solve them; their magnitude is often hard to estimate; and those trying to solve them may even contribute to causing them.
The EU refugee crisis, the topic of a recent U.N. summit, is a good example: Driven by regional conflicts and poverty, and assisted by trafficking networks, people from Africa and the Middle East continue to take enormous risks to enter EU territory by land or sea. For several years now, thousands of refugees have died on this journey each year and no solution is in sight. EU member countries continue to blame their neighbors for either taking in too many refugees or for refusing to help, while there is little shared interest and limited capacity for actually addressing the sources of the problem.
What’s the best way to effectively address these types of wicked problems?
Wicked problems are problems that 1) refuse to go away; and 2) resist any simple solution. Moreover, "cause and effect relations are complex" and solutions are "unclear." There is no central authority to solve them and those trying to solve them may in fact be making the problems worse.
Well! That sounds like the characteristic behavior of a species I know.