Sunday, 12 November 2017

Why Faith is Replacing Knowledge

Nicki Edgell

An earlier post inspired by the Silence book by John Biguenet asked Does Science Explain Everything?

The other day I picked up some books that were being recycled - ie. the previous owner had put a box out on the street in front of their house (this happens all the time in our town). As often happens by coincidence one of them was a book that someone had recently recommended to me. #theuniverseprovides!

Also in the box was a black hard backed pocket book entitled The Decision Book - Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by Roman Tsch├Ąppeler and Mikael Krogerus.

This book is a quick read divided into four sections - How to Improve Yourself, How to Understand Yourself Better, How to Understand Others Better, and How To Improve Others.

Within the How to Understand Others Better section was an essay entitled The Black Box Model: Why Faith is Replacing Knowledge.

It goes something like this...

The world is getting more complicated. There is no way we can keep up, especially with technological advance. The amount we really know and understand decreases relatively all the time.

Say in the 1980s when computers first arrived on the scene teachers could still seek to explain how they actually worked. Many of us were taught the principles of binary code (via the on/off switch analogy) and some of us would have done a BASIC language coding course... if not.. then... go to... repeat etc.

Early "Basic" computer coding example
At school we probably learnt the basics of electrical circuits and how the planets circle the sun in our solar system. We would have learnt about sound waves and light, chemical reactions and biological reproduction. However if a sudden apocalypse were to be visited upon us there wouldn't be many of us able to actually put any of these principles into practice to rebuild our society (apart from the biological reproduction that is!). 

Technology has now sprinted ahead and is even racing towards AI where it's development itself will eventually become independent of any human intervention at all - the stuff of numerous dystopian science fiction scenarios!

The very intelligent and scheming android in the Ex Machina film as played by Alicia Vikander
We can't really possibly understand the workings of mobile phones and ipads. We just take all these things for granted. Such things, which would have been completely unimaginable to our grandparents, are now so ubiquitous we have no other choice. 

Our world has changed so much in the last century after relatively little "progress" in the previous millennia (the word "progress" in quotation marks as it hasn't all been for the good of course). It is now unimaginable to us how it will change further in the next 50 years - if indeed this acceleration is sustainable at all.

We are increasingly surrounded by what the authors term "black boxes", complex constructs that we do not understand even if they are explained to us. We can not comprehend the inner processes of a black box, but none the less we integrate their inputs and outputs into our decision making.

Basically we have to believe certain things, even if we can't understand them. As a result we are tending to assign more importance to those that can explain something rather than to their actual explanation.

The conclusion is that in the future it will be the norm to convince people with images and emotions rather than with arguments. Influencers will be the ones that can present and convince, not necessarily the scientists.

People no longer have the understanding or time to be experts in everything.

In my world of "alternative" health there are those that want to know all the science and empirical evidence and there are those that just want to trust that they will feel better. With increasing regulation of the industry many practitioners are beginning to concentrate on the latter, and that suits many consumers just fine.

It will become the norm to convince people with images and emotions rather than with arguments.

As one prominent leader in the field likes to answer when questioned "How does it work?" he simply says "Very well."

About the Author

Nicki Edgell

I am a clinical Psycho-neuro-immunologist, Metabolic Balance Coach, Natural Nutritionist and Independent Nikken Consultant. I practice in Brighton in the South of England, helping individuals and groups towards the health, vitality and the life they want for themselves. I work under the principle that wellness depends on a balanced holistic approach to living, in all areas of your life: your body, mind, family, community and financial health all have an impact on your wellbeing.


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