Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Challenge

Ran Prieur posted part of a letter he received from one of his readers:
It seems me that the space and time for critical thought is increasingly shrinking in our world... a result of people being increasingly integrated into and identifying with systems and not an issue with particular systems. Having been out of West Point for three years and now in medical school, I can say confidently that the field of medicine is far more hierarchical, self congratulatory, malicious towards "the other", and dogmatic than I find even the American military to be.
Of course there are many soldiers, physicians, scientists and engineers who are exemplary opposites of malice and dogmatism. But how can we change the character of these subcultures themselves?

A good starting point is to begin to dismantle the mechanisms that currently encourage malice and dogmatism. One approach could be to broaden the distribution of support. If there were a way to break through to the ultimate nature of reality by concentrating enough talent and resources on the right project, then perhaps that ultimate achievement could justify the neglect of projects less likely to strike such gold. But if the rainbow is better enjoyed by viewing it from many perspectives rather than by a concentrated push to reach the pot of gold at its end, the wiser approach could be to cultivate as many open eyes as possible.

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