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Keyword - conscious purpose

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vendredi 22 avril 2011

command and control

Control is a deeply entrenched aspect of contemporary human societies: we control human behavior through laws, incentives, threats, contracts, and agreements; we control the effects of environmental variation by con- structing safe dwellings; we control variation in our food resources by growing and storing agricultural products; we control human parasites and pathogens through good hygiene and medical technologies. All contribute to stable societies and human health and happiness, and within certain arenas this desire to control is undeniably to our individual and collective benefit. This approach to solving problems may be collectively referred to as “command and control”    in which a problem is percived and a solution for its control is developed and implemented. The expectation is that the solution is direct, appropriate, feasible, and effective over most relevant spatial and temporal scales. Most of all, command and control is expected to solve the problem either through control of the processes that lead to the problem (e.g., good hygiene to prevent disease, or laws that direct human behavior) or through amelioration of the problem after it occurs (e.g., pharmaceuticals to kill disease organisms, or prisons or other punishment of lawbreakers). The command-and-control approach implicitly assumes that the problem is well-bounded, clearly defined, relatively simple, and generally linear with respect to cause and effect. But when these same methods of control are applied to a complex, nonlinear, and poorly understood natural world, and when the same predictable outcomes are expected but rarely obtained, severe ecological, social, and economic repercussions result.

Holling, C. S., and G. K. Meffe. 1996. Command and Control and the Pathology of Natural Resource Management. Conservation Biology 10, no. 2: 328-37.

wisdom : correcting the distortions of conscious purpose

Finally, it is appropriate to mention some of the factors which may act as correctives—areas of human action which are not limited by the narrow distortions of coupling through conscious purpose and where wisdom can obtain.

(a) Of these, undoubtedly the most important is love. Martin Buber has classified interpersonal relationships in a relevant manner. He differentiates “I-Thou” relations from “I-It” relations, defining the latter as the normal pattern of interaction between man and inanimate objects. The “I-It” relationship he also regards as characteristic of human relations wherever purpose is more important than love.

But if the complex cybernetic structure of societies and ecosystems is in some degree analogous to animation, then it would follow that an “I-Thou” relationship is conceivable between man and his society or ecosystem. In this connection, the formation of “sensitivity groups” in many depersonalized organizations is of special interest.

The arts, poetry, music, and the humanities similarly are areas in which more of the mind is active than mere consciousness would admit. “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.” Contact between man and animals and between man and the natural world breeds, perhaps—sometimes—wisdom.

(b) There is religion.

Bateson Gregory, 1972. Steps to an ecology of mind. Chandler Pub. Co.