I have found the study of chaos and uncertainty to be fascinating, especially as it regards human behavior, perception and decision making. Chaos and complexity, or even the perception of them, have profound influence on the way we think and the decisions we make. As I reflect on my life and judgments, I see how chaos can help to radically refine previously held assumptions and quickly narrow priorities. It can also bewilder and paralyze. Complexity can be equally difficult to consider. I know that some of my worst decisions resulted in a failure to adequately contemplate every conceivable outcome from a decision. In fact, that’s probably impossible to do, which ought to require an increased abundance of prudence in decision making, particularly where the risks and costs of failure are both high, or even if it is only the latter. That rare event with catastrophic events shouldn’t be discounted.
It is interesting to me also, from a societal standpoint, how groups of people respond to these things. Beyond chaos and complexity is the uncertainty of future (or even present) realities. What we believe to be true about ourselves and others is usually wrong. We tend to overstate our own strengths and others’ weaknesses. This inability to accurately evaluate reality should frighten us and greatly undermine our confidence in making decisions.
After a few years on ‘sabbatical’, dealing with a rather closed society well-suited to extensive study and observation, and a great deal of ‘free’ time to reflect, I have reached … Read the rest