Saturday, June 4, 2011

Problem Solving Skills - Note 1

[Some of these 'notes' previously posted on major social site]

     I'm puzzled;  maybe one, or some, of y'all can help me here.  It's about the unpleasantness now in Japan, and about how we define Problems.  Generally, it seems that how a problem is defined determines the solution.  That is, if one defines a problem accurately, one then may arrive at some positive solution for that problem.  Conversely, if one does not define the problem correctly, no real solution would be possible, and further, action then taken in ignorance might well aggravate the original problem, and create further ones.  Have I got this right so far?  If so, I'd like to make some further observations, and get what feedback is available here, if you please...and thank you. 
     Japan's current dire circumstance has been described as a triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, multiple nuclear reactor 'events').  The quake and wave damages have popularly been termed 'natural' disasters.  Yet these natural events occur whether there are people present or not.  They're only disastrous when there ARE folks in the vicinity.  It might be more accurate, then, to say that these 'natural' disasters are actually the results of people mistakenly getting in the way of natural processes, assuming the famously obvious risks.  This is not to fault the judgement of anyone (no pun whatever), or to trivialize their hardships, but to try to DEFINE the problems more clearly.
     The Nuclear Problems, though, are a whole 'nother kettle of fission (this pun entirely intentional).  The Public Perception seems to be that these nuclear events do fit the description of a Problem.  A good deal of air time is being devoted to what exactly is going on and how to fix it [this, early in the sequence of events].  Many other kinds of attention are being paid from many other places to address the situation there.  Largely, these reactor events have come as a great, unpleasant surprise, prompting people to ask repeatedly, 'How did this happen?  How do they, and of course, WE contain the terrific damage?'  These questions are, I believe, of the utmost importance to be answered very clearly if there is to be any hope of (1) knowing what the Problem really is, and (2) how to go about solving it.  It must not go without saying that there are now some 180 people on the ground, in and around those damaged nukes, giving it their ALL to solve their immediate emergencies in Ultimate Peril.  I'm hoping their names will be made known and remembered.  I'm also hoping it will be more widely recognized that all our world is in the same boat with those 180, but a little more remote.  Nor must it go without saying here that the Largest, most Expert Forces in the Nuclear Arena, those most responsible for selling all of us on the Very Bright Idea of nukes, are conspicuously absent in any of these Damage Control efforts...they're totally silent.  Their concept of Damage Control is limited to sending some lobby weasels into closed-door meetings with 'our' Senators and Congresspeople to sway their continued support, and to shore up the false public perception that nukes are somehow acceptable, even necessary...that Unnatural Disasters are unavoidable.
     First, about the present public perception that this nuke disaster comes as a big surprise:  No, it's not.  There have been warnings loud and clear for decades in print, video and radio; your friends, neighbors, workmates, acquaintances, and strangers on the street have consistently sounded alarms for years about this very thing, so stop acting so surprised.  Second, the notion that nuke power was a great idea, clean and safe and cheap, was SOLD to us (Japan and all of us) by SOMEONE, for cash and prizes...and we (most of us) BOUGHT it.  When the public signed on to this Big Mistake, we put ourselves on the line as well as future generations, and then some.  It's too late to bet your ass that this will all be o.k....that's already in the pot.
     So what then is the simplest, most distilled way to state the underlying Problem?  To truthfully answer this question, I believe a lot of our preconcieved notions and fondly held beliefs must be set aside.  And it might be a good idea to take your're gonna need all the personal fortification you can get.

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