In a previous series of essays I presented three dimensions of thinking: a description using the three dimensions of physics as a metaphor for procedural, deep, and lateral thinking. Recently I received an email from a reader appreciating this framework, and asking me to write about how to apply these to solve complex problems. This is my attempt to rise to the challenge.
As the challenge was to apply it to a complex problem, I chose one that is both complex and well known: climate change. I shall not pretend that I am able to solve climate change in these essays. What I will do is not to present the answer, i.e. the what, but present methods, i.e. the how, for thinking about climate change in the three dimensions of thinking.
Climate change is an interesting problem with regards to the human mind’s capacity to solve problems. For anyone to solve a problem, one must first grant that there is a problem. The human mind is good at recognising problems that
- are immediate
- trigger our senses, preferably causing discomfort
- are understood as necessarily being a threat to our wellbeing
Interestingly, the problem of climate change avoids all of these characteristics. Firstly, it is not immediate: The causes of global warming has been going on for at least five decades, but significant effects have only been felt (or at least reported on) in the last decade. Secondly, it does not trigger our senses in an uncomfortable way. The effects of global warming cause discomfort, not climate change itself. The discomfort caused by extreme weather conditions is not climate change per se, but rather an effect of climate change. Thirdly, it is not understood as a threat to our wellbeing. Climate change is a change, yes, but it is not understood as necessarily being a threat to our wellbeing. People in colder regions do not mind the thought that it will get warmer.
There will follow four essays from this one. I will publish one essay for each of the three dimensions, and a fourth essay that will serve as a conclusion.
- The first essay will be published on the 19th of January, 2022.
- The second essay will be published on the 23rd of January, 2022.
- The third essay will be published on the 26th of January, 2022.
- The fourth essay will be published on the 30th of January, 2022.
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