Thursday, July 14, 2016

Words Poorly Used #75 -- Problem

" ... there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong."  -- H. L. Mencken

Why is this true?  Firstly, we have to recognize that this may not be true in all cases.  After all, it is a simple solution for explaining human error -- a persistent problem underlying other problems.  So, Mencken's observation may not be absolute, but it is a powerful demonstration of what is practically true.  Any one of us may live a lifetime without seeing a "neat, plausible, and correct" solution.  We also may never see a neat (standalone, uninvolved) problem.  Problems come in squadrons entangled in wires, webs, nets, tendrils, embedding goo.  A simple solution tends to render the rest of the mess more impenetrable.  Humans, particularly politicians, exploit problems -- even making them up when no real difficulty is at hand.  More on this elsewhere at EVC.


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