Monday, 12 May 2014

SNAFU – it’s what we do

Laurel and Hardy in the 1939 film The Flying Deuces

Human progress is mostly the outcome of trial and error, with the emphasis very much on error.

This is why the world seems bonkers to those who reflect on these things. Others shrug their shoulders and get on with a bit more trial and a lot more error. Our rapid access to vast stores of information, news and commentary makes the whole thing seem corrupt, stupid or both, but it isn’t.

It’s what we do - seen from the inside.

Catastrophic climate change is merely one of the errors. One day we’ll consign it to history as we move on to the next trial and the next parcel of errors.

Messing things up and finding out the hard way is what we do. Thinkers just have to put up with it, because reasoned anticipation isn’t how things are done. Reason comes after the mess, not before.

We don’t use our intelligence to avoid disasters. We use it to clean up afterwards.


James Higham said...

Not just the SNAFUs but the cascade errors.

Anonymous said...

A good engineer advised me 'experience rises in direct proportion to the amount of expensive equipment ruined'. This is true.

Also, a good engineer is judged by how well he bodges his mistakes.

Also, by the time you understand something, it no longer matters.

Finally, progress is the exchange of one inconvenience for another. Nuff said really.

A K Haart said...

James - yes, leading to a real humdinger of a SNAFU.

Roger - chemistry is easier on bodgers, the bodge goes down the sink. Probably not these days though.