Saturday, September 29, 2012

David Sloan Wilson on the nature of regulation

Before we can think clearly about regulation, we need to think clearly about another important word: narrative. A narrative is a story that organizes our experience and compels certain actions. We need narratives, because the real world is too complex to comprehend without simplification. Narratives are invariably distortions of the real world because otherwise they could not perform their simplifying function. The simpler and more compelling a narrative the better--but only if it compels us to do the right thing. When a narrative compels us to do the wrong thing, then it traps us like a prison that we cannot easily escape because of the way that the narrative has structured our experience. The only way to break out of a narrative prison is to challenge and replace the narrative. The new narrative will also be a simplification, but one that is hopefully better anchored in reality and compels us to do the right thing.
Evolution — This View of Life
The Nature of Regulation I: Breaking Out of Our Narrative Prisons
David Sloan Wilson

The Nature of Regulation II: Regulate or Die

More to come on this.

1 comment:

G. Uribe said...

Re: "We need narratives, because the real world is too complex to comprehend without simplification. Narratives are invariably distortions of the real world because otherwise they could not perform their simplifying function. The simpler and more compelling a narrative the better--but only if it compels us to do the right thing."
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A narrative performs the critical function of intelligence:to to discern and then separate the essential from the secondary. It is not mere simplification, which more often than not is useless and harmful. But if the essential can be expressed simply, that can be all to the good. However, more concise is not always better; sometimes a balance between synthesis and analysis is preferable, especially when there are important nuances to take into consideration.