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The Moral Mind In Action

The Complex Nature of Human Society and Interaction

Human interaction – society – is complex; intertwined. 
It is full of subtlety and nuance.  There’s seldom a direct cause and effect relationship between any two things.   A single cause can have multiple effects, and vice versa.  Subtle changes can have profound and unpredictable effects, and the linkages among the myriad causes and effects is often beyond comprehension.  Many times we take action “A” with the intention of effecting result “B,” but what we actually get is some other unanticipated result “Q,” and we have little idea why.  When it comes to the interactions of human society the law of unintended consequences is the rule, not the exception.  

The subtlety and complexity of human interaction is a lot more like the charts with the slightly different-shaded dots on them that an ophthalmologist uses to test for color blindness than it is like the chart with the big black E at the top that he uses to test visual acuity.   If a person is color blind and cannot see the figures among the dots then no amount of statistical or empirical evidence, and  no rational argument,  can ever truly prove to him they’re there.


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