|Stories - Part Four: Decisions and Problems
In one sense, every problem solved automatically creates another. The invention of the car overcame the problem of travelling long distances, but created the problem of building towns to accommodate cars. This solves the problem of traffic flow, but creates the problem of pollution. Solving the problem of pollution will in turn create new problems of designing pollution free cars, having alternative transport to cars, or learning to live without cars.
Robinson Crusoe had mainly solved his survival problems once he found
food and shelter, but he still needed to spend each day working to survive.
His only other need was human company, which came by chance when he met
Just as Robinson Crusoe adapts himself to the problems of basic survival, James Bond adapts himself to sophisticated survival. We learn to live with certain types of problems that we can deal with. James Bond might not survive very well on a desert island, and Robinson Crusoe would certainly not survive well as a government hit man.
This type of storyline comes up in 'My Fair Lady' where a flower girl is tutored to change her accent and manners so that she can survive in High Society. Moving from one level to society to another, either up or down, requires learning a new set of problem solving techniques. Moving from one type of culture to another also requires rethinking everything.
Civilisation is actually the growth of 'problem solving systems'. The world has always been overpopulated. In ancient times people lived where water was easily available, just as animals do. Being able to carry water, and dig for water solved the water problem, but created other problems as it enabled more people to survive in a given area, but without having more food and shelter to cater for them. As these problems were resolved the population grew and created yet other types of problems. In fact every solution to a problem creates another problem.
Cars solve transport but do so at the expense of the environment. Computers solve problems at the expense of creating more information than we can handle. Money solves many problems but also creates others.
At any time, a solution to a problem simply solves it for a particular group in society. James Bond doesn't really solve any problems by killing off a few of the enemy. Wars never solved any problems, and even medicine creates population problems by curing illness. In nature, which is "red in tooth and claw", one creatures problem is another creatures solution so one survives at the expense of another. In cowboy and war films we know that the heroes survive at the expense of the villains, and quite often a few minor expendable good guys have to go as well.
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