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Complexity and simplicity

[ by Charles Cameron — where both are aspects of our cognitive response ]
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The New Yorker has a sweeping piece about Lake Chad, subheaded:

Boko Haram, climate change, predatory armies, and extreme hunger are converging on a marginalized population in Central Africa

We need, accordingly to understand at subtle levels, the interactions of those five elements, a wide-angle task, cognitively speaking –- and simultaneously zoom in on some specific issue regarding the humans involved, a task requiring single-minded focus — an entirely different cognitive style.

I offer this here as emblematic of wide-angle and narrow-focus thinking. Zen terms them horizontal and vertical, see his two articles for further elucidation!

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The strategic importance of barriers and when to cross them is illustrated by two quotes from the NYer article (above) and the I Ching (below):

If I recall correctly, there’s an admonition in the I Ching not to camp in evening when you come to a barrier such as a river, but to press forward and cross it, lest overnight the enemy take it &c.

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And talking of complexities, how about the impressive mindset reset implied by MSNBC’s cute phrase about Gen. Flynn just now:

from the insurgent battlefield to the political minefield

Jim will no doubt have his own thoughts about that!

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