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John Brennan & Jay Forrester, George Kennan & Isaac Luria

[ by Charles Cameron — a little something on torture and our knowledge of causality, also man the microcosm in diplo-politics ]

With John Brennan talking about the “unknowable” causality between what I choose to call torture and what I am content to call the elicitation of actionable intelligence (upper panel, below) — not that I claim any originality to either of those phrasings — I was forced to remind myself of Jay Forrester‘s comments on causality (lower panel) — comments which amount to a warning against simplistic thinking and easy explanations:

SPEC unknowables

The human psyche is indeed “complex”, and perhaps more inscrutable than the term “complexity” itself suggests.


But that was not all: Director Brennan also entered into my own preferred realms of anthropology, psychology and theology, and spoke to the divided nature of our humanity:

But we are not a perfect institution. We’re made up of individuals. And as human beings, we are imperfect beings.

That in turn overlapped with another DoubleQuote I was formulating at the time, this one juxtaposing a comment about George Kennan with the Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria‘s concepts of the Shattering of the Vessels and the Repair of the World.

Kennan’s chapter heading (as quoted by Joseph Epstein in the upper panel, below) refers to the microcosm:

SPEC cracked vessels

It seems only appropriate to me to note that the Ari provides us with its macrocosmic equivalent — and also, under the name Tikkun Olam (repair of the world), a sense of what is now required of us.

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