Complexity and Stupidity

Catching up on Sam Harris’ podcasts — this one is of particular interest. Sam’s guest, David Krakauer, I recall from taking the debut Santa Fe Institute freebie course a few years back run by the excellent Melanie Mitchell. Do check out the SFI’s free programmes, notably SFI’s Complexity Explorer: it beats many a fee-paying university course. In any event, if you really want to become a truly educated person, you no longer need to be subjected to the rationalistically inclined ideologues that plague the humanities and the social sciences, ideologues that will ensure that you are more stupid (i.e. narrow) than when you began their course. Where there is some semblance of intellectual honesty, it still behooves one to supplement your course work with stuff you won’t find on any formal syllabus — and complexity studies fulfills this multidisciplinary evidence-based approach in spades by cutting across economics, sociology, social epistemology, philosophy of social science, computational intelligence and indeed philosophy at large. As David Krakauer points out, uncertainty is pregnant with possibility and this is psychologically discomforting to the closed-minded rationalist technocrats and theoreticians who fail to grasp social complexity: they are under the profound delusion that all can and must be solved without any sense of generating worse unintended consequences.