4 Simple "Truths"

4 Simple "Truths"

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Attributed to Einstein

In my work, past and present, I have been repeatedly reminded that personal energy and commitment to overcome aside, we still face (globally and locally) major commercial, economic, environmental and social developmental challenges today.

We also find ourselves in quite uncharted waters; needing to simultaneously address multiple issues of growing complexity and intertwining intricacy.

At Quilibra we have noted through our now many encounters with business people, civil officers and development “experts” and advisors (as well as with well-meaning volunteers and philanthropists and hard pressed local workers), that underlying the frenetic activity there remain some enduring simple truths. We sense that collectively and individually there is a need for practitioners from different background to pay even more attention to some of these simple truths. This is because, even as we live and grapple with chaotic complexity, elegance and simplicity is found by many to have a truthful significance.

By way of encouraging a possible dialogue I would like to share some of our tentative reflections with you to see which of these reflections below (if any) resonate(s) with you.

1. While many of us living in the industrialised world often live as if only the next financial month or quarter matters, our history and cultures are unavoidably present and influential in the lives we live daily. Avoiding living simply as slaves of our pasts is one thing; failing to hear the echoes of history, as they sound today, is quite another. It denies us some very useful sources of insight and foresight.

2. As individuals and groups we have often drawn, over time, profound lessons from our respective lives and separate experiences. Surprisingly we are still often collectively overwhelmed by the prospect of turning those lessons into actual practice. Deliberate, collective and shared attention to practice is the essence of mature learning and all kinds of human development.

3. Some of the models and solutions we persist with are at best ill-informed, unfortunate or naïve and at worst negligent and dangerous. We would do well to admit this when it is self-evident. Learning is not a weakness. Recognising the erroneous and being willing to name it, address it and move on, is courageous.

4. For those of us who work as teachers, parents, consultants, advisers, managers, or any kind of “expert”, there remains an urgent need to ensure that what we peddle by way of developmental education, prescription or direction, is at least tested and grounded in the intricacies of the real lives of those we seek to educate, help, advise or support. Too often our self-interested immersion in our own “worlds” has banished any possibility of engaging in any collectively helpful or collaborative inquiry built around a sharing of the perspectives of others.

We make no simplistic suggestion here that attention to these simple truths automatically yields developmentally less mixed results. We do contend however that that awareness of them may help us do much less harm to ourselves, our businesses and economies and our environment. They may also help us to become better placed (collectively) to relate and engage well with how we live as well as what we love, live with or support.


Also see Occam’s Razor, a principle of parsimony which... "states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.”

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Thanks Anthony for these helpful and insightful thoughts!
Quote 21 April 2014 10:24

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