Inertia

Posted: February 5, 2011 in Personal Whining

You will observe with concern how long a useful truth may be known, and exist, before it is generally received and practiced on.  ~Benjamin Franklin

I heard a story once that, in spite of the fact that doctors knew about germs and contagion from the early 1800s, the practice of changing and sterilizing the linen between patients in a hospital bed wasn’t reliably adopted until the early 1900s.  You see all the time that there is a gap between the discovery of new information and it’s practical application.  I don’t think this is a communication problem; I think it is a facet of human nature.  It takes time for us to embrace and fully integrate new paradigms into our thinking.

That’s why I don’t like to accept the status quo when it comes to medical or any other kind of information.  Finding alternative and more up to date information is always possible, indeed probable.

One of the ways you most commonly see it is in the way we look at reality.  We’re still Newtonian thinkers.  (Part of the reason is that it serves us well 90% of the time.)  Learning to think of the world in a way that takes into account the new physics is contrary to the way we’ve been taught to think for the past few centuries, and also a lot of our daily experience.  But the new options of interpretation and the new possibilities opened by that way of thinking are real and are relevant when it comes to certain topics or situations, such as discussion of metaphysical ideas.

New ideas in engineering, using alternative energy and so-called bright green environmentalism, is present and usable, but is not finding itself integrated into building and design.

Inertia seems to be part of human nature.  Understanding that may be a first step in forging new paths and discovering new frontiers.

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