Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Art of Complex Problem Solving

Life is full of all sorts of problems, but it just so happens that the problems worth solving happen to be complex as opposed to simple.

<For fun I'm going to start recommending music to listen to while reading my posts. If you wanna play along with my idea, listen to 'One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful' by the PianoGuys.>

Recently while stumbling about on, I cam across this fantastic diagram:


I encourage everyone to follow the link under the picture because the diagram is interactive!!! Scroll your mouse all over the place and read all the cool stuff about complex problem solving, you will be glad you did!

Anyway, people usually have a hard time tackling complex problems because, well, they are complex. According to, complex problems are 'the emergent result of many intertwined factors,' and lists the following characteristics: 'Difficult, Uncertain, Contentious, Interactive, New.' Here are a few examples of what I consider to be complex and simple problems:

Examples of Complex and Simple Problems
(Click image to enlarge)

Figuring out whether or not God exists, the main purpose of my life and of this blog, is one of the most complex problems ever to have arisen. It involves history: ancient documents, ancient cultures, learning and analyzing dead languages, and determining what should be considered reliable, physics: cosmology, M-theory (string theory), relativity, astronomy, inflation theory, and quantum mechanics, biology: the origin of life, genetics, cell biology, and evolution, philosophy: logic, metaphysics (sorta its own category, but whatever), the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the ontological argument, theology: understanding from every religion available. Obviously this is a generalized list and much more could be added.

The plot thickens when you have to mix and match subjects. For example, try applying philosophical arguments to history, or work out the relationship between the theology of each religion and the natural world. Each of these subjects speaks into and informs the others- biology into philosophy, history into theology, physics into biology. Only when all of these issues can be integrated into a singe, beautiful argument based off of evidence from every area can a truly powerful answer be given to the question 'does God exist?'

This intense amount of complexity involved in determining whether or not God exists is the primary reason why most don't search for truth. Also, the increased specialization in every field makes it ever more difficult to be an expert on every necessary subject. My solution to this problem is simply to not sleep.

Solving a complex problem takes time, energy, resources, buddies, and huge amounts of motivation (to overcome that pesky laziness all of us possess).

What is easier? Take something on faith or actually figuring it out? Taking it on faith. Which of the two gives you an actual answer? Faith can never do that. Those of us who figure it out are the only ones who get to know.

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