We as a human race have had to deal with problems since we first slithered out of the primordial slime. After countless millennia of dealing with innumerable problems, I find it curious that there has not been one philosopher or scientist or mathematician or academic who has analyzed the fundamental reasons why solutions succeed and why failed attempts fail. There certainly has not been a shortage of problems that have been solved and many of those solutions were preceded by scores of attempts that failed. Surely there are some fundamental attributes contained within a solution that were glaringly absent in the failed attempts.
If we had such a fundamental understanding -- an understanding of what makes a solution effective and a failure ineffective, then it stands to reason that when we are confronted with a problem, we would be able to easily determine if a potential solution has a chance of succeeding. Or better yet, we would be able to know where a solution may be found in the first place.
But from what I can see, no one has bothered to identify the fundamental attributes of a solution and the lack of those attributes in a failure. As a result, nobody knows how to solve a problem. In other words, if a solution is not readily known, there is no systematic, scientific, logical approach to solving a problem. Instead, everyone takes a completely random, hit-or-miss (and mostly miss) approach.
Given this enormous void in mankind’s collective knowledge, I thought I’d get the ball rolling, right here, right now, on this humble blog. Over the next several days I will outline what I think are some fundamental elements of a solution versus what is missing in a failed attempt. I will also try to show how these principles are being violated by individuals and/or institutions in their efforts to solve problems thereby creating a bigger mess. My hope is that this modest beginning will turn into a Science or Philosophy of Problem-Solving. If ever our human race needed a new science, this is it.
I also look forward to your feedback.
On my next post, I will discuss people’s first instinct in approaching a problem and how this is almost always ineffective.