I found the film Mindwalk to be a fascinating look at life. I do not agree with everything that Sonia said about science because Sonia, as many scientists do, wanted to keep science separated from God. To me, the understanding that matter is mostly made up of nothingness is just one more proof that only an infinite God could have even conceived of such a concept much less used space and nothingness as a building block for the universe. The fact that science cannot explain it or even come up with a metaphor for it just shows me the greatness of my creator.
But that said, System’s Theory is still an excellent way to organize the way we think about life and science and matter and even the complexity of the world’s problems. Even though I am probably more of a liberal republican than a conservative democrat like Jack, I related to the way that Jack felt about the world’s problems. We do have many complex problems, and I felt that Sonia’s answers were too simplistic. Sure, we can blame the food industry and say that if they fed us better rather than investing money into raising cows for red meat, we might not need to spend money developing artificial hearts, but who is going to tell the average American that they can’t eat hamburgers anymore? Americans read. We know red meat and foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol and sugary sodas are bad for us. We know this and yet McDonald’s is still a guilty pleasure for most Americans. You are not going to change the eating habits of a nation that supports a billion dollar fast food industry unless you find a way to shut down the industry, and I think that even if you could do that without committing political suicide, you’d raise riots in the street. They took pop machines out of public schools but it did not control or stop teenage obesity. Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol; it drove it underground and created organized crime. I think we’d have the same result by attempting to legislate the American diet.
We can’t solve all the world’s problems at once. We can’t even identify one or two underlying causes and attack the causes rather than going after the symptoms. While I agree that holistic medicine is better than treating symptoms, holistic medicine is difficult and expensive, and generally not covered by your insurance. If I’m sick, I’m going to look for the fastest, cheapest path to feeling better. If that is treatment of my symptoms rather than the cause, then yes, I’m going to be happy with the results. I agree that Jack can’t, as a representative of the American people, go after all the problems at once. And although his idea of having Sonia come and speak to oversight committees is a nice thought, I doubt it will do much good even over the long haul. She is too idealistic and I doubt she can learn to compromise to get a few problems solved.
I was like Sonia once when I first started working in education. I saw all the problems and wanted to fix them all at once. I realized the only thing I was doing was making people uncomfortable. I was making a lot of waves but not much progress. I slowed down and stopped splashing so much and started treading water, and now I realize that in order to make organizational changes, I have to be willing to go slowly and settle for small changes over time. I’ve seen a lot of change now as a result of small changes that I’ve influenced over several years. People respect me for who I am and what I believe. I am still passionate about things, but I’m willing to wait until time and the environment and the system catches up to the change I’d like to see happen.
I do think we need to look at the world as a living organism; as an holistic whole rather than a mechanistic sum of many parts. I think that while Descartes’ philosophy may have worked for a short while, this view better explains how the world works and how everything connects together. The movie also did a good job of showing how each of the three characters had internal struggles and were connected and strengthened by their discussion. I don’t know how it worked out for each of them, but I think the conversation may have had a positive impact on all three lives.