Saturday, March 21, 2009

NPR - Heisenburg and rationality

I was reading the various forums I do routinely and on one someone raised the application of Heisenburg's Uncertainity Principle and change. Heisenburg's principle has been applied, and sometimes falsely or badly adjusted or adapted, to other applications, and although it really doesn't apply as this person defined it, it does lend the idea to other ideas about change.

The idea here is that while we are undergoing change, can't we know everything about the change. We are both the change and the observer of change, so our own presence effects each independently and still interacts with each other. It's really just human nature. But it's also when we're trying observe and even control change that we can't be separate from the change itself, because we are the change too.

Now I'm confused, or sometimes, because that's the issue. In our confusion we can't see what we don't or can't know. Like that we could otherwise? Maybe not. Ok, probably not, but we might be able to understand what the limits are of what we do and can know than be confused and not know where the limits are in our perception, thinking and understanding.

But then this leads to the idea of bounded rationality.

This idea means we make decisions using a frame where we see all the information we want inside the frame (bounds) and ignore everything else (outside the frame) as irrelevant, unimportant or unnecesary. And then we make a "rational" decision based on the view of that, what's inside the frame. This again is human nature, and especially seen in people who deny the existence of reality because it doesn't fit their model of the world and life.

With change, however, bounded rationality, creates a false view of things, because we can't see or don't see what's outside the frame that could easily effect our change or is a part of our change. And going through change, this can be disasterous or lead to disasterous results, neither of which we saw because it wasn't in our frame of view.

We simply didn't see it.

We're not only blind to the world outside our frame, we're also ignorant of information and especially answers or solutions to our questions or problems. We simply can't do what is entirely possible when we bind our view of the world with our frame. The frame we so much want to be the world is only our world, far smaller than reality.

And in missing the whole of reality, we're denying ourselves. But the reality is also that we simply can't see the world and expand our frame to any size to see all the possibilities. We have to keep the frame manageable to stay sane and gives ourselves a view we can understand. That's the reaily of being human.

And this is where Heisenburg would apply in the sense we can't know about where we're at and where we're going simultaneously with good reliable information to see the whole view. Something has to give and we'll make those choices, consciously or subconsciously, to fit the world into the frame we want, but not necessarily we need.

We can, and more than likely will, make choices which excludes information we should or could need and use. But since we don't know what that is, it's hard to know what information should be within our view, our frame, of the world and reality. We have to accept that our decisions and subsequent actions won't be fully informed ones", and made with less than complete or perfect information.

The key is to be flexible with our view, the frame, of the world to find the optimium and realistic information, knowing it's always a dynamic balance between heisenburg and rationality.

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