Martian Thoughts

Un-solutions and other useless fictions


One useless approach to solving problems is to deny them. This “un-solution” is perplexing because it is as nonsensical as it is an easy sell. Telling someone that they don’t have the problem that afflicts them is a surprisingly convincing argument for them to stop carping.

Before we decide that we’re too clever to be vulnerable to such evident fallacies, let us reflect on the death of social classes. Remember them? At some point in the later part of the 20th century, most of us accepted they were no longer applicable. We were all part of this equal mass. Those at the top of the wealth pyramid had achieved their position through a combination of astuteness and hard work, not privilege or unfair advantages.

That fake death made most people feel good about their prospects. The rich could tell themselves the story that they deserved their status. The poor could believe that their status depended solely on how they chose to live their lives.

Fictions are useful. Stories drive us. We just need to get better are determining which ones are useful for whom and when.