The Problem of Problems
Simon Sheppard opens a very large can of worms
Published in Heritage & Destiny magazine, 93, Nov.-Dec. 2019
This topic is about as fundamental as it gets, concerning something that confronts us practically every day of our lives – problems. It is surely true that if everything worked as it should, we would be living in a very different world. Problems of one sort or another constantly arise, but so far as I know, the principles underlying them have never been explored like this. Call it a meta-analysis if you like.
To start with, it seems there are three approaches to problems. Framing it another way, we might say there are three kinds of person. First there is the problem-creator. Another type moves problems around. The last kind, seemingly rare, is the one who solves problems.
Taking a simple example, suppose Annie has a mishap with an electric iron and blows its fuse. Annie’s whole routine for the day starts with getting her ironing done, so she takes an intact fuse from the toaster. She has both created a problem and moved it. Suppose it is a shared household and shortly Barry, hungry for his breakfast, takes the fuse from the battery charger they use. More time passes, then Charlie comes along, desperate to charge his laptop... you get the idea. The fuse could be moved back and forth for weeks. Eventually someone solves the problem by buying a packet of fuses and fitting one. He might even leave the remaining fuses in a handy place.
Moving the problem around seems to be the most common action. By this means, most people are able to solve the problem, eventually becoming tired of its constant reappearance. In the above scenario, eventually it dawns on someone that it would be easier just to buy some new fuses. It’s a low-level, routine method of solving problems. By repeatedly shifting the problem, “handling” it in some way, even someone without great insight or agency will eventually arrive at a solution.
The process of moving the problem around can take a long time, and other complications may arise. An inadequate solution may create other problems. Individuals possessing greater insight can short-circuit this tortuous process and solve the problem at its root. However, there may be others who benefit from the problem’s existence, and they may obfuscate the issue or directly interfere with attempts at a solution.
Solving problems demands rationality, objectivity and insight. Discrimination must be applied to distinguish cause from consequence. In short, effective problem-solving requires affinity to logos.
As we know, some problems can be tough nuts to crack, and sometimes if you solve a problem for someone they’ll promptly create another. Here we come to my parable of the friend down the well. Suppose you have a friend who lives out in the sticks, he lives alone and you visit him every few days. You go out one day and hear muted shouts, because your friend has fallen down the crude well from which he gets his water.
Shouting down, you learn that he slipped on the mud and tumbled in. So of course you hunt around for a length of rope and drag him out. Thank God you came!
Time passes, and a few visits have been made without incident, but then another time you roll up to hear shouting once more. Your friend is again down the well. Perhaps he got drunk and in the middle of the night, took to dancing around the well, but how he got there is immaterial. The only thing that matters is that he is down the well – again.
Again you drag him out. Now however, a pattern is established. Perhaps you are a kindly soul, and there is a third time, but in the long term, should this continue, the outcome is predictable. While dragging your friend out, tiring from the effort, you yourself could slip in the mud and join your friend at the bottom of the well. Or, your friend could be lonely down there and ‘accidentally on purpose’ give the rope a tug at a particular moment and you similarly find yourself in the deep with him. This happens, analogously, more often than people might suppose. Misery loves company and with both of you down there, the two of you could perish before some occasional visitor arrives.
The lesson being, being nice can be bad for you or your objectives – it can result in becoming dragged down into other peoples’ problems, which are often relatively trivial, preventing a greater objective from being realised. It is also clear that some people’s problems are self-created to gain attention or for other reasons.
The sensible reaction, when the friend is discovered down the well again, is to give him a stern talking-to, and warn him that if he is found down the well once more, you will not pull him out. Maybe you’ll call a doctor instead, and have him carted off somewhere.
Of interest is a syndrome which is associated with drug addiction, ‘co-addiction.’ This may be found, for example, in the mother of a heroin-addicted son. Naturally the mother cares for her son, and worries about him. Knowing this, the son delegates all worry to her, blithely continuing his addiction. The mother may even provide money for drugs, on the ground that he might otherwise steal, because in reality, while he is dependent on heroin, she is dependent on him for her caring role.
Suppose, returning to my parable, you arrive at your friend’s lonely shack with its well and for the second time, pull him out. However in this instance you discover that you rather enjoy the role of rescuer of your poor, slightly deranged friend. Perhaps your life is a little dull, and such drama provides a welcome novelty. Maybe you’re insecure and relish the feeling of superiority this new situation presents. So you don’t give that stern talking-to and warning, instead secretly, perhaps subconsciously, hoping that he falls in again, so you can again play the role of gallant knight in shining armour. However, as described, you may end up down the well yourself, and even if you don’t, you have been drawn into the problem, and become part of it.
The essential question to pose is: Why are problems created? What purpose does it serve? According to evolutionary psychology, a behaviour must confer advantage to persist. People have been creating problems for millennia, so it must confer advantage. What is the evolutionary origin of creating problems?
The approach I am applying is Procedural Analysis, which is founded on a male-female dichotomy. So the first matter to be resolved is whether creating problems is a masculine or a feminine strategy.
Although problems have always been created, I’m sure even in pre-history, for illustration we examine a situation which was commonplace less than a couple of hundred years ago. Suppose, somewhere in the land, a butler’s son was sweet on a chambermaid at the neighbouring house. He courted her regularly, and everyone who knew about it envisaged the usual course, that they would marry. However, the course of true love never runs smooth, a truism which probably most of us can testify to.
Unease stirs in the young woman’s breast. Some incident or saying is seized upon, being relayed and dissected in excruciating detail to the butler’s son and likely others too. The incident is so magnified that it brings their relationship to a crisis. The female may not be conscious of it, but what she is doing is testing the male. She is ensuring that he will stick around when she needs him, because the costs to her of being abandoned, perhaps with child, are enormous. (This was certainly the case until very recently, when the State stepped in to play ‘Big Daddy.’)
Also ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ applies. It is a fundamental law that something (or someone) which is easily acquired is likely to be easily shed. One sad aspect of crime for example is that much stolen property is broken or lost even before it gets to the drug-dealer or fence. Exactly the same mechanism applies. Something which is costly is less readily given up.
By creating a crisis, requiring the male to remonstrate with her, assure her of his commitment and passing through this ordeal, she is raising her cost. Such a trial can be recognised as a staple of folklore, romantic fiction etc. The suitor must accomplish some extraordinary feat to win the hand of the fair princess.
Now let us turn this model around, as a test of the hypothesis. What would happen to a young male, acting in the wider world, if he went around creating problems, manufacturing crises out of thin air? He would find himself pushed to the bottom of the social hierarchy, with all the disadvantages that entails, particularly his reduced prospects of leaving progeny. If the problems he created were severe, he could be killed, and that would definitely be the end of his genetic line.
So in the circumstances described, a female creating a problem is advantageous for her: she gets a reliable, tested mate. For a male doing similar, the strategy is disadvantageous. Thus creating problems is a female strategy.
Going further back in evolutionary time, possibly the original form of problem-creation was to disrupt male targeting strategies. Females can change their appearance to almost defy recognition, and this would certainly create a problem for the male who is seeking a mate, and perhaps one in particular. It would raise the cost of sex, the female strategy which underlies all others. In another circumstance, the female could use creating a problem as a means to attract attention, demanding the involvement of someone who would not otherwise notice her. She might create a problem solely for her prospective mate to remedy.
Applying Procedural Analysis once more, two procedures relevant to this theme were identified. First to be defined was Creative Transduction: Creating a problem for the purpose of blaming someone else. Fake hate crimes are a pretty much perfect example of Creative Transduction, though other examples are abundant. Later it became apparent that CT failed to cover all circumstances, and Profitable Disruption was defined: Creating a problem for advantage.
Some say there’s a particular population whose modus operandi for centuries has been to create problems and thrive by them. Be that as it may, the influence of problem-creators is so omnipresent in our modern time that Profitable Disruption has become practically the standard business model. Every part of a car or motorcycle is separately re-designed to ensure incompatibility with other marques and models. Technology companies constantly change their products, forcing users to “upgrade.” Microphone manufacturers employ a bewildering variety of connection standards, such that virtually identical devices are all incompatible with each other. These are also expressions of the ‘lock-in,’ another feminine strategy. The object is to trap the consumer into the particular manufacturer’s format or standard, to the exclusion of others. By this means a quasi-monopoly is achieved and profits are increased.
People used to bemoan built-in obsolescence, but now every device with built-in rechargeable cells has it, since rechargeables have a limited life. For users of the afore-mentioned products, which now is almost all of us, the amount of nuisance, confusion and waste all this creates is staggering.
Yet still this is just a fraction of the problem. The arrogance and profligacy of Western elites is only sustained because our economies have been sucked into a fiscal whirlpool. They now have negative worth, and are in so deep that ascent to monetary dry land is simply impossible. The levels of debt involved are enormous and unprecedented. This debt is borrowing from the future, and some day it will fall due.
Looking back over this article belatedly reminded me of an anecdote which is telling. I wish I had paid more attention at the time and noted some specifics. Once at a meeting a fellow told me of a friend he had. This friend had fallen in with some Jews in the Leeds area, and they had regular meetings when they played a board game or cards or something. They got so used to having him around that they forgot he wasn’t a Jew. The thing that amused them the most was various schemes they dreamt up to harm Gentiles. “That will really screw up the goyim” they would laugh, “That would really fuck them up!” This topic was their favourite theme.
See the One Page Protocols page.
Somehow I’m also reminded of the feminists in Amsterdam who would refuse, on principle, to do anything a man wanted them to.