“Solutionism presumes rather than investigates the problem it is trying to solve, reaching for the answer before the questions have been fully asked.” – Michael Dobbins
My last post left off talking about how scientism relates to technologism, which in turn relates to solutionism. I believe that the commonality between these three is a near total belief in systematic, orderly approaches to problems, and the failure to acknowledge nuance, pure subjectivity, and comparative ethics.
First, there is the orderly approach to problems. City Atlas made this post which riffed off of Sasaki’s piece I mentioned last time.
People seek shortcuts to hard problems. Put another way by David Owen in an essay in the Wall Street Journal, “[W]e already know more than enough, and we have for a long time. We just don’t like the answers.”
The reason for this is that the answers are sometimes ugly. If we can create a program that allows us to geolocate roadkill, we consider ourselves smarter, having discovered an electronic “solution” to this problem plaguing society. We can sit back, happy that we used our incredible intelligence to tackle an issue without even leaving the house. But what we, as a society, really need if these “solutions” are to become tangible, is someone who is willing to go out and actually scrape a flattened squirrel off of the side of the street.