The Watchman's Rattle

Author: Rebecca D Costa

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9781448131754

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 132

Why does it feel as if our most challenging problems today- the worldwide recession, global warming, fast-spreading viruses, terrorism and poverty- aren't getting solved? What if our brain has limits that prevent it from solving such complex problems? If ancient civilisations collapsed because they, too, hit a cognitive limitation, are we headed for a similar collapse, and if so, can it be prevented? Using historical and modern-day examples, The Watchman's Rattle describes the cognitive gridlock that sets in when complexity races ahead of the brain's ability to manage it. Beginning with the Mayans, Khmer and Roman Empires, Costa shows how the tendency to find a quick fix to problems by focusing on symptoms instead of searching for permanent solutions, leads to frightening long-term consequences: Society's ability to solve its most challenging, intractable problems becomes gridlocked, progress slows and collapse ensues. But, as Costa reveals, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that the human brain can be retrained to comprehend, analyse and resolve massively complex problems. A process of intuitive thinking, which Neuroscientists refer to as 'insight'. Part history, part social science, part biology, The Watchman's Rattle is sure to provoke, engage and incite change.
The Watchman's Rattle

Author: Rebecca D. Costa

Publisher: Vanguard Press

ISBN: 1593156863

Category: Science

Page: 319

View: 107

Why can't we solve our problems anymore? Why do threats such as the Gulf oil spill, worldwide recession, terrorism, and global warming suddenly seem unstoppable? Are there limits to the kinds of problems humans can solve? Rebecca Costa confronts--and offers a solution to--these questions in her highly anticipated and game-changing book, The Watchman's Rattle. Costa pulls headlines from today's news to demonstrate how accelerating complexity quickly outpaces that rate at which the human brain can develop new capabilities. With compelling evidenced based on research in the rise and fall of Mayan, Khmer, and Roman empires, Costa shows how the tendency to find a quick solution--leads to frightening long-term consequence: Society's ability to solve its most challenging, intractable problems becomes gridlocked, progress slows, and collapse ensues. A provocative new voice in the tradition of thought leaders Thomas Friedman, Jared Diamond, and Malcolm Gladwell, Costa reveals how we can reverse the downward spiral. Part history, part social science, part biology, The Watchman's Rattle is sure to provoke, engage, and incite change.