Monday, June 09, 2014

Strategic Hows and Whys

A strategic system’s purposes are not necessarily connected directly to strategic goals, since their trial and error processes are more directed to choosing goals that meet their purposes rather than choosing purposes to meet their goals. The purposes in general involve the best way to choose the best reactions to survival challenges, so while the overall goal of strategies must be to survive, the intermediate goals would involve the hows, whens, whats and even, or especially, the whys.  Which reminded me to write the following:

The whys of something have at least two aspects: The goal that a thing might have acquired, and its particular purpose for attaining it, both of which in turn can have several other descriptive aspects.  Someone for example will tell us of the “what” of a single rock, such as its size, position, characteristic elements, etc.; the “where” as both its general and precise location; the “how” it’s sitting, loose, stable, crooked, etc., and how it looks from near or far, how it shines, smells, causes whistles in the wind, etc., etc.
But as to the “why” involved, that aspect seems to be an afterthought of most descriptions, and if necessary to know at all, it’s our concern for why we’ve found it sitting where it is - in other words for its immediate purpose to exist - and then, if we’re the more curious sort, we will ask how it came to serve that purpose as a secondary aspect of knowing why.
And then we may continue on that same abstract level of curiosity, concerned perhaps with who or what brought the rock there and why they did, perhaps suspicious of the purposes it was put there, but still not suspicious of any purposes attached to the rock itself.  After all, the thing is not alive, and even if it were, are we concerned for example why a something such as an ant has become an ant as long as we’re able to find out what that ant does and why it does it?  
Do we ask ourselves whether knowing why an ant exists at all will change our perspective as to what it’s doing and why?  Yes, some of us will ask that question, but will be easily satisfied with an “explanation" that as living forms, we’ve all evolved from accidental origins.  
To be told for example that the ant’s instinctive qualities emerged, and that its actions have become spontaneous over time, will be seemingly enough for science.  Leave the whys to some old speculative philosopher, such as the ones who’ve told us of the accidental determinations of nature to begin with. 
And so getting back to the proverbial rock, we certainly don’t feel the need to know more about its dead “purposes” than the reasons that any living thing might have to use the rock or move it somewhere else.  Not needing in the process to concern ourselves with any purposes that nature could have had to either produce a rock, or to make any crucial use of its production.
Rocks, we say, were non-living things among all other material on this formerly lifeless planet, and living things could have done nothing other than emerge from that ancient environment spontaneously - if that.  
But then I ask, why use “emerge” as the possible “how” if we really don’t know the possible “why” that any such materialization process would work?   And you might ask in return what has made me have concerns about the “why” if I can’t determine the true nature of the “how” of rocks to begin with.
But wait, isn’t the “how of the why” the most important question here?  Whether we can ever really know the hows if we’re satisfied that we don’t really need to know their whys as well?  Such as why we should have rocks anyway, if they’re really absolutely and uselessly dead things? Because, of course, if they are, why are rocks here, there, or anywhere at all?

Unless in the asking, we might discover why they have needed to be here, and how they’ve helped strategically to make the living come alive.
And how and why those ants acquired instincts.

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