I know the title above might be confusing to you right now but let me explain. If only we would follow the principle of Occum’s razor and understand that most often the simplest answer is the best answer. But instead we make things more complicated than they need to be. We just can’t seem to help ourselves.
This phenomenon came to the forefront for me while watching a prison documentary on TV lately. OK, first I guess I have to admit that sometimes I just get bored with the normal stuff on TV and turn into these types of shows just to pass the time. MSNBC seems to have them on almost nightly now. On one episode I watched recently the prison warden was complaining how difficult it was to keep drugs out of the prison environment. He mentioned things like letters with pages glued together and drugs in the middle and books with drug laced glue in the bindings. He was just so frustrated that he was not able to stop the flow of drugs.
My pragmatic side leaped up as I was watching him. It just seemed so simple a solution that I couldn’t see why he had not found it. If drugs are coming in the mail and from things from the outside why not just put a virtual wall between the inside and outside the prison?
- If letters are so effectively laced with drugs then just copy them when they come in and give the prisoners the copies instead of the originals.
- If drugs are hidden in books and such then instead of just passing them through into the prison system insist that the givers give them a list of items they want and the money to get them. The prison personnel would then go shopping for the goods themselves and provide them to the prisoners.
These types of solutions seem rather obvious to me, why can’t they figure it out? Maybe one reason is because too many of us are just not inclined to think in pragmatic terms. Solutions to big problems can’t be that easy. Maybe we should be teaching courses in our high schools and colleges on pragmatism.
But then again the real pragmatic solution is to not put so many of our citizens in prison in the first place. Why is the U.S. the number one incinerator in the world? Let’s fix the basic problems in our society and the peripheral ones will naturally go away. Regulating guns would be a nice first step… 😉