Knowledge Continuum

Notes and Thoughts

An experiment to spark conversations


Too nuanced to be responsible?

With the rising awareness towards complex systems and the increasing ability of people to see beyond black and white, it is only natural that people be dissatisfied with the prescriptions and look for nuanced opinions. But the problem is not with those that look for nuanced opinions, it is instead with those that misuse nuance to mislead the rest of us into a chaotic neutral. Before I go any further let me explain my position on this — nuance is more often than not a function of scale and complexity that is not easily decipherable when looked through the lens of binaries, but the issue is as with any other idea, nuance too over a period of last few decades has morphed into a function of many other things, few of which have been cowardice, evading responsibility, and malice.

Think about this: what requires nuance? Would you consciously ponder about the efficiencies and trade-offs of your strategies when confronted with a tiger in your living room? Would you worry about losing 100 grand (say you had) in exchange for getting back your kidnapped child? My point is nuance helps only when the situation allows for a responsibility-free space for analysis, but if it is a situation that involves The kind of skin in the game we are talking about here is not the incentive-based mechanism that mainstream econ touts it to be but a filtering mechanism that removes people who don't bear the responsibility of downsides instead of adding people who, you will (have to) take a stand (wittingly or unwittingly). But if you keep buying all the vacuous ideas in the name of nuance, they will eventually sell nuance itself as a position just like black and white.

To elucidate further, think of this entire idea in terms of responsibility, we are creatures that find meaning only when bestowed with at least some kind of responsibility that is challenging enough to keep us pre-occupied, but the moment you let it wander it doesn't settle on the tranquil and equanimous state of zero judgments, instead it tries to ride on the wave of potentialities(mostly bad ones). And nuance, when marketed as a Straussian take catering to the subtleties of a situation, feels like a pretty good wave to ride on, but believe me, it isn't at least most of the time. More often than not, a good heuristic is- to be responsible and stand for the decision you take instead of mulling over how to win the argument by trying to mindlessly talk from all angles. To be clear, I am not arguing not against nuance, but arguing in favor of responsibility over/with nuance whenever possible.

See Related: Humility is the knowing of the epistemic gapHumility is the knowing of the epistemic gap
Humility is the knowing that you don't know a lot of things not a false pretension to deceive people into praising you.

The contemporary view of humility seems to be to pretend as if one knew litt...