The Necessary Complexity Theory
It turns out we are not interested in simple solutions. The nature of the interlocked problems which we face as a species are such that only holistic approaches have a chance of success and these are by their nature complicated. But humans oft have trouble with complexity, so make this a little easier, i have developed the Einsteinian Corollary to this Necessary Complexity Theory, which states:
For people to embrace complicated solutions, it is oft necessary to provide Simple Great Truths for these complex solutions to rest on.
These simple great truths are different for everyone. This is called the Einstenian Corollary because Einstein was famous for advancing elegant simple great truths that often took years to prove or disprove and set the world on edge (the most famous of which was E = mc squared).
One of my personal great truths is:
A good story can beat out evil.
A few years back Raj penned a number of wikipedia articles including one on me. Raj did not tell me he put the article up and i just bumped into it one day while i was searching for myself online. I write lots of letters to the editor, mostly on nukes, and usually the papers do not tell me they have printed my work. So i check by searching for my name and then i often get to see what is printed. Fortunately my conveniently unique name brings up little else.
I was pleased and surprised when an article on me popped up on wikipedia. My never diminutive ego puffed up yet a bit more. And this started my roller coastery relationship with wikipedia. Fairly quickly someone pointed out that there was nothing especially noteworthy about me and the article was marked for deletion. I added a number of “noteworthy” things and the close vote (3 to 2) was to keep the article. Then having learned a bit about wikipedia i went on this adventure, and expanded my page dramatically, adding things some of which were verifiable and some were not.
Then i got another notice, “wikipedia is not myspace = this looks a lot like a vanity page”. Fair enuf, my desire for their to be an entry on me was greater than my need to have them know i had unverifiably hitchhiked on sailboats across the pacific. i decided i would hack the article way back, had some very pleasant conversations with other wikipedia editors and came up with the most verifiable set of accomplishments in hopes of not getting booted. But before i deleted the vanity page i saved a copy of it. Over the years i have tweaked the vanity page quite a bit – with stories about my name, gratuitous pictures and a long list of quotes of mine. And of course some propaganda which is unverifiable.
Amusingly, if i enter my name into google, my vanity page comes up as number one, before the official wikipedia page. And thus the good story triumphs.
[Sadly, this turns out to be just a product of google configuring my browser based on my searches, everyone else who searches for me gets the official wikipedia entry on me before the vanity one. Thx Angie for checking.]