Saturday, November 7, 2009

Myopic Thinking

"If after establishing the League [League of Nations], we are so stupid as to let Germany train and arm a large army and again become a menace to the world, we would deserve the fate which such folly would bring upon us." -Colonel Edward House-

I am reading a book on the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 after the end of World War I right now. I came across the above quote from the Presidential-Advisor House, and thought just how myopic it was. Of course, I benefit from the looking back now and realizing that World War II was just around the corner, and indeed the Germans would become a menace to the world again. However, it has gotten me thinking on just how dangerous shortsighted thinking can be. The question though is how does one prevent it? House was like many other thinkers in 1919 - they simply could not fathom the Great War not being the war to end all wars. So in pondering the issue, I came up with what I believe are necessary starting points for avoiding myopic thinking and planning.
  1. Distance myself from traditional thinking and the prevailing mindset of most (if not "all") people. I simply cannot follow the line of thought that most agree with.
  2. I need to consider all possibilities and viewpoints. If is it possible and has been thought of - it deserves some considering.
  3. I must prepare with the future always more important then the present. What "solved" issues in 1919 did nothing in the 1930's with the rise of Nazism, Fascism, and even Communism.

I still think blunders will arise - but the disasters of settling for myopic thinking & planning are far too costly.