Silent Functional Fixedness
Together, we often discuss and recollect about a personal travel story from Spain. In a typical tourist café we ate a useless but tasty pastry and washed it down with a Italian espresso. Behind my eyes I could hear what could only be described as a SNART from the women behind me. Yes a snart; two parts sneeze and three part bum cheek, the vibration was contagious, thankfully all in close proximity to this wondrous sound were lucky enough to escape the blast radius of this wondrous olfactory vibrato. The fallout response was nuclear, familiar I should say, in the fact that waiter, surrounding patrons and both of us suffered through the uncomfortable silence with what could only be described as a adaptive forme of functional fixedness. Functional fixedness describes a cognitive bias that limits our ability to interpret experiences in a particular way. Perhaps it is a cultural defence mechanism that galvanizes the group in empathetic eyebrow exercises soto voce. Galileo Galilei's utterance "E pur si muove", spoken after recanting his heliocentric theory, is an example of sotto voce utterance, yet our afternoon instantiation of the soto voce took the forme of the following question, "Did the lady behind me just, - Snart??", Imagine eyes bulged from my head and whatever train of thought I was one quickly derailed, leaving me and my awe junky partner in a state of bewilderment and bubbling carpe diem humour. The lady politely excused herself and went to the bathroom, circling around the table the staff of this fine establishment didn't know what to do or how to handle this situation, their inaction was their action.
How else might we battle the tendency to fixate on methodology as the pathway to truth? We have to be careful here, I want to evoke the, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" aphorism. Post Modern deconstructionists fail to assess value to existing structures of thought. It was the combination of proof through abstraction with falsifiable observation that made Einstein's theory on Relativity rigorous. Relativism is dysfunctional without boundary conditions and those that use General Relativity Theory to justify relativism don't understand the gravity of the situation. For today, we are going to limit our deconstruction to the theory at hand, if you want to extend the scope of deconstruction to include white man privilege, domestic abuse, the end of the world or the right to life, we will save this for the recycle bin.