The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking our Way out of Extinction
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Why does it feel as if our most challenging problems today- the worldwide recession, global warming, fast-spreading viruses, terrorism and poverty- aren’t getting solved? What if our brain has limits that prevent it from solving such complex problems? If ancient civilisations collapsed because they, too, hit a cognitive limitation, are we headed for a similar collapse, and if so, can it be prevented?Using historical and modern-day examples, The Watchman’s Rattle describes the cognitive gridlock that sets in when complexity races ahead of the brain’s ability to manage it. Beginning with the Mayans, Khmer and Roman Empires, Costa shows how the tendency to find a quick fix to problems by focusing on symptoms instead of searching for permanent solutions, leads to frightening long-term consequences: Society’s ability to solve its most challenging, intractable problems becomes gridlocked, progress slows and collapse ensues. But, as Costa reveals, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that the human brain can be retrained to comprehend, analyse and resolve massively complex problems. A process of intuitive thinking, which Neuroscientists refer to as ‘insight’.Part history, part social science, part biology, The Watchman’s Rattle is sure to provoke, engage and incite change.