Saturday, January 31, 2009

Problems, How Come?

So I have a very basic question but one that is vital and crucial
for the most number of jobs in the world. People spend their lifetimes dealing with these things. People write books on these. There's countless theories, laws, algorithms, languages, programming languages and tools to solve, counter, lessen, or soften their blows.
This question is: How does a problem arise?
I will be succinct and write points:
  1. It was not anticipated.
  2. It was anticipated but unavoidable.
  3. You were just being careless.
  4. You just didn't care. In this case, the "problem" might not be labelled one, at least by yourself.
  5. The problem was a benefit until it became a disadvantage and turned into a problem, which turns into point number 1 again.
Now that the points are laid out, I will attempt to expand on them gradually in my following posts. I welcome further input.


  1. wow. That is pretty much how the problems come.

    But the bigger question would be how to deal with them? I guess acknowledging the source or problem is the starting of the ending of problem eradication process.

  2. the "bigger" question cannot be acknowledged without first identifying where the problems arise from.
    It's a paradox to label something "bigger" if the first step itself is vital to the understanding of the "bigger" thing.
    following this argument (i.e. if you agree with all that was said in the two sentence above), the "bigger" question reduces to a "smaller" question, replaced by the first question (which is the "bigger" question).

  3. wow.
    the first sentence was what I was trying to explain and I fully understand it. I totally understood your second sentence but I could not agree with it because as explained in the previous comment, the bigger question is referred as 'HOW to overcome the problems'. The first question of identifying the source of problem was big enough but not as big because it could be identified. However, the second is 'bigger' because it needs the sources identified plus something more. Identifying the sources alone does not guarantee the solution to the problems.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. The only "flaw" or inaccuracy here is point number two which states "It was anticipated but unavoidable." This by definition can not be overcome so like i said, the more general situation/"bigger" question is "how do they arise"? And it has not been claimed that stating a problem = solving it (that is if it's solvable). But problems are entities which most of the times in real life, are close to being unsolvable. You can get really close and state (usually foolishly) that the problem has been solved. However, history has shown the problem is far from solved.
    I might have divulged too much and might not have anything left for my other post if we keep discussing. ;)
    Of course, feel free to keep the discussion alive.

    P.S. the earlier comment was mine which had some sentences mixed up so I deleted it.

  6. I propose an alternative. Instead of trying to figure out the source or trying to solve the 'problem', how about finding another problem, something unanticipated but totally avoidable. Then bombing the living shit of out this second problem. Ok, I know now you are asking, but why? Because, this will distract us from the first problem which seems way too complex and gives us a headache.
    Okay, now if second problem gets too complex, then just declare the second problem to be solved, by saying something like, 'Mission Accomplished.' Then just pray for some another huge but short-term problem, that will distract us from both of the previous problems. Then if it all goes spinning out of control, then wait for some naive optimist to step in and promise to solve all three of these problems. Then it will be his/her headache.
    Hmm...this seems like a really good plan. Genius!

  7. You guys can argue about what really is the "bigger" question all day, but my simple question is: how do you define a problem?

  8. well, if we have to define a "problem" and have to keep boiling down, as these philosophical constructs go, we will end up talking about what is life or something like that.
    then again, I should not be crass about it and just brush your question away, crossfire.
    So i will say this, a "problem" is defined the same way you classify what good is as opposed to what bad/evil is. By instinct, a "problem" can be grasped and I want to leave it at that for my purposes. And as humans sharing the same experience, I am pretty sure, you understand what it means to have a "problem".
    My reason for doing this is I don't want to get stuck in that vicious philosophical argument about words which, to be honest, doesn't really lead anywhere.

  9. i think first point, 'It was not anticipated' tells everything. rest of the points r just hanging like tails. when u don't anticipate an incident, couldn't anticipate it, no matter reason can be any, careless to anticipate it, didn't care or be oportunistic and wait to see weather the consequesces land u up in a problem or will keep on showering u benefit are all tails to the first poinnt. And problems r just very specific to every person and circumstances so is very difficult to generalize. as a friend here says, what is problem. i too like to ask the same quesiton. A problem for u may not b a problem for me and a solution to it for u may not work for me.

  10. So are you proposing that problems are just entities simply unanticipated. Also, be aware that I have already stated I don't want to define what a problem is, simply because these discussions (read above).
    Of course, a problem for you might not be a problem for me and I have never stated the contrary. And in the broad view, the problems do not need to be the same. And again, I stated already that solving the problem was not my intention so it looks like, you have made a misguided comment. the "solution" part was a contribution of a fellow blogger "No Name Brand" so you might want him to tackle that!

  11. Good to see the blog in full swing. Apart from the ontological and epistomalogical repecussion arising from the identification of the nature of the 'problem', I would like to share some wisdom from one of the Real Analysis class I once took. In that class, asking the right question was the hardest part and once you knew what the question was the answer became self evident. Live and learn folks.

  12. Tatwa, what your Professor said was very insightful but quite "common sensical" as well (which a lot of deeper insights do tend to be, strangely). However, that approach assumes that you are looking for the exact solution. Perhaps it works with math but in life? I don't think I need to answer that.