the health of diversity, the sickness of uniformity

‘because we are educated to believe that salvation is found in the doctrines of a single system, we are naively susceptible to dissimulation and cant. ideologies prey on these weaknesses and pervert them into blind loyalties, preventing diversity rather than nurturing natural evolution and the flourishing of ideas. ecologists and biologists know that systems achieve stability and health through diversity, not uniformity. idealogues take the opposite view.’ (blessed unrest, 16)

TESL is littered with varying approaches, each with a label, such as ‘the silent way’; yet we were encouraged to be eclectic, try them all, and use whatever worked in that particular situation, for there is no one answer, no magic bullet–an approach i find applies to many things. maybe our survival depends on such an approach. still, a uniform answer is tempting; it certainly has its place. take physics and its search for a theory of everything, for example. but we are learning that the scientific method has its limits, even within science. like solving polynomials, it’s based on reducing variables. it’s a very good tool for some things–like those requiring analysis–but not for others–like those which exhibit complexity.

similarly, isms and ologies solve certain social problems, but not all. you have to pick and choose, and be assiduous. above all, you have to be flexible–be wary of uniformity and accepting of diversity, even if some views are opposite yours.

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