Forgive the big quote, but this whole piece from Venkatesh Rao is good and useful and I want to preserve this bit for myself:
We increasingly respond practically to the world without even attempting to make sense of it.
One mental model for this condition is what I call ark head, as in Noah’s Ark. We’ve given up on the prospect of actually solving or managing most of the snowballing global problems and crises we’re hurtling towards. Or even meaningfully comprehending the gestalt. We’ve accepted that some large fraction of those problems will go unsolved and unmanaged, and result in a drastic but unevenly distributed reduction in quality of life for most of humanity over the next few decades. We’ve concluded that the rational response is to restrict our concerns to a small subset of local reality–an ark–and compete for a shrinking set of resources with others doing the same. We’re content to find and inhabit just one zone of positivity, large enough for ourselves and some friends. We cross our fingers and hope our little ark is outside the fallout radius of the next unmanaged crisis…
I think this is a valid observation. I’ve seen it in others, and I’ve seen it in myself. If there’s any difference in my state, perhaps it’s that I spent a couple of decades hyperconnected and processing large amounts of global information streams, and now, to preserve my ability to think and create, I’m rebuilding my garden instead. Maybe that’s no difference at all. Maybe I don’t care.