The Tangled Web – Part 8

Jigsaw Puzzles

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When we first practice to deceive,” lamented good old Scotty (the poet that is, not the guy with his warp drives and dilithium crystals). But I have noticed that in our attempt to un-deceive ourselves, which is what learning is about, we are also forced to weave a tangled web. It is a tangled web of relationships we slowly build in our minds and gradually a pattern emerges if we are lucky. Unresolved variables and dangling references scattered around the edges of our minds wait to be added to the mental construct over successive iterations.

This blog is a learning device for me. By attempting to express myself through writing bits and pieces, I am learning by revealing to my conscious mind what I subconsciously know but don’t know that I know. It is a slow, plodding, painful process at times but then learning is often that, and naturally it has its rewards because learning is always rewarding. The occasional joy of having expressed oneself well makes taking the next step in self-actualization a little easier.

Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the ideas wait to be put together in a coherent manner. For now I am just sorting through the pieces in no particular order. Some I am eager to fit within the frame but cannot do so without laying out the surrounding pieces first. Patience is called for. Also a bit of hard work – which I am afraid that I am congenitally incapable of. But if one is having fun, then a bit of hard work does not sound that hard.

OK, so now that I have explained why I titled this (hopefully) long rambling series “The Tangled Web”, I should get on with it.


Economists do it with models. Their attraction to models is understandable because models help them to understand how the whole complicated shebang works. Take, for example, the model economy we call the Robinson Crusoe economy. At its simplest, it has one person in it, Robinson. We carefully examine him (his abilities, his goals), his endowments (what he has been able to salvage from the shipwreck), his environment, his technology (what he knows), etc.

Models are stories. Here’s a simple model of a democracy. Two lions and one lamb. They are voting to figure out what to have for lunch. Majority rule. Fairly easy implications follow.

I have a slightly more elaborate model for what is happening in India. The next time.