The Seen and the Unseen
Every action has not one but many effects; of these many effects, only some — perhaps one — are intended, and others are unintended; some of the many effects are beneficial and others are harmful; some are immediate, and others delayed; some are foreseen and others not; some are known and others unknown; some are evident and others not. The world is complicated because things are connected and interrelated, and what happens in one part affects other parts, and all sorts of things are happening all the time and therefore it is hard to fully understand the consequences of any large-scale intervention.
The world in which actions have only intended, beneficial, immediate, foreseen, known and evident effects is not the world we live in. In our world, actions also have effects that are unintended, harmful, delayed, unforeseen, unknown and concealed. What does that imply, though? Should one do nothing in the face of uncertainty and risk? No. It means that one should have the humility to not presume to know what’s best for the world and be very hesitant to command others to do one’s bidding. Continue reading