How Practical Wisdom allows one to tackle radical confusion: PROBLEM SOLVING

The tension of unknown suffering outsizes those pain’s stress. This is  the finding of a 2016 report conducted well before the Pandemic 2020 chaos was running the world show. Participants with a 50% risk of receiving a shock were more nervous in the sample than those with a 100% chance of receiving a shock. In other words, it wasn’t about the prospect of a stress-causing shock, it was their confusion. 

This research provides scientific proof that most of us are now feeling something. That is,  the anxiety of not understanding what will happen to the things around us. Our environment. careers. children. Our wellbeing whether we deign to embrace friends and family or eat in a restaurant is agonising. No wonder, though, that a new report found a three-fold rise in pre-pandemic psychiatric distress.


Psychological trauma is no mistake in the face of uncertainty; it is human nature . Jill Stoddard is a clinical psychologist and author of a book about anxiety control. There was a survival gain for nervous early humans that prevented that confusion. Stoddard states that “If you want some new information, just use your smartphone. Only go to your favourite search engine if you want to know if a restaurant, product , or service can fulfill your requirements.” Technology has deleted our capacity to improve our muscle ambiguity resistance, when confronted with the unexpected events. Thereby, we have increasingly become more nervous. Studies show that higher uncertainty intolerance is correlated with problematic levels of technology usage.PROBLEM SOLVING



More than ever, we long for assurance and an end to the labyrinth of unanswerable questions. PROBLEM SOLVING

We are, more than ever, looking for certainty and an end to the labyrinth of unanswerable questions. This is as the universe begins to open up again in fits and starts. We yearn for laws that would govern healthy, happier lives. Rules that can have simple parameters as to “what counts as being healthy.” However, few such rules have arrived despite researchers and PROBLEM SOLVING policymakers’ efforts. Troublingly, they appear to provide a quickly shifting target when they do. This includes the viral video explaining a difficult method about how to securely store food during coronavirus. This was accompanied in short order by other experts ignoring most of the advice it presented. At some point, simpler and more consistent guidelines will come. However,  we need clarification in the meantime to handle the discomfort of our confusion.


We should look back instead of anxiously looking for better guidelines. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, discusses this in his book. We should turn to a special kind of decision in our world of conflicting interests and rampant uncertainties that Aristotle discussed in his classic Nicomachean Ethics. This kind of decision, called “practical knowledge” suggests understanding how contradictory objectives and values can be managed. 

This kind of wisdom recognises that it is not possible to eradicate unknown danger, but directs us to become wiser on how we handle it. We will understand how to wisely judge competitive commodities as we face frightening and unpredictable trade-offs. Practical wisdom will help us align the goals of our children’s academic, social and psychological wellbeing.

This includes physical health , financial stability , safety and so on.

Practical wisdom requires realising how contradictory goals and beliefs should be integrated. This kind of wisdom recognises that it is not possible to eradicate unknown danger. However, it directs us to become wiser on how we handle it.

From what we learn from books, evidence and students, practical knowledge emerges. When it comes to COVID-19, all of us are still on a data-gathering mission. We are constantly tracking the headlines and the latest data as if our lives rely on it (which they do, actually). Such data is a crucial place to launch. Yet intelligence, in addition to cold hard truth, still relies on everything. It needs living experience and understanding of the persons we make choices for.


Economist and author Emily Oster uses social science instruments to assist people in a role where confusion reigns supreme.


Oster includes a two-step method that starts with details in her research-driven guides on pregnancy (Expecting Better) and parenting (Cribsheet). According to Oster, however, “data cannot tell you the single correct answer for every question”. It’s just going to give you some details and some tradeoffs you have to think about. “The next important move is to take information. Also, mix it with stuff you know about the interests of your family. Take what you think would fit with your family and bring them together to make a choice that’s right for you.”

And if choices must be taken, we should still warn ourselves that knowledge is never complete or that conclusions are guaranteed.

It can be difficult to note, but we have regularly taken decisions balancing risk in more common days. Some of those threats are ones that we didn’t think much about: without any thought, we drive cars, dive in lakes, and cross streets. Of course, uniform precautions augment all of the risks we accept. This includes airbags and seatbelts in our vehicles. Beach lifeguards, and traffic signs, traffic lights, and crossing guards. When risk is minimal, when the advantages seem evident, and when practise and technology allow us to withstand risk that cannot be eliminated, we consider risk. And simply because we are used to dealing with them, we consider any risks. As this is part of being alive, we accept the volatility of results.


In addition to cold, hard truth, wisdom relies on everything. It needs living experience and understanding of the persons we make choices for and about.

If it seems like we’re now flying blind, that’s because there’s rising danger and confusion. And we generally encounter greater tension with higher chance and confusion. For starters, parents rarely cared about sending children to school during the flu season. Now, as classes reopen, parents agonise about what to do. What would be easier, online learning or in-person learning if given a choice?



This is a tangled thicket of incertitude.


We should start with our awareness of what the risks are, and self-knowledge of what risks we are prepared. Moreover, we should consider what advantages we want to prioritise. And to steer through the confusion, we should use practical wisdom. Just like we would negotiate a crowded city full of angry drivers and no crosswalks.

Here are four ways in which we can rely on the ideas of Aristotle to lead us across uncertain terrain:

1. Make action on the basis of our level of knowledge

Uncertainty sounds so terrifying that all our energy appears to be absorbed. Direct exposure to areas of greater clarity in order to combat the tension of ambiguity. Just when you would discover which intersections have improvised crosswalks or fewer traffic, you would be able to learn what patterns would be beneficial under your control. We understand in this way that wearing masks, washing hands, disinfecting objects, and keeping social distance will minimise the spread of viruses. Stoddard uses this tip in her own life: “I worry about what I can and can’t do anytime I feel my anxiety rising.” I can’t manage the pandemic and its effects, but when I feel depressed, I can look to my husband for comfort and I can make additional attempts to be affectionate, attuned and caring to my children. PROBLEM SOLVING

2. Stop black and white thoughts

A wise individual knows that endless shades of grey surround almost all circumstances and decisions. Also that no matter what we do, we will not eradicate danger. In reality, even a decision never to leave our homes before a busy city puts up crosswalks could leave us for longer than it will be safe at home stuck. Similarly, waiting for a vaccine is followed by all types of risk-reduced physical exercise due to sitting at home. Social alienation that can lead to anxiety and depression. Also, frustration that can induce academic stagnation. Wisdom involves managing competing interests, from physical wellbeing to psychological health. It also involves taking care of our children and taking care of our teachers and school employees. Many of the time, goals will clash. Profit optimization and risk avoidance also suggest that there would be some risk. When we wisely choose risk, we are better off.

3. Start with the laws, then consider wise improvements.

If laws are like GPS directions to get to the house of a mate, so COVID-19 is like the GPS refusing to account for the three-car pileup and EMT crews. You might be able to hang around and wait for your GPS redirection, but by doing so, you might trap yourself. You could explore a new path instead. The more you understand the surrounding environment, the more enticing it would be to deviate from the GPS rules. More thorough awareness indicates better judgement and less dependency on laws. Of course, there is doubt either way, but there is something to be said about using the GPS as a rough guide. That is, to be altered by your understanding of the roads and your self-knowledge of what kinds of danger it is prudent for you

4. A crucial element in cultivating insight is learning to embrace ambiguity.

Practical wisdom requires an awareness that there is no optimal choice. There are advantages, disadvantages, and complexities to each choice. An array of research shows that we can build neural networks that can direct us through new interactions by tolerating confusion to participate in trial-and – error learning.


The world we occupy is, in reality, an unknown location. Also when we build protective precautions to minimize risk or become accustomed to risks that are part of life, there are no assurances. COVID-19 carried challenges in which we have not yet learnt to live. So there are high stakes.

We need the expertise of a trailblazer. Who can improvise rather than follow a rigid collection of directions, to live life in these turbulent times. 

It takes time and practice to get the lay of the land, of course, to be able to plot a course that will get you safely and on time to your destination consistently.

 We should use maps and improvised crosswalks as a guardrail for safety before practice grows and improvisation becomes feasible, even as we deem literally wise improvisations.



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