Chapter 5: Complexity and Complications in Relation to Stress and Strain

1. From where do our real difficulties in life arise?

2. What do we cultivate as a result of operating from the “end- gaining” principle?

3. What two spheres of stress and strain does Alexander enumerate?

4. Why must these two spheres be considered inseparable?

5. What are errors and defects in the sphere of psycho-mechanics the result of?

6. What is entirely responsible for these harmful conditions of strain and the unsettled state which holds sway at this moment?

7. What have the roots of the cancer of disunion caused to deteriorate?

8. What is it fair to conclude vis-a-vis the cause or causes of the growing disunion in all spheres?

9. With what are complications ever to be associated?

10. In what ways is the parallel to the failure in our teaching methods to be found in our attempts to progress in social, political, industrial, religious and other spheres?

11. How under the present plan are politics and deception interdependent?

12. Who are most responsible for setting back the clock of civilization?

13. What must we do if we are to check the present over-balancing in all areas of life?

Thought Questions

1. Alexander writes of people’s reasoning still being dominated by the herd instinct, giving being swayed by political oratory as an example. Granting that our psycho-physical co-ordination conditions our responses, what is the relationship if any between the “light” reading that Alexander deplored in the previous chapter, and people being unable to reason? Are critical (verbal) reasoning abilities worsened by watching television? What effect can prolonged television viewing, especially programs such as Sesame Street, have on children’s critical thinking abilities? Is it possible to learn this technique without a well developed verbal reasoning ability?

2. Alexander writes (p. 288) of attempts at reform, organization, advancement and unity invariably being “end-gaining” attempts, “resulting, even where the specific “end” is gained, in new complications leading to social conflict and harmful diversity.” Can end-gaining ever be useful, or result in a benefit beyond an immediate correction, without new complications?

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