The Hamburger Toilet Dilemma

When facing seemingly related problems, which aren’t.

We can often see that people relate problems or tasks and their resolutions in cases where the problems are not related at all, nor should they. A common delusional strategy in engineering, development and design is to try to solve two independent problems at once, as if they were dependent. A variation on this madness is to reverse the order in which dependent problems are tackled.

Here are two tasks which have no dependency. A word of caution, you will be induced to think that these tasks are indeed related:

a) Go to the toilet
b) Eat this hamburger

Wrong solution: Go to the toilet and eat the hamburger there.

Awareness exercise for the astute reader: Why is it the wrong solution? *

What should seem obvious in this trivial example, often comes disguised as apparently related issues. This leads the unsuspecting into the world of hypercomplex problems:

  • chicken-and-egg situations
  • assuming correlation when there is none
  • confusing correlation with causation

These are conflicts that are caused by a twisted perception of the nature of things. A perception based on belief instead of facts. This creates the illusion of conflict, when the conflict does not or should not exist in reality. If the conflict does not yet exist in reality, flawed reasoning has been exposed. If the conflict does exist in reality, flawed reasoning was allowed to manifest its consequences. A change of course in thinking and action is due.

Only link the resolution of one task to that of another task if there is a necessary dependency.

* If you think that eating your hamburger on the toilet is worth an attempt, a viable solution, you are living in hypercomplex-problem-world. Get out! You are looking at a conflict which should not exist.

Next time when you find yourself tackling an unsolvable dilemma, split it up, separate by concern, take little steps.

Got a related story to tell? Please do share in the comments below.

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