At a glance it appears that the authors of the main handbook of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), enjoy naming new disorders all the time, to the point of leaving little behaviour under the heading normal. To honor that tradition I have named a new diagnosis: Obsessive Compulsive maker Disorder. If you have OCmD you have to make things, whether they are of any actual use or not. Most artists fall in this category.
To solve problems it is necessary to identify them correctly. One way to define the term problem is as a contradiction between at least two desired outcomes. I like to categorize problems as being material, temporal, intellectual, or antagonistic.
Material problems include all manners of technical, biological, natural, and other spatial problems not directly caused by human interaction. A material problem is for instance one where there is a contradiction between the different properties sought in a material. One could for instance want a substance to be both flexible and hard, both of which might be impossible to get without some serious problem solving. The types of material problems I have dealt with include finding new ways of casting bronze.
Some contradictions occur within ourselves because we have different preferences at different times. What feels good in the short term might not be beneficial in the long term. We often end up following our short-term interests by habit. So how can we change that habit?
”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
(From Will Durant, apparently summarising Aristoteles teaching, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers.)
By taking small steps that give in to our long term interests, we grow a habit to considers our long term preferences. Our will can be changed by our will – if we take small steps.
Off course, forcing our will towards long term interests is also dangerous ditch to fall in since it removes us from living here and now. Only thinking about what is best for the future is a sure way to get stressed out, highlighting that it is beneficial to find the balance between our long and short term preferences.
Mathematical problems can be closely linked to the material world but are clearly intellectual problems. Other examples include theological and philosophical problems. An intellectual problem is, for example, the supposed incompatibility between our responsibility for our actions, and the possibility that our actions are entirely determined by our genes and our environment.
These types of problems occur only because of human attitudes and behaviours. Some material, temporal or intellectual contradictions become problems only as a result of incompatibilities betweens individuals or groups. Sport competitions and civil wars are examples of antagonistic problems. Most estetic problems are also antagonistic problems, though often paired with intellectual (for instance colour theory) or temporal issues (fashion).
Problem solving involving more than one person will often be affected by antagonistic problems as we all have different pre-conceived notions and hang-ups of how problems should be viewed and solved.
As a student of wars and what makes people fight them it is clear that appearance matters. I even recall seeing some research indicating that troops that feel like they look cool make better soldiers, but don’t quote me on that one. The clothes and gear worn by warriors and soldiers have always inspired, and been inspired by, fashion. On the side of the incremental changes and recycling of old looks seen in civilian fashion military wear can change as sharply as wartime environments change. From when the latest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started there have been major updates of the personal equipment of Western forces that have been taken up by civilian shooters, survivalists and outdoorsmen, as well as by so called mall ninjas, and given rise to terms such as tacticool and gucciflage. A huge benefit of this update in equipment is that civilian makers of cutting edge outdoors gear have been given military contracts thereby resulting in high quality surplus gear. Particularly if you live in the United States it is now possible to get all sorts of advanced outdoors gear for cheap.
I’m in the process of updating my old outdoor equipment, and I intend to do so in style and have most equipment be coyote brown. A problem with using surplus equipment is that a lot of it is camouflaged. Luckily there are some options out there, like coyote brown, that look civilian enough for me.
Coyote brown comes in various materials from different makers. Unfortunately what is called coyote brown can vary from tan to olive green. If I end up reviewing coyote brown products I will try to specify where on that range that a maker’s color actually fits.
The USMC uses this color for their nylon gear since it can be used with both their MARPAT desert and woodland camouflage. I have also understood that it is used alongside multicam since it does not stand out too badly against the multicam colors. Apparently the official coyote brown color has the Natick code 498. I haven’t researched from where this particular color comes but according to one story the USMC started using coyote brown based on a Ralph Lauren color called ”coyote”. This was when the MARPAT camouflage was developed. Be that as it may, the colors similar to coyote brown has been used in other militaries for a long time. Load bearing vests and uniforms in a brown similar to coyote brown has been used in South Africa.
I am currently setting up this site. Check back in a couple of weeks