The Problem of Our Time
Bill Cottringer

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” ~Albert Einstein.

So, what is the problem of our time? The problem is that we all sense the pain from a growing monumental problem, but we don’t understand it well enough to implement the level of thinking that is needed to do anything about it. Of course, sometimes when we take the time to really understand a problem well enough, we find out there really isn’t anything we need to do about it. Other times the thing that we may think needs changing isn’t the right one, like thinking we need to repair reality itself instead of repairing our incorrect or incomplete perceptions of it. Or, thinking we need to control situations we get into, rather than controlling how we react to a situation we are already in.

The understanding of the problem of our time starts with admitting what we don’t know about the problem, so that we can start learning what we need to know about it. This process helps us decide whether we need to do something or nothing about the problem, and decide which possible action that may be needed, is the right one. What we don’t seem to know, is the source of the problem., along with what we need or don’t need to do about it, or what we can or can’t do about it.

And now for what we do know from the science of physics and psychology research, which provides the best understanding of the problem of our time. Knowledge from general relativity, quantum mechanics, and quantum gravity have identified and proven three constants, or absolute truths. These are:

• The velocity of the speed of light.
• The minimum number of actions possible.
• The minimum size of things.

Knowledge from psychology has identified three comparable psychological constants, that similarly qualify as absolute truths. These are:

• Change
• Conflict
• Uncertainty.

There seems to be a noticeable contradiction between the finiteness of the physic’s three constants and the infiniteness of the three psychological constants. However, like all the yin-yang opposites of the universe, each is just a different side to the same coin and life’s way of knowing which one you are experiencing in order to know one from the other. Besides, the apparent contradiction is part of the traditional concept of time and space, which combine as an illusion, although a very tempting and popular one. Physics has dismissed the actual existence of these two perceived constants for two reasons: (a) neither can be measured directly, and (b) they are perceived as an after-the-fact result of the many interactions from conflicts, rather than existing in reality as the containers, in which things occur.

Conflict is actually both a physical and psychological constant. The ultimate yin-yang core conflict in the whole universe is between something and nothing, or creation and destruction. This conflict of conflicts is perpetual and has always existed eternally with no one-time alpha or omega cause or end. The experience of reality is a forever repeated something to nothing energy transitionary exchange. The only “time” that exists is the now moment that only seems to be coming from the future and moving to the past, because of the instruments we invented to measure this perceived mechanical and sequential movement.

Understanding and resolving the fundament conflicts within the three psychological constants is the challenge for the human race Here we have conflicts going on with us vs. life, between us and others, and within us and ourselves. Here a just a few of the opposites fighting each other for being more true and better than the other, and this is just the short list:

Stability vs. Change
Certainty vs. Uncertainty
Simplicity vs. Complexity
Fear vs. Hope
Evil vs. Good
Irresponsible vs. Responsible
Distrust vs. Trust
Pessimism vs. Optimism
Aggressive vs. Assertiveness
Ambiguity vs. Clarity
Wrong vs. Right
Outside vs. Inside
Nature vs. Nurture
Destiny vs. Free will
Democrats vs. Republicans
Females vs. Males
Old vs. Young
Weak vs. Strong
Pro-life vs. Pro-choice

Now reasonable thinking about the above pairs of opposites, might conclude that the best, most advantageous position is somewhere in the middle, so one has the benefit of knowing something important from both sides and not losing something valuable by foolishly over-embracing a half-truth. However, another alternative to consider comes from the shortest and sweetest sermon I ever heard in a church—The only real choice in life is which side you choose to be on.

In this respect, it might be sensible to make your choice to lean in the direction that seems best for you, using critical thinking and evaluating your experience objectively to get there, and then play your role civilly and responsibly with the intention of doing good and avoiding harm to others. The only caveat is to not take your chosen position too seriously and have more fun and satisfaction with it than frustration, turmoil, or unhappiness. Incidentally, either approach can reverse the win-lose outcomes typical of current divide tactics, to be win-win ones which open the door to further progress in human growth and development and reinforce the noble pursuit of knowledge and virtue.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is retired Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, but still practices sport psychology, business success coaching, photography, and writing, living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Because Organization, an intervention program in human trafficking. Bill is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Critical Thinking (Authorsden); Thoughts on Happiness, Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.). Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away and Christian Psychology for Everyday Use (Covenant Books, Inc.). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (206)-914-1863 or