Attention to detail. Obsession with detail.

I have been blessed with being able to access the works, analyses and so forth of Dr Steven E Koonin, author of  “Unsettled. What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters.” I was introduced to his work on climate science when listening to a conversation he had with the Hon John Anderson on the topic a while back. Dr Steve Koonin has also had numerous conversations and debates, one or two of which I found extremely painful to listen to, since they kept demolishing the respect I have had most of my life for people with the title of “PhD” to their names. Not Dr Steve Koonin, of course, but one or two of the PhDs that he has had a debate with. I will embed the first video I referred to here, so you might like to have a watch or a listen. This one is definitely worth your time and there have been no updates to the data that will change those views since that conversation occurred.


I am in the process of slowly getting the ebooks of people I want to read more of, and have added Dr Steve Koonin’s book “Unsettled: What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters” to my list. I saw some conversations online recently about sea level changes and so went directly to Chapter Eight of the book, which essentially laid out some details, charts and so forth, about sea level change. All of those charts were from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, so you will get, not Dr Steve Koonin’s data, but whatever official data is out there. Sea levels ARE rising, and they are cyclical, meaning they will rise and fall, and there is not going to be catastrophic sea level rise posing an existential threat to humankind. Any existential threat to humankind is coming from our insistence on obsessing with details. The wrong details. Another resource I am looking at is Dr Bjorn Lomborg’s books, particularly the one talking about the twelve best things we could do right now to nudge people upwards in terms of human flourishing. This is besides Creation Ministries International’s excellent writeup on climate change.

Have you been taught that you should pay attention to details? Or have you been misled into the attitude of “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” You pay attention to details, of course, otherwise you will never rise towards excellence. What is egregiously trumpeted, of course, is attention to details which distort the picture of what is really going on. You are mostly familiar with that slide or poster showing what the shadow of a cylinder looks like. It is a circle if you shine the light on it head on, and a rectangle if you shine the same light from the longitudinal side. Attention to details means getting the full picture, meaning shining the light and recording what the cylinder might seem to be when viewed on full circumspection, or as fully as we are able to go. Pay attention to details. The right details.

In “Charter Schools and their enemies” by Thomas Sowell, Chapter I on “Comparisons and Comparability” give us a clear idea of how to make comparisons leading to better decisions. That is part of paying attention to detail. You gather as much information as possible about what you are discussing, especially if you have to make consequential decisions, look at all the information, discern what else you need to gather and what decisions are going to be made with whatever you have at the moment. Go get the book and read it for yourself. Then come and have a discussion with me. The main reason why so many policies, at national, organizational, company levels and so forth, are so destructive is because policymakers at all levels seem bent on obsessing with details that ensure they remain in power.

Dr Victor Davis Hanson’s remarks on WW2 Axis powers’ obsession with making superb machines rather than making practically effective ones are very insightful. One of the main reasons the Allies won is that they had four-engine bombers and the Axis did not. Having four-engine bombers meant that you were able to strike at your enemies’ industrial plant and thereby weaken his ability to continue making war against you. The Axis powers did not do that. Instead, perhaps because they had more difficulty obtaining natural resources like oil, focused on making excellent two-engine bombers, which of course lacked the range and payload to reach the industrial plants of THEIR enemies. This is one example of being obsessed with detail. It is like focusing on sculpting a macho muscular body for yourself but being highly deficient in emotional and spiritual intelligence. Paying attention to detail means that you know which portions of that voluminous detail you need to focus on at which particular time.

So, are you paying attention to detail or are you obsessing with just a few because you think that is going to get you what you want? Take a step back and re-focus! You’re welcome!

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