The Roots of the North Carolina Social Security Disability Crisis in the Philosophy of the Enlightenment

March 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The conventional wisdom is that Social Security Disability system in North Carolina and elsewhere is broken or at least highly dysfunctional. The criticisms come from all sides.

The million-dollar question is: What are the system’s constraints? Why are we having so much trouble financially, bureaucratically, and otherwise? Why is it so difficult for so many would-be beneficiaries of Social Security Disability in North Carolina to get results and to be treated with respect and empathy? Why is the Social Security Disability program in general so stressed and hard to manage? Unless we have good, deep, and true answers to these questions, we’re going to have a difficult time applying the right solutions. Because if we get the root problem wrong, our attempts to ameliorate the problems are going to be the equivalent of swimming upstream against a riptide.

So what are the root causes?

This blog and other sources – both scholarly and amateur – have been probing this question for years. Perhaps we have all not been probing deep enough. Perhaps the root of our suffering lies in the fundamental philosophies we have regarding health, wellness, and problem solving.

Let’s dive into that. Western thought has, at least over the past several centuries, been characterized by something called Reductionism. Basically, in our thinking and engineering, we like to break things down to their internal components. In so doing, we believe we can get a better understanding of how they work and improve them. This kind of “careful watchmaker” approach is useful for engineering products, machines, and even ideas.

But emerging science and evidence both suggest that this approach may be deeply flawed. Reality is more integrated. Breaking things down into components does not necessarily yield more information about how a system as a whole works. In fact, it can mislead us. In other words, from this point of view, Reductionism represents a step in the decisively wrong direction.

The more integrated approach basically tells us that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, you can catalog and study every brain cell in your brain. But studying the brain on the level of neurons alone will never give us answers to questions like “where does consciousness come from?” and “how does the mind create love?” etc. We need an approach that respects the challenge of describing the true, integrated reality of our reality.

For instance, when we talk about individual stressors on the SSD system – out-of-control costs, strange insurance rules, overwhelming bureaucracy, etc. – we may be missing the point. It’s not that these things don’t matter. Indeed, they can matter a great deal. It’s that it’s nearly impossible to separate various causes from one another. So what we should be doing is focusing on an integrated approach to our challenges — we need to see both the trees AND the forest.

For specific help, turn to a well-respected, efficient and effective Social Security disability law firm in North Carolina.

More Web Resources:

Perils of Reductionism

Why we Mistake the Forest for the Trees