Patterns and Design
A Good Quote
"Social science is replete with articles claiming discovery: a new idea has been developed or a new breakthrough made enticing us to dump existing ideas and follow this new one. All too often we find that the breakthrough is another case of what Anderson et al. (1985) call (after Sorokin) the Christopher Columbus Complex: going to Disneyland and believing one has discovered America The main causes of this complex are laziness and an inflated ego, making us believe that as part of the contemporary world we have a greater degree of insight and intellectual understanding of society. As a consequence, the works of now dead, social theorists such as Sorokin go unread or are only understood through derivative sources. Ideas by predecessors are therefore glibly criticized for what is perceived to be theri weak purchase on current issues or problems of the discipline. As Anderson et al. point out: 'victims of such a complex tend to overestimate our contemporary achievements because they underestimate those of our predecessors, the tasks they faced and perhaps failed at, largely because victims of the complex have not tackled those tasks themselves' (1985:70)."