The TRIZ concept of technical contradictions is too simplistic. It assumes that gains in one of contradictory parameters result in losses in another. Accordingly, it knows only two ways of dealing with contradictory parameters: either trading them off, or uncoupling and thereby resolving contradiction.

TRIZ assumes that trading contradictory parameters off (unlike their uncoupling and resolving contradiction) is always possible. However, there are contradictory parameters which cannot be traded off. They have been first discovered not by the conventional engineers but by the so-called "engineers of the human souls" (i.e. writers, philosophers, politicians, etc).

Here are the examples of such parameters:

• "Trading principles for victory gets you neither principles nor victory";
• "Trading liberty for safety results in neither liberty nor safety";
• "Those who give up privacy for security, get neither privacy nor security";

The TRIZ concept of technical contradictions remains relevant for technology only as long as similar contradictory parameters which cannot be traded off have not been discovered in technology. In this regard it is appropriate to ask whether correlation between contradictory parameters in technology is always like this:

or may be sometimes (or even always) it is like this:
In the latter correlation reneging too much on parameter 1 for the sake of gaining too much in parameter 2 results in losing in both parameters.

If parameters 1 and 2 are transposed then the latter correlation has the following graph:

In this version, gains in parameter 2 beyond some threshold bring about gains in parameter 1 too.

It appears that the latter two correlations are more realistic than the classical TRIZ correlation. Consider, for example, such classical technical contradiction as the golden rule of mechanics: "if you lose in force, you will gain in distance". (The latter holds regardless of whether by "gaining" and "losing" we mean "decreasing" and "increasing" respectively or vise versa. Thus, without loss of generality, we can assume that "gainig" means "increasing" and "losing" means "decreasing".) It is then not difficult to notice that in reality one cannot afford losing in force too much because there is friction. If force becomes less than friction, then nothing would move, and one, thereby, would gain nothing in distance. Thus, if our correlation turns out to be more realistic for such classical contradictory parameters as force and distance, then it is definitely more realistic for other contradictory parameters too.

The concept of contradictory parameters that cannot be traded off surprisingly finds application to the current situation in the Middle East. Indeed, Israel is trying to not harm civilians and cares of their safety at the expense of the safety of its own soldiers. The opposite side knows that and uses civilians as human shield. As a result, the civilians are not better off. It appears that soldiers' safety and civilians' safety are contradictory parameters which cannot be traded off. One cannot increase civilians' safety at the expense of soldiers' safety. Attempts at so doing result in no safety for both soldiers and civilians.

Accordingly, the only way to increase civilians' safety is either increase soldiers' safety or uncouple these parameters. How to achieve the latter is an open TRIZ challenge. Anybody who finds a solution could be a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. He would definitely deserve the Altshuller prize too.