Sunday, April 28, 2013

The House is on Fire

The pitfalls on the path to understanding are well known, warnings abound from scientists, philosophers, teachers, in fact from anyone that has ever been wrong and learned from it.
Here are a few:
1- All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level. (Stephen Schneider)
2- Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis)
3- Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. (Francis Bacon)
4- Never fall in love with your hypothesis. (Peter Medawar)
5- It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts. (Arthur Conan Doyle)
6- A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong. (Francis Crick)
7- The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting. (Richard Feynman)
8- To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. (Charles Darwin)
9- It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. (Mark Twain)
10- Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. (Thomas Jefferson)
11- All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident. (Arthur Schopenhauer)

My friend Russ shared a quote recently (was it Buddhist ..?), about a person in a burning house trying to work out who started the fire ... The teacher in the quote pointed out that instead of 'Who started this'? A better question for that moment would have been "How do I get out of here"?

Asking the right question is indeed a skill, but so is context - It might be important to find out how the fire started, but if trapped inside, it is somewhat more pressing to locate the exit. Knowing the former will not help with the latter ... though knowing the latter will make finding the solution to the former possible ... and both may play a part in how to put the fire out, or if it is worthwhile to do so at all.

What is important? What is less so? 

What are just tangents or distractions?  

What are the keys? What are the corollaries?

And the pieces that many miss

How is the problem a problem? 

How many answers are there? 

In solving it, what are the consequences? Intended? Unintended?

.......... But what if you run out of questions to ask? Your imagination dries up? If you have no more loose ends in your mind, does that mean that the question has been answered? 

Maybe. Maybe not .......

To get past this impasse, you will need 2 things - Play and Adversaries, 2 catalysts that create a place where mistakes can be made and accidents can happen. A place where nothing is preordained and you have purposefully rescinded control ......

If the linear and rational have stopped yielding returns ... it's time to embrace the random .....

Everything has edges - It's important not to assume you know where they are ....



Rory said...


The European Historical Combat Guild said...

Yes, great thanks for posting, would you mind me sharing it and a link to the post?

Maija said...

Please, feel free to share :-)