Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hopeful Inconsistency

'There should be no boundary to human endeavour. No matter how bad things may seem, where there is life, there is hope.' - Stephen Hawking

I love great stories. 'The Theory of Everything' is beautiful. One of the things I have always admired about Stephen Hawking is that he follows what philosopher Karl Popper called conjecture and refutation. First, use a wild, uninhibited, creative imagination free from boundaries to come up with ways to understand the world around us. Then, have the ability to turn on your own ideas with no attachment. Be the loudest and most convincing in pointing out where you have been wrong. Steven Pinker believes this is why Free Speech is fundamental to progress rather than just one of many competing values that we trade off against each other.


The emotional trade off is hard. I wrote a guest post for a friends blog called 'Trying to Unsquiggle'. It takes bravery to constantly be finding the holes in your thinking. I don't believe there is such a thing as a consistent thinker. We are good at solving individual problems. We are good at responding to individual wants and desires. But things get left out. The solution to one problem may be in direct contrast to the solution to the other. You then have a choice whether to ignore the inconsistency and live your life or dig. Megan asked some tough consistency questions in 'We need to talk about Charlie'. Megan is a digger.

Digging is emotionally difficult. Most people run out of energy and want to get a balance between shutting off and enjoying individually solved problems for a while. Even if it is just to build up the strength to have another go. Others prefer to let others do the digging for them. Others get annoyed if you dig in their general vicinity. You may have family and friends who don't want to know about your other competing thoughts. You may live in a society with two competing and inconsistent ideologies who would rather live separately or have their thoughts dominate than try figure it out. You may live in a society where there is no competition of ideas. The ideas are set and you live by them or get ex...cluded/ecuted.

There are few things that fill me with the sense of awe than of a universe with no boundaries. It boggles, inspires and seduces the imagination. And along with all of our inconsistencies, we give it hope.

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