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The Thinking™ should definitely be concerned with the external world, but “Truth” is not enough. To believe that the relation with the external can be evaluated by a dichotomy (TRUE/FALSE) is a simplification that has already been tried and found lacking.

[If you’ve already read this one in your newsreader, i am sorry, i had my Palm blog-poster misconfig’d…]

Example: does she love you or doesn’t she? Maybe she’s got a deep feeling for you, but reacting to hearing the question (“Do you love me?” in drama voice) might actually scare her into liking you less. And that bit less might be the difference between a reasonable YES and a certain NO.

As much as you, in your helplessness and fear, wish for one, clear, concrete answer for that question, the state of affairs in that regard cannot be turned into YES or NO.

Asking the question does change the feeling it was supposed to reveal.

And, before you tell me science is supposed to deal with “objective” issues, has not Quantum Physics been dealing with exactly the same dilemma for decades now?

And those are just famous cases. You could find similar issues in Newtonian Physics (which are supposed to be the model of certainty and truth) if you wanted. Are not gravital systems with more than a few bodies too complex to calculate? The way Newton asked the question was vastly more important than the answer he got.

The idea of “Truth” is much more an assumption than something needed to reason.

In the science of measurements (it is called Metrology) one of the basic ideas is that there is no correct measure but only better or worse approximations. Nothing is 1m tall, it might be 1.0002m or 1.00019342626m or whatever, depending on the accuracy of your measurement.

You do not judge a measure by whether it is correct or no, you have instead another measurement for the amplitude of error (say 1m more or less 2mm). And the error, by it’s turn is not measured as the difference between your measurement and a “real” value, but by the deviation achieved after many different measuring attempts. Although you say that a given piece “has 1.0002m” you never require such metaphysics as “Truth” to talk about the piece, you just have a number, and the number is the result of a technique and it is, in turn, just a trick. It is not truth, it is not reality. It is just a number. Occam’s, for khryss’ sake!

Notice that i am not defending Solipsism (in the naive sense), i am not saying that the idea is more important than the thing. In the case of a measurement, for instance, the thing is what matters and if we require more accuracy we will go back and measure the thing with better rulers. But the thing is not “Truth” or “Reality” or any of that crap. There is no final arbiter of accuracy. There is no measurement to end all measurements.

To hypothesize an observable world that is independent from the observer is a cute idea, and it seems to be very practical, but if you try it you’ll find it is not. It simply isn’t.

Truth is, in the end, only an misunderstanding. We can do better without it.

One Comment

  1. I should have added this somewhere in this post, but the train of thought just did resist the detour:

    More than anything else, the undecidability of the world is one of the most concrete, unquestionable, in-your-face, aspects of life.

    I mean in the sense that you can only always just check one option, you can only live each instant once.

    For example, what would have happened if i had given girl X that chocolate at so-and-so occasion? I do not know, and i can not know, and no matter how much time i waste churning that thought, the fact remains that i do not know what would have happened. I might giver her the same chocolate, but now it will be another occasion, with different conditions, different contexts, so on.

    You never enter the same river twice. And this is one BIG FAT component of so-called human condition

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