Sunday, June 28, 2009

how to think more like god

what do we value about god?

one thing is we presume god is never wrong.

but if we cannot be god, can we ever learn to still not be wrong?

and if we learn how not to be wrong, would that bring us closer to god?

paul graham talked about a friend of his who he admired for never being wrong.  

he talks about how this seems impossible, but really isn't, if you really pay attention to what you say.

i concur.

i, too, have a friend who is almost never ever wrong.  how?

not being in his head, i'm not certain.  but i gather his brain naturally does some of these things along the way:

1) he usually only speaks to what he knows
2) he's fully thought through what he knows 
3) he plays devil's advocate with himself
4) if he's unsure of something, he'll tell you he's unsure about it
5) he recognizes that knowledge has limits and that he himself has limits
6) things outside the realm of the knowable, he quickly admits are outside the realm of the knowable

if you're ever looking for an easy way to refer to things beyond the realm of the knowable, you might use the term "the margin of mystery."

it's a great way to lump unknowable things into one phrase.  

that way, you basically have two possible things to discuss:

1) the knowable
2) the unknowable (things within the "margin of mystery")

more hints:

if you are making a case for something that is knowable, then qualify it where necessary, but make it as irrefutable as possible.

if you are, instead, making a case for something in the margin of mystery, WATCH OUT!!  instead of trying to sound smart, you might try conceding that what you're discussing is in the margin of mystery.  once you admit this, watch how people respond.  they usually will agree with you and thank you for your humility and candor.  you will become more credible to them.

nothing is more pointless than listening to someone pretend to know the unknowable.

nothing is more beautiful than listening to someone concede to not know the unknowable.

beauty of thought begins with clearly differentiating the knowable and the unknowable.

how could it not?

No comments:

Post a Comment