We are always wrong

by Fargy

Nobody's perfect. In fact we are never correct. It's the foundation of science.

Science is an ongoing process, an endless iteration of the search for truth. We attempt to unravel and decipher the instruction manual for life, in the hope that it will give us some meaning and, dare I say it, closure.

I use the word science but that word is interchangeable with others.

Science works because it takes into account our position in life as observers and how all our perceptions of our environment differ because of differing perspectives.

Religion would work just as well as a replacement word. Both are frameworks for finding meaning.

Both are wrong.

But that's fine.

Early disappointment.

One of my earliest remembered disappointments was when reading two differing authors on the same topic.  It became apparent that one was a liar.  Logic demanded it.

My heart broke.

I couldn't understand why people would go to all the effort of publishing work that was a lie, that took us away from truth.

I was young.

I was wrong to care, because we are always wrong, all the time.  There is truth and understanding to be had but we lack the ability to perceive it.  Which is a limitation of our physiology and biology, our engineering if you lean to that way of thinking.



A simple way to measure wrongly.

Draw a straight line.

Then look at it very closely.

It won't be straight.

Get a better pen and try again.

All the way down to the atomic level it won't be possible to draw a straight line.

It may look straight, but upon closer inspection it won't be.

And that is one way to see that what we create is never perfect.

If we cannot draw a simple single line perfectly then it follows that we don't do much else right either.

We are only perfect in theory, but if that theory never leads to perfect results, then perhaps the theory is wrong too.



How do we cope with our imperfection?

We approximate.  We add redundancies.

Rough enough is good enough.

Change a few words in Shakespeare, and it would still be Shakespeare.  

Or put a few backup systems on our aircraft and space ships.  We also add redundancies in our communication, you could remove a few words from Shakespeare and meaning would still remain (Except there might be a few ripples with words that he created).  Same as greeting someone with a smile and nod of the head and a "Hello.", you could remove one or two and we could still communicate.

Approximating saves us time and redundancies give us backups in case of failure.

When that is not enough we tend to spin out of control, we become manic.  Some obsess over cleaning their kitchen, some try to stockpile money against the vagaries of Fate.  Both of these are attempts to draw a straight line.

Doomed to be imperfect, but in an imperfect world I guess it really doesn't matter that much which coping system you use.

Perhaps we could look at the work of Edward Lorenz for some comfort.  Way back in 1961 he was fiddling with some math formulas for predicting weather, to save a little bit of time he approximated some figures.  At first it started with a small divergence and then became quickly apparent that small changes lead to wild differences.

Which I find comforting.

It means we change the world with the smallest of our actions.    That we matter.

We are all imperfect and only capable of chasing perfection, never achieving that perfect state, but at least we all matter.

And just perhaps it's being imperfect that gives us room to create.


A gratitudunal note.

Thanks for reading, and I'd especially like to thank imperfect Amy for inspiring me to write this little series of thoughts down.

Take care out there.

Updated: 12/27/2014, Fargy
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Fargy on 12/27/2014

When I saw Hope in a Jar, I had to add the ad.

Digby_Adams on 12/27/2014

I am laughing, because Philosophy is my favorite facial cleanser. I use in in search for the perfect skin. My husband is a physicist. he thinks the deep thoughts in the family.

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