Let’s stop pretending we know everything

We often fail to notice things that we are not expecting. Dr Lisa Randall, Physicist

Note: additional links to newly published material may be added after you have read this.

Can we please stop pretending we have the answers or are on a knowledge home run where the main issues are settled with only scraps to be tidied up?

The reality is –

  1. We hardly know anything
  2. What we think we know changes constantly, often in astounding ways
  3. The best method we have for discovering facts, scientific method, is limited
  4. Science is not reality, but provides models of reality
  5. Science is robust not unequivocal, it can produce wrong answers that are useful and seemingly right answers that are wrong
  6. What is real varies between systems, people and within ourselves
  7. We cannot even conceive of what is yet to be asked, making imagination as important as science for progress.

To claim to know for certain, in particular about issues that do not yield to testing, is unscientific and given history, likely unwise.

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We are shaped by the unseen

You see, the strangeness of my case is that now I no longer fear the invisible, I’m terrified by reality. Jean Lorrain

We assume our reality –

  1. Is reality
  2. Is right.

But we have access to only the tiniest amount of information that’s out there, whether in the electromagnetic spectrum or conscious brain.

This means that our reality –

  1. Is a reality (one of many)
  2. Is shaped by limited information.

Despite this, we are happy to stake a claim to being right and dismiss others’ experiences as inferior or wrong.

It does a lot of damage. People go to war over it.

Instead, being open to different realities enables us to pool information, articulate a view and consider other options without needing to narrow every discussion down to ‘a winner’.

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