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Sunday September 5, 2004: Occam's Razor: Part Three


            Yesterday I wrote about the fictional Bill's death and about the Occam's razor approach trying to simplify the number of factors that might have contributed to Bill's death. It's easier for me to explain the higher states of awareness if I describe the perception of complex series of cycles, each having a beginning/creation; a growth/evolution; and an ending/death. You can visualize them as intersecting rings, except that each ring does not end at (or connect back to) its starting point and perception at this level does not use vision.

             Having started the explanation, where do I go from here? (Anxiety attack -- maybe I've already painted myself into a corner.) There is no easy way to explain the complexity of worlds that lie beyond space, time, and the human brain's limitation of thinking in linear fashion. The best I can do is to nibble away at the whole. Murphy's Law says I'm probably jumping in at the middle, and anyone else reading this will become hopelessly confused. Oh brother, I can feel myself stalling....

           Start again. All right -- visualize these cycles coming in many forms. Think small and quick -- cycles existing for milliseconds as chemical reactions begin, interact with other elements, and end up in a new form; think quantum physics when particles come into existence, break apart, appear, disappear, recombine into new particles. Think large and spread out --a storm front influencing lower cycles with needed-rain, unwanted flooding, destructive lightening and/or winds. Think internal and abstract -- thoughts and perceptions developing into sentences, concepts, or decisions, and then (when completed) acted upon, placed in memory, or erased as insignificant. 

             From a higher state you can watch multidimensional levels of cycles that approach, touch, or intersect each other. How deeply one cycle intersects another determines its impact, as does the attraction of strands within each cycle, resonating in harmony with similar strands of other cycles. The coming together or intersecting of multiple cycles at a superficial level may provide a more serious challenge to an individual's cycle than any one single factor; or a single factor may intersect so deeply that it alters the course of another cycle by itself.

            What if Mary had found her key and the carpool had reached the intersection five minutes earlier? What if Ali had decided to take a different route that day and had been positioned ahead of Richard's car as they approached the intersection? What if Cindy had called Bill on his cell phone to ask important questions about the meeting and that conversation had slowed Bill's walking? What if Linda had not argued with Bill the previous night, and instead, Bill had spent the night preparing for his presentation? What if the ambulance happened to be two blocks from Bill's accident when they received the call for assistance? What if Harry had not been broken his arm and gone to the ER, so that Harry's doctor was freed up to assist with Bill's surgery?

            I don't want to drag this out too far. The truth is, there are a gazillion actions constantly in motion, actively running through their cycles. Changing even one cycle could end up affecting the outcome of Bill's situation (the old 'butterfly flapping its wings'...). Or, very major cycles could have brought Bill and Richard together at the intersection and this event would not have been altered even by a myriad of minor changes.

          Religion fails if it places all the responsibility for Bill's death on God's will; it creates of mood of fatalism, where humanity is at the mercy of outside forces. There is no reason why parts of these cycles can't be understood and conditions improved to minimize poor outcomes. It's essential not to turn our backs on science and Occam's razor. If we have several pedestrian accidents at that corner, do we need to alter traffic control? Are there medical techniques to improve the outcome of internal injuries?

          Science will fail, however, if it washes its hands after compiling a simple explanation. We forget it has only narrowed its focus to a few factors, it has not accounted them all.  Science today has backed itself into a corner with Occam's razor. It doesn't matter if research succeeds in finding a 95% cure for some problem.  People are prepared to sue if they fall in the unsuccessful remainder, they sue because science has held out the hope and promise, quietly ignoring the factors out of its control.  Science and the public both have to be more realistic.

How do we account for the bad things that happen in our lives?  Sometimes, we need to take on more personal responsibility for having started the cycle which led to a bad result.  Sometimes we need to improve the environment in which we must function, enlisting science and society (if necessary) to help make positive changes which will avoid setting new cycles in motion. Sometimes we have to step back and realize that some cycles can never be averted and no one should be held responsible. 

That's not what people want to hear. It's not nice and neat. It doesn't suggest that life can be brought under control by appealing to the right dogma (be that science or religion). It doesn't allow one to point a finger of blame in one specific direction. 

The only comfort I can give is that when one can see how all the pieces fit together, there is great peace of mind. The ups and downs are embraced as part of life, and one does not run from suffering -- one reaches beyond it.

So much for my first attempt at describing higher mystical realities.  After a year of being unable to sit down and write about this level of reality, now I'm tripped over my own feet, just trying to get past the inertia of silence.  I sure hope by next year I've gotten past tripping and the stubbing of toes to formulate a clearer picture of reality.  

Posted on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 10:20AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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