30 October 2009

Big World - Small Brain

Rigorous empiricism eventually wears down any narrative needed to make sense of our world. No theory of the world seems capable of making sense of ALL the data.

The trick of making sense of the world is knowing when to stop paying attention to data and start paying attention to your narrative. If you start too soon, you land in a fantasy world, deluded by your own simple explanation. If you start too late at the game of ignoring data and focusing instead on your narrative, you are never quite able to convince yourself that you - or the world - make sense.

We started down the path of the empirical method with the perhaps naive notion that we could make sense of it all. That might have reflected a conceit that only ignorance can breed. It might just be that reality in all its messy sprawl is simply defiant of any neat theory to explain it. If anything does make sense of the world, it might be music. I'll have to collect more data before I can tell.


Daryl said...

Great post Ron, you said this better than I ever could.

Ron Davison said...

Thank you Daryl (this is me nodding as if I'd just performed a song rather than simply written a post).

Lifehiker said...

How everything works - we're making a lot of progress here, but we've got a long way to go.

What it all means - we haven't got a clue, although theories abound.