MOVE FAST CRASH SOON
(Comments are always welcome.)
I don't like the concept of “deep truths.” It implies that such are significant with a new, special, and positive understanding of , broadly speaking, a life experience. Instead of “truths”, perhaps let me suggest “a re-framing” of a life experience that is accompanied by a sense of belief in the new perspective, sort of an I-got-it experience. And, I think, it comes as a solution to a problem about which the individual might have been totally unaware.
While I understand what is meant, that such insights are totally personal, that others are not involved I’m not sure it makes sense. Perhaps the I-got-it experience that comes with others is not as significant as the more isolated experience but a positive I-got-it is, whether with others or alone is quite exhilarating. Certainly, the practice of brain-storming a problem can lead to such got-it moments with pleasure intensified when others agree with enthusiasm.
I remember struggling for an idea for my PHD but uselessly. My faculty advisor chided me with, “you're not getting any younger,” and I thought perhaps I'd drop out and sell shoes (Why shoes? I have no idea.) But, doodling with words on my typewriter a tiny, somewhat absurd idea popped into my head. Wife was away and that eliminated interruptions. Mostly for a kind of bitter fun I explored the possibilities; my mind ranged across a number of unanticipated implications and pretty soon I was typing like mad – with an excitement that got me to leap up and dance around the room. I'd rush back to the typewriter with ideas bursting out through my fingers and did more dancing. In truth, I was one with the universe.
When I calmed down a bit, I wrote up a formal statement of the idea and later presented it to my advisor. “Bert, this is crazy; it'll never work.” So I pointed out this part of it and that pert of it and how it tied together some badly understood aspects of personality testing – and persuaded him, at least to the point of suggesting that I do a pilot study. The rest, as they say is history.
But, here is the point – suppose it had been a crappy idea? Suppose I had, out of desperation, deluded myself and created a meaningless melange of nothing? The fact that I truly believed it had absolutely nothing to do with its validity. If you have ever attempted to create a recipe you know what I mean.
Which takes us to religion. Religion is, among other things, an attempt to understand the universe. Where did everything come from? Who created it and why? Does the universe care about me? Why am I here? Such questions, and others seem universal in the human experience; apparently all societies invent creation stories with a god or gods to explain everything around them. And, they receive great comfort from such ideas. They confirm that universe is not a vast, unknowable and chaotic enterprise but orderly and with purpose and guidance for human behavior.
Imagine the excitement when such ideas first popped out, the happy excitement to realize that everything fit together and the comfort in knowing that everything was designed for our well-being and – we would never die! If that doesn't make you feel good, well perhaps you are from Mars. Decent and honorable people believe such; For a long time it was the best idea around. The adults enthustiastically taught it to their kids. All was well.
Still, remember my advisor; he told me to check out my crazy idea to see if it had some virtue. Do a pilot study because it might not work; but had my idea failed, at least it wouldn’t end my quest for a doctorate. Test whenever possible. The message is that we humans are not trustworthy (I don't mean in an immoral sense.). We are not particularly good at sorting out what makes sense and what is, at best, only partially useful. We easily can see how other religions are faulty but retain faith in our own. Politicians leap with joy when they discover the “truth” about how to fix a problem and don't examine it from all angles. Carpenters understand the value of measuring twice; we all would do better living that way.
There once was a fellow named Simpson
With an idea he thought worth a billion
To the bank with a dash
He withdrew all his cash
At his death he had naught to leave no one.