The conceptual framework for a man's search for meaning

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Of Parallel Worlds and Circular Reasoning

September 26th, 2011 by dimpledbrain

Haven’t been blogging for some time now. Not sure if it matters. It’s not my fault because I failed miserably in my attempt to crack the codes of I Ching or better known as Book of Changes. It’s too difficult a text to understand.

Confucius said, “If I could add fifty more years to my life, I would spend them studying the I Ching. Then, I would not have any major faults.” Unless I am very much mistaken, that quote came from him when Confucius was about 70 years old. I am told that I Ching must be taught and couldn’t be learnt. You need a teacher. Hopefully I could find myself a teacher soon.  

Or just plain lazy. In the corporate world, we always use the former to mask what we really mean by the latter.

When I was young I always had the silly thought that if only I knew what would happen a day ahead, my actions would be more informed. Jackpots! You know the six magical numbers that will win you in millions. That of course is assuming that the world will definitely turn out the way it is. That childish thought still fascinates me to this day.

A mental experiment – I took road A to work and met with an accident. We consoled ourselves by saying that it’s fated or something to that effect. If we could turn back time and say use road B (even road A again), will we still meet the inevitable accident? That’s the crux of parallel world or alternative reality. In other words, if we could possibly repeat history, will what is turns out the way we always know?

This thought is important for us to understand the concept of circular reasoning. Why do we get married? Because for centuries people do so and therefore we should get married. Why is this book the bestseller? Because this book outsold other books.

Can a person quit smoking?  Of course — as long as he has sufficient willpower and really wants to quit. Stating the obvious willpower means we are going circular – we are simply reasoning in a circular way.

X is true because of X.

A person can quit smoking because he can.

Instead we should suggest how a person can quit smoking.

A person can quit smoking because both e-cigarettes and the patch are effective.

The bigger picture is this: if what we knew happened through some accidental acts, then holding tightly to these ‘beliefs’ will only make us go circular.

The immortal writer, Khalil Gibran once said, ‘And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?’

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