McGee's Guillotine: The Updated Occam's Razor

in philosophy •  2 years ago  (edited)

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” ~Lao Tzu

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Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Feel the rawness of that fact, the bleeding-meat quality of it. It’s tragically delicious. It’s enchantingly heartbreaking. There is a kind of terrible beauty to it, without which we wouldn’t have such concepts as meaning, beauty, and love. For it’s precisely because things end that we inject them with symbolic meaning.

Then there is the profound truth that we simply cannot know the “ultimate” Truth. There’s an awful dread that comes with knowing that we are fallible, prone-to-mistakes, and imperfectly mortal creatures forced to ponder a universe that we will never really understand.

But what happens when the infrastructure of our meaning ends up not making any sense through the test of time? As James Russell Lowell said, “Time makes ancient good uncouth.” What happens when a new and healthier delusion, a new and healthier meaning, comes along to challenge our outdated logic and reasoning? Cognitive dissonance is what happens. And our response to it can have powerful real-life consequences.

McGee’s guillotine is an addendum to Occam’s razor. It’s a remedy for the cognitive dissonance that ails us all. Its single task, and raison d’etre, being: Worldviews should not be aggrandized unnecessarily, therefore when you’re faced with two competing worldviews that oppose each other, the healthier one (in accordance with universal laws) tends to be the correct one, and the unhealthier one (less in accordance with universal laws) should be learned from and discarded.

McGee’s Guillotine chops away the ignorance of opinion and replaces it with the natural dictation of universal law so that a valid opinion can then be reinserted. It goes beyond shedding the superfluous and cuts the human head (codependent ego) out of the equation, so that a new healthier head (interdependent ego) can grow back: open-minded and non-dogmatic, flexible and elegant, confident and logical in its continual self-overcoming of the original equation.

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