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We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the emptiness of the center hole that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.
A collection of thoughts on belief, theory, and doubt.
Peter Sturrock via Brainpickings
- All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level. (Stephen Schneider)
- Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis)
- Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. (Francis Bacon)
- Never fall in love with your hypothesis. (Peter Medawar)
- It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts. (Arthur Conan Doyle)
- A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong. (Francis Crick)
- The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting. (Richard Feynman)
- To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. (Charles Darwin)
- It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. (Mark Twain)
- Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. (Thomas Jefferson)
- All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident. (Arthur Schopenhauer)
Phillip Lopate, The Essay, an Exercise in Doubt
As a writer, I am an essayist, although that term is falling into disuse with the rise of the web. Now, people would call me a blogger, although naming a role for the tools used would mean tailors would be called needlers.
No, I am an essayist, and I share Lopate’s identification with doubt and heresy proudly.
Lopate’s writing is masterful, filled with gems:
Age has not made me wiser, except maybe in retrospect.
Strangely enough, doubt need not impede action.
Argumentation is a good skill to have, but the real argument should be with oneself.
I like the freedom that comes with lowered expectations.
I am an essayist, for better or worse.
I will have to track down one of his books, I think.