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Lets Bring Back Ockam's Razor

William of Ockam
William of Ockam was a 14th century Franciscan friar.  He is most famous for developing the philosophical principle of "lex parsimoniae" or "law of briefness." 

This principle simply states that:

"Things should not be done more times than they need to be."
The guiding logic behind this is that if there are two possible explanations then the one that is the least complex is better.  Why?  Because the truer something is the simpler it should be.

Let's take these two phrases for example:

"The wind blew and caused the tree to fall on the house."


"The tree fell on the house."


Which out of the 2 do you think is utilizing, Ockam's principle?

If you answered the latter you are correct.  Because in the first phrase one can make many assumptions, such as the velocity of the wind, the time of the fall, other factors, etc.  You see based on this phrase one needs to make several assumptions in order to render this phrase true.  While in the second phrase this is not necessary, thus making it true based on Ockam's reasoning.

The reason why I decided to write about this is that I believe that most people (including myself) have lost the ability to say things simply and accurately. We are all brainwashed in school that it doesn't matter if what we say is incorrect; as long as we are trying then that's OK.  Self esteem has taken the place of logical accuracy thus resulting in a society that is logically illiterate. At best our minds are confused at worst deceived.  How can one discern truth if one does not know how to think? 

Consider these quotes from some of history's greatest minds:

"The things that we love tell us what we are.” - St. Thomas Aquinas


"If there were no God, there would be no Atheists."- GK Chesterton


"Remain silent, and you will never regret it.  Speak and you often will. - St. Josemaria Escriva

"Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall." - Ronald Reagan

"We have nothing to fear, but fear itself." - Franklin Roosevelt


We all need a little of Ockam's razor in our lives.  Simplicity is a great thing.   




 

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