But “Occam’s Razor” Cuts Both Ways…

Recently I had an email exchange with an individual whose opinions and thought processes I have come to greatly respect. This person has a range of personal experience and capacity for systemic analysis which both combine to make for some very thought-provoking reading indeed. While completely preserving this person’s anonymity, and maintaining my utmost regard for their intelligence and experience, I wanted to share a piece of what they said, because it is really quite articulate, and also touches upon certain broader questions which I myself have had to grapple with in my “journey” to learning about so many of the things I talk about on this blog. He says:

“I tend to be an Occam’s Razor kind of guy, largely because I lack the capacity or inclination for developing intricate theories regarding latent processes and occult agents. In other words, I tend to take most things at face value, which if you think about it, is perhaps even more frightening. Let me take a moment to expand on that.

We are regularly treated to a variety of suppositions; some mundanely believable, others so fantastically bizarre that they defy common sense. 9/11 is a perfect example of an event that has produced numerous theories that reside across that entire spectrum. It is my opinion, and my opinion only, that people who develop the more bizarre claims do so because they need a framework in which everything makes sense and everything has a reason. The ability to tie every misfortune, tragedy and injustice to a root agent, whether it is the intelligence apparatus, the central banks, the catholic church or multi-century family dynasties, gives some people a sense of certainty. With that simple certainty, however, comes a belief in lack of control over one’s life that approaches predestination. After all, if you believe that Rothschild controls every facet of your life, who are you to change it? For some, however, that brings them great comfort. Some people simply cannot accept that, if you will pardon the phrase, “S#!t Happens”. The idea that we live on a ball of dirt whirling around in the universe, that we can do all the right things, yet get wiped out by some freak event (random crime, an illness) is something that some people never come to grips with. As such, they create detailed artifacts and scaffolding to support a comforting illusion of certainty.

I say this because I don’t believe the world is a place where every intricate detail of our lives is run meticulously by a cabal of sinister forces…”

The thing is, after several years of blogging now and having many folks pop in, look around, and go “Oh… I see you’re one of those conspiracy theorists…”, I have actually heard this “Occam’s Razor” position/critique many times. (albeit never articulated half as eloquently as the excerpt above)

“Occam’s Razor”, lex parsimoniae. The “Law of Parsimony” which states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. In short, it’s the idea that the simplest explanation is typically the correct one.

And to a high degree, this principle is really quite logically sound. There really is no need to construct an elaborate, highly-complex explanation for an event or phenomena, full of wild assumptions and speculations, if a far simpler one is readily apparent and adequately fills in the blanks. If you come after a long day’s work, unlock your front door, and find the television on, then the simplest explanation is that you probably just forgot to turn it off before leaving that morning. You don’t need to wonder about “ghosts” or neighbors breaking in while you were gone in order to watch some free cable…

And so sure, Occam’s Razor works just fine and dandy, as long as the available data presents no reason for further explanation. If the doors were locked, windows secured, and no sign of a break-in, then yeah, you probably just left the t.v. on. But what if you then go into the kitchen and find things moved around from their normal places? What if you find furniture out of place, lights left on, and other small anomalies which were not likely to be caused by your forgetfulness in the morning? At some point, the accumulation of new data requires the Occam’s Razor principle to push for a new explanation. Simple explanations can account for simple scenarios, but the more complex the information and situation becomes, the less adequate an answer such as “I probably just left the television on” might become…

And this was me… Prior to five years ago, I honestly had NO internal intellectual or emotional need to try and explain the machinations of the world through any kind of over-arching “evil master scheme”. I was quite like most other people, in that while I was certainly no fan of boondoggle wars in the Middle East or political corruption (which I certainly believed to be existent), they were easily explained in my mind as the routine outworkings of basic human fallacies such as greed, pride and just outright incompetence. I had absolutely zero compulsion to believe in “conspiracy theories”… My only context for a term like the “Illuminati” was the fictional ideas coming from Dan Brown books/movies. I don’t think I had ever even heard of the Rothschilds. I had no knowledge of central banking or the Federal Reserve, nor did I find such topics to be any practical interest to my own life. Sure, I knew the world was a messed up place in many ways, but for me there was absolutely no sense of needing to explain all that was wrong with the modern world in a way that would assuage my sense of powerlessness or insignificance. Sure, “sh*t happens” all over the place, but it ain’t gonna stop me from planning my weekend of some snowboarding, having a beer or two, listening to some good music, watching a good movie, enjoying my family… “S’all good…”

But then one day my “data set” was unexpectedly intruded upon. I have written a few times before about how being confronted with the actual facts regarding 9/11, particular the collapse of Building 7, (in a way that was not being mediated and spoon-fed to me by the mainstream media), suddenly left me feeling completely stunned and bewildered, like a deer in headlights, completely unsure of how or why this could possibly be…

newpearlharborI didn’t seize upon it as the “excuse” I had been waiting for to somehow prove the existence of some secretive cabal, some “New World Order Elite”, because honestly I didn’t even have a concept of such a thing in my head. I wanted it go away. I did not want to see what I was seeing, or even contemplate the kinds of things which now the “Occam’s Razor” principle was now nudging me towards, in the face of a new set of data which required a new level of analysis and explanation of which the official narrative simply didn’t come close to providing…

“Occam’s Razor”… Yes. It actually worked to push me down that rabbit hole, rather than to scoff at it’s very idea. Why? The data. The undeniable, stubborn, unwavering data! I may not have been a structural engineering expert (nor am I today) but anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of basic physics should be able to grasp the impossibility of a 47 story, steel-framed building, falling PERFECTLY straight down, collapsing into it’s own footprint in under 7 seconds, outside of the use of explosives in a controlled demolition…

Imagine, if you will, someone challenging you light a fire under a large wooden dining room table, in such a way that it would slowly burn the four wooden legs of the table until they all burned through and collapsed at the exact same time. You’d laugh, and say that was a crazy and impossible challenge. But then the person challenging you says, “Ha, watch this!” They light their own little campfire under the table, let it burn for a few hours, and then suddenly, POP, all four legs burst in the middle at precisely the same moment, and the tabletop falls to the ground while staying perfectly level. (or better yet, falls perfectly level, then turns to sawdust when it hits the floor…)

Would you believe what you saw, and admit that the table could fall in such a manner, caused only by the fire and no additional timed charges placed on the legs, or some other hidden mechanism in order to pull it off? Yet with building 7, we are now talking about some fifty or so steel columns, a building designed to withstand earthquakes, winds, and fires, a structure which is exponentially more difficult to bring down than a dining room table, but we are expected to accept the explanation which defies physics, defies common sense, which defies “Occam’s Razor” in every way.

1002638_10200504640647404_594854426_nThe Razor of Truth cuts in the direction that it does, based on the amount of information we first allow ourselves to take into consideration, and that which we choose to ignore. It follows the path of the preconceived boundaries between the ideas of reality we are willing to accept, and those we are not. “Occam’s Razor” wound up cutting through so many of my own preconceived notions of the world we live in, and led me to the mouth of those much-maligned “rabbit-holes” which many people understandably are repulsed by, for who actually likes the idea of true EVIL existing in the world, and lying to us and making us feel foolish and deceived and manipulated? Nobody does. Nobody embraces such sobering beliefs as though it was some kind of cynical, fatalistic “gospel” which validates their bizarre yearning for some unnerving, dystopian perspective on the world. No, they simply were honest enough to take a long, hard look at the anomalous data, and let “Occam’s Razor” lead the way…

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6 thoughts on “But “Occam’s Razor” Cuts Both Ways…”

  1. I get what you are saying here and you present it in a very logical way. Much of what you write about are questions I have on the fringes of my mind, however, once I start to delve into these things I tend to completely collapse myself. I have such internal strife as it is that these are things I cannot take on at the moment. I very much sense your frustration and believe you when you say that you were not looking for these conspiracies. The question is what does one DO with this information? You feel the responsibility to share what you have learned and so I commend you for doing so.

  2. I know it’s lame to just give a “like” to your thorough response so even though I don’t have much else to say I will at least say this: I agree and respect what you are doing. 🙂

  3. I found it curious that the “Occam’s razor kinda guy” found it necessary to state his presuppositions; “I say this because I don’t believe the world is a place where every intricate detail of our lives is run meticulously by a cabal of sinister forces…” and his inimitable “S#!t Happens”. I’m still a bit confused though. Does
    that guy consider 911 a successful, well conceived plan carried out by 19 high jackers taking orders from a caveman to start world war 3 or just “S#!t Happens”?

  4. I have heard your correspondant’s explaination before; I say let the real facts speak for themselves – yes, shit happens, and yes, some people conspire to make it happem…

  5. Simple or complex, to adopt either one as a methodological principle in presupposing the nature of events requires someone to be somewhat dismissive and apathetic toward relative truth. To be predisposed toward any one type of explanation is somewhat irrational in my mind, it’s not until we fully encounter the dynamics of an event that we could begin to evaluate whether a simple or complex explanation is relevant. Indeed in such cases as the collapse of building seven, the anomaly is presented at face value, to say otherwise would be nothing short of denial in favor of a favored theory.

    Just as “conspiracy theorist” could be accused of finding solace in the ability to structuralize and compartmentaIize everything around them, so also I think proponent s of “Ocam’s Razor” could be accused of finding solitude in the simple and mundane aspects of life. Inversely I think “Ocam’s Razor” type of people tend to feel empty in a world that – in its dynamic intricacy and complexity – vastly exceeds the nature of their everyday lives.

    Obviously both ideologies can be applicable to any given situation, but again to be predisposed toward one is illogical, we must not suppress truth in order to fit reality into our social paradigm; we must allow ourselves to go wherever the evidence leads us. Complexity and simplicity are not methodologies but are adjectives describing the nature of events.

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