The Familiar Holds Much Wisdom

When I was young, Aldous Huxley was a favourite whipping boy of our parish priest. Catholic theology of the time seemed to have no place for him. Times change and I have recently noticed some of Huxley’s ideas make more sense than I was lead to believe.

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”   I think that is  good advice. Similar to the idea that it doesn’t matter what happens to you, it is how you deal with it that matters. Events are just events until you extract the meaning from them.

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice, and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity: idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols. Maybe that is the one that drew Father Conway’s ire. Anything negative about religion was unacceptable. Each of us has a point of view and that sometimes limits our vision. It helps to go deeper.

Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying. I think we are seeing many people today who have good intentions and not the first idea of how to form or implement a plan to achieve them. You may have noticed the bullying.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. I fear the ideologues are eventually going to have to cope with this idea. Facts always win because they are durable. Lies, propaganda, and persuasion are more ephemeral. The current approach is more propaganda and more bullying. We have not yet seen the limit of either.

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. While I believe that’s important, I would love to have their ability to learn new things almost instantly. I envy them their energy.

On the plus side of being older, I think I am better at seeing how information or knowledge, both old and new, fit together. Children can see that value too but maybe are not exposed to it much. I recently had an interesting chat about boundary conditions with a child. The question was how many grains of sand does it take to make a sand pile? When does it change from a heap to a pile. Why do you need to notice the difference? Because piles have different potentials. For example, you cannot have an avalanche in a heap.

While boundary problems seem an odd conversation with a child, they catch on to the idea of things don’t change much until they get to the edge of the situation. We know about all sorts of things like this. How many people do you need for a riot? What is the maximum number of contacts you can stay connected to?

We did not talk about how many balls you can juggle and I wish we had. It is an interesting problem that parallels how life works. If you can at the limit of your skill juggle five balls, what happens if a sixth is introduced. Drop all of them, right? That’s what happens with a business or a person who is running just to stay in the same place in life collapses if anything else goes wrong. Maybe an illness or a lost customer.

Relationships have boundary conditions, too.

Sometimes, the important things are not so obvious until you understand their mechanisms. Pay some attention to things like boundary conditions. It can help make sense of chaos sometimes.

This seven year old article will give you the idea of boundary conditions and why they could matter anywhere. Danish physicist Per Bak has been studying sand piles for decades. Sand Pile Model of the Brain Grows In Popularity

Sometimes, things we take for granted hold the key to creative insights.

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