Monday, February 7, 2011

Occam's Razor

I was reading about Occam's Razor, the idea that the simpliest solution with the least number of assumptions is likely the best. Well, not quite what he actually said was, "Plurality must never be posited without necessity." The key is the conumdrum of where to draw the line between the simplicity, the least number of assumptions, and the complexity of any issue, problem or question.

Taosim teaches you to see not just the whole of the issue, but also the imagination beyond the whole of the issue. Not just the what is of it but the what if's of it. That, however, requires, expanded the assumptions beyond the obvious, beyond reality and into the imagination, to be creative, innovative, and imaginative to think over the horizon, deeper than the wells, and father than the limits of the sky.

And see where the line is between the least number of assumption which resolves the issue and the rest of the solutions, but not just for the moment, the present and the future. That's where simplicity runs afoul of reality. And we're faced with the choices where Occam's razor fails to separate the assumptions into the necessary and the rest, where the solutions uses the optimum number of assumptions but not the least number.

In statistics you can use regression analysis to weigh all the factors and determine the statistic importance and relevance of each to the whole, and then you can reduce the factors based on the probability of a good answer from the optimum and the least number. And then evaluate the assumptions associated with the factors.

In Taoism, however, we can't do that, and have to rely on the subjective information to find the best answer or solution among the messiness of reality. Everything becomes intertwined and interconnected and the separations become fuzzy, and more than likely include ourself and our own view of things. We are part of it.

And we have to also parse ourself from the whole, or reduce and narrow our own assumptions, often before we can look at the rest of it. And add the dynamics of life and the world, and everything changes while we're still trying to understand it. Not unlike trying to capture everything about a passing train, the blur and gone in the distance, over the horizon, and just a memory.

It's the conundrum we have to apply Occam's razor to ourself before we address what we're thinking about, determining what we know with what might be reality and what we think with what actually is. We have to simplify ourself and our own assumptions about it before we can do the same with what we working on.

To be continued.

No comments:

Post a Comment