New song alert!
Just as Californians get used to walking on constantly shifting tectonic plates, scientists — the savvy ones, anyhow — become accustomed to revising not only the fine points of their understanding but, from time to time, throwing out the old way of looking at things and adopting an entirely new perspective.
It doesn’t happen overnight, mind you. The gatekeepers of scientific knowledge are cautious and the Scientific Method — the practices and precepts which have evolved over centuries that attempt to keep the accepted understanding grounded in verifiable observation, with conclusions that are derived from and verified by repeatable, carefully measured testing and experimentation — the Scientific Method is designed to err on the side of caution.
It’s a discipline and a dynamic which helps assure that science will tend to give us the best answers available at any given time, balancing untethered imagination and unfettered thinking with careful observation bounded by logic and an adherence to accepted procedure and principle.
Unfortunately, just as there are those who confuse scientific caution with rigidity or even fear of the unknown, there are those whose tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty is so diminished that they must continually attempt to shoehorn their experience into the rigid confines of binary classification.
These are the people for whom there is no gray area… no in-between… no nuance or gradation –little tolerance for complexity or ambiguity. Something either is one way or it is the other.
These are, of course, the people who are drawn to the extremes, clustering like so many iron filings around the poles of a magnet, slaves to their attraction to the absolute and the unambiguous.
This approach is, of course, a highly unscientific one, seemingly destined to keep true believers and absolutists at the fringes of knowledge and reasoned thought — yet the adherents to this type of intellectual monomania often claim that their beliefs are obvious and inescapable and that only those who are either crazy or willfully, perversely disingenuous could argue against them. Ask them to justify a position and, after some sputtering, they often stammer or blurt out, “Well, it should be obvious to any intelligent person…”
These folks enshrine personal predilection — even superstition — as principle. They attempt to institutionalize idiosyncratic belief as universal a priori.
If you’re one of ’em — this song’s for you…
Not Enough of Nothin’
[Yes… I really did mis-sing the very first line of the song. The correct lyrics are below.]
Not enough of nothing
and nothing more to say
my heads filled up with everything
that we didn’t do today
Not really nowhere
not that it feels that way
not really never
but certainly not today
Everything that must be will be
and everything that won’t be won’t
If you think you want to tell me the ending
do me a favor — don’t
not enough of maybe
too much yes and no
not enough of in between
not enough I don’t know
Too much is certain
too much is bound to be wrong
too many times you’ve bought your own lies
you’d think you’d realize by now
(C)2008, TK Major