Windows on Reality

Publish Date
Principles Series
Last Edit
Apr 3, 2022 01:46 PM
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Or, alternatively: why you should view reality as if it is a lava lamp.
I couldn’t come up with a good idea for April Fool’s Day, aside from going a bit abstract to start the new month.
The reality we live in is incredibly complex. While I’ve heard this sentiment expressed by others, I haven’t heard the following analogy used. It’s a good one, so hold on to your seats!
Picture reality as a gigantic lava lamp. The “lava” represents reality: it’s shape is complex, ever-changing, and not easily explainable or predicted. To make matters worse, the glass of our lava lamp is blacked out so that we can’t actually see reality or how it’s moving. Or at least, that’s how we start.
Upon second thought, I’m sure someone made this analogy back in the sixties.
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Ideas serve to wipe clean a miniscule window in this blacked out shell. They give us a glimpse of reality! But it’s only one angle that we see, so we will miss a lot, and if we extrapolate from what we can see we’re quite likely to be wrong.
We can, and do, learn more ideas over time and thus scratch away more and more windows, but they’ll always paint an incomplete picture. Moreover, reality is ever-changing (just like the lava lamp) so we must continue to look through our windows and continue to interpret the latest signs.
Naturally, other people will inevitably have different windows scratched off. So ideally several people collaborating are able to get a better picture on reality than any one person. This is why families, groups, and companies can and should be able to accomplish more than the sum of the parts. In practice, all these groups face the challenge of imperfect communication between the parties with differing views, which can make or break any family, group, or company.
But with that all said, more windows will lead to more information and better decisions. And you are in the right place: this column should be opening up one new window for you each day!