Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

There is a crack in everything.

Nothing is perfect. Two extremes in three words. A crack results in an opening. An opening allows the light to enter the darkness inside. This metaphor is used by several people, including Leonard Cohen in his song Anthem (below). He referred to “physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind” (lyrics).

Imperfection results in doubt; either inside ourselves and/or in others. Although nothing is perfect, a (human) belief in perfection leads to certainty (eg, arrogance, narcissism). Both perfection and certainty do not allow doubt to enter our minds. Doubting your beliefs would be devastating.

A similar connection is used in a recent Aeon / Psyche article: Popper was right about the link between certainty and extremism. This article caught my attention because I have a high regard for Karl Popper (1902-1994), “[o]ne of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers of science.”

That Aeon / Psyche article is about the political situation in USA. Still the underlying trend is increasingly visible in other countries: Closed-mindedness will result in absolute certainty (ie, no doubts), extremist beliefs, and violence to convince non-believers.

Hence, this quote by Bertrand Russell, “one of the early 20th century’s most prominent logicians”:

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” (quote)

The Aeon / Psyche article mentions a recent study amongst c.3,000 Americans, which revealed that 12% is absolutely certain about their political beliefs. This 12% is at both ends: say 6% alt-Right vs 6% woke-Left. Extremism and violence is indeed found in both groups. Today’s problem is in the 88%.

In my view, absolute certainty is addictive. Apparently, I’m not alone in my thought: see 2006 book, New Scientist-2007, 2016 blog, Medium-2019. Using simplicity in our mind is a tool for “solving” the increasing complexity in this world.

On the surface, this certainty addiction seems harmless: “no” individual or micro consequences. Quite possibly, the macro consequences (ie, for society at large) will be denied, which is step 1 in the Kübler-Ross model for processing Change, including grief.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” A 1963 quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

Anthem (1992) by Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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