Thursday, February 19, 2009

Scale and Probability

For the "seeker of truth" or the "good life" it's valuable to understand the meaning of scale and probability. Scale is the middle ground. Probability is the degree to which what you believe will happen does actually happen. The right understanding and application of both scale and probability enable us to more clearly navigate the world and increase our chances for success.

In all discussions and decision making there are degrees of truth and many possible outcomes to all occurrences. What you believe to be true may not actually be true. What you think might happen might not happen. Recognizing this gives you an advantage: the ability to adjust to new information or to changing situations.

Faith may be considered the courage to move ahead even though you are not positive you are seeing things correctly. Belief is different; belief does not allow for deviation from what you presently think. Most organized religions stress faith as an ultimate value, when they really are referring to belief.

What I am talking about is a way to approach life, a humility that comes from the continuous recognition that things are not always the way they seem to be; in fact, they may be the exact opposite. Our present level of understanding is limited when compared to what is possible. It's easy to understand the difference between our basketball ability or even that of a high school star to that of Michael Jordan. There is no comparison. Michael is on a different scale.

There is also a tremendous difference in our level of understanding of the meaning and purpose of life and the understanding of an Aristotle, or Buddha, or Jesus. We can learn from them as we can learn from any authority in any subject area. When we approach life with acknowledgement of our limitations and give up the necessity to constantly justify or defend our positions we create the opportunity for real communication and progress. We do not know the truth about all things, or almost anything. What we can strive for is to move in the direction of getting closer to the truth. This is the purpose of our lives and is the ultimate source of happiness. This is the meaning of ethics.

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