Philosophy Tuesday

Everything you know about the three laws of motion is a lie.  Not all things follow Newton’s laws.  When objects approach the speed of light… or when they get close to a black hole… or when we are dealing with atoms or sub-atomic particles… everything falls apart.  Fool on you for believing that one!

Except… of course… those are pretty damn small exception cases.  We’re unlikely to find ourselves doing any of those things anytime soon.  Newton’s laws have both predicted the motion of planets and let us build rockets to get to said planets.  They are invaluable in biomechanics.  They have let us build impressive structures.  Really, there’s so much of our current daily life that Newton’s laws have made possible.  Even if they don’t perfectly describe sub-atomic lightspeed black-hole surfing.

For us to stop using Newton’s laws for these everyday uses would be foolish.

And so I submit that it is equally weird for us to do the same in the philosophical realms.

Look, as noted before, many insights do come in the form of “bad news insights”, so perhaps it’s not such a surprise that our identities and calculating selves can go onto full alert before their dirty laundry is revealed.  They’ll see it as a threat.  And the last-ditch defense is to engage our mighty capacity to be dismissive, using a small nit to ignore the whole.

But using minute exception cases – or, more commonly, some nebulous or borderline case – to avoid insight and new possibilities is, if we are interested in transformation, self-cultivation and growth, just as misguided as abandoning Newton’s laws just because they eventually break down at the edges.


(And if we ever do need to address those edges, then so be it!  They can be addressed just as Relativity and Quantum Mechanics did/do.)