My Pispective on Welcoming Surprises

My Pispective on Welcoming Surprises

(A pispective is when you write about something 314 words)

Surprises are important. They might not always be welcome, but they are important. The original sense of the word meant to take over, to seize or to invade. In the 16th century it took on the meaning of something unexpected and the consequent feeling of astonishment.

Surprises are important because they signal that things are not as they seem. This is important because things are not as they seem most of the time.

We like to explain things but often, to make our explanations coherent, we leave things out. Or pretend they're not there. Or find ways to deem them immaterial to the matter at hand.

Put enough of these explanations together in one place and we get a paradigm. Which is an accepted pattern for the way things are. We like these patterns because we're wired to seek consistency and coherency. Paradigms hold for as long as they provide a reasonable account for why things are they way they are.

The more explanations are tied to the paradigm, the more its adherents resist change and the more rigid it becomes. The adherents get busy solving problems and resolving minor disagreements. In the process they create information, a lot of information. Some of this information doesn't fit. It's put into a big pile where it sits largely ignored.

Until one of two things happen. Someone realises the pile of anomalous information is getting really big and starts sifting through it. Or until the paradigm, subject to the stresses and shocks put on it by reality, just breaks.

In the former case, the diligent search through the pile of 'unfit facts' leads to some amazing discoveries and the paradigm has a chance to adapt. In the latter case, in the dazed search for the answer why, survivors discover that their doom was obvious all along.

We have a choice. Beware coherent explanations and smug adherence.

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