When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her book The Signature of all Things it involved her protagonist intimately involved at the time with Darwin, Wallace and her heroine was connected with publication of the origin of species (Darwin } an idea that the exception about mankind not necessarily engaged in the survival of the fittest (Darwin), and the exception of man in that descent(Wallace), with the drama of that triad of people in the evolutionary wars. Elizabeth has written one of the best books I have read since Cutting for Stone years ago. There is nothing in the book that defies the theories of evolution that all three of her scientists have independently arrived at other than this unique consideration of man. That mankind can or will act altruistically and not in their own interest or survival on occasion will differentiate mankind from other species in respect to the concept of survival of the fittest. That mankind has the capacity for altruism, acting to benefit the other without reward is a capacity that we can accept. Is this part of a capacity for transcendence? Is it part of a capacity for abstract thought? What it is not is an imperative to always act for survival of the fittest. It is not even worship of prudence. Let the cynical swing in the wind I say. Celebrate the risen elements of mankind from time to time. Examples of such actions spring to mind over and over again. Celebrate the goodness of mankind. Maybe transcendence and abstract thought are the sole provenance of mankind's species alone.
Bill of Ockham was a 14th century Franciscan monk, a genius that had to hide from the Catholic Church for most of his life because of his beliefs, fueled by his faith in reason, and his reasoning about faith, which never met with approval by the institution. His core belief was that the simplest answer was usually the best answer in the solution of complicated problems. There is a difference between simple and simplistic. Simple as defined by the philosophy of Ockham was arrived at after all conflicting data was ruled out and the existing logic plucked of such detritus was named ontological parsimony. He recognized that "bull shit baffles brains." He may have thought of the prairie axiom, "Don't eat that Elmer, that's horse shit." Simplistic is typified by Donald J Trump and is displayed by reductionist logic that descends to the lowest common denominator by ignoring conflicting data. Despite the fact that he is a grumpy fucker he is in contrast celebrated by the establishment. Bill of Ockham on the other hand was like Rodney Dangerfield , he got no respect in his day.
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