Since my 20's I have been stunned by the ubiquity of __obvious failure__. I guess I kept it quiet. Surely there must be some reason to this madness? With time, I feel impelled to write down this feeling as it applies particularly to philosophy, politics definitely, but also common sense.
# The first lesson
Is it biological? Does it change? Does it evolve? If it is permanent, then we can respect this short-cut to the extent that it is helpful, but how did it get here? How did it survive?
- Beware any theory that is not aware of it's own mortality.
# The second lesson
Understand the motivations. Why was this written? Who or what had something to gain? A person, a viable system, or entity. An idea might stand on it's own, but someone gave birth to it. It was born with a purpose. An understanding of history can inform the personhood of the idea.
- An idea that is not self-reflexive about its own motivations is not to be trusted. It may be innocent, but it is likely to have something to hide.
# The third lesson
Humility. Humility is misunderstood. It is often confused with false humility. We want to know if our theory is aware of its limitations, its scope, the risks it poses. Others have used the word testable. Humility, confidently expressed will sound arrogant. Is our theory arrogant in this sense. Is it clear?
- A theory should respect its adversaries, never obfuscate, and be clear about its vulnerabilities.
# The fourth lesson
Is our theory (as well as being clear and well defined) Poetic? Does it express not just an emotion, but an understanding of the reader - its domain of stake-holders? A theory that is not poetic, cannot be Grounded or Motivated.
# See also