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The Axiom of Open-Mindedness

This work in some measure is intended to open up this world to you, the reader. If you have read carefully, you at this point should realize that there are things that look like questions but aren't. I can write ``Is there a God?'' and it looks like a question, but this question cannot be answered in any way that can be ``proven'' correct, an answer can only be asserted with no possibility of proof either way!

The best thing to do is likely to assume that the answer is yes, and see how the worldview that you derive from the assumption (together with other assumptions - axioms - you add along the way) works out. Then assume that it is no and repeat the process. Then just see which system you like the most. That's right. I'm not going to ask you to adopt any particular set of axioms as ``obviously right'' as I have no idea on earth which set are ``right'' in the sense of absolute truth myself. In fact, I don't think that any set is ``obviously'' right - quite the contrary.

One of the first things one has to do to decide what you like, to be able to judge, is to come up with a few meta-axioms, axioms to help you comparatively evaluate axiom sets. These are henceforth presented in a list with no particular order. I urge you to give these axioms a try; start to use them as the basis of questioning your own personal beliefs and axioms. This process may prove so uncomfortable you blind your inner eye and return to a state of absolute adherence to one of the old sets (likely the one you were raised with). Or you may find it exhilarating and liberating - for the first time you may find yourself actually understanding your own beliefs; why you believe what you believe, what the consequences of your beliefs are. You may find, for the very first time ever, that consistency of your belief set becomes important to you, rather than practicing the sort of spiritual schizophrenia experienced by many Christians, Moslems, and Jews, for example, when trying to reconcile ``irrefutable'' scientific evidence that the Universe is 13 billion years old or thereabouts and that we all evolved on this planet over roughly a billion years with Genesis.

Let us therefore begin with perhaps the most important meta-axiom - one this whole article has been working towards:

The Axiom of Open Mindedness: All axiomatic systems with any degree of complexity are likely self-referential, incomplete and inconsistent (including this one, as this axiom just referred to itself). I will therefore provisionally reject all Axioms or sets of Axioms (but this one) that claim completeness, overtly refer to themselves, or are explicitly and obviously inconsistent.

The provisional part is because (like any good jigsaw puzzle or crossword puzzle) one sometimes has to try different pieces in different places because an inconsistency could occur because a lot of the existing pieces are wrong, but the piece being tried is right.

This is a lovely axiom. It asserts that I Don't Know The Answer, and that You Don't Know The Answer EITHER so give it all a rest. I might, possibly, adopt an axiom you propose because it is appealing. I will NEVER adopt an axiom you propose because it ``has to be correct''. It doesn't. It is an irrational assumption we make as the basis for further consideration using reason and logic. That's what the word means.

It also means that if we don't agree on our axioms before we start any discussion on e.g. religion or politics, we are as silly as a plane geometer trying to convince a curved-space geometer that the theorems of plane geometry are correct. Theorems true in one space are false in another and vice versa, and there is no absolute where space is curved or flat - both are just what they are: ``geometries'' derived from differing but similar sets of axioms. In particular, we have to agree on a way of judging axiom sets themselves, as a lot of our discussion will inevitably be coming to agreement on a common axiom set so that we can sanely proceed to derive conclusions and make judgements.

So I urge you to start a process of self-exploration by opening your mind. What you've been taught is not necessarily true. Make yourself into a child again, free from any preconceptions about how the Universe and God ``have to be''. Then you can try looking yourself to discover the answer for you, instead of being told an answer, that may not be correct or even consistent, by somebody else.

next up previous contents
Next: Shaving the Barber with Up: You ``Are'' Your Axioms Previous: You ``Are'' Your Axioms   Contents
Robert G. Brown 2007-12-17