Friday, May 14, 2004

Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor:

"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary,
the number of entities required to explain anything"

This medieval philosopher's logical principle is the
underpinning for all scientific models. It is a razor
used to cut away any explanation that concocts some
complicated structure or unnecessary conditions and in
the end leaves one with the simplest solution. Occam's
razor says the simplest explanation is the best.

Occam's Razor is particularly useful in developing
universal models because it forces the modeler to cast
off complicated schemes and leaves the modeler with
the simplest explanation that satisfies the

A thousand years before William of Occam postulated
his razor the son of a king in what would one day become
India, lost his way. He tried to find a way to end the
suffering he saw around him in his life, the suffering
he felt in his life. He postulated a simple way to end
it, proved it and to this day no one has failed to
replicate his experiment who tried honestly to apply

Around this simple formula more books have been
written then on almost any other idea(the Buddhist
canon is the most extensive of any religions). It has
spawned a thousand sects and schools and mutated its
canon many times as it passed through countries and
cultures. This tradition has grown and spawned
hierarchies of gods and demons and hells and heavens.
All of wich may be cut away as unnecessary by Occam's
razor..we can go back to that simple original formula
that no one in two thousand years has been able to
pare down...Buddha himself said this was his
teaching..everything else is just trying to explain

1.every living thing suffers.
2.suffering is caused by desire.
3.suffering can be ended.
4.the way to end suffering is the eightfold path.
a.right understanding
b.right aspiration
c.right speech
d.right action
e.right livelihood
f.right effort
g.right mindfulness
h.right concentration

It is a simple formula that has been discussed for two
thousand years and books and shelves of books have
been written on what exactly is the right way of doing
all these things.

We can end up with endless discussions and
dissertations on right speech..and on right livelihood
and if we can keep these discussions going on long
enough we may never have to actually do them.

I say cut the bull crap. You do not need anyone else
to tell you whether your occupation is a supporting an
uplifting know in your heart if it is true or
not. You do not need some priest to tell you if your
speech is helpful and sustaining to others.You know in
your heart whether this is true or not.There is
nothing stopping you from listening to that small
voice inside you that knows what is right....unless
the chatter of your ego overpowers it. ...just
sit down ..and listen.

I do not care if you face the wall or
not..unnecessary..cut it away with Occam's razor..Soto
or Rinzai?..cut it away...Tibetan or Vietnamese? cut
it away...clergy or lay person?..cut it away..pare it
down ..cut it away ..leave only the simplest
explanation left....God or no God?? *snip*...good or
evil?? *snip*..stick or no stick? *snip* Christian or
Buddhist? *snip* no money? *snip* sick? *snip*
teacher or no teacher? *snip*

If we only would stop burying our own inborn knowledge
of how to end our suffering we would all have the
tools to end it here and now.

When you know it is not not do it.When you
know it is good do excuse, no delay...or put
another classic way ..Do all that is good, do nothing
that is evil...I do not think it gets any simpler than

Apply the technique of modern science..use Occam's
Razor to figure out how to live your life without
suffering. you know what?..when you cut away all the
cultural trappings..I do not think there is one
religion, postulated by any saint or prophet that
would not agree that the formula left from Occam's
razor would be a good way, a healthful way,a healing
way, to live your life.

I cannot believe some people think science and
religion cannot work together. It works for me.

Be Well