About this website and the author

 

 

"Common-sense is the most widely shared good in the world: because everybody thinks they are so well endowed with it that they do not desire any more of it."

Not my words, but the words of a man who was one of the few who did not trust himself. He thought common-sense was the ability to distinguish truth from false. And in a way, I agree.

So, can I trust myself?

I started observing others: I have seen many occasions where common-sense did not prevail. Where others have obviously held un-true views but at the same time these people appeared to believe their views to be true. Could I be mistaken in the same way?

These questions about truth were asked by Descartes. He proposed a way of thinking, a methodology, to get as close to an independent truth as possible. It starts with the base-truth: I think therefore I am. This seems universally true to me, no matter what. From that point on, Descartes starts adding (or deducting) further facts. Often, he has to add one or more assumptions and that makes most deductions unguaranteed. But hey, they do seem acceptable most of the time!

One of the things I share with Descartes is the desire to find the truth. Why? Must be a feeling! But maybe it is also because to me it defines being human.

Just like Descartes, I think that to find that truth, first I need to set myself a method. Descartes proposed one which is logical, but does not work anymore. Our knowledgebase has expanded so much since his time (around 1600) that it has now become impossible for one person to know everything. One person could start from basic principles and deduct from there. In all likelihood, this person would follow Descartes in his thinking and would get further than Descartes ever did. Which is admirable, but repeating existing work.

There are (or have been) giants of science around. Many of them. They are apparently even standing on each others' shoulders to see further. So, you want to look as far as they have? You will need to climb the giants and stand on them! This is allowed. This is desirable. If you do not, you will stand in their shadow, instead.

The new methodology will involve trusting other people. Even though I know they have been untrustworthy and have made many mistakes in the past. It will involve team-work. There will be a social aspect and an insight required in human nature. Subjects that interested Descartes a lot as well, by the way.

Occasionally I plan to write an article with some, hopefully, new ideas. I will publish them on this website. Any feedback on the articles is much appreciated and I will consider any arguments and maybe reply and/or republish them.

The reasons I started this blog also include:

 1. I forget, I forget: I have found that I forget many things over time. This is a historic record for me of some of my thoughts.

 2. To crystalize thoughts: sometimes I believe to have a good idea, but when I try to write it down it does not always hold up to scrutiny.

 3. To get feedback from other people and get closer to the truth.

 

I am of Dutch origin, but have lived outside of the Netherlands for quite a while. My main interests include science, economics, technology, social behaviour of people and (long term) trends.

 

Hope we can work together!

 

Robert.

Jan 2017