“I’ve burned my own house down, the torch is in my hand.
Now I’ll burn down the house of anyone who wants to follow me” — The Bijak, Kabir
A philosopher-joke runs like this:
An engineer, an experimental physicist, a theoretical physicist, and a philosopher were hiking through the hills of Scotland. Cresting the top of one hill, they see, on top of the next, a black sheep. The engineer says: “What do you know, the sheep in Scotland are black.” “Well, *some* of the sheep in Scotland are black,” replies the experimental physicist. The theoretical physicist considers this for a moment and says “Well, at least one of the sheep in Scotland is black.” “Well,” the philosopher responds, “on one side, anyway.”
You will notice it is possible to go further in the one-up-man-ship game emphasized in the joke. For instance, a philosopher’ (or a pseudo-quantum-collapse-philosopher, if you will) may say “One side of the sheep is black when you look at it”.
Let us go exactly opposite to the trend highlighted in the joke in analysing it. What the joke captures is a tendency I often encounter: the tendency to steer clear of that beast called falsifiability
Notice how the ‘hierarchical heros‘ of our joke steer ever so clear of abstraction and universalizing, and by doing so, carefully disentangle themselves from falsifiability.
Notice however, that falsifiability is intimately coupled with hypothesis-building, and by consequence – learning something new, above-and-beyond what is experientially true at this point. A non falsifiable statement is content-free, contains no new information, or doesn’t impinge on the real world.
Metaphorically speaking, it behooves us to leave our safe havens of terra firma and step on the rocky boats of falsifiable hypotheses, if we ever intend to discover unknown and exotic worlds.
Bite the bullet. It holds the sweet juice of anagnorisis.