Top of the morning, Rambling Masses,

An evening about a week ago saw a fine conversation between my two favourite sparring partners (Dave and Paul) and myself. There's a lot to be said for the intellectual stimulation that can arise from disparate views, and I am very fond of the fact that I have a number of fundamental differences of opinion to those of my erstwhile companions.

It is through conversation, discussion and consideration that we are able to not only discover how other people view the world in which we live, but just as importantly to put our own views under the microscope and test them in the cauldron of point and counterpoint. Since the days of the ancient Greeks, and probably a lot earlier than that, people have engaged in intellectual sparring in an attempt to broaden their knowledge and to better understand their existence.

One of the most important and humbling things in life is to realise that you don't know everything, that you are not correct in all the views that you hold so dear. I paraphrase a Buddhist ideal by saying that one's beliefs should be built as a house of cards, so that any valid wind of doubt can knock them down.

Through this constant process of construction and deconstruction, the aim is to never close your mind to new thoughts, ideas, concepts and beliefs. Never be too sure in your beliefs, people. Never be afraid to quest for further knowledge.

This is one of the principles that I hold so dear in science. The overall progress of the scientific method has been a constant process of hypothesis and refinement of theories. A true scientist will be just as pleased to be shown test results that disprove a theory they may have spent their whole lives on, no more or less so than if the results validated the theory.

Now I don't know how much time the average Joe or Jane out there in the Rambling Masses spends on the intellectual process of thinking about the verities of the world around us. I happen to spend a lot of time engaged in that particular pursuit, as I consider it one of the most important things in life. Much more important, in fact, than tearing through life at the breakneck speed that is so a part of the modern developed world, much more important than gathering material objects around me, much more important than counting my money. I try not to fall into the modern fallacy of preferring quantity to quality, and instead I try to deliberately slow my life down, because rushing around is never conducive to good and structured thinking, and that is what is required if you ever want to tackle the philosophical nature of our existence.

This is also why I have not been able to put together a blog post on the matters that Paul, Dave and I discussed. It's coming though, when I have had a chance to devote the proper respectful analysis to it, and constructed suitable words to present it to the two (or perhaps even three) people out there in Ramble Land who actually take the trouble to skim through my blog.

Until next time - take care, and remember to always question.

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