Friday, March 21, 2014

Shaving with Occam's Razor

  • I once had an actor who would come up with strange and bizarre last minute reasons not to perform a show.  "He just doesn't want to do this any more," my wife Karen observed.

  • We once had a client who had turned from being cooperative and easy to work with into nickel and diming us to death about stupid, insignificant things.  I wondered if I had done something to offend this client, until I realized something.  "They're just short of money.  They're getting desperate."

  • I'm sure this has happened to you.  A friend goes into a long and agonizing sob story about relationship problems - how it's just not working out and how no matter what they do their partner doesn't respond properly, and how they're getting blamed for everything, and things are so "complicated" and complex and ... and the only thing to say in return is, "Your boyfriend or girlfriend wants out.  It's over.  You're getting dumped.  Deal with it."

  • For years after becoming Catholic I agonized over why things were so unsatisfying at our local parish, and especially why we were running into nothing but resistance when we would complain about the pagan education our children were receiving at the parish school.  Why is the music so bad at Mass?  Why is Father spending so much money on getting gadgets for the rectory, such as the latest DVRs and computers?  Why do the school Masses sometimes begin with hymns to the great Earth?  Why do our fellow parishioners seem absolutely no different from everybody else in the neighborhood - they seem to be into bad and inappropriate TV shows, their kids are sleeping around all over the place, they make jokes about porn, they clearly use contraception, they'll skip Mass on Sunday, but they'll get up at 4:00 am to shop on Black Friday and they'll be sure to attend the parish picnic, guzzling beer and bratwurst as they gossip about their neighbors.  Why is this?  "It's because they don't really believe," an inner voice said to me.  Judge not that ye not be judged.  Indeed.  But this doesn't mean we need to be blind.

  • I used to agonize over why Super Catholics would leave nasty and insipid comments on this blog, in which they proudly dissented from the Catechism on issues such as torture and lying, and why some Super Catholics would bend over backwards to defend their folk heroes, heroes who were "sketchy" at best and sometimes laughably buffoonish - folk heroes who more than once would, by their teaching or actions, contradict elements of the Catholic Faith.  Then it occurred to me.  "These angry commenters - they're simply Protestants."  They may be Protestants who like the Latin Mass, but they're Protestants.

  • All the nonsense over "gay marriage", all the bullying about tolerance, all the brutal insistence that we accept anal sex as a positive good - the point of all this is the seduction and corruption of our children.  That's where it's heading.  Period.

  • Back in the days when I used to do singing telegrams, there came a time when fewer and fewer folks were ordering them.  A friend in Omaha who did these for a living was so desperate she started working free-lance as a deliverer of balloon bouquets.  By 1985, however, it had become apparent.  "It's over," I told her.  "The fad has ended."

Occam's Razor states that the simplest hypothesis is the one to choose to explain any situation.  The simplest hypothesis is not always the correct one, but most of the time it is - and it's our own anxiety and confusion that complicates matters.

An actual photograph of me shaving with Occam's Razor.  Manly, yes, but I like it, too.