Be Wary of Absolutism

We live in a scientific age. Science is bringing new insights into technologies, medicine, lifestyle options, business… everywhere we look. And so, we have answers, based on science, that our parents and grandparents did not. With those new advances, we are hearing more experts and more absolutes- apparently clear right and wrong answers supported by math and clinical studies.

We love the clarity and assurance that comes from knowing we are making the right choices for us, or at least, better choices than others made. We listen to study after study reported in the journals and the popular media. They tell us about healthy food choices (more raw, less processed food), better lifestyle choices (more activity, less sitting), and safer environments (less synthetics, more natural). But the rub comes from the unscientific but popular trend toward absolutes and dependence on experts.

Any casual survey of the history of food experts will show that previous experts and their conclusions were flawed. Remember when eggs were demonized? Butter, then margarine? Vitamin E? Remember when doctors endorsed cigarette smoking in the 50’s and 60’s? Have you read the many expert witnesses that were proved wrong? The military experts that led their soldiers into ambushes?

Listen to this: there are no absolutes; there are only experts telling us that they know even if we don’t. (Refer to the post Buddha’s Wise Advice.)

When I say there are no absolutes, I mean it. Not even death and taxes. Millions of people do not pay taxes and billions daily choose to live rather than die. Death is not inevitable. Let’s think outside the absolutist box.

Okay. There is one absolute. Change. Accept that one and you may change your mind about death, like me.

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