Friday, July 05, 2013

Louie's believies

In his feature-length stand-up show "Live at the Beacon Theater," comedian Louis CK makes a frank epistemic confession:
I have a lot of beliefs, and I live by none of them. That's just the way I am. They're just my beliefs. I just like believing them. They're my little believies.
This strikes me as a great way to phrase the universal mismatch between belief and behavior, and needs to be turned into a meme graphic post-haste.

The full show is available on Netflix (the part I quote starts at around 6 minutes in) and may well be on YouTube, too. For more on this subject, see also The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on epistemology, and William Clifford's 1877 essay, "The Ethics of Belief," and my own blogger's teasing-out of a corollary of CK and Clifford's observations.

A corollary from Oscar Wilde: “The value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it.” Contrast this to the wisdom theme of H.P. Lovecraft's tale, “The Call of Cthulhu”: “ he most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” If there were a divinity of perfect rationality, would we not have to call this being either insensate as a stone, or wholly mad? (See also Borges' story "Funes the Memorious" for a case example of how a perfect omnimnemonic could not in practice survive with his reason intact, free to live a life we could call human.) --  ZWB