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The best way to succeed is to revel in ambiguity.” –Grant Hammond, According to Boyd, ambiguity and uncertainty surround us.
Boyd points to three philosophical and scientific principles to show that trying to understand a randomly changing universe with pre-existing mental models only results in confusion, ambiguity, and more uncertainty.
Understanding the basics of these principles helps to show how uncertainty and ambiguity are not just errors in human understanding or logic, but are truly built into the framework of the universe – both the worlds outside and inside ourselves.
” “It is a state of mind, a learning of the oneness of things, an appreciation for fundamental insights known in Eastern philosophy and religion as simply the Way [or Tao].
For Boyd, the Way is not an end but a process, a journey…The connections, the insights that flow from examining the world in different ways, from different perspectives, from routinely examining the opposite proposition, were what were important.
Think of an army platoon that’s been cut off from communication with the rest of the regiment.
The isolated platoon likely has an idea, or mental model, of where the enemy is located and their capabilities, but things have changed since they last talked to command.
The uncertainty of one variable is created simply by the act of observation.
Applying this principle to understanding the world around us, Boyd inferred that even as we get more precise observations about a particular domain, we’re likely to experience more uncertainty about another.