Occam’s Razor

History of Occam’s Razor

William of Ockham (also spelled Occam) was a Franciscan theologian born in Surrey, England, around 1285. He studied at Oxford and later at Paris. His philosophical views made him a polemic scholar. He died in Munich, Germany, around 1349.

Although the general idea of the preference for simplicity is attributed to William of Ockham, there are some precedents. Some writings by Duns Scoto, Ockham’s teacher, mention similar principles. A french Dominican named Durand de Saint-Pourcain used this idea before. Even earlier, Aristotle made statements such as “nature operates in the shortest way possible”, “the more limited, if adequate, is always preferable”, and “if the consequences are the same it is always better to assume the more limited antecedent”.

In the history of Science we find the principle has often been cited to argue in favor of one theory over others. It has played an especially successful role in physics. One example is the preference for Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation over Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. Although both theories made essentially the same predictions about the motions of the planets, Newton’s law is simpler and more general, requiring fewer assumptions, and was hence preferred. Newton’s theory was later empirically confirmed when its predictions led to the discovery of the planet Neptune.

An earlier application of Occam’s Razor, also in astronomy, was the controversy between heliocentric and geocentric models of the solar system. Ptolemy explained the observed movement of the stars using a rather complex model with the Earth in the center, and the planets orbiting around invisible spheres which themselves were orbiting around the Earth. Aristarco of Samos in Greece, and later Copernicus, convincingly argued for a simpler model in which the sun is in the center and the planets orbit around it.

First the bad news…

I spun my car tonight. Avoiding the same sort of traffic scenario that
nearly did me in the first time. Something inside me snapped and I decided
“This car will NOT hit me!” and as it failed to yield and left turned
almost into me I decided to drive around it. And somehow I did even though
it kept coming, except that at that point “going around it” consisted of
ending up spinning sickeningly out of control and facing the wrong
direction in the fast lane on Kolb, but everyone was able to avoid me and
I was able to stop in time and avoid any damage to my car or anyone
else’s. No verdict yet on whether I damaged ME because I discover new
aches and pains hourly, but it may just be initial tension and shock.
Anyway, I faced my demon and lived, right? But for a minute I was sure I
was seconds away from death in the form of twisted metal and broken glass
and the fate once avoided that can never be fully escaped….But the good
news is that 21 year old boys worry enough to call me if I don’t show up
at the bar on a Saturday night which is absolutely touching and sweet in a
way that made me kind of forget I was suppsed to be having a panic attack.
But that’s never going to be as sweet as someone who brings you a
hamburger without asking because they know you really,really need
it…Holy shite, I could’ve been killed or something, couldn’t I? I just
realized. Fuck. But I wasn’t. I’m still here, just a couple of aches and
bruises worse for the wear.

Celtic Cross Spread

Ten of Wands

This is a card that says that the Querent has used up all the energy they started with at the ace. They don’t feel that creative, driving force any more. Indicates a need to delegate, to put down some burdens and find energy again.

The Sun

The light that comes after the long dark night. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. Discoveries made while fully conscious and wide awake.

Three of Pentacles


Failure to develop one’s craft and creativity. Preoccupation with minutiae. Misdirection of one’s energies.

Page Of Wands:

A message, possibly from far away, about a trip, career move, leadership position or something spiritual/philosophical.



Slow changes, narrow avoidance of a tragic fate

The Hanged Man


Unwillingness to sacrifie.

The Wheel Of Fortune

With Jupiter as its ruling planet, the Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. Almost every definition of this card indicates abundance, happiness, elevation, luck. A change that just happens, and brings with it great joy.

“She kissed me softly on the lips

She took my hand without a sound

This was our happy ever after

So motherfucker kiss the ground…”


Nine And A Half Hour Dream…

Dreamt my mother called me at an odd hour. I jokingly asked who’d died,but
she didn’t laugh. I know it wasn’t my father, because I could hear him in
the background. Then I dreamt Mike called me up and reamed me out and
swore at me (at least I HOPE it was a dream) at about 4:15 am and then
that I was in a hospital parking lot trying to get child leukemia patients
back to their rooms. Before that, I think I dreamt something about setting
up a new laptop in my new apartment, which was part of a large house with
an attic and a school downstairs.Also, there was something about renting
movies at Casa and watching them around a campfire in the desert, with the
movies being projected onto the side of a boulder. That part was kind of
cool. Woke up just as disconnected and dissociated and lonely and sad and
aware of my poverty as ever, but with a lingering sense of calm and
eventual comfort. Things may suck beyond all reason right now, but someday
they’ll be better, unless I die and if I die it’s not like I’ll be around
to complain, right? Still haven’t heard back on the part time “job offer”
I interviewed about last week. I may call back about that today. If they
don’t want me, they don’t want me, but if they’re on the fence about it at
all, well…I could definitely use the money and no one seems to have any
convincing objections to it, so…


Gonna make a deal with the devil…

Q & A

Why do we hurt the ones we love? Because they’re the only ones that will always forgive us. Now is that fair? No, it’s not at all fair. Is there a way out? The Goddess only knows. I want to do good. I want to rise above my current circumstances. I just need someone to throw me a rope because I’m drowning and I have lots of company in the waters but no hope of making it out alive. Everyone I know is drowning in the same shipwreck. It’s like the fucking Titanic. Somebody please throw me a rope. If you do, I’ll come back and rescue the rest of them, I swear. I’m drowning in debt and clutter and illness and depression and obligation and remorse. If the only way out is to peddle my one remaining asset, so be it, even if it costs me my heart’s desire or possibly my life. Better to make the gamble and maybe come away triumphant than to just die of redundancy and fatigue and hunger. I could starve myself to death more easily than most. Just a misplaced vitamin here, a lack of protein there. i could skip a certain vitamin for a few weeks and trigger a heart attack. My body chemistry is so volatile. But luckily I am fickle and my self destructive moods never last consistently long enough for me to wreak that kind of havoc. I will cheer up probably later in the day. i’ll forget. He makes me forget. He makes me smile and laugh and teaches me to make fun of my own weaknesses and brag about my strengths and see my own goodness. I need him around but not so much that I forget it’s all going to hell and I might as well jump. Maybe he does me a disservice because he makes me not want to jump. Maybe I do the same for him. Maybe we give each other false comfort when we are supposed to be being provoked into action by our misery and poverty and desperation. Sometimes making someone else happy is a sin, I think. Wanting to be happy is a sin. I don’t deserve to be happy and I know it in my bones but I crave that easy laughter like a junkie craves a fix, you can’t imagine if you’ve never felt it what it’s like to have someone look at you that way, the way he looks at me with humour and charm and irony and longing and bemusement and annoyance and camradarie and wonder all at once. Faerie lust. Seperated twin recognition. Kindergarten romance. Makes the milk leak from my breast. Makes my nerves jump. Deludes me into thinking somehow everything will be alright. But of course it won’t be. It never will be, will it? It never is.