The Law of Parsimony

You have to love it when they trot out the law of parsimony as if it were a universal principle which must rule all good thinking.

What causes it? What poverty gives rise to this so-called law of thought and explanation thrift? God is not parsimonious in his creation. Is one planet enough for him? One sun? One galaxy? Is the fullness of the sea full with one or two or even a thousand living kinds of creatures? Is he happy with just one species without endlessly proliferating subspecies? Did the God who created Mr. G.K. Chesterton ever once have an idea of parsimony, let alone practice it?

I think not. Is it a poverty of imagination that brings an affinity for the law of parsimony about, I wonder? Oh, yes, I wonder. A fondness of what is meager and cramped, perhaps? For what is reduced and sterile and simple, please, just simple and uncomplicated and requiring no abundant effort, yielding no abundant wonder, and with only a tight-lipped and streamlined satisfaction at the end. Or is it a hoarding that causes this parsimony–a fear there may not be all that much more left in reserve? A sort of crisis of confidence in the economy of ideas, explanations and possibilities? It seems an awful bias toward simplicity, but what in God’s creation makes them think that way? What in the realities of life, the universe and everything demands it first?

What kind of a blighter wants a law of parsimony to begin with? The law of parsimony makes for good machines, but what kind of life? What qualities that are not parsimonious remain when the law of parsimony is not selectively obeyed?

Admittedly, the simple and the obvious explanation is not often the one that first springs to my mind, so when the ‘law’ is trotted out I wonder. I want no economic explanations, no poverty of imagination. I want lavish and luxuriating riches and qualities in quantities of conundrum.


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