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Unlearning Contrives


"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
~ Einstein

What Einstein means by that quote is that one must think metacognitively, perhaps by reasoning at the extremes, when resolving a problem. This applies whether the problem is seen as a more scientific question, such as a missing link in physics, or a more metaphysical, philosophical issue. A similar colloquial phrase would be "Think outside the box.". Fundamentally, the point is just that you have to change your mindset instead of again following along the same reasoning that lead you to the problem in the first place. You have to unlearn what you have learned, for the confusion exists only in your mind.


In order to unlearn, it's important to understand what a 'contrive' is, because that's what you should be unlearning. Through unlearning contrives, you will find everything to be much simpler. This is because of the way that contradictions come from contrives. For example, some of the classic philosophical questions are derived from the contrived assumption that knowledge implies existence. As another instance, in calculus one day I learned Euler's identity (that eπi = -1)... I had no idea why at first (and my teacher claimed it was way too above me to be explained), but through an uncontrived understanding, it was wonderfully simple! It just says that two ways of describing 'halfway around a circle' are equivalent! Mathematics should really be more intuitive, and less archaic. The simpler any understanding is, the less discrete and approximate it will naturally be, and thus the more philosophically precise!

Paradoxes and other contradictory anomalies are oftentimes key to unlearning contrives. As Edgar Mitchell (astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences) points out in The Way of the Explorer, "Through understanding paradoxes and anomalies, new discoveries are made." This is because false dichotomies are at the root of each contrivance/contradiction/confusion. Each issue derives from the fundamental binary confusion (the basis of discretion); between 'is' and 'is not'... when really those terms are just inventions, two biased opinions about a sameness which language can only approximate.

Keep in mind that unlearning contrives requires the use of lesser contrives. For example, unlearning the idea of bouncing requires the imagination of discretion to remain, otherwise one would not be able to follow the reasoning, as it employs an inherently discrete language concerned with counting each bounce, among other aspects.