A Rule’s Exception

“The exceptions to any rule are the most interesting in themselves, for they show us that the old rule is wrong. And it is most exciting, then, to find out what the right rule, if any, is. ~Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (p. 16).

The appeal to a rule qua rule needs one more look at the observational data—the experience of today’s ability to record observations in a new setting with new tools of measurement.

This ability to hold old data against new data is to have eaten from a tree of knowing outcomes and a willingness to alter them based on new information. When such connections to a new world are outlawed from the beginning, we don’t need to simply wait for some next great shoulder to stand on and with. When different outcomes are dismissed out-of-hand, we can be as certain as ever we can be that it is but a matter of time before the old rule crashes.

Such a crash has never been pretty or sweeping. There are still people aplenty who can only respond positively to a hierarchical structure where they know their place, their rule, and it will always be within a right-wrong binary—Heaven is up; Earth is flat.

Theology, the old queen from generations of incest, is always tested at the point of its current certainty. Ironically, it is its loyal opposition that carries its best hope of reinvigorating its line. The parade of religions seems never to end, like the parade of tectonic plates rising from below and diving deep below—mixing and sifting their moment in the sun, their dance of respiration featuring a coordinating atom of magnesium in chlorophyll and of iron in hemoglobin.

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