Posts Tagged ‘framing’

How smart are you?

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher, once dreamt that he was a butterfly flitting and fluttering happily in the bushes. On waking, he found that he was Zhuangzi - and not the butterfly he dreamt of. But now, he was utterly confused. He was not sure whether he was Zhuangzi who dreamt of a butterfly, or a butterfly that was dreaming of Zhuangzi!

What becomes clear from Zhuangzi’s predicament is that contrary to popular (mostly scientific) notions, there are no absolute or universal truths - and that all knowledge - scientific or otherwise - is but relative. Even Newtonian laws held good ( as absolute truths)  - up until Einstein came along - and proved these laws to be only ‘relatively’ true.

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Even in the business setting, all so called absolute truths or assertions are true only within a certain context or frame. Change the frame or context, and what was claimed to be as an absolute (read universal) truth, suddenly falls flat.

It’s not very difficult then for smart practitioners (in business, law, journalism or politics) to pass off a ‘relative truth’ (which is true only in a certain context) as a universal truth  - sometimes for very unseemly or unethical ends.

Is relative knowledge (or the art of framing a relative truth) then a ’true’ measure of smartness (and success thereof)?

 I for one, am not too sure.