Trivialism

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What, Me Worry? ~ Alfred E. Neuman

Trivialism is a logical theory which paradoxically asserts that all statements are true and that all contradictions are true; in accordance with this, a trivialist is a person who believes everything is true, in some senses. The stance can also include emphasis that everything is uniquely true and that naïve notions that any assertion can be "equally" true to any other, or true to the exclusion of any other, fail to discern many absurd aspects of unlimited reality, limited knowledge, and perceptual and expressive limits recognized by extensively developed forms of pragmatism and semiotics.

See also:
Absurdism
Irony
Paradox
Principia Discordia
Alphabetized by author or source
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Anon · External links

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Don't Worry; be Happy! Remember Me; I will help you. ~ Meher Baba
We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. ~ Niels Bohr
The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. ~ Niels Bohr
How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. ~ Niels Bohr
  • Life becomes meaningful and all activities are purposeful only on the basis of faith in the enduring reality. … The greatest romance possible in life is to discover this Eternal Reality in the midst of infinite change. Once, one has experienced this, one sees oneself in everything that lives, one recognises all of life as his life, everybody's interests as his own. One is no longer bound by habits of the past, no longer swayed by the hopes of the future — One lives in and enjoys each present moment to the full. There is no greater romance in life than this adventure in realization.
    • Meher Baba, in message at Pickfair, Beverly Hills, California (1 June 1932), as quoted in Life Is A Jest (1974) edited by A. K. Hajra
  • All illusion comes and goes, but the soul remains unchanged. What is meant by God-realization is to actually experience this important thing — that the soul is eternal.
    • Meher Baba, in a message at Nasik (December 1936)
  • It is never presumptuous for anyone to hope for realization. It is the goal of creation and the birthright of humanity. Blessed are they who are prepared to assert that right in this very life.
  • The Avatar appears in different forms, under different names, at different times, in different parts of the world. As his appearance always coincides with the spiritual birth of man, so the period immediately preceding his manifestation is always one in which humanity suffers from the pangs of the approaching birth.
    • Meher Baba, in a statement of 1938, as quoted in Meher Baba On War : And Other Relevant Messages (1972); also Discourses (1987), p. 268
  • Don't worry, be happy.
    • Meher Baba, as quoted in Lord Meher, by Bhau Kalchuri, pp. 5770, 5970, 6742, the famous Bobby McFerrin song was based on this phrase often used by Meher Baba.
    • Variants:
    • Don't Worry; be Happy! Remember Me; I will help you.
      • As quoted in Showers of Grace (1984) by Bal Natu, p. 92
    • Do your best, then don't worry; be happy and leave the results to God.
      • As quoted in Stutter No More (1991) by Martin F. Schwartz
  • One of the favorite maxims of my father was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.
    • Hans Henrik Bohr, writing about his father in "My father" in Niels Bohr — His Life and Work As Seen By His Friends and Colleagues (1967), edited by S. Rozental
  • I feel very much like Dirac: the idea of a personal God is foreign to me. But we ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won't get us very far.
  • In mathematics we can take our inner distance from the content of our statements. In the final analysis mathematics is a mental game that we can play or not play as we choose. Religion, on the other hand, deals with ourselves, with our life and death; its promises are meant to govern our actions and thus, at least indirectly, our very existence. We cannot just look at them impassively from the outside. Moreover, our attitude to religious questions cannot be separated from our attitude to society. Even if religion arose as the spiritual structure of a particular human society, it is arguable whether it has remained the strongest social molding force through history, or whether society, once formed, develops new spiritual structures and adapts them to its particular level of knowledge. Nowadays, the individual seems to be able to choose the spiritual framework of his thoughts and actions quite freely, and this freedom reflects the fact that the boundaries between the various cultures and societies are beginning to become more fluid. But even when an individual tries to attain the greatest possible degree of independence, he will still be swayed by the existing spiritual structures — consciously or unconsciously. For he, too, must be able to speak of life and death and the human condition to other members of the society in which he's chosen to live; he must educate his children according to the norms of that society, fit into its life. Epistemological sophistries cannot possibly help him attain these ends. Here, too, the relationship between critical thought about the spiritual content of a given religion and action based on the deliberate acceptance of that content is complementary. And such acceptance, if consciously arrived at, fills the individual with strength of purpose, helps him to overcome doubts and, if he has to suffer, provides him with the kind of solace that only a sense of being sheltered under an all-embracing roof can grant. In that sense, religion helps to make social life more harmonious; its most important task is to remind us, in the language of pictures and parables, of the wider framework within which our life is set.
  • We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.
    • Niels Bohr, to Wolfgang Pauli after his presentation of Heisenberg's and Pauli's nonlinear field theory of elementary particles, at Columbia University (1958), as reported by F.J. Dyson in his paper “Innovation in Physics” (Scientific American, 199, No. 3, September 1958, pp. 74-82 - reprinted in “JingShin Theoretical Physics Symposium in Honor of Professor Ta-You Wu,” edited by Jong-Ping Hsu & Leonardo Hsu, Singapore ; River Edge, NJ : World Scientific, 1998, pp. 73-90, here: p. 84).
    • Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
      • As quoted in First Philosophy: The Theory of Everything (2007) by Spencer Scoular, p. 89
  • How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.
    • Niels Bohr, as quoted in Niels Bohr : The Man, His Science, & the World They Changed (1966) by Ruth Moore, p. 196
  • Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.
    • Niels Bohr, as quoted in A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (1991) by Alan L. Mackay, p. 35
  • Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.
    • Niels Bohr, as quoted in Meeting the Universe Halfway (2007) by Karen Michelle Barad, p. 254, with a footnote citing The Philosophical Writings of Niels Bohr (1998)
  • Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them.
    • Niels Bohr, as quoted in The Genius of Science: A Portrait Gallery (2000) by Abraham Pais, p. 24

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A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously. ~ Albert Camus
Imagine if you could actually be that happy? That would be powerful, man. People would be tunneling under the street to avoid you. ~ Jim Carrey
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true. ~ Lewis Carroll
  • I quite fixedly believe the Wardens of Earth sometimes unbar strange windows, that face on other worlds than ours. And some of us, I think, once in a while get a peep through these windows. But we are not permitted to get a long peep, or an unobstructed peep, nor very certainly, are we permitted to see all there is — out yonder.
  • I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are...
    • James Branch Cabell, in The Cream of the Jest : A Comedy of Evasions (1917), The Epilogue : Which is the proper ending of all comedies; and heralds, it may be, an after piece.
  • I have followed after the truth, across this windy planet upon which every person is nourished by one or another lie.
    • James Branch Cabell, in The Silver Stallion : A Comedy of Redemption (1926); Coth, in Book Four : Coth at Porutsa, Ch. XXVI : The Realist in Defeat
  • Creeds matter very little... The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. So I elect for neither label.
    • James Branch Cabell, in The Silver Stallion : A Comedy of Redemption (1926); Coth, in Book Four : Coth at Porutsa, Ch. XXVI : The Realist in Defeat
  • Be these people either Conservatives or Socialists, Yellows or Reds, the most important thing is — and that is the point I want to stress — that all of them are right in the plain and moral sense of the word. … I ask whether it is not possible to see in the present social conflict of the world an analogous struggle between two, three, five equally serious verities and equally generous idealisms? I think it is possible, and that is the most dramatic element in modern civilization, that a human truth is opposed to another human truth no less human, ideal against ideal, positive worth against worth no less positive, instead of the struggle being as we are so often told, one between noble truth and vile selfish error.
    • Karel Čapek (1923) R.U.R. supplement in The Saturday Review
  • "I conclude that all is well," says Oedipus, and that remark is sacred. It echoes in the wild and limited universe of man. It teaches that all is not, has not been, exhausted. It drives out of this world a god who had come into it with dissatisfaction and a preference for futile suffering. It makes of fate a human matter, which must be settled among men.
  • The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
    • Albert Camus, in "An Absurd Reasoning" in The Myth of Sisyphus (1942)
  • A symbol is always in general and, however precise its translation, an artist can restore to it only its movement: there is no word-for-word rendering. Moreover, nothing is harder to understand than a symbolic work. A symbol always transcends the one who makes use of it and makes him say in reality more than he is aware of expressing.
  • A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously.
    • Albert Camus, as quoted in Albert Camus : The Invincible Summer (1958) by Albert Maquet, p. 86; a remark made about the Marquis de Sade.
  • The realization that life is absurd and cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point. It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules of action drawn from it.
  • Imagine if you could actually be that happy? That would be powerful, man. People would be tunneling under the street to avoid you. They'd go "Oh, man — is that happy guy still out there?
    • Jim Carrey, in Jim Carrey's Unnatural Act (1991)
  • "Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true.
    "
  • I suppose every child has a world of his own — and every man, too, for the matter of that. I wonder if that's the cause for all the misunderstanding there is in Life?

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"Three pounds of flax."
GP: Is that the answer to my question?
M2: No, of course not. That is just illustrative... Malaclypse the Younger
  • All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.
    • The Free Mantra of Sri Syadasti Syadavaktavya Syadasti Syannasti Syadasti Cavaktavyasca Syadasti Syannasti Syadavatavyasca Syadasti Syannasti Syadavaktavyasca, in THE PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA : or, How I Found the Goddess and What I Did To Her When I Found Her · THE MAGNUM OPIATE OF MALACLYPSE THE YOUNGER
      Wherein Is Explained Absolutely Everything Worth Knowing About Absolutely Anything
      (Eris symbol 2.svg 1965 et al) by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Younger) and Kerry Thornley (Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst)
  • GP: Maybe you are just crazy.
    M2: Indeed! But do not reject these teachings as false because I am crazy. The reason that I am crazy is because they are true.

    GP: Is Eris true?
    M2: Everything is true.
    GP: Even false things?
    M2: Even false things are true.
    GP: How can that be?
    M2: I don't know man, I didn't do it.

    GP: Why do you deal with so many negatives?
    M2: To dissolve them.
    GP: Will you develop that point?
    M2: No.

  • GP: Is there an essential meaning behind POEE?
    M2: There is a Zen Story about a student who asked a Master to explain the meaning of Buddhism. The Master's reply was "Three pounds of flax."
    GP: Is that the answer to my question?
    M2: No, of course not. That is just illustrative. The answer to your question is FIVE TONS OF FLAX!
  • The whole time of my life may be divided into an infinity of parts, each of which is in no way dependent on any other; and, accordingly, because I was in existence a short time ago, it does not follow that I must now exist, unless in this moment some cause create me anew as it were, — that is, conserve me.
  • Yes, I dreamed a dream, my dream of the third of November. They tease me now, telling me it was only a dream. But does it matter whether it was a dream or reality, if the dream made known to me the truth?

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If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth: it cannot in fact be used "to tell" at all. ~ Umberto Eco
  • Semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth: it cannot in fact be used "to tell" at all.
    • Umberto Eco, in Trattato di semiotica generale (1975), translated as A Theory of Semiotics (1976)

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Charles Darwin - Dov M. Gabbay:...a border line case of a bearded person may be admitted as both bearded and not bearded without triviality. The admission does not carry a commitment to everything being true (i.e. it does not carry a commitment to what we might term trivialism – the view that everything is true).

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  • If trivialism were true, then every state of affairs obtains — good or bad. Moreover, they obtain without any effort on my part. The trivialist then may offer the following wisdom to those burdened by the weight of the world: Why be worried? Because of the misfortune that befalls you? You regret not having taken a different course of action? But necessarily all things obtain – including everything that is bad for you. There was nothing you could have done to prevent this. So why regret your past actions? Instead, be happy and relaxed. And besides, everything good obtains too – you have missed out on nothing. The conditions for a peaceful, tranquil, and meaningful life are here to enjoy. And there is nothing you need to do in order to ensure that this remains so. Stop your worry, and be happy – and do whatever pleases you.
  • All skepticism is a kind of idealism. Hence when the skeptic Zeno pursued the study of skepticism by endeavoring existentially to keep himself unaffected by whatever happened, so that when once he had gone out of his way to avoid a mad dog, he shamefacedly admitted that even a skeptical philosopher is also sometimes a man, I find nothing ridiculous in this. There is no contradiction, and the comical always lies in a contradiction. … There is no special difficulty connected with being an idealist in the imagination; but to exist as an idealist is an extremely strenuous task, because existence itself constitutes a hindrance and an objection. To express existentially what one has understood about oneself, and in this manner to understand oneself, is in no way comical. But to understand everything except one’s own self is very comical.
    • Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (1846), p. 315, as translated by David F. Swenson and Walter Lowrie (1941)

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Our world is one of incompleteness. Where there is incompleteness, there is relativity. ~ Mahāprajña
  • Truth is beyond space and time. One who does not yearn for truth, will be trapped within space and time and become dogged. That man alone can remain free from mulish tendencies, who has the capacity to think across time: in the past, present and the future.
  • To search for truth should be the main goal in one's life. This is a very difficult task. Let us begin by asking what is truth? What is untruth? To make this decision itself is difficult. Once the decision has been made, it is even more difficult to understand the limitations possible even in truth: elements of doubt and illusion. The Ultimate Truth is still far away, even if we are anywhere near relative truth, it should be deemed a great achievement.
  • The balance between karma and akarma gives holistic vision. Lots of discussions regarding Karmayoga. No work can be completed without karma. That is the truth. Everybody accepts this truth. Our world is one of incompleteness. Where there is incompleteness, there is relativity. Both karma and akarma are relative. No work is completed without akarma.
  • Whether I am walking or standing still,
    whether I sleep or remain awake,
    the supreme knowledge and intuition,
    are present with me — constantly and continuously.
    • Mahavira quoted in "Ethics of Civilization Volume 2: INDIA & SOUTHEAST ASIA to 1800."

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  • Trivialism is pretty hopeless as a philosophy, although it is very easy to defend/maintain verbally! The main criticism against it which is pertinent to this project is well expounded, and it is an argument from meaning. It is not clear that a trivialist can mean anything by his utterance or written statement, since there is no recognizable judgment attending sentences.
    • Graham Priest, in "Paraconsistency: Logic and Applications: Logic and Applications", p.296

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It is to be believed because it is absurd. ~ Tertullian
  • A trivial philosophy of mathematics holds that every well-formed mathematical formula, in any language of mathematics is true (and its negation is true), and any philosophical sentence about mathematics is also true.
    • Koji Tanaka, et al., in "Paraconsistency: Logic and Applications: Logic and Applications", p.296
  • Trivialism arises from the idea that mathematics is classical and there is contradiction in mathematics, and therefore (under our old classical reasoning), all of mathematics is true, we then get to the meaninglessness of any particular mathematical statement and wallow in our degenerate theory.
    • Koji Tanaka, et al., in "Paraconsistency: Logic and Applications: Logic and Applications", p.296
  • Prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est.
    • It is to be believed because it is absurd.
  • Certum est, quia impossible est.
    • It is certain because it is impossible.
      • Tertullian, De Carne Christi (5.4); two lines from De Carne Christi have often become conflated into the statement: "Credo quia impossibile" (I believe it because it is impossible), which can be perceived as a distortion of the actual arguments that Tertullian was making.

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  • This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.
  • If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death — or shall I say, death implies life — you can conceive yourself. Not conceive, but feel yourself, not as a stranger in the world, not as someone here on sufferance, on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. So, say in Hindu mythology, they say that the world is the drama of God. God is not something in Hindu mythology with a white beard that sits on a throne, that has royal perogatives. God in Indian mythology is the self, Satcitananda. Which means sat, that which is, chit, that which is consciousness; that which is ananda is bliss. In other words, what exists, reality itself is gorgeous, it is the fullness of total joy.
  • So in this idea, then, everybody is fundamentally the ultimate reality. Not God in a politically kingly sense, but God in the sense of being the self, the deep-down basic whatever there is. And you're all that, only you're pretending you're not. And it's perfectly OK to pretend you're not, to be perfectly convinced, because this is the whole notion of drama.
    • Alan Watts, in The Nature of Consiousness; also published as What Is Reality? (1989)
  • My work is an attempt to make room in the Kosmos for all of the dimensions, levels, domains, waves, memes, modes, individuals, cultures, and so on ad infinitum. I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace. To Freudians I say, Have you looked at Buddhism? To Buddhists I say, Have you studied Freud? To liberals I say, Have you thought about how important some conservative ideas are? To conservatives I say, Can you perhaps include a more liberal perspective? And so on, and so on, and so on... At no point I have ever said: Freud is wrong, Buddha is wrong, liberals are wrong, conservatives are wrong. I have only suggested that they are true but partial. My critical writings have never attacked the central beliefs of any discipline, only the claims that the particular discipline has the only truth — and on those grounds I have often been harsh. But every approach, I honestly believe, is essentially true but partial, true but partial, true but partial.
    And on my own tombstone, I dearly hope that someday they will write: He was true but partial...

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Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home! ~ Zhuangzi
  • Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.
  • During our dreams we do not know we are dreaming. We may even dream of interpreting a dream. Only on waking do we know it was a dream. Only after the great awakening will we realize that this is the great dream. And yet fools think they are awake, presuming to know that they are rulers or herdsmen. How dense! You and Confucius are both dreaming, and I who say you are a dream am also a dream. Such is my tale. It will probably be called preposterous, but after ten thousand generations there may be a great sage who will be able to explain it, a trivial interval equivalent to the passage from morning to night.
  • Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
    • Zhuangzi, "Discussion on Making All Things Equal"

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