Considerations for Virtuous Rider

“The principle of simplicity or parsimony—broadly, the idea that simpler explanations of observations should be preferred to more complex ones—is conventionally attributed to William of Occam, after whom it is traditionally referred to as Occam’s razor. But why should simpler theories be preferred? Practising scientists have generally assumed it is because they are more likely to be correct. It has never been clear exactly why this should be so. Hume’s principle of “Uniformity of Nature” suggests that simpler theories are preferable because they make a good match for a highly regular, lawful world. Conversely, some philosophers have assumed that the bias towards simplicity is an aesthetic preference, akin to elegance or beauty… Simpler theories were seen as more manageable, more comprehensible, and more testable, but not necessarily more truthful…the precise connection between simplicity and truth remained extremely unclear” (On Simplicity Principle)

Interesting and intriguing, the use of “Parsimony” at the opening of this scientific article on Simplicity is an unexpected link but worth considering. A word from Latin that made its English appearance in the early fifteenth century: “parcimony = economy, thrift, frugality, sparingness in the use of expenditure, of means of resources.”

Interesting and intriguing because the virtue of simplicity, when liberated from aesthetic and superficial meanings, goes straight to the capacity of humans to administer resources (acts, thoughts and words) with frugality, with careful attention to the proper use. On one side, simplicity relates to honesty (I use resources sincerely without double intentions); on the other, it goes together with humility (I do not use resources to exercise power). If one takes honesty and humility out of simplicity one is left with a very sad and poor virtue and one loses all the great ethical value of this virtue. The engine that keeps simplicity, honesty and humility running in complete harmony is a good sense of mercy and forgiveness that any virtuous rider must have.

Mercy (misericords) is the simple heart of the poor, the simple heart of the person in search and Forgiveness (pardon) is the capacity to move ahead in a positive attitude after an insult, an offence or a mistake, defined by Mahatma Gandhi as the attribute of the strong, the virtue of the brave. How can I advance in my riding skills if I do not take lessons from my mistakes, and how can I take a lesson from my mistakes if I do not pardon myself?

Unfortunately, the Anglo-Saxon culture teaches us how to forget but not how to forgive: if I cannot pardon myself and others, I cannot reach a pure state of mind since only forgiveness brings real unity and peace.

Pure from vices, pure from hatred and resentments, open to reality and searching for knowledge, help and experience riding becomes a master of life.

By Paolo Volpara

"Si sta come d'autunno sugli alberi le foglie"