The duck test is conventionally understood to be a form of abductive reasoning, and expressed as:
"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."
The test implies that if something has various characteristics which all suggest the same thing then that it what is probably is. This is a less analytical version of occams razor.
This can often lead to lazy thinking and, as a heuristic, it can be unreliable because it is based on analogy and what appears to be similar may not be.
I use the phrase "the duck test" as a personal shorthand for the process of triangulation which I use when I see what I perceive to be generic or universal truth in all sorts of seemingly unlikely and unconnected places.
In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is defined as the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly.
GPS uses 3 satellites to triangulate
your position. The police can predict your phone’s location by using the
data from 3 cell towers.
Triangulation is a term that was borrowed from surveying, where it
refers to the collection of different compass bearings (usually three,
hence triangulation) in order to pinpoint a location on a map.
Before I explain what I mean by the duck test - and how I apply it, I must declare a belief or big assumption that I hold and that underlies this approach.
My big assumption is that truth is generic and universal – however, whenever and wherever it manifests.
So for me, the duck test together with "the big assumption" is the basis of my whole
perspective on life which is, as far as I am capable, holistic and
I see generic truth in all sorts of seemingly unlikely and unconnected places.
If you do not hold or share this belief, then this process may not work for you. But that’s OK – we’re all different, and we function differently.
Truth may appear in different ways.
The truth may come in strange disguises, but if the filters in our minds are set wide enough, we may see it.
As it is said: "seek and you will find".
So when I see something in any diverse area of life or field of inquiry that resonates - it maybe an idea, a perspective, or a dimension - I pay careful attention to it.
When at some other time, I see the core or essence of the same thing reappear in my mental field of vision, re-expressed in a different framing, context and language I really start to pay attention.
If this occurs a third time I apply the duck test – that is if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then chances are it is a duck!
When this occurs, the triangulation applies and I can see that each of the three seemingly different occurences are pointing to a generic or universal truth.
The fields of science in general and specifically quantum physics seems to point in the direction of an energetic universe. This would suggest that we live in a universe of energy - literally and not just metaphorically.
Several of the world's oldest religions and philosophies describe this as "the ground of all being", "emptiness", "The Tao" or "the way".
I have observed and learned over many years that the energetic dimension of my life has a key - if not critical - bearing on my peace of mind and general well being and also in my effectiveness in life in realisation of goals and objectives.
Are all these perspectives, insights and understandings pointing to a univeral or generic truth that is framed in a different language according to the domain of reference?
Then as my thinking, observation and experimentation in my own life developed I came to the view that we are Living In A Participatory Universe. In other words, we don't just exist in an inert, "blank canvas" universe we live in an interactive energy field that responds to our own dominant energetic states.
I have also discovered that the more we seek to align with this energy or consciousness the more it responds and interacts and shapes our experence of life and most critically how we respond to it.
So, if these really are generic /universal truths - or close to being such - then the personal ramifications are huge.
[I do not subscribe to the popular view on the law of attraction but despite its distortions and simple minded approach to "manifestation" it does, in my view, contains the seeds of a partial truth vis-a-vis the perspectives outlined above.]
Our inner self talk matters.
Our relationship with our thoughts matters.
In conclusion, whilst you may not agree with my take on all this, I trust that as a minimum you can agree with the late Wayne Dyer when he said:
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Next Article: How Things Are
Return from "The Duck Test" to: How To Change Your Life
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