The basis for my optimism, which really should be referred to as open-mindedness, is uncertainty, not faith.
I am not free of hopelessness and nihilistic despair because of my adherence to some concept or creed, I am free because of my refusal to accept any proposition, whether it be positive or negative, without evidence of it being true.
My commitment to intellectual honesty, also known as the willingness to be truthful about what one knows or doesn’t know, makes it quite difficult for me to confidently draw firm conclusions about the world.
Like most skeptics, I tend to see many aspects of positive thinking philosophy as a bunch of dubious claims without much evidential support. Unlike some of those same skeptics, however, I make identical judgments about many schools of pessimistic thought.
It is my experience that skepticism, when applied to negative judgments with the same rigour we often so eagerly bring to positive suggestions, does not lead to despair, but rather to an attitude fundamentally characterized by a radical openness to unconventional ways of thinking.
One’s need for positive beliefs are far less urgent when he has no negative beliefs that need to be overcome.
This skeptical approach doesn’t leave us floating aimlessly in a nebulous sea of confusion; instead, it allows us to fly freely, unencumbered by the gravitational force of unquestioned assumptions, in the open skies of possibility.
The earliest philosophers were motivated by curiosity, not certainty. They were driven to think, act, and engage the world not because of an unwavering belief in destiny or fate, but because of a sense of wonder that made it psychologically impossible for them to ignore all the opportunities to explore the possibilities that filled their universe.
This is also true for me.
I am not driven by what I believe. I am driven by what I do not yet know.