“I’ve tried it all” is one of the most arrogant possible claims one could make.
How much knowledge and experience would one need to have in order to support such a claim?
When I hear statements like “I’ve tried it all”, it reminds me how valuable doubt can be.
Contrary to outward appearances, pessimism doesn’t stem from a lack of faith. It stems from too much faith.
The pessimistic man takes his initial impressions and ideas so seriously that it never occurs to him that his picture of the universe might be radically incomplete. He regards his own individual experiences as an exhaustive catalogue of everything humanity is capable of knowing. He finds it easy to say things like “I’ve tried it all”, “That won’t work”, and “it’ll never get better” precisely because he is NOT accustomed to questioning his judgments.
The pessimists is not a true skeptic. He is a selective skeptic. He doubts anything that sounds too good to be true, but blindly believes that “it’s all going to hell” without demanding much evidence beyond feeling and hearsay.
The antidote? Good old fashioned doubt.
Faith is good, but when the object of one’s faith is unsubstantiated, then faith becomes a force that is blinding and destructive.
The age-old adage, “all we need is a little faith” still holds true. But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to throw in a little doubt too.
Man’s ability to question himself is his greatest defense against destroying himself.