Have faith in doubt

“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.

One thought on “Have faith in doubt

  1. Hm-m-m…

    I wonder if the wider underlying issue isn’t so much
    “pessimism” or “selective skepticism” as cynicism?

    I’ve found that men are especially prone to equating
    cynicism with being “realistic..” All of your very astute
    observations still apply. Indeed “radically incomplete
    picture of the universe” and “regarding experiences as
    an exhaustive catalogue of everything humanity is capable
    of knowing.” So very true! Love these words.

    Cynicism and naivety are opposite sides of the same coin.
    Both keep themselves in a precarious state of not knowing
    enough so that their better lives become severely eclipsed.

    Is this be a case of too much faith and too little doubt? Or
    of a mind in atrophy? Certain in its uncertainty that you can’t
    be certain of anything. And gives up?

    “Man’s ability to question himself is his greatest defense
    against destroying himself.” Oh yes. And why do some
    see this as a burden rather than a release? …”precisely
    because he is NOT accustomed to questioning his judgments.”

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