Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tidings of doubt and joy

On Facebook, I was telling a friend we should always be aware that any and every part of a memory may be false. He replied,
You often bring doubt and discouragement to my days, Will, and yet I'm very glad I know you! 
I quote the second part because what he meant would sound much bleaker without it. But it made me realize I need to work harder to bring doubt and joy. The greatest human mistake may be certainty. Most evil deeds, from suicide to genocide, start with certainty. Progress starts with doubt—can I make something better? Finding the truth is a process of embracing doubt—Can I stop searching for the truth or do I continue, suspecting that more truths remain to be found?

Yes, there’s a dark side to doubt—Is there nothing good ahead? But giving into despair has nothing to do with doubt. That’s a failing of certainty.

My goal is to go through life in a state of joyful doubt. Doubting means I cannot know where a path will take me, but doubt does not keep me from enjoying the journey. Doubt only requires that I be watchful as I go, and being watchful only means I must try to see and hear all I can. To doubt is to live open to the possiblity of unimagined joy.

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