Doubt and Certainty

4 08 2013

I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s not because I haven’t had anything I wanted to say. I’ve definitely had thoughts that I would have liked to express and this blog has always been a good venue for thought expression in the past. I think the reason I haven’t written anything here or elsewhere lately is because I have begun doubting that anyone would want to hear what I have to say.

Maybe this is a good thing. It could be a sign that I’ve become a little less narcissistic. I’m reminded of the parody quotation concerning blogging, “Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.” So maybe I’ve just grown up a little bit. :) But my graduate advisor has even pointed out the same thing, that it seems like I’ve lost the belief that I have anything interesting to say.

I have no accurate insight as to why this might be the case but I can speculate. I imagine it has something to do with my recent disaffection from religion and my recent divorce. The reason I think these events are partly to blame is because each has caused me to seriously question what I think I “know.” These days, I’m simply much less comfortable saying that I “know” anything with certainty and this, in turn, makes me reluctant to share my thoughts and beliefs because I think I fear that they, too, may one day be proven wrong and I don’t want to commit myself publicly to something that is potentially false.

I think I’ve been treating this kind of doubt as a virtue, in the vein of Charles Bukowski’s words when he said, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” This is, admittedly, very self-serving and it’s quite easy for me to recite such words to myself and inwardly gloat about my “intelligence” without actually learning or contributing anything to the world. The truth is that this kind of doubt that I’m feeling has only caused me to become more reclusive in terms of sharing the fruits of my intellect.

I envision myself, in my future career, as an educator of sorts and, in a certain light, educating requires a degree of arrogance, that is, you must possess a degree of confidence that you know more about something than the people whom you would like to educate. It also requires a degree of humility, being willing to accept that you could be wrong and being able to accept correction when you receive it in order to ensure that you are always teaching as correctly as possible.

Anyway, the point of me writing this is not to say that I have finally found enough knowledge or truth for me to feel comfortable and confident sharing it now. The point is that my fear that I don’t know enough has paralyzed me and kept me from sharing my thoughts and exposing them to public scrutiny, to be validated or rejected as others see fit. This has potentially robbed me of many opportunities to learn and increase my knowledge. I don’t want to continue like this.

I have things to say, thoughts to share, knowledge that others don’t have. I enjoy sharing such things with others but I have let my lack of certainty prevent it lately. I want to begin sharing again. As far as this blog goes, hopefully I’ll get motivated to do as I’ve done in the past: share my thoughts on social issues, share important events from my life, etc. I also want to share more of what I learn in my studies. I hope that people will still want to read it. :)

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2 responses

28 08 2013
Fred

I love to hear your opinions Peter. You need to express your thoughts and let the world take a shot at you. I have an opinion on just about everything and if some one wants to disagree with me I am always willing to listen. I have changed my mind on many things many times because someone convince me I was wrong. A good discussion is usually a good thing.

10 05 2014
Patricia Morgan

You might want to read “You are not so smart” Fun book! Now I have a mental list I run through when I’m thinking about things. :)

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