Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Doubt vs certainty

27 June 2019


Last Sunday, I had a conversation with a new and local friend. At a certain moment, I asked her a rhetorical question: “You have little doubt inside you, don’t you?” She acknowledged that and told me that her heart knew her beliefs to be certain. I was puzzled by that remark.

After our conversation, I sent her several quotes on doubt by international philosophers. She replied by stating that apparently I view doubt as something good. Indeed I do.

Until her remark, I had not even realised that other people may deem doubt as something not good. Indeed, some types of doubt can be quite annoying and time-consuming. HoweverI’ve never viewed doubt as bad. In my view, doubt will arise when your Body (eg, heart), Mind and Soul are not in agreement – for whatever reason.

I don’t feel envy towards people who claim to be certain. Moreover, I like to challenge and test their certainties. My only certainty in life is my faith. Nevertheless, I do fear the day when the rooster would crow and challenge and/or test my faith (Wiki). Like Albert Einstein once stated: “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” (eg, Quora)

Actually, I doubt how you can be certain of anything in life (sic!). If only because the truth is just a human perspective (my blogs part 1, part 2). My life is governed by doubt. I’ve always referred to my astrological sign Pisces (eg, my 2014 blog) for an explanation. Apparently, I was even wrong about that because my new friend told me that my sign stands for spirituality rather than doubt.

In 2014, my then-girlfriend advised me to start writing a blog to overcome my feelings of injustice, following a divorce related court battle that lasted 4 years. Initially, I was reluctant to follow her advice as I doubted that I had any talent as a writer. I used all kinds of excuses, including spending money and eroding my future financial base.

My 632,000+ page views still haven’t convinced me that I am a (good) writer. Access is free and people like “freebies“. A part of me does know that spending time (reading) is much more relevant than spending money. Time is invaluable, while money is not. It doesn’t even matter to me if my writing is any good as long as it makes people think and open their mind.

There’s an ancient Dutch saying: “Rust roest”, which roughly translates as “who rests, will rust”. Alternatively, the saying translates like: “Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears” – or in German: “Wer rastet, der rostet” (source). To me, having certainties in life is similar to taking a rest (eg, from thinking, from wondering).

Some relevant quotes on doubt:

  • Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni: “Doubt everything. Find your own light.”
  • Voltaire: “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”
  • René Descartes: “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”
  • Richard P. Feynman: “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.”

Follow the light (2001) by Travis
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Nobody really knows 
Where they’re supposed to go 
Hiding behind a wall 
Afraid that they’ll lose it all 
But it’s alright 
Just follow the light 
And don’t be afraid of the dark

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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