Friday, July 28, 2006

Contradiction of Skepticism

Skepticism is a healthy thing. It is something that allows you to challenge your own ideas and something that allows you to reason with those who share in healthy skepticism.

But unbridled skepticism is destructive. It leads to a sort of nihilism that should make the hairs on the back of your head stand on end.

Here is how G.K. Chesterton put it:

The new rebel today is a skeptic that will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty. Therefore he can never be a true revolutionist and the fact that he doubts everything gets in his way to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind. And the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, then he writes another book, a novel, in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, then curses Mrs Grundy because they keep it. As a politician he cries out that war is a waste of life, then as a philosopher that life itself is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as though they were beasts, then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes onto a scientific meeting where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short the modern revolutionist being an infinite skeptic is always engaged in undermining his own mind. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality, in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man’s revolt has practically useless for all intents and purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything.

This sounds cool (King Crimson):

Knowledge is a deadly friend,when no-one sets the rules.The fate of all mankind I see,is in the hands of fools.Confusion will be my epitaph,as I crawl a cracked an broken path.If we make it we can all sit backand laugh.But I’m afraid tomorrow I’ll be crying,Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.

Maybe.

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Manny Is Here: Contradiction of Skepticism

Friday, July 28, 2006

Contradiction of Skepticism

Skepticism is a healthy thing. It is something that allows you to challenge your own ideas and something that allows you to reason with those who share in healthy skepticism.

But unbridled skepticism is destructive. It leads to a sort of nihilism that should make the hairs on the back of your head stand on end.

Here is how G.K. Chesterton put it:

The new rebel today is a skeptic that will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty. Therefore he can never be a true revolutionist and the fact that he doubts everything gets in his way to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind. And the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, then he writes another book, a novel, in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, then curses Mrs Grundy because they keep it. As a politician he cries out that war is a waste of life, then as a philosopher that life itself is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as though they were beasts, then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes onto a scientific meeting where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short the modern revolutionist being an infinite skeptic is always engaged in undermining his own mind. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality, in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man’s revolt has practically useless for all intents and purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything.

This sounds cool (King Crimson):

Knowledge is a deadly friend,when no-one sets the rules.The fate of all mankind I see,is in the hands of fools.Confusion will be my epitaph,as I crawl a cracked an broken path.If we make it we can all sit backand laugh.But I’m afraid tomorrow I’ll be crying,Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.

Maybe.

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