The issue of skepticism

The issue of skepticism.  Skepticism is an issue, from a nuisance to a scourge, only when we turn it into dogma or become, as it were, convinced by it.  Then and only then does it show our neurosis in being unable or unfit to reside in the middle-ground of things; otherwise it is a healthy stance and expressive of health, not being content with the extremes of things or their obvious faces, but being willing to approach the shades and shadows of the painted, lighted world.

            Sure, a healthy skeptic may be uncertain even of what seems most guaranteed for him, but for him this lack of knowledge is more of a background than his sole atmosphere, a dim voice calling to him from behind the din of beliefs and insights with the reminder that the journey is not over yet and cannot reach its end as easily as in the rest of certainty.  So, does this mean that even in the face of death, that most assured thing to which we cannot but come, in the end, at some time or at any time, we may have anything like doubt?  Death comes, yes–an immortal skeptic seems as unlikely, as outlandish and as absurd as a squared circle: of that we can be certain, and we may laugh at the skeptic for his antics.  But he has the last laugh when he realizes, as we all must realize, in the face of the death all around us, that inescapable visitation, that he just cannot say he knows what is coming to him, or what is coming to any of us for that matter.  Death still has its background voice, its shades of colors on the backdrop of the corpse with its blatant presence.

            What is it, then?  How are we to live, what should be our practice, when we are attuned to the call of skepsis and at all times?  What would be the difference in this constant attunement from the more global and explicit skepticism that is our possible bane and heady trouble?  The answer can only be, as it turns out in so many good things: it is more playful, this beautiful skepticism, and sees in our lack of a black and white world nothing to scorn, sees in the grays of life things to be cherished, really, like gray clouds against the blue-white of the sky, those storm clouds which are surely coming but, when they finally reach us and pour down with second- and rear-thoughts, will wash away the structures built by our certitude, even our noblest.  It plays in the rain and is the rain itself.

Where are we going?


  1. Thank You, Richard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      Thank you, Frank. This is one of the kindest short responses I can imagine to this piece, and I feel I know just how your gratitude is moving.

      Liked by 1 person

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