Age of doubt

“Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” Groucho Marx

“Thou shalt not entertain any firm beliefs.” Good or bad, that’s not important. Intuitive, or based on the best science, it doesn’t matter either. What seems to matter now is that you should never be certain of anything.

This age demands that you remain ignorant, despite the unprecedented amount of knowledge this age amassed. No matter how much you know (or feel) is right, you should not base your confidence on your certainty. “You must never be certain”, is what is asked of you. And it prepares the ground for “every opinion is valid.” Coupled with “anyone is entitled to their opinion on anything”, this heralds the end of civilization.

“Forget principles.” They’ll say “that’s life” to anything, “life’s too complex for rules”, they’ll say.

The saddest thing: you’re now allowed to break your promises and vows, and you’re allowed to break your word — because life’s too complex to have such rules for it. I’d agree wholeheartedly, if it weren’t for one unavoidable side-effect: this sort of thinking renders everything trivial and meaningless, as nothing remains to be valued anymore.

Not a promise, not a man’s word, not a vow, not stead-fasting, not the sense of duty, not faith. Somehow, this seems worse than the animal condition, at least animals don’t know any different.

There are no rules, so this age says. But there are always rules, because rules are inherent to matter. The abolition of any system of rules always marks the birth of a new one that’ll take its place, it never means the end of all rules, as any inexperienced, hobbyist revolutionary thinks (and makes sure to tell you). Unfortunately, at the tipping point, the new rules are often worse than the old ones, plus (and this is of utmost significance) they will allow for a less beautiful world.

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