Thoughts on Doubting

Last morning, we were asked to share our VJC story during Civics Lesson. I ended my reflection with the following remark:"It's okay for us to have doubts about our dreams, cos if we are not doubting, we are not thinking." It sounded reasonably true, didn't it? However, to be honest, I personally doubt whether the process of doubting can really be justified by its close relationship with thinking. A necessary condition for this justification to be strong is that thinking should be a virtue by itself. In other words, thinking is intrinsically good and important.

I could hardly think of any reason why thinking is not a virtue. Thinking makes us feel alive:) I suppose that some people may even claim that thinking actually makes us alive. I love this claim a lot no matter how cheesy it sounds, but I will not go so far to make it the basis of my argument since it is controversial and unverifiable. In comparison, it is much safer to say that thinking makes us feel alive. How do we know that we are feeling alive then? If we interpret the word "feel" literally, it gives us a sense of subjectivity and tempts us to regard "feeling alive" as something similar to "feeling happy" and "feeling sad". However, they are obviously different. It occurrs to me that Descartes' famous slogan "cogito ergo sum" might allow us to have a better understanding about thinking. "I think, therefore I am" proves one's own existence in his/her own mind. This proof is from the first-person point of view, so it is subjective rather than objective. We cannot ascertain the existence of others through thinking, and likewise, our own existence cannot be verified through the thinking process of others. (isn't it redundant? important stuff must be repeated lol... i shall dedicate another essay for the importance of redundancy in the near future... anyway, let's come back!) Therefore, it is unwarranted for us to claim that thinking makes us alive, which requires our existence to be proven from others' points of view. However, the proposition "thinking makes us feel alive" can be justified by "cogito ergo sum". Life will be meaningless without the self-assurance of our own existence, and thus, thinking is essential.

So, why is doubting important? I will summarise my first point with a simple logic structure:

P1: If we are not doubting, we are not thinking.

IC1: It is impossible for us to think without any doubts.

P2: Thinking is essential.

C: Doubting is essential.

Here, I am not interested in justifying the truth value of P1 and have simply assumed it is true. (you are welcome to challenge it though...) I shall now move on to justify the significance of doubting in a GP style. (as if i know what is a GP style...)

Doubting incentivises us to explore the possibilities in life although it might not be pleasant at first. Voltaire once said:"Doubt is not a pleasant state, but certainty is a ridiculous one." Certainty seems to be far more desirable than uncertainty as the former gives us a sense of security and comfort. Many people has spent years of time looking for their comfort zones and those who are already  in their comfort zones tend to refrain from doubting about their status quo. Doubting is indeed unpleasant and even painful sometimes, as it requires us to step out of our comfort zone and be confronted with uncertainties. However, let us face it——our resistance to uncertainties cannot expel them from our lives and neither can our refusal to doubting undermine its value to us. Certainty is unattainable and doubting is inevitable. Thus, we shall not indulge ourselves in the illusion of self-created certainty and comfort; this is tantamount to making fool of ourselves. In fact, doubting is not necessarily negative. At first, we may feel lost and insecure when some of our firm beliefs start to be undermined by doubting. As time passes by, doubting may gradually play a more positive role by encouraging us to embrace various possibilities and nurturing us into more sensible and mature adults, who are capable of making better choices given greater exposure. Without doubting, we will spend our whole lives in that dark cave and miss many fabulous and amazing experience in real life. The road guiding us out of the cave may be treacherous and dim, but once we embark on this journey, we will never thinking of turning back.

Doubting enables us to view the world from different perspectives. Our brain is not a passive receiver and analyser of information; it actively selects from chaotic information and seeks to make sense of selected information using its own "algorithm". I believe that its "algorithm" is not fixed, but influenced by its interaction with the external world. Doubting allows our brain to interact with more information, either from others' opinions or our own exposure. This kind of interaction will upgrade our brain's "algorithm" and allows our brain to be more complicated and comprehensive in its analysis. We are never able to have a complete view of three-dimensional world from only one perspective. Given that our life is even more complex with more dimensions, one perspective is definitely insufficient for us to appreciate the beauty of life. It is the process of doubting that allows us to continuously revise and change our initial perspective, enabling us to progress in our pursuit of acquiring a panoramic view of the world.

In conclusion, life without doubting is not worth living. On a personal level, doubting helps an individual go further and think deeper to make better decisions. In retrospect, doubting has also allowed us as a species to progress by constantly challenging the status quo and overcoming different problems. However, the last bit I would like to talk about doubting in this essay is that we cannot doubt everything at one particular time. We have to keep some of our original values and standards unwavering in order for the process of doubting meaningful and effective. I shall end my essay here and leave the readers to figure out the rationale behind this final claim. (you are also welcome to challenge it if you want = =)

【just add in one more quote to make you more confused, "doubt your doubts before doubting your faith."】

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