Sunday, February 19, 2012

Doubt




There is something in Hamlet that resides in all of us; it is the human condition of doubt and uncertainty. However, we wish to guild our lives with the opposite confines of certainty yet in the deeper registers of our being, we know that, that is impossible. For certainty is the death of all doubt and imagination.

Find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.


This innate desire of certainty perpetuates the fraud on our senses and creates the illusion of control.



There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

This elusive of all mythic creatures, this nebulous of all nebulae, this sentient of all beings, this paragon of all life, this human of all intelligent thought that contrives, manipulates and articulates the essence of its being, this certainty is an orgy of defective complex motives.



Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.

In this virtual dilemma of a self-deluding potion of certainty when the mere whiff of the scent of doubt arises, the drama of untold calamities unfolds. And yet as all such events come to pass, life replays itself again. History repeats. Only the times change. The character remains the same, for within us all, is deeply inbred a calculator of thought and action that perpetuates itself inside the small, invisible helical threads of our being. In this chaos of being there is a method to the madness! We, humans are an anachronistic anathema, a contradiction a mystery.

A dream itself is but a shadow.

The riddle:

Yesterday, then, there was this tiny soul so full of life and love that his eyes were lit with the torch of creativity. Unfortunate in this terrible tale was the constant of a certainty created by the masquerading masses. This one particular certainty was crafted in the most innocent of ways. He the manager, arbitrated his way into a collection of wise and entirely plausible ruminations that spelled certainty. The tiny soul in its most vulnerable of all periods was the recipient of this apothecary science, a science imbued with the essence of observed truth and resolute diction that it had resolved all questions of doubt. The tiny soul took it at face value and submitted itself in full faith to the charm and action of this certainty so as to curtail the ailment that afflicted him. The tiny soul laid bare his essence to fight the crush of the advancing demons with the help of this magic sword. Alas that was not to be and while many battles were lost, the war was finally won through the essence of the Grace within this tiny soul.

Later as locks opened by the keys of doubt, this certainty became vulnerable. And as more and more doubt pushed its way through the door, imagination heralded the new axioms that this once “certainty” could not answer. The collapsing scaffolds took down the giant fa├žade of certainty and its authors. The Tiny soul remians the proof of that lie!

Perdition catch my soul

But I do love thee!
and when I love thee not,

Chaos is come again.

You see from this montage above that a silver thread of reality weaves its calling card into the fabric of all life and that is the short story before us. The cryptic nature of these words will in the darkness and quiet of moments reveal the depth of their meaning within. Stay close dear friend, stay close, something is about to stir.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one. ~ Voltaire


Can we then come to a state of understanding, when confronted with the facts, that the certainty that we hold as truth is a wretched lie? Can we forgive the years of roiled, toiling the suburbs of self-deluding certainty in the face of such defining evidence? Can we? And in as much as I would like to say, no, because of the time spent, the answer is yes. Yes! We must!

You see the polemic discord in the brain although fractures the frame of reference, the fissure so created can be salved and remolded to another such certainty. For we as humans learn to latch on for dear life, like batons in a relay race, onto such frail and nebulous clouds of "being right!" Imagine you believed that the Halley’s comet was bringing the doomsday message for the earth and instead of taking the poison you accidentally drank the red wine that put you into a deep slumber. When you awoke from this disconcerting sleep and found your hands could feel your face and the eyes could behold your visage in a mirror and the rest of you was, well, the rest of you; intact in its imperfection, then the psychological ramifications came drifting down the sky as giant parachutes of boxes of all shapes and sizes filled with new paradigms to behold and claim as your own. Maybe a new belief in another comet, a meteor or even a newly named galaxy would vindicate your thinking as the next great cosmological event to graze history, afford change or even annihilate mankind. Yes we do hold onto beliefs even when we are confronted with contradictory facts and as we do, our rhetoric increases, the voices are raised to a higher decibel and the anger and frustration oozes out. For we are right! We are certain, even when we are wrong about being right!

The rest of the story:

A calm sunny August day, breezeless of motion and colorless of change sets the scene. The young professor walked into the laboratory deep in thought. He was smart as they come. He had in his mind constructed a paradigm of truth that was to lead human kind away from the ravages of disease. He had discovered the blithe of the wayward cancer cell and the switch that controlled it. He was on the threshold of announcing his discovery. That night when all the murmurs of the day had gone to sleep, leaving quiet reason to reign instead, he thought through the problem one more time. His mind reeling through the events of the last decade, the painstaking journey of discovery and defeat and the defeat in the discoveries that had gone into the certainty that now manifested in his mind. This was the Holy Grail. This was the pantheon of all human endeavors. This was “it.” He set aside the all-lingering doubts, the subtle nuances of failed experiments until changed values and numbers had proven the cause to be just and certain. He had fortified the logbooks of experimentations into huge piles of material placed in a separate cubicle carefully numbered and labeled as evidence. He kept thinking through the procedures until he had quashed all sense of doubt to its barest minimum presence. He was ready.

After the announcement the next day, a grand celebration was held. There was great pomp and circumstance as many competing entities wished to partake in this manifest glory that would reap huge rewards in helping mankind against the greatest of all scourges. Ah yes, life was at the brink of a glorious dawn of certainty. After all he had saved a young life from the brink of disaster. The experiment had worked as the model predicted.

When all the eyes and ears had gone, after being regaled by the new paradigm, the professor sat back in his hard wooden chair that he preferred, it gave him just enough discomfort, by creating doubt in his actions. A thought emerged and he ran back to the lab. The night and the next few days were lost in the blur of chaos. The doubt that had been cast, that pricking thorn of uncertainty had hit pay dirt. He found the error in his experiment, a miniscule error, a minor infraction of little consequence. He tried to brush it aside. It wouldn’t. The next day, the newspapers were replete with the glory of this new story and his photograph was flashed in every household through the television. He was the wunderkind. He was the new unlikely celebrity. He was called the Einstein of biology, the Galileo of immunology and the Newton of genetics. He was the new face of intellect. He was “it.”


But now what? What to do? What to say? What? The questions would come soon. The experimentation would and could not be replicated and the decade of his work would be tossed aside. Like the “fusion” energy and other such beauties of thought, his work would be carted down into the hall of shame. So now what to do? The scrutiny, my goodness the scrutiny that would follow and the charges and the pain of being that would accompany. What to do?

The once bright and radiant certainty was now soiled and dripped dark with the used oil of doubt. The premature ecstasy of expression was now being governed by the chains of doubt and that left him listless and in despair.

Indeed, what to do?

What should he do?

He unfortunately took a path least traveled by humans. The paradigm now crushed and nothing much to hold on to, he chose “not to be.”


The darkness within the soul cannot be remedied into light if doubt is never allowed to confront that certainty. The ramifications are great. The personal loss is enormous and the ability to gather the remains to restart with a new focus, difficult. Let doubt in. Let certainty remain attached, even if ever so tenuously, to uncertainty. The bonds of that doubt will prevent the collapse of the scaffolding of an enterprise. And unlike Hamlet, it is that “pale cast of thought,” that keeps the imagination going and the ship of state in motion.

And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action.

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