Believe In What You Want

But believe in something, as I’ve often told my philosophically pandering neighbor, Max.  I tell him, any fool can flounder around – throw up his hands and profess that ‘god is too big and too mysterious’ for any of us to understand. And so it takes a truly remarkable and relentless man to grapple with the slipperiness of the so-called unknowable.

And just so you know, my neighbor likes to self-identify with the existentialists; which to my way of thinking is a philosophical safe spot. Why? Because it is so fucking easy to dither in the zone of the absurd. I once told my very liberal Dutch friend, Hendrik, ‘To embrace everything (like the Dutch are prone to do) is to defend nothing.’

Extreme liberalism – much like existential nihilism –  while seen as unarguably safe from the vantage point of society, contrarily is viewed as so much poison from the perspective of the individual; the first is amoral while the later is intellectual suicide.

Nihilism, existentialism (whatever) is a wonderful philosophical system that should only be used as that first torch to illuminate our respective caves. Even Camus himself concludes his argument (‘The Myth of Sisyphus’) that existentialism is not of itself an end state.

So challenge everything, but at some point decide on what you believe in. Believing in nothing (or the absurd) is only a refuge for idiots and fools.

Lastly, I tell him, like I tell any other man who wants to take up my time expounding on their personal belief system, ‘Believe in what you want, I don’t care. But be able to defend it.’ Simple platitudes dishonor you (and annoys me).

 

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