June 16, 2007

Welcome to the New Digs

Filed under: Blog Housekeeping,Philosophy — Bob Gifford @ 2:36 pm

After blogging at Digital Business Strategy for awhile, I’ve decided to start up this, a more personal, blog. So the first question, of course, was picking a name.

The best blog names are clever without being pretentious. I couldn’t come up with anything clever, so I went for pretentious instead.

Latin is always good for pretentiousness, although not as good as Greek. Sanskrit is beyond pretentious, but a lot harder to come by. I settled for Latin.

Rene Descartes famously said “Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum”, meaning “I doubt therefore I think; I think therefore I am.” And I guess that’s fine as far as it goes, but it has always seemed a bit backwards to me. For me, the thinking comes first, and if I think long enough, doubt inevitably follows. By this I don’t mean an existential doubt like Descartes, or self-doubt or insecurity, but an appreciation of the ambiguity inherent in the world. If we are honest, we must admit that all of our opinions and conclusions in life must be provisional, awaiting another bit of data, experience or enlightenment to turn them upside down.

One reaction to this doubt is a kind of jaundiced cynicism, a belief that since nothing is certain, any sincerely held belief is merely naive. Well, I have many sincerely held religious and political beliefs, and I don’t intend to abandon any of them to cynicism.

Another reaction to doubt is to attempt to eliminate it. Since “cogito ergo dubito”, the elimination of doubt requires a refusal to think, or at least to think too hard about our cherished beliefs. But this kind of certainty is an illusion, and eventually the dikes will break and the water of doubt will come crashing in.

Instead, I embrace doubt and ambiguity, I surrender to it. Not that I won’t argue for my viewpoints as though they are irrefutable and certain, but it’s a good thing for the name of the blog to remind both blogger and reader that the opinions expressed here should be greeted with, first, critical thought, and second, doubt.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress