“Make up your mind!” I can hear them screaming from the battlements. “How dare you not come to complete certainty on my pet subject!”
It may be that coming to an absolute conclusion, certainty, or belief about anything constitutes the end of thinking or exploring that subject. Essentially, when you allow yourself to believe that you know what something “is” you no longer need to investigate, analyze or think about that thing. Certainty seems to me, to be the end of rational thought and the beginning of all ignorance.
Notes to Dogmatists
I do not feel that admitting what I don’t know is a weak stance. I feel it is honest (as opposed to self-deceptive), and perhaps, therefore, requiring the most internal fortitude. I truly do not know what happens after we die. Neither do you. I am simply willing to admit this to myself. It seems to me that the weak require a myth, or self-delusional certitude in order to operate, and appear unwilling to admit how much they do not know.
Both the theist and the atheist seem to me to have jumped to a premature conclusion based on no evidence whatsoever. They both seem equally dogmatic in their unsupported certitude. If two men argue over whether there is a white rabbit on the opposite side of a locked door, the agnostic may rightly call them both on their apparent dogma and if s/he be a scientific illuminist suggest some possible experiments towards discovering the truth instead of useless superstitious medieval speculation.
I think that the world would be a much saner place if people said maybe more often. Just watch the news. Everyone seems always so very certain.
It may be this certainty that gets humanity into most of its stupidest messes. Consider these lovely certitudes. John “is” a Jew (in Nazi Germany) Rahim “is” an Islamic, and we all know that they “are” all terrorists. James “is” a fundamentalist Christian and therefor “is” a chauvinistic war-monger. Eric “is” a pagan devil-worshiper. Jacques De Molay “is” a Devil-Worshiper and should be burned for his crimes. Everyone sounds so certain of everything and certainly seems to be at the heart of much human suffering and ignorance.
It may be that certitude equates to ignorance.
Once we become sure that something “is” a certain way (ie. there “is” a life after death) we feel free to excuse ourselves from thinking, exploring, hypothesizing, and testing regarding it. When we are sure that we “know” what something “is” it seems useless for us to continue to speculate or explore it. All thought stops. Modern medical science assumes that the end of brain activity is synonymous with death. So certitude may be the equivalent of being dead.