Everyone Has Great Faith–But Is It In The Right Thing?

You have to trust something. No doubt about it.

If you do doubt this statement (“You have to trust something”), then you’re trusting your capacity for skepticism in general, your actual doubt in this case in particular. Whatever you say, in fact, proves the point directly or indirectly.

The only question, therefore, is: what are you going to put your trust in? What is that something?

Are you suspicious of your significant other? Then you have great faith in your suspicion. (Should you be suspicious of this one, or is it in your shadow?)

Are you sure that nihilism is true and that there’s no point to any of this after all? (Have you really investigated the matter, or are you living on sour grapes?) Then you have put your great faith in your brand of nihilism.

Are you filled with moral outrage? Then you have great faith in your self-righteousness, in your ability to discern injustice, and in the centrality of justice.

There is no skirting around this matter of faith, no matter how hard classical liberals have tried to make modern, atomized liberal society agnostic. This is why, pointedly, Chan poet Seng Ts’an (Sengcan) titles his poem about enlightenment “Faith in Mind.” Faith in Big Mind. Faith in Universal Consciousness. That’s it.

If we must put our faith in something, why wouldn’t we put it in ultimate consciousness? This is not a Pascalian wager, for Pascal was trying to show that believing in God is rationally justifiable on game theoretic terms. Not so here.

This approach, if one can even deign to call it that, is more elementary and straightforward: if you can’t live without elemental trust and if it’s not, in the final analysis, wise to trust whatever is subject to change (*), then what is that something, never subject to change, that is worthy of your trust?

End Note

(*) If you doubt my smuggled-in premise (“if it’s not, in the final analysis, wise to trust whatever is subject to change”), then you’re, again, trusting your doubt while also trusting that your doubt will continue to “stay put” and, accordingly, be fixed. Check it out. It’s subject to change! Then what, huh? We’re back at the question with which I conclude this post.