Creation begins in solitude. I’ve grown misanthropic over the years, less patient with my fellow-man. I’ve come to believe that solitude is where the penetralia of being resides, where the citadel of mind abides, the garrisoned cathedral of the heart. I like to think that all great thoughts and passions germinate in these chambers.
Self-conformity is the only conformity I endorse. This requires that you love yourself. I don’t think anyone is capable of liking me more than I like me, even if they were paid. As Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” So long as I fortify my spirit with solemn reflection and meditation, I am unbreakable. I feel that we’re obligated to respect and love ourselves. Too often the world would have us believe, would lead us to think, that our worth is limited, when in fact, I believe, it is proportional to the love and devotion we pay ourselves. I don’t think loving yourself necessarily means you don’t hate yourself from time to time. Love and hate, being the most powerful of affections, seem to go hand in hand. Indifference is what I fear the most: the true absence of self-love. We are the gods of our existence, the arbiter of our destiny.
Does Pyrrhonian skepticism provide a viable approach for a progressive life? Skepticism is often reproached for its noncommittal attitude towards life, being charged with apraxia, the lack of asserted action or purpose, as well as a deficiency of imagination due to their continual appeal to the unadorned appearances. So we ask, what good is skepticism? Better yet, why practice skepticism? Surely there are compelling justifications why the skeptic school should be preferred over any other, otherwise there be no incentive to study and practice the discipline over any other. To explore these questions I will use ‘progress’ in the philosophical as well as the historical sense. Stated clearly, I will investigate whether the skeptical approach is capable of solving problems, or providing answers to questions, and whether these solutions provide a means of becoming increasingly better in the various life projects humanity undertakes.
I will begin by delineating the core tenants of skepticism, specifically exploring the aim and ends of quietude, before discussing the dilemmas and consequence of these tenants, such as the charge of apraxia brought against skepticism. I will then argue that the skeptical approach ultimately tames progress by providing a regulatory methodology that corrects for stipulative errors of judgment, but does not directly contribute to progress due to its inherent inability to assert any original facticities of value. To conclude, I will take the position that the skeptical approach (though not explicitly stated by the skeptics themselves) is vital in the development of a critical consciousness, that its methodology and tropes provide an analytical framework and methods of deconstruction and reduction that render dogmatic facts, semantics and values as subjective instruments, rather than true facts. Continue reading “Skepticism and Progress”