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Certainty vs Doubt

Café-Salon Philosophique #83

June 9, 2001

No. of Participants: 10

Topic for Discussion: "Certainty vs. Doubt"

"We are afraid to be certain," said Samuel. "Society teaches us to doubt our own instincts and actions.""We are not taught to trust the inner guide, to look within."

"Samuel asked participants to think about what they learn from within. "Is there anything you are really certain about?" He asked. No one responded to this question. Just alot of thinking going on.

"Okay, then, let's just start with definitions - "What is Certainty? What is Doubt"

"Fascisim has conditioned people to doubt which creates uncertainty and insecurity," said Dennis. "People yearn for acceptance and certainty, but yet doubt creates feelings of rejection or even feelings of being unloved," he add.

"As for certainty, certainty is feeling secure and happy which helps one to live longer," Dennis added. "Certainty to me implies tangible, apparent, reachable goals," said Lynn.

"Certainty is a leap of faith," she added.

"What in your daily life are you certain of?" asked Samuel.

"Certainty statements have to have true value," said Trevor. For example, "I exist.""Certainty statements can only be made if they are beyond all reasonable or unreasonable doubt."

"When you are certain, you realize you don't have to convince anybody," said Samuel. "With certainty you exist, not subsist. We tend to deny our existence."

"Certainty is knowledge that you have justified internally," said Aaron. "Certainty helps one to make right actions," said Lynn. "Internal certainty is not wrong, it is just when some one else tries to tell us "it is wrong." "Then, doubt is created," said Trevor.

"Change is a constant certainty," said Samuel. "We don't need justification if we are certain," says Dennis.

"Human misunderstanding or error, is when we don't agree. We think we are right and not open to new ways of thinking and being, staying trapped in the old conditioned ways," said Samuel. "To many, this is a comfortable and satisfactory existence."

"We use such a small part of our potential consciousness."

Catherine thinks that certainty is an instinctual or intuitive thing. For example, she went around the table describing those people she felt were "certain," and those who she felt "doubted."

Trevor seems to think that "philosophy was created to instill doubt."

"Certainty and doubt is just one way to name how we use our thoughts and beliefs.""The way we think can make the situation either positive or negative," said Margie. "And, it depends upon how we express those beliefs," she added.

"A belief can be doubtful," said Trevor. "You can't separate outside reality from linguistics," said Aaron.

Catherine had a questioned. "Is certainty real or just bad faith?""Just because you are certain of something, doesn't necessarily mean that it is something good, does it?"

"It depends on if you have a positive way of thinking, as to whether or not the certainty will have a good outcome."

"Absolute truth is too much for most people," said Samuel. "Beliefs can become a person's reality," he added.

"Certainty has to do with one's state of mind." How the person thinks and puts things together. "Certainty is a state of being."

"All we are doing here is talking about it from an external standpoint," said Trevor. "Absolute truth has no conditions," said Margie. Like with math and science, it is hard to prove absolute truths. Most studies are theories.

"Truth protects it self," said Samuel. "We are not civilized enough, and doubt to such a high degree, that we cannot even conceive of what real truth is."

"We deal only with the five senses rather than exploring the other 95," says Samuel.

"Doubt on the other hand, is a lack of conviction," surmised Dennis. "Humans behave by way of reason," said Trevor. "The way I do it, is I examine the conviction, then reach a conclusion which takes me to the action," says Dennis. "Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is a bad decision, but oh well, I learn from it."

Catherine thinks we should "act on convictions even when we have doubts."

"Doubt can be dangerous," says Samuel.

"Certainty is when you know who you are." "It is beyond therapy."

"Certainty must be obtained on our own," says Samuel. "It is a fluency of thought, developing and finding our own way in this world."

"Life is a meaningless state when we stay in doubt and don't understand," said Trevor. "Also, if we continue to let others influence our way of thinking and being, instead or doing our own activities from within."

"In the bigger picture, (out in the Universe and Cosmos), life is beyond the limitations of thinking about certainty and doubt." There are realms that are unimaginable, unthinkable, infinite.......

"Most of us never learn to go beyond the five senses," said Lynn. "We learn to react instead of act."

"Animals know how to act," said Catherine. "They know how to live in their own little eco niches." "Us humans still haven't developed our niches." "Society has not advanced very far when it comes to human relations."

Humans are too competitive, greedy, materialistic and power hungry. We are caught up in our own worlds, pursuing our own means rather than exploring, thinking and viewing globally. (For most, they don't even know what that means)

"The thing is, is that humans think too much. Animals, think, but then they act immediately, instinctually. They have to in order to survive." Humans on the other hand do lots of thinking, and not enough constructive doing.

"There is a difference between action, reaction and response," said Samuel. You have to know what this means. When we talk too much, think too much, feel too much, we can become confused.

We have a tendency to react by feelings rather than by responding through careful, thought-out thinking. Then, depending upon whether the thoughts are positive or negative, or whether we doubt or are certain of our actions, can make a difference.

It also makes a difference if we are talking male or female. Men and women think differently. Men are more logical and cerebral, whereas, women have the tendency to use more of their intuition, feelings and emotions.

"It also depends on how we were conditioned when we were young, or what culture we were brought up in," said Marjorie.

If one has experienced more positive, confident influence in their life, then, certainty probably has been more of a factor than doubt. We surmised that certainty is the following:

-Trusting the inner guide

-Taking right action

-Knowing that change is a constant

-Absolute truth is not normally accepted, and it seems we must hide the truth. Truth protects it self.

-Certainty is conscious, organized, continuous movement

If on the other hand, one has been influenced more by negativity and the "you don't know what you are doing" attitude, then, possibly doubt prevails. We concluded that doubt was:

-Lack of conviction

-Fear of change

-Ignorance, suppression, depression

-Doubt might be dangerous, in the sense of possible violent outcomes

-Not trusting the inner source

-Not knowing the truth

-Possibly lost, with no sense of direction

We grasped at bits and pieces, but no one could fully explain from their own being tonight how certainty or doubt is expressed in their own lives.

What about you? What kind of driving force is certainty or doubt in your life? Are you even aware of such notions? If so, how does it work in your own life?

Our next Café gathering will be held July 14, 2001 at the Boulder Bookstore located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado. Start time is 6:30 p.m.

Hope to see you there! Invite your friends!

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.