Believe nothing, question everything.
Thus, the beginning and the end. The beginning because it creates a spark of something new. The end because it destroys everything that had stood before in one’s mind. This statement and the “umph” within it was the beginning of my own philosophical journey, and today it serves as its own end, and new beginning. Thus the cycle continues, self-perpetuating.
My first day of Philosophy started with Phi101 in a private Christian college in NYC. Alfredo Cid served as the proctor, and my proctor through the journey through. Today, he serves as a close acquaintance and friend even. The first class began with a mission statement, his mission “To destroy everything you once thought and believed. To tear it all down. Will we rebuild it? Can we?”
This created a ripple in through a conservative and deeply religious audience. Students looked at each other, looked behind them, whispered to their neighbor, and shook their heads. A few mumbles became a pseudo-question, erupting through the chaos. A challenge, even: “What about God?”
I can remember the reaction on the professor’s face, and my new understanding of his deep understanding and journey into philosophy sheds a “hindsight is 20/20″ kind of reflection. It communicated how he knew the question was a challenge. It was a challenge to his standing as a philosopher, and a challenge to his status as a professor in a Christian college. Which should he protect more? The answer was simple: ” Does God need to be protected from questioning?”
There it was. Not an answer, but another question. It forced thought, it pushed through the presuppositions with such veracity that too many were forced into mind-bubble. Instead of answering the professor’s question, sticking to their pre-formulated belief that philosophy was, in fact, satanic and just plain evil. Others, few of us, took this question within ourselves and toiled with it. Certainly God is not threatened by questions, and certainly His truth can stand against them and shine through.
Before we knew what was happening, questions were being written on the whiteboard, shouted out from students. They were being webbed together from a single core,the first question, until everything had something else connected to it. There wasn’t a single thing not questioned. It was frustrating, but enlightening. Like a box being opened in the mind, opened to the universe.
Blink, and the class was over. The students had to leave with their disheveled pieces of psyche. Question everything? Where does it stop? Do we question the question? Do we question that still? Certainly, there are foundational beliefs but what are they? Why do we have them? Must we have them? How do we know they are true? Can we prove it? How do you prove the proofs are true?
Your Thoughts? A penny for them, in fact.