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Doubting

doubting
The Creation and the Expulsion from the Paradise: Giovanni di Paolo [Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia] (ca. 1438–44)
"I'm gonna take a couple of pills and call myself in the morning."


Following several focused weeks of compiling and Proofing manuscripts, a point came where Doubting kicked in. My Authoring effort, a faith-based initiative if ever one existed, finds its faith sorely tested as its nose slips past the skepticism point on the spectrum to slide into definite Doubting range. Doubting seems a touch deeper than skepticism. While the skeptic holds a possibility, those Doubting carry a conviction which can only be turned by some disconfirming personal experience. Remember the Doubting Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe in the resurrection until he could personally touch Jesus' wounds? The very presence of Jesus might have convinced any skeptic. So much for the often touted benefit of Doubting. Doubting seems more of a hanging judge type of curse than a blessing.

And I would this morning hang the whole Authoring effort from the highest yardarm, if only we had yardarms anymore.
One of the chief difficulties of living by metaphor has always been that they're severely time-bound and always prone to becoming out-dated. Yardarms go out of style. The Shinola Corporation gets taken over by some shit operation out of Indiana. Even the least of them seem prone to go the way of buggy whips. Suffice it to say that Doubting has moved into the building and started redecorating, replacing the innocent decor of the carefree writer with the dour decor of the budding Author. The Author has an investment to insure. He's relatively risk averse. He'd much rather promote some sure thing than anything more speculative or creative. He's the grand comparator, calculating the gradients between everything and finding them wanting. He speaks in 'if onlies', his voice weary, his soul, strained. He requires confirmation nobody can provide.

Great gifts serve as greater burdens for the Doubting Thomases. The dedicated doubter withholds faith in favor of disappointment. That disappointment could metastasize into grudges, even cynicism, and there'll be no convincing them that they suffer from self-inflicted wounds. They experience omission, the perfectly perpetrator-less crime, the one that gets you in the soft underbelly every damned time. Look, these books are not like any others. They have no known exemplar. This fact might render them garbage or golden. The doubter smells garbage where the skeptic suspects gold. Does the doubter deal in false equivalents? Does he require a higher proof than could prove possible? Has he concluded that the future was previously decided and only over-turnable should the future inhabit some past? The Author's experience seems overwhelmingly speculative, so when and how did the doubter's pseudo certainly enter into the proceedings? Without knowing, one cannot competently conclude. The doubter decides to choose based upon preliminary and inevitably incomplete evidence. He'd sink a sailboat for lack of wind.

The writer within me understands the doubter's deficiency. He thought it decent to lend the budding Author the skeptical benefit of the Author's own Doubting, in the sincere belief that the Author, budding though he might still be, could probably handle the responsibility. The writer believed that the Author would just try on the doubt rather than use it to route out all remnants of faith. The writer believed that even Authoring would prove to be a faith-based initiative, but our Author here seems an undermining apostle who seeks confirmation that faith can never require. Then, the writer starts Doubting. Was this years-long effort just vain delusion? Did he produce the material with blinders on? Or is this Doubting more a seasonal affective disorder and not the new normal replacement for that faith-based initiative? One hopes and prays.

"Look," the writer says, "I'm more than familiar with the benefits as well as the dangers stemming from self-deception. No worthwhile anything ever emerges without a touch of self-deception clinging to it. No song was ever written without skepticism at least momentarily out-weighing Doubting. Doubting never produced anything but discouragement, an absence of courage, a cloaking of the heart. Thomas should probably have been better known as Pouting Thomas, for absent his faith, he was most likely nobody's favorite companion. It might be that my manuscripts represent unressurectable saviors or ones without properly confirming wounds. Thomas committed the sin of putting his faith in only one side of what might yet happen. He cast shadow upon innocence, upon the faith-filled part of the equation, and preserved his sunshine for experience, damning himself to what he could not believe rather than blessing himself by preserving possibilities. Maybe this whole initiative will crash and burn to ashes. Perhaps Authoring amounts to nothing but a perverse and delusional dream. I insist upon remaining skeptical without Doubting, for Doubting demands its own demise as the price of even engaging."

I'm gonna take a couple of pills and call myself in the morning.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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