Blind Faith

I’m afraid I’m not a fan of blind faith having once again this week seen a rather stupid example of it. But that’s just me.

I’m coming to understand that one of the most difficult things to do is what Bertrand Russel once said, “Live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation.” Not easy. Both can block your way. You can be so sure and clear-cut it stops you in your tracks, nothing more to learn or to discern. On the other hand, and now I feel a bit like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof,  “on the other hand” you can become so uncertain, paralysis sets in. That place of discerning caution, laced with being open to possibility, I think, is the kind of air to breath.

As I’ve said, not easy.

By the way, speaking of “Fiddler on the Roof” I love this line in a conversation Tevye has with Lazar Wolf when both decide to go to America.

Tevye: Where are you going?
Lazar Wolf: Chicago. In America.
Tevye: Chicago, America? We are going to New York, America. We’ll be neighbours. 🙂

Advertisements

About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Discernment, inspiration, Life, Passion, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Blind Faith

  1. QueasyPeasy says:

    Decision-making used to be cut and dried until I went to university. Now everything has two sides and I have been known to dither for weeks pondering the best decision. Have to say I’m more paralysed by hesitation as every pro and con is weighed. It’s tedious and I so wish I could unlearn it! As for Fiddler on the Roof, I saw it at the cinema as a youngster and it left an indellible impression. Must be time to watch it again.

    Like

    • Don says:

      My experience is similar, Linda. University also did that to me and I also border on hesitation at times. I remember a wonderful lecturer of mine. He gave us three words which I’ve never forgotten, Compare, Contrast and Evaluate. They’ve become a kind of a Mantra in my life. Thanks for a great comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “When nothing is sure, everything is possible” – Margaret Atwood
    I love this quote as it helps me live in uncertainty but dream big ” On the other hand….
    Great thought provoking post Don, thankyou.
    Karen

    Like

  3. Everything was certainty until I realised that religion is a bunch of hooey and started to make my own decisions.
    Now, although things are uncertain, I am responsible for my own life and I don’t give it over to faith in something that doesn’t exist.
    I like the Margaret Atwood quote too. 🙂

    Like

    • Don says:

      You’re right Linda. Tragically so much religion has traded in certainty. Certainty puts a fence around all critical thinking and the one thing that traditional religion doesn’t want is thinking people.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tomsimard says:

    “That place of discerning caution, laced with being open to possibility, I think, is the kind of air to breath.”

    I think that sums things up perfectly, Don.
    Great line from Fiddler on the Roof.

    Like

  5. I really appreciate that Russel quote, Don. Not easy to keep the balance.

    Like

  6. Dan Antion says:

    This is a very good post, a good reminder. The balance you talk about is very hard to maintain. It’s almost like you need to make micro-adjustments to the things you’re certain of. As for the scene you mention at the end, in 1982, we had an exchange worker who joined us in Hartford, CT from our firm’s Paris office. When he realized that we had a long weekend for Labor Day he said: “I’d love to see some of America, maybe I can drive to the Grand Canyon” – it was comical but hard to burst his bubble.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Had a good chuckle Dan. So many people just have no idea of the vastness of the US. In the visits I’ve made that has struck me deeply. I remember taking a flight from New York to San Francisco. I was awestruck by the mass of land below me, and the fact that I went through a time zone just boggled my mind. 🙂

      Like

  7. calvin says:

    I’ll say, “am off to parts unknown”.
    And most often the retort from those around me is, ” well if you don’t know where your going Tonto it isn’t worth going to”.

    It’s all about freedom, Kemosabe. And I don’t mean freedom of choice. As riding along a ridge with an magnificent sunset as backdrop in today’s world or yesterdays for that matter, is but an facsimile. You can not change or alter the external with any degree of certainty or significance. But we’re all ‘free’ to wander the cosmos internally to discover that inner dom(e) till the eyes open. And there is no timeline nor script; it is all ‘commando’ is faith.

    Like

    • Don says:

      “And there is no timeline nor script; it is all ‘commando’ is faith.” Hell Calvin, that’s you at your best. I like that. As for being “free to wonder the cosmos internally…” I’m with you on that too Tonto. 🙂 There is something vast and free about not knowing.

      Like

  8. ladyfi says:

    I’d rather make a firm and bold decision than none at all…

    Like

  9. Isn’t “Blind Faith” redundant? All faith is blind, as you can’t be sure, which is why you offer your faith. But here’s the thing. No one reads a book where the hero always knows what to do or what will happen next and always has the answers. We’d fall asleep by chapter three. Life is its best adventure when we embrace that knowing and not knowing simultaneously. That’s when the sword comes out and you hop on the horse and you decide maybe you do have it in you to slay the dragon.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Noelle, I think “blind faith” is a faith often blinded by certainty. Sometimes people are so certain they’re blind to other possibilities. I’m with you on the “knowing” and “not knowing. It’s the paradox that feeds the gift of adventure in to the stream of life. To all the unknown dragons. 🙂

      Like

  10. The creative process IS the art of finding a way beyond self conscious hesitation–the dynamic between uncertainty and action fuels creativity.

    Like

  11. Hariod Brawn says:

    That place of discerning caution, laced with being open to possibility.

    It’s about understanding the nature and biases of our thoughts, as well as having a balanced regard for them is it not Don? What I mean is, being able to see the mind’s projections whilst not becoming subsumed by them. We see our opinions as just that, no more; we give them their space, along with our felt intuitions, and between the two action initiates. There is here a blind faith of sorts perhaps, simply by virtue of the future being always unknowable in some degree. And yet we respond to this unknown, or rather to what may potentially be known. What alternative is there? None. Our senses of feeling, and of our convictions and past conditioning, these are what overcome any stasis within us. Without some degree of faith in these, which is to say showing a faith in life itself, then the stasis holds sway.

    Like

    • Don says:

      That first sentence of yours in the comment, Hariod, is so profoundly true. What a gift it is to be able to allow the observer within to see and discern and to keep a contemplative distance from the very projections of the mind, and to understand how those projections relate to our conditionings. That’s rarefied air. Not many go there.

      I’m comfortable when blind faith has its blindness rooted in the unknown, but uncomfortable when it is rooted in an unrealistic certainty.

      I loved your last sentence. Thanks for a deeply challenging comment Hariod.

      Like

  12. Val Boyko says:

    Being open to the not knowing while being true to my own ideals has helped me navigate to clarity. … otherwise I could spend an eternity living in a world of “on the other hand”. Thank you for this thought provoking post Don.
    On the other hand, I’m also wondering if by using the term “blind” faith, it reflects a part of us that is also blind from seeing the other hand of things.
    Val x

    Like

    • Don says:

      I think for me Val there has also been a degree of certainty when it has come to my own ideals, but even there there have been changes over the years and I’m so grateful that that these ideals were not cemented in certainty. You make such an important point in your last sentence – I really like what you say.

      Like

  13. nrhatch says:

    The most difficult challenges we face don’t come with road maps or GPS coordinates. Instead, we feel our way in the dark as the path unfolds before us.

    That uncertainty, filled as it is with infinite possibility, makes life exciting.

    “Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” ~ Agnes De Mille

    Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds and fanatics. ~ C.J. Keyser

    Like

    • Don says:

      Nancy, that Agnes De Mille quote is so good. If blind faith is taking leap after leap in the dark, then I’m there, but if it means only the light of certainty and being blind to the dark, then I’m not there. As you say, there is a direct relationship between fanaticism and absolute certainty. Thanks Nancy.

      Like

      • nrhatch says:

        “Blind faith” means different things to different people. It might mean having faith in something we haven’t yet seen or experienced. Or it might mean wearing blinders to evidence that might contradict our beliefs because we are unwilling to entertain other possibilities and probabilities.

        Agnes seems to be addressing the need to keep moving forward even when we can’t see what’s waiting around the bend ~ the need to live in uncertainty.

        Like

      • Don says:

        You right Nancy. I can see by the comments that that’s the case. I saw it as faith blinded by certainty. Marvellous the way it all just opens up.

        Like

  14. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF taught me more about the possibilities of truth behind Blind Faith, and the surprising strength in some of those who lived it. Then the paradox: on the one hand, then the other hand, and finally you run out of hands. At that point you must decide, and take the next step (because you now must use your feet…being out of hands.)

    Like

    • Don says:

      I must say, Marylin, I tend to be so cautious that I must run out of hands before I use my feet. I share your sentiments about “Fiddler on the Roof” and have never forgotten the image of that unsteady and uncertain fiddler on the rooftop making the violin sing with beauty and joy. 🙂 Loved you metaphor of feet and hands.

      Like

  15. So what is you example of blind faith? If you lived here it would be the recent elections. Where progressives were “paralyzed by hesitation” (hopelessness, too) and those on the other end of the political spectrum bought the lies of certainty, failing to bother to “Compare, Contrast and Evaluate.”
    Reading the Atwood quote “When nothing is sure, everything is possible” the uncertain principle of complimentary variables from quantum physics come to mind. It’s where the more you are certain about one of them, the less you can be certain about the other.
    Or might the example you speak of be of a religious sort? Doesn’t matter as religion and politics are the same process with different names for deities and outfits for priests; I’ll call them one variable and their complimentary one (no small irony here) I’ll call life as lived and art as life recorded.
    The outtake from that sort of blind faith is the more you are certain about politics and religion the less you can know of life and art. Not a good choice, but a pretty good band.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Thank you for your marvellous comment, Howard. So much to think about.

      “I’ll call life as lived and art as life recorded.” When you say things like that I really get excited. I believe very firmly in the artistic approach to life, and I mean that in a far wider sense than simply being an artist. For me It’s a way of seeing and experiencing life and the world that transcends divisive, exclusive, condemnatory and dogmatic certitudes.

      I really liked your comment on the Atwood quote. I suppose it is a bit like what Marylin said. In the end when you ultimately run out of hands there is a moment when you have to use your feet. Decisions and action are imperative, but to what extend are they free and permeated with wisdom. Thanks again for a great comment.

      Like

  16. Lorem Ipsum says:

    Great quote, Don. And some wise thoughts about its implications regarding how to live life to its fullest. Jim Morrison had his own unique rock ‘n’ roll take on much the same idea, when he sang, “The future’s uncertain, and the end is always near”.

    Like

  17. Mary says:

    Great quote Don and when balance is found, freedom exists mentally and I think in a physical way as well. I wonder, if someone’s nature is analytical do they lean more toward hesitation because they think of more options and scenario’s? I’ve seen this many times and can almost call it ~ not good or bad, just understand when I see hesitation at its best.

    Like

  18. Don, I couldn’t agree more with your words, “discerning caution, laced with being open to possibility”.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s