Excerpt About Doubt

Cynicism is Doubt Based on a Foregone Conclusion

Cynicism is beyond doubt. You might experience doubt or skepticism because you haven’t experienced something and so don’t know it, and this kind of doubt may be useful and healthy, motivating us to find out what is true about someone or something. Cynicism, on the other hand, is doubt that is based on a foregone conclusion. For example, you doubt another person from the pre-assumption that he lacks goodness and so will not come through for you. Cynicism comes in many degrees and levels. It might take the form of not believing that there is such a thing as Essence, or believing that if it does exist, it is not part of you. Or it might exist as part of you, but it is fickle and unreliable. However it appears, it makes you invalidate your own experience, even of Essence. “Was it really me? Did it really happen, or did I make it up? Was it my experience, or did someone make it seem that way? Was I hypnotized, or the victim of suggestion?” This is not an attitude of exploring one’s experience to find out what is true, but an expression of having already made up one’s mind about what one is going to find. It is not an open questioning that invites exploration to find out the truth for oneself, but an attitude of debunking, of questioning something to eliminate it, to cut it down and cut it away.

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