Ambigamy

Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

Anti-Fundamentalism Fundamentalism

My credo

Wherever I hear formulas for solving all our moral, spiritual, and political problems, I hear fear--a white-knuckle, heart-pumping recoil from the uncertainty inherent in life. 

I don’t hear reasoning about that uncertainty, because the formulas always ignore huge impractical inconsistencies, which would be obvious to anyone genuinely curious about how to live. 

Instead I hear the sound of plastering, plastering over the messiness of life so that it’s buried under a smooth polished firm surface.  Fundamentalism, regardless its recipe and mission, whether it be conservative or progressive, Christian or Islamist, Tea Party or new age, hawk or dove is evidence not of wisdom but of fear. 

I’m an anti-fundamentalist fundamentalist. The only formula I can subscribe to is that if you’ve got one of those simple doubt-eliminating formulas, you’re wrong, you’re not thinking, you’re avoiding reality, which is messier by lots than your formula can plaster over. The plaster cracks and reality juts back through. 

Better to face reality, with brave curiosity, an indefatigable effort to think more subtly. 

You haven’t got the Big Simple Answer we’re all missing.  No one does. Keep looking. Think it up a notch. Life is more intricate, complex and messy than you’ve noticed.  And when you do notice, reality and the inquiry into it become a joy, the ideal avocation for you in your little notch of time here among the living.

Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.

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