Years ago, when I was about 22, I started to realise how many things that I'd believed all of my life just weren't true. I decided then that I should work hard to get rid of all my false assumptions and start again so that I didn't believe anything I wasn't absolutely certain to be true. But I thought I was too young to start then, so it's only now that I'm 32 that I'm really getting down to business [Note: if you are 20, 30 seems old. For those of us who are not 20 any more, it does not seem all that old any more]. I've arranged my life so I don't have to worry about anything, and I can just sit by the fire all day thinking really hard. I don't need to take apart each of my beliefs one by one: if I destroy the foundations, everything I've built on them will collapse too.
Now, everything I've believed up till this point I've learned through my senses, through things I've seen or heard or felt. But can I trust my senses? Surely I can: I know for a fact that this is me, sitting by the fire in my dressing gown. Or do I? Some mad people think that their heads are made of earthenware, or that they're pumpkins, or that they're made of glass. Am I mad? Well, I do dream, and let me tell you now that my dreams are ker-azy. But how can I be sure that I'm not dreaming all of the time? But wait, even if I can't tell the difference between awake and asleep, there are still some things I can be sure of: whether I'm asleep or awake, 2+3=5, right? But what if the world wasn't created by a good God but by an evil demon who went to a lot of effort to fool me into believing in a world that's completely made up [yes kids, just like in the Matrix]? It seems pretty implausible, but there's no way to prove that that's not what's going on. I shall have to think about this some more.
Photo credit: G Travels