Skepticism is the belief that nothing can be defined as true, including the belief that nothing can be defined as true. The authentic skeptic questions even their own dogma.

I’ve basically already wrote this, but I feel as though I need to go a bit more in-depth into the subject, because I believe it to be important. Plus, that previous post focused more on experiential uncertainty, such as whether or not there is a God, or if Paul is a dick or actually a pretty cool dude, whereas now I hope to question more assumed knowledge, such as whether or not a table is solid.

This all stemmed from a dinner, sitting around the dining room table, discussing whether or not the table we were all sitting around was solid. Everyone asserted that it was, save for myself who suggested maybe there was more to it than how we all perceived it to be. For example, the table was wood, and someone who is accustomed to working with steel might not think it was all that solid. Or a Hindu might not believe there is a table at all, but an illusion to blind us to the ultimate reality. A Buddhist might see it as a transient object, and with its inevitable deterioration, would claim it to be empty, rather than a solid object. Or even someone taking hallucinogenic drugs might see it as fluid, and before you dismiss this as hogwash, remember that there are shamans who believe that drugs are a way of opening up the mind to reveal the true nature of things. These are but a few of the infinite ways of looking at a dining room table.

Yes, the popular opinion was that the table was solid, but if we adhered strictly to commonly-held beliefs, Copernicus would never have changed the way we look at the solar system.

Of course, we can’t prove that a table isn’t solid, as each different belief set has a way around simply knocking on it with your knuckle to check its durability. Does this lack of proof mean that those views are simply irrelevant? Should we, the knowledgeable ones, ignore the viewpoints that disagree with what is so clear to us? It seems just as likely that any arguments we make about the solidity of the table to those who view it otherwise would sound just as ignorant.

Skepticism was founded as a school of Greek philosophy from the mind of Pyrrho. As with all the early Greek schools, the premise was to divine a system of thought that would allow for an upstanding way of living. Skeptics believed that to doubt everything meant to have an open mind to all ways of thinking. Sextus Empiricus, a scholar in the Greek school, gave arguments both for and against the existence of God, as well as attempted to disprove death. This universal agnosticism, in turn, would theoretically make you less of an asshole. Certainty is the enemy of compromise. Why would you bend on something that you’re certain of, after all?