Do you remember the SNL character Debbie Downer? She seemed to find the negative in almost any situation. The skits were hilarious because they were a caricature, an exaggerated view of how some people seem to be with their doubts.
I once knew a guy whose family, behind his back, referred to him as "Buzz Kill." He was a loving and generous man, but bring up a significant topic about health or money or the goodness of people and he became Debbie Downer. Grumpy Gus is another way to describe him, and he seemed to relish that reputation. Thankfully, still kind and generous.
I used to be able to relate to that view of life. I started out life as one of the chief skeptics. I doubted and doubted until I believed my own doubt. The operative words there are "my doubt." Pick a topic. I doubted it. Worse, I was very vocal and complaining about it. "Wait and see" seemed to be the way I went about life. I wouldn't be surprised if my family labeled me "Buzz Kill" behind my back at some point.
In ancient Greece, the two main schools of skepticism both thought we should just hold off on judgment because it would make us feel better in our minds. It would give us "ataraxia" or "a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility." (see dictionary.com)
Then something changed in my brain, and I can't really tell you when. Skepticism did not give me ataraxia or any other type of mental calmness or happiness. I began to think that life was an experiment. I wondered and wondered about all kinds of things. Like Alice, I became "curiouser and curiouser." (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 2)Continue reading