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STOIC POETRY | To die in doubt

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

September 3, 2019

Dear Eric,

Can you imagine how much less my confidence now, than when we once conferred together on so many subjects of uncertainty? Though it's more than thirty years since that time, I am today so much less confident than when we were young and beginning to question our certitude. What a blessing to be sure... What sweet good fortune to grow in recognized ignorance as the years progress. Such wondrous confusion awaits!

The Good Life is learning to enjoy a life of less confidence in everything but our honest doubt.

I'd like to die in a poverty of certainty and a great wealth of doubt. Imagine the tremendous good fortune of growing old with eyes ever-widened through mounting honest doubt. To feel the tongue slow in it's nonsense wagging over contrived truth, growing still within our closed mouth as we refuse to speak on topics of clear ignorance, holding out to listen instead to the words of those who may know better than us. And what if they don't? What if they know no better - or even worse - than us, and yet they go on speaking. Well then there's always the window at the edge of our room here at the home. Maybe we can get someone to roll us there so we can look out? Let the speakers drone on as speakers will. We'll watch the sky and the trees and the clouds and the birds. We'll administer no judgement upon what we see. We'll remain in mute attendance to the orchestration of forces we can barely conceive or perceive. The speaking behind our head continues... But it grows dimmer now... Not just quieter. But dimmer. Like the illumination of a guttering candle. But it's not their light that fails, but our own. And with great joy we might one day reach our end just like this. Passing, swathed in a veil of recognized ignorance, baptized in deepening doubt, unwilling to speak even one feign word of truth in favor of the approaching night.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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