Understanding Yourself

Thus begins the process of finding my own personal philosophy. I am so sick of being timid in the expression of beliefs that I think are right because of fundamental lack of knowledge. No matter how much I read or write or try to reason things out there is always a person or a comment that can completely disarms me, leaving me unable to answer with anything other than “I don’t know”. This is unacceptable and I loathe it.

I feel like I have an incredible deficiency when it comes to my knowledge base and range – my education seems to have been sorely lacking. This is partially my fault, of course; what do you expect when you piss your way through high school and reject college. Getting into debates with learned people generally brings with it incredible feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing and a realization at just how little I know.

Oh, indeed, I know a little about a great many things, but where does that get you? What does that achieve except to better your chances at winning Trivial Pursuit? Nowhere and nothing.

I know deep down that all of this is a reflection of myself as an individual: non-committal, lazy, uninterested, apathetic, the list can go on and on. But when I do find a topic I’m interested in, like libertarianism, for example, I find that I rely far too heavily on already established writers, speakers and doctrines. I know I rely far too heavily on them because all I can do in debate is parrot arguments I’ve read or heard without filtering it through my own point of view.

This will be the goal from now on: reason my way through topics and arguments without the crutch of already established doctrine. If I can’t determine if I agree or disagree with something(an action or what have you) without first checking my favorite commentator to see what his perspective or opinion is, I’m just letting someone else speak for me and delegating responsibility of the argument to them. I feel like my persona is a collage of a million different quotes from a million different people, with hardly ideas to call my own.

I feel intellectually bankrupt.

I am intellectually bankrupt, and I know it. I suppose recognition is good first step. I am afraid of defending ideas because I don’t even know if I agree with deep down. Some days I think of myself as a chameleon of sorts, able to take up any point of view and sympathize with it. And even worse, and more often, there are days I think of myself as a charlatan, propagating views I don’t even endorse. Which is worse, the man who can shift his views like water, taking any form that is needed at the time, or the man who willfully promotes something he knows is false?

This needs to end and it needs to end now. I am sick of feeling inadequate and dishonest for promoting a point of view which I don’t fully understand. Today is the end of this. I need to be able to reason and think for myself, and to do that I must understand myself first and foremost. And do I? I have no clue, but I’ll try to start the process of it. After all, how can you claim to understand anything when your personality and intellectuality are bankrupt?

Morality is the key to all of this. To understand morality is to understand what should and should not be. If I can harness morality and truly understand then I know the veil will drop from my eyes and I will have absolutely no need of the filter that the crutch provides.