When I Doubted My Own Existence

In college I went through a time of doubt.  It wasn’t religious doubt as much as doubt in ‘knowledge’ and what could be known.  Belief systems are like webs, and I felt as though mine was unravelling.  I remember sitting across from a close friend and expressing, through tears, the pain of systematically doubting all that I believed – right down to my own existence.  I felt like I was falling and I feared it would never stop.

Thankfully, I wasn’t alone!  Four hundred years earlier, philosopher Rene Descartes went on an intellectual journey to find a statement that could not reasonably be doubted.  He wrote, “I think, therefore I am.”  What he meant is that if any extreme doubter were to ask “Do I exist?” the reasonable follow-up question should be “Who wants to know?”  I do!

That was good enough for me.  You haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced the exhilarating re-realization that you do, in fact, exist!

I later learned that the study of knowledge and its acquisition is called epistemology.  It challenges us to know why we know what we think we know.  As my story relates, it can be difficult yet satisfying work.  For these reasons, I’m excited for the next series of TruthSNACK to focus on epistemology.  I aim to counter anxiety or doubt, helping us become more firmly grounded in what we believe and why.

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