Archimedes used to demand just one firm and immovable point in order to shift the entire earth; so I too can hope for great things if I manage to find just one thing, however slight, that is certain and unshakable. (AT VII 24; CSM II 16)
Not so long ago, I spent my day with a couple of friends. They were Jeremiah, Benny, and Vina (Benny’s girlfriend) [Lord, we lost another single in our group!]. Come to think of it, it was quite an unusual combination. We went to SMAK 1, watched Kung Fu Panda 2, browsing some musical instruments, and spent our last hours for the day at a cafe, playing cards.
One of the interesting parts in our day-wasting-activity is the last Chapsa game we had (a kind of poker without bets and the aim is to make sure your hands are free from cards). On the moment of truth, the round when almost everyone had the chance to be victor or loser after the present round, Jeremiah, a student of FHUI (a prestigious law faculty on Indonesian soil), spit out double two (a two card and another two card, so we have two cards now, get it?), and smiled innocently thinking he had the highest card on the table. And we just know how to thwarted this little boy with his foul imaginary hope. We told him that in a one-to-one fight, card number two is the mightiest of all, but in any other fight, that card is pretty much a loser kind. So, he protested a little, but eventually accepted it, since the three of us agreed that the rule was universal, and he lost that game.
That incident reminded me of a movie titled “Flightplan” starring Jodie Foster about a woman who lost her daughter in a plane and all the passengers tried to convinced her that she had none. In the end, she found her daughter. If she had believed all the passengers and stopped looking for her daughter, her daughter might’ve been found dead. And, in the same sense, what if we had lied to Jeremiah to win the game, knowing he was quite a rookie on this card game and had no full knowledge on the rule, and he believed us?! He would’ve been conned easily by his foxy friends and lost bitterly because of his friends cunning wits. Or what if there was different rules from different region or high school?
I believe such condition is applicable to almost every aspect in our life where decision has to be made and external influence exists. “What to believe? Should I believe them? I don’t think so, but they told me that… Everybody does it anyway. Nah, maybe it’s just me. It’s just my imagination.” Frequently, we comply to society demands without trying to figure out the truth of it, or we do and we found out that it is wrong but we do it anyway, choosing what is convenient for people around us than what is right and proper, questioning ourselves more than questioning others. If you put it that way, then the truth and fact are what majority or the side with stronger influence decides. I don’t think it is always good. Just like the quotation mentioned above,”one firm and immoveable point” is enough “in order to shift the entire earth”,but yet not easily found.
So, what am I trying to say? I don’t know how to put it clearly, believe me, I’m even confused with the message I’m sending here to you, my dear reader. I think you got to find your rock. A stance where you belong, which is “firm and immoveable”, so that no tide or storm may swept it and you altogether. You have to make sure that you and the rock you’re standing on have the strongest influence on yourself, and decisions you made are in certainty, not in doubt, because you know for sure what is right and what is wrong.
Does the voice of the people represents the voice of God? Not always, I suppose. You can always tell vox populi to shut up when you’re certain.
Confused? Welcome to Anton World!
We can have more confusing conversation about this topic through the comment box.
Adam, Charles, and Paul Tannery. 1964–1976. Oeuvres de Descartes, vols. I-XII, revised edition. Paris: J. Vrin/C.N.R.S. [references to this work (abbreviated as AT) are by volume and page, separated by a colon.]
Cottingham, John, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch, and (for vol. 3) Anthony Kenny, eds. and trans. 1984. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vols. 1–3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [All quotations are taken from this edition (abbreviated as CSM); any deviations from it are the author’s own. References to this work are by volume and page, separated by a colon.]