Saturday, June 26, 2010

Total Skepticism

I awoke one early morning, stretched my toes to reach the floor;
Trying not to wake the dog up as I shuffled to the door.
I was quiet as a whisper as I tiptoed down the hall—
Then it struck me, that I wasn’t being skeptical at all!

I’d assumed I had awakened, but perhaps it wasn’t me—
It could possibly be someone else, or maybe two or three!
I’ve experienced illusions, and perhaps this was the case
(After all, the room was dimly lit; I couldn’t see my face!)

I’d assumed the floor would hold my weight, and wasn’t boiling hot,
I’d assumed my bed was on the floor, but maybe it was not;
Had I walked along the ceiling? Was the gravity turned on?
Was it possibly the clouds that I had trod my toes upon?

So I poured a cup of coffee, and I listened to the news,
Where some talking heads were arguing with one another’s views,
These were unfamiliar topics, but I knew which thoughts to trust—
But that isn't "being skeptical" the way I know I must!

Maybe this time it was special--maybe this time (what the heck?)
Maybe everyone should listen, just this one time, to Glenn Beck--
Maybe Hell had frozen over--who was I to know for sure?--
Maybe bounty was now growing where there once was just manure.

Had I traded in my frontal lobe, and final shreds of sanity,
The fence that keeps the normal folk from buying into Hannity?
I know I must be skeptical, but... must I all the time?
Can I trust that when you read these lines, you'll notice that they rhyme?

Long ago, a pedant told me "every time that you assume,
You make..." Likely he'd continued; I'd already left the room.
When he chased me down to finish it, I told the pedant "Hey,
Don't assume I give a damn about a thing you have to say!"

Or at least, I think I said it--at the time, at least, it seemed
Quite unlikely that the episode was something I had dreamed
Looking back, I have to wonder; as a skeptic, I must doubt,
Cos it seems to me more likely I'd just suck it up and pout.

But the moral of the story, if a moral can be found,
Is that skepticism's wonderful, and good to have around,
But it isn't all-or-nothing, it's a matter of degree;
Don't demand it, but encourage it, is how it seems to me.

(and yes, I know I am conflating modern skepticism with Cartesian, but that's where the muse dragged me.)

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