Have a happy, doubtful new year

Happy New Year. I hope that 2013 has dealt kindly with you so far. I hope that you made it through the holiday season, if not recharged and rejuvenated, at least relatively unscathed.

I don't make formal New Year's resolutions (I try to be “formal” as seldom as possible), but it is only natural, I suppose, when celebrating the passing of time, to reflect on who one is and what one is about. Every year at this time, more intensely or consciously than much of the rest of the year, I question what I'm doing, the positions I'm taking, the thoughts I'm thinking.

We humans develop routines extremely easily, “without thinking.” While I have no problem with putting my pants on the same way every morning, often before I'm even all that awake, I don't want to be sleepwalking through what should be conscious and conscientious decision making.

I just try to start with some basic, general, completely huge questions like:


What am I doing? Why am I doing that? Why did I start? Are those reasons still valid? Are those reasons still THE reasons?

What am I thinking? Why am I thinking that? Why did I start? Did I do my research?

And so on.

Socrates is supposed to have said, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and The Most Interesting Man In The World says, “Stay thirsty, my friends.” That's two philosophers telling us to keep examining what we're about, keep doing and searching . . . and maybe drink some beer . . . which is nice. 

I want to do the best I can to hold positions and opinions provisionally, remaining open to new information. I need to make my best effort to question what I do and think, to base every position I hold on reliable evidence, not hearsay, not dogma, not rumor or tradition. My resolution, again this year, is to try to freethink my way to a better me.

My wish for all of us this New Year then is for happiness and for doubt. May you have a doubt-full 2013, and stay thirsty.

So: what do you do or think right now that you can call into question? What are some common positions you think others (including your humble author) should question?

About Greg Lammers

 Greg Lammers is Founder and Organizer of Columbia Atheists and National Affiliate Director for American Atheists. His work with local and national atheist organizations is driven by a desire to connect nonbelievers, build community, and promote atheism and secularism.

2 Responses to “Have a happy, doubtful new year”

  1. Kris Katarian

    A little beer and freethinking go together well!

  2. Tiffany McCallen

    I have been a champion over-analyzer my entire life, which might just be a natural tendency for women. I like looking at that trait through your lens, though, as something to be embraced. As such, perhaps I’ll consider having another glass of the leftover New Year’s champagne tonight (most likely flat) and ponder on and on about my favorite martial, child-rearing, professional-wandering and why-I’ll-never-be-the-same-size-as-the-high-school-version-of-me questions. Cheers!


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