We Don’t Know Anything and That’s Quite Alright

In “Agnosticism and Christianity,” T.H. Huxley defines the principal behind agnosticism as the belief that “it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.” I agree with this definition and think there is a certain intelligence behind admitting one does not know all there is to know, and simply cannot with the limited information provided to us in life on this Earth. While it is not a direct 1:1 parallel, this line reminded me of Wuthering Heights and got me thinking about the degrees of certainty held by characters in Bronte’s novel—for example, Catherine Earnshaw is certain of her love for Heathcliff, but she is also certain that marrying Edgar Linton is the right course of action for advancing her place in society. These two certainties do not jive well with each other, and it makes me wonder whether or not Cathy as well as other characters in the novel would have lived much happier lives had they not operated in such extreme degrees but rather embraced uncertainty and a lack of knowing. If Cathy had taken this path and not been so set in her ways, perhaps she would have made her peace with the Heathcliff situation and not let it haunt her into adulthood. Instead, we have a cast of characters haunted by the intensity of their past and mistaking that intensity for certain-ness, which ultimately means they cannot move forward. They are married to these faulty ideas out of stubbornness or self-assuredness, and as a result, the quality of all these entangled lives and relationships suffer.

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