Eric Douglas: Be ‘Full of Doubt' in your interactions with the world

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Eric Douglas sig

I’m not feeling it this week. I try to be funny from time to these columns, or insightful or maybe informative. (I said I try. Didn’t say I always succeed.)

But I’m struggling a bit right now. Personally, I’m OK. But I see so much worry and heartache and genuine fear around me, it’s tough to know what to say.

I do find myself less tolerant right now. Not of races or genders or any of the other things that people decide they should dislike. I am a lot less tolerant of stupid.

The British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

I think about that phrase a lot. Especially at times like this.

And again, social media seems to be the conduit for a lot of that stupid. I see half-baked opinions fly around. And if you don’t agree with that person, then you get mocked or shouted down.

I see heaps of indignance and friend turning against friend or families shouting at each other. I see people who are just trying to be honest and express themselves caught in the middle of a firestorm because they are too compassionate, or not nearly compassionate enough.

I worry about the long-term effects of that behavior. I don’t think some of the things I’ve seen people say to each other will be easily forgotten.

Remember, arguments on social media are free and open to the public.

There are a few lessons we’ve all learned over the years, but they seem to be generally forgotten.

1. The Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated.

2. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

3. Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.

Probably the most important is what Jesus refers to in the New Testament as the second greatest commandment. It is to love your brother as yourself. I have always understood that my “brother” is everyone else on this planet. Not just the people who think like me or look like me.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at