Truth and self-doubt

'ONLY write the truth.' — Spoken like a true philosopher.
     What is truth? Is anything ever true? Supposing there is truth, what makes you think that you will ever find it?
     (The old questions are the best.)
     How many times have you been here — too many. The same problem, the same question: there are only so many possible answers. And each answer leads... nowhere. It's hopeless.
     — Whenever one has doubts like these, one remedy is to remember other situations, outside philosophy, where you've felt a similar way. A computer game, for example. You're lost in a maze, with no possible way out (only there is). Or you can't find the secret door and hidden switch. Or there are too many hostile aliens and not enough ammo.
     There's a way to do it, a way to get to the next level. There's always a way. And when you eventually found it, how did you feel? Apart from relieved, a bit foolish. 'Of course! It was obvious.'
     If your interests are more highbrow, then maybe chess is the thing for you:
     Your position is crumbling and you need to find counterplay. You've considered and analysed the 'candidate moves', the ones that aren't obviously silly. Then you realize that putting your knight where it can be taken by your opponent's pawn — which would be a terrible move in 99 per cent of cases — is the one move that can save you. Getting that pawn off the long diagonal was more important.
     Why? If the knight is taken, both your bishops will be bearing down on the enemy king. And if not, your knight's next hop will be right into the heart of the enemy position. 'Ahh! How did I not see that before?'
     Are those examples of 'something true'? It's as if you absolutely know there can't be an answer to your question, and yet you're determined to act as if there were.
     That's exactly right. No irony. You don't know that there can't be an answer. You don't know anything. You only believe. Take a moment to suspend belief, even if you find it so hard to do in this case.
     Part of problem solving is chaotic behaviour, random action, anything that works — that enables you to keep moving. Don't ignore the 'silly' moves, give them as much consideration as all the other possibilities. Because you never know.
     And this is an example. Writing, writing, writing... until a lead emerges. Your inner sense keenly aware of every echo of a distant thought or memory, anything that will give a clue. And it works. It's worked before. It can work now, just be patient. Have faith!
     If all you can write is false or meaningless, then lie and lie, and babble and babble until something true emerges.
     Remember Wittgenstein's favourite quote from St Augustine: 'What you wretch, so you want to avoid talking nonsense? Talk some nonsense, it makes no difference!'
     Or Shakespeare: 'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.' (Polonius, talking about Prince Hamlet.)
     'There's method in't.'
     Method isn't rules, method isn't 'methodical' (in the boring sense). It's the one thing you never let go of. It's your sense of purpose, your faith as a philosopher, your willingness to leap even though you don't know how far you will fall.
     Above all, it's your determination to continue.