It is important to remember, when considering these things, that the Sceptic makes no general claims of any kind; that his aim is to cure the soul and free it from the burden of needless and unresolvable worries, not to convince it of the truth of some doctrine.
And this leads us to the second question. Sextus himself admits, though he does not elaborate on this point, that man is an animal which by nature loves truth. This seems right; it is probably true that we want to know what is and is not real, or true, not just because we need this knowledge for practical purposes but also for the sake of the truth itself.
But is it possible for a lover of truth to be, as Sextus would have him be, indifferent to the truth?
Is it possible to achieve a mental state of indifference with regard to God, time, the soul, causality and thousands of other matters? To be sure, if I want to eat an apple, I do not need any knowledge about the nature of apples in themselves—as distinct from those properties of apples that I can know through sight or taste. If I want to build a stone house, I do not need to know about the nature of stone as such; the experience of cutting stone is enough for my purposes.
But would such imperturbability, if it were attainable, really be the best, the most perfect kind of life?
We might say: well, since we know nothing, what is the point of constructing theories that have no foundation? (Although here, again, a puzzle lurks: the Sceptic cannot say that we know nothing, he can only suggest it.)
But if philosophers and scholars had seriously attempted to achieve such self-satisfied serenity, would they have been able to build our civilization? Would modern physics have been invented, with all its technical applications of which we avail ourselves every day, had it not been preceded by the speculative physics which Sextus accused of sterility and of making unfounded claims to truth? This is the second question.
What would happen if you attempted to annihilate something that hadn't been invented yet, something that takes centuries to build, grow and cultivate (like art or music). What would a deconstructed ___ look/sound/feel like?
The 20th Century desire to take it all apart. Not to see how it works, but to see how it doesn't work. No wonder every other commercial is advertising a pill that takes you away from this wretched wasteland. I personally would like to put out the call that there shall be no more deliberate mimicry. In my platonic universe of totalitarian enslavement, ye shall write no 'un-writings' nor allude in clever voices nor punish my ears with grayness.