Is healthy skepticism a good thing? Meaning: Are there practical benefits derived from critically thinking about life stuff? By critical, I don’t mean negative. I mean thorough, questioning, and evidence-based inquiry. In the past I questioned if this was a good thing. In the past, I’d drank some of the kool-aid that suggested that too much questioning challenged one’s “faith.” I know today the mere suggestion of this kind of cockamamie credo is counter to all that’s good and honorable. Many still buy into this flawed philosophy to psychologically attempt to bring order, control, and certainty into an often uncertain world. One’s will or “god’s” will typically become key cornerstones of this concept.
Skeptic (n) = a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual (dictionary.com) – Skepticism is a noble pursuit that simply requires reason, and a rational evidence-based reality to enter into the conversation.
It’s not a lack of belief as much as it’s a desire to believe in the believable >> once verified.
It’s an innate resistence to fable, in favor of fact. But alas, it gets a bad rap oftentimes. It’s not as shiny and sexy as the mass collective that assembles on weekends in nice buildings reciting words to moving songs written in major keys.
The skeptic is the outcast; the outlier; the often misunderstood outsider. But, we’re necessary for order, and to attempt to keep things honest, honorable, and intentional despite the onslaught of naysayers. Care enough to care less about the stigma. Now that’s something to believe in…
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I love fielding communication from those whom I call the “none of this applies to me” group. You know the type: those who are audaciously certain… about seemingly, everything. These know-it-all’s think they have all the answers. There’s no subject they’re not well-versed in. These are the people who, when exposed to any information (new or not-so-new) that challenges their closely held belief systems, quickly get defensive, double-down on their positions, and then distance themselves from the threat. It’s irrational, of course, if you really think about it.
But psychologically speaking, suffering from irrational beliefs, and/or logical fallacies at times, is quite a normal human phenomenon. We all have them about certain things, at certain times. But it’s key is to know what they are, recognize them when they’re happening, and then adjust your thinking and behavior in the moment. For example the popular and wide-spread “bandwagon” logical fallacy is when an idea is accepted as true and valid simply because a lot of people believe it or adhere to it… NOT because there’s actual reliable evidence to prove it true… (flat earth phenomenon ring a bell?)
Anyone who has ever overreacted or catastrophized a situation, or spoken the words “never” or “always” with any frequency is demonstrating versions or variations of irrationality or faulty, or fallacious thinking. It’s predictably pompous and comical to claim otherwise.
Nothing screams I’m scared shitless, and full-of-shit, more than false bravado and denial cloaked in self-righteousness. @tomleu
I’ve heard it said that humility is the beginning of greatness. So begin being great by being honest with yourself. Admit you don’t have all the answers. Be open to new information, even if it challenges you to your core and gets you all worked up. Likely, it’s these visceral reactions and this resistance that’s trying to tell you something. Listen to it… It’s okay, no one else is perfect either…