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…
The concept of “dream-stealing” is one I’ve written and talked about quite a bit over the years. I don’t have too many of these folks in my life (anymore), but more will crop up, they always do. I’ve made conscious decisions to distance myself from dream-stealers past and present. These are the people that sucked more energy and life out of me than they put in. They had to go.
Some of these were the know-it-all’s, or the huff and puffers, and the avoider types among others, that I’ve written about. The move away from some of these people wasn’t easy, but it was possible, and I’m far better off for it.
I used to discuss this concept of “dream-stealing” with groups of new students at the college where I taught classes in psychology and communications. I would often hear from many students who shared their stories that involved others in their lives (typically family and friends) who worked hard to make their already hard path, even harder by being discouraging, skeptical, and generally unsupportive of their endeavors. I’ve heard it said: people want you to do well, just not better than them… So for some, their mission in life becomes making others’ lives more difficult. I encouraged these students then, as I’m encouraging you now, to cut these folks loose… immediately. Kick them to the fucking curb.
Never allow someone else’s lack progress, or dreams of their own, to hinder or hijack yours. That’s on YOU if you do…
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I like the concept of the term “contrarian.” Always have… It basically means to be opposed to that of the majority. If in fact it proves worthy that the majority should be opposed as is so often the case.
Contrarians are critical thinkers. Through life experience, they’ve learned to be suspicious of the majority, because the majority is often suspect. Whatever in life is favored by “most” should be subjected to deeper scrutiny. Any and all “inerrant or universal truths” touted should be put to the test. To be contrarian is to insist on validation for any particular belief system, ideology, or approach. This isn’t negative; it’s positive because only better outcomes come from this type of healthy skepticism and proactive critical thinking.
To question; to care enough to challenge; to be willing to be educated, to be willing to be wrong; to insist on evidence of claimed knowledge… this is noble, this is good.