I believe most people do not know or appreciate what the word “skeptic” really means. The common vernacular has a connotation of cynicism and predisposition toward pessimism.
1: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or towards a particular object
2a: the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
b: the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
Even the word “doubt” has been given a bad rap. Doubt is probably one of the healthiest things you can have. If someone appears insulted when you doubt what they say, they aren’t really interested in informing you, they want to impress you so that they can control or dominate you. It’s subtle but it works. The result is that you stop being curious. This shows up in your life as a kind of laziness. If someone gives you an answer and you don’t question it, then you don’t need to research it for yourself, leaving you open to every hoax and deception imaginable.
To be a skeptic is to be curious and willing to check every detail you hear before incorporating information into your belief system. It also means to be willing to regularly review your belief system, especially when you get information that challenges it… and this includes your core beliefs.
True skepticism lies at the root of mental health and well-being. Becoming a skeptic can change your life for the better. It will transform your ability to have meaningful conversations. It will allow you to begin to draw people into your life that respect your skepticism because they intend the best for you and know you must find your own answers.
How to be a good skeptic
» Be willing to do research.
» Search for sufficient evidence.
» Never dismiss or accept anything you hear out of hand.
» Don’t be gullible by trusting people who demand blind faith and obedience. Blind trust is almost never the right course and should only be used when a decision must be made and there is little or no evidence.
» Use your intuition. Each and every human being has an intuitive knowing that guides us, especially about people that truly love and care.
Some of the results of becoming a true skeptic
» Your life will become more interesting.
» Who knows, you may even grow more brain cells.
» People will find you more interesting and a good listener. Remember, being skeptical is about listening to others with a truly open mind not arguing with them.
» The people in your life who have fixed ways of thinking will begin to find other people to control.
» New possibilities and opportunities will begin to open up for you and life will become more fun.
» You will begin to get a sense of being in control of your life instead of being a victim of circumstances.
Most importantly, don’t believe anything I have told you, check it out. Be willing to experiment with your life. Allow a reasonable amount of time to begin to see results.
Robert Anton Wilson, the master of skepticism put it this way: “My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything.”
“Is”, “is”, “is”—the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is,” I only know how it seems to me at this moment.