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PRODUCTIVE SKEPTICISM

November 6th, 2019

 

Often, skepticism is used as a license to believe nothing and do nothing.  For the secular individual, it can be the intellectual mask for being lazy.

 

This attitude and practice is more a contemporary flavor of cynical skepticism.

 

But as with all ideas, beliefs, attitudes and dispositions that we learn about and might adopt, we must ask:

 

what is the most useful version?

 

The root of skepticism is inquiry and doubt.

 

And in order to form good questions to make an incisive inquiry, we need an imagination.  And in order to take that first step back to create the space for a question to form, we need doubt.  This practice of skepticism can be extremely productive.

 

For example, anyone who isn’t genuinely surprised when their efforts succeed lacks a certain imaginative flexibility.

 

Skepticism envisions branching possibilities.

 

Such flexibility also enables a person to potentially navigate such paths to unexpected and unforeseen success.

 

Now pit this version of skepticism against the original one, the sort a person might use to entitle themselves to no solid belief and therefore be free from any requirement to try and do something.

 

Both the individual who pivots and iterates towards a goal and the person who does nothing can be skeptics because of it.

 

But as with everything, we must ask ourselves: which version will help me the most?

 


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Podcast Ep. 570: Productive Skepticism

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