Back when spirit science first started, there was a troll who came on the forums and acted as though he was a member of the Illuminati. After a while of his shenanigans, this troll revealed the truth. He explained that spirit science was too open-minded and that he wanted the members on the forum to have better discernment.
I half agreed with our troll friend. However, the half I do not agree with is a very important distinction to make. You see in my opinion there is no such thing as being too open minded. At first that may seem an extreme position to take on anything . However, if you look up the definition of skeptic in the dictionary, you’ll find that the definition is not too far away from the definition of open minded.
A true skeptic is a person who says “I may be wrong and I may be right,
but I do not know for sure. Let’s examine the facts.”
That is a far cry from your typical definition of a skeptic. If, for example, you read an article at random from the magazine Skeptical Inquirer, what you will find is that the general approach of the writers of that magazine is to say “x is bunk and here’s why”, and then give facts to support their already established doubts. I am not attacking the writers of that magazine, let me clarify that. However, this is what the common definition of skeptic has changed into in our society, one who doubts.
The world needs more true skeptics. The world needs people who say “I don’t know but I’m eager to find out,” with enthusiasm, and I’m not talking solely about the uneducated. Even a doctor with years of experience under his belt shouldn’t stop learning. Remember, only the intelligent say they don’t know.
If everyone had that attitude of ope
n mindedness and skepticism then we would be a very fortunate , creative society, and we would discover truths about life more quickly.
in the same vein that there is false skepticism there is also such thing as a false open-mindedness. If you look closely at false open mindedness, you will find that it shares the same traits as false skepticism. it is false open-mindedness that our troll friend truly attacked.
What is false open mindedness? It is the exact same thing as being gullible. Open mindedness and being gullible are not the same thing. In the former, you are open to the possibility of a given thing being true. in the latter, you accept an idea to be true without discernment. False open-mindedness is when you accept something as the truth and call it open-minded simply because it is a fringe or more “out there” belief.
In the example of our troll friend, the proper response to be truly open-minded would be to say “interesting claim, let’s see what the facts say.” If there are no facts to support the claim, then one doesn’t suddenly take the false skeptic position and say “What a bunch of buck. It is obvious you are lying.” Instead, one merely waits for more information, and eventually, the truth will present itself.
if you wanted to fail at being open-minded the first thing out of your mouth would have implied that you already accepted his claim to be a member of the Illuminati, for at that very point, you would cease to be open-minded as you would have made up your mind about his claim being true and would shut yourself out from other possibilities.
So you see the false skeptic and the false open minded person suffer from the same ailment. Both are in fact, closed-minded, and when you are closed-minded you shut yourself off from other
options, and it is always possible that those other options were just the thing you were looking for. Likewise, the true skeptic and true open-minded person are synonyms. Only through the open-minded path can you expect to find the truth of reality.
An interesting experience
Speaking of open-mindedness, I recently had an interesting experience at my job (yes I’m a slave to the man) and wanted to share it with you.
One topic I have either written about or wanted to was, synchronicity compared to Apophenia. The former is a New Age idea that means meaningful coincidence. The latter is a skeptic idea that means when a person perceives meaning when there is none, or it is merely two unrelated coincidental events.
From a philosophical standpoint, I always saw the idea of apophenia to be nonsensical because who determines
meaning can only come on an individual basis. What holds meaning to me may not hold meaning to you, and vice versa. Therefore, if a schizophrenic man for example, claims to find a meaningful pattern between lottery numbers, business names on his local street, and the current weather, then who am I to contradict him? At the same time, this is a slippery slope and this is exactly where my story is headed.
a customer walked into my place of work, and she was a very strong Christian wanting to convert as many people as she could. She believed a few “out there” ideas to say the least. She believed for example, that God personally spoke to her through the first name her parents had given her. She believed in hell, and while she spoke of many different people in danger of going there, for some reason she singled out drug users specifically.
This lady said that she could prove the biblical God existed. I asked her how. She told me through the meanings of people’s names and street names. She began to find all kinds of names of people that had to do with God. And so she believed God must exist because, if he didn’t people wouldn’t all be named after him right? She then went on to explain that whenever she saw new street names for the houses of places she moved into, those street names would always give her some sort of direction in her life.
What I realized at this point, was that this woman was experiencing synchronicity/apophenia, and in
this instance at least, this synchronicity was aiding her fear caused by her belief that people were going to hell if she didn’t do something to help save them.
In other words, what I learned was that synchronicity is not always a positive experience for everyone. More accurately, the experience itself was positive for her, but it also further solidified her fear for the souls of others, which, to me at least, doesn’t feel very positive at all. Likewise, what of the paranoid schizophrenic who experiences synchronicities that further fuel his or her paranoid beliefs?
So the question boils down to: Is there value in experiencing synchronicity when said synchronicity has the potential to lead people into damaging belief systems? The answer that I’ve come to regarding that question is that yes there is value and meaning if you choose there to be so, but we must treat synchronicities like they are little jokes of the universe. We can experience joy and wonder when they happen, and find meeting in that, but they don’t have to be interpreted as signs that we are supposed to believe this or do that. At that point, we are imposing beliefs upon our meaning, instead of meaning upon our beliefs, and that’s not a very skeptical thing to do. ;)
Until next time, question everything and accept nothing as the whole truth.