Jay Shirley

Striving to be a man of gallantry and taste

Forget Being Open-minded

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I don’t care about being “Open Minded” anymore. I just can’t. When I hear some interesting statistic or lesson and want to verify or read more, I often hear a remark about being close-minded. I don’t want to think about my mind being open or closed. It’s too complex.

I want to be curious. I just want to explore and think. I want to daydream and envision both the plausible and implausible. There is no downside to curiosity, especially when coupled with skepticism. Curiosity leads to skepticism, which is more complex. Skepticism is curiosity with an agenda, an end-goal.

Skepticism is often criticized. Skeptics are often told they are close-minded. I don’t believe this; I can’t believe it, for I am a skeptic. An active skeptic is someone actively investigating an idea.

It is contradictory to simultaneously investigate and reject an idea. That’s not even the cart before the horse. That’s the cart inside the horse. Or the horse inside the cart. I’m not sure which. I’ll have to investigate.

The power of skepticism

The real benefit to being a skeptic is that the insights and knowledge must be earned. I certainly am guilty of repeating facts and figures I’ve “learned”, but many of them I don’t thoroughly understand. When I compare that superficial knowledge to matters I’ve learned through skeptical investigation and analysis, it’s a vast difference. Nearly unrecognizable.

These insights I can explain in detail. Not just what the subject is, but how we can to learn (which in many cases is incredibly interesting). More importantly why it’s important. Without the skeptical angle, my knowledge is superficial and my ability to share is stunted.

The drawbacks of skepticism

There are, of course, draw backs to being a skeptic. It takes time. It can be mentally exhausting. I have a paper I’ve been trying to read for 4 weeks. I’m not exaggerating. I still haven’t finished it. I keep referencing their references. It’s this rabbit hole that goes down deep.

That is definitely a weakness and a strength, because I’ve learned a great deal. Except it’s not timely. Usually when I look something up I have a need to understand it at that moment. Not in a month, but now.

Skeptics rarely have that luxury, and if they do I question them. That questioning is what keeps skeptics busy. That constant questioning, even about other skeptics. Are they legitimately a skeptic? Wait, am I?