The Value of Skepticism

skepticSkeptics walk a rough road in this world. If you are one, you know what I’m referring to, and if you are a ready believer in much of what you see and hear around you, then you simply can’t understand the skeptic’s perspective.

To a skeptic, the fact that you, a believer, are so willing to “believe” everything you encounter, is an anathema to the skeptic’s view of life.believr cap.jpg

So which am I, skeptic or believer?

Not sure but I think I’m a bit of both because I can see genuine value in skepticism and yet I know that being distrustful of everything or forcing everyone to prove as verifiable truth what they are vehemently claiming to be such, is ludicrous in itself.

Take the concept of GOD for example. Prove to me GOD exists or prove to me S/He doesn’t. Prove to me GOD is even a She or a He, or both/neither.

There is evidence that something far greater than ourselves does exist—this I do believe—I am actually very spiritual and feel directly connected into that indescribable guy w glasses.jpgSOMETHING; and yet the likelihood that this SOMETHING is anthropomorphically or even anatomically similar to people in general is a bit of a stretch to me. So I have problems believing much of organized religion’s verbatim descriptions of a chief deity with human characteristics or failings.  That’s just a bridge too far.

However I am more likely to believe that people, historically ancient and even present day people, try to relate to the great mysteries of their lives in ways that make those doors of beliefmysteries more palatable or bite-sized for human comprehension because it is a natural way to better psychologically deal with emotional and physical hardships in general—a way to maintain a sense of hope for something better in the future if the present situation is pretty awful to endure.

I think that many people are natural “believers” because during the course of our lives we sometimes tell ourselves what we most want to hear just to make it through a painful situation. Sometimes we even believe what we most want to believe because not doing so is tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon of infinity without a safety net; …and who, other than a Wallenda, wants to do that?

So I do recognize that the older the civilization, the more ingrained the belief, especially skeptic truth.jpgif people feel that believing such has helped them to survive to their present state of being. I can easily understand that aspect of religious teaching acceptance by many.

Perhaps the church’s authority in people’s lives during their early childhood development in the last century instilled that sense of bowing to the head of a religious organization who told you how you could and could not live your lives.

But a few decades ago as horrifying as public exposure became of the wide-spread Catholic Priesthood child sex-abuse crimes, it did do one important thing: It shook a lot of natural believers away from giving people of authority total control over their lives, and also helped them to more skeptically view ANY high-ranking official of ANY organization, religious or secular, as all too humanly fractured to be the perfect vessel for any higher spiritual function.politican lies

Then again, you don’t need to be affiliated with religions to be a “believer” in something or someone, especially a someone who tells you exactly what you want to hear about the subject or about yourself, as it relates to the subject—like a politician.

I think political skepticism is very healthy and truly necessary in today’s world. Perhaps it always was necessary, but we just weren’t as aware of such widespread lying and intentional deception in earlier times because we were more naturally trusting of authority figures.

boy w woman.jpgSo there is value in skepticism—in not blindly trusting what we are being shown or told.

Skepticism helps us view our lives with more objectivity so we can see more than what we want to see, and to hear something closer to the truth than what we would actually prefer to hear.escape to reality

A skeptic’s view of life may not be the fantasy that we want to believe in, but it helps to keep things more REAL—and that is the world in which we actually have to live.

Perspicacious

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I ran across this word yesterday in a crime novel and not knowing its meaning, I web-searched to find:

“having a ready insight into and understanding of things. SYN: discerning · shrewd · perceptive · astute · penetrating

Ok, …great.  Never knew what it meant, but now I do. So do I use it in every third sentence, or will it slip off my mental horizon as quickly as it emerged?

Yes, it’s more likely to be the latter case especially because in today’s world, perspicaciousness (the intelligence manifested as being astute) is rare.

Who needs to be exceptionally perceptive? How about insightful? I mean where will that get you, eh?

A knowing, penetrating gaze—capable of seeing through deceptions—of what value is that in our lives?

Certainly we can trust everything we hear, and see before us, can’t we? I mean when is discernment ever valued?

For example, would a President or his spokespeople ever intentionally deceive us?

Would some news outlets use their media platform to spread lies or carefully sherlock.jpgmanufactured propaganda like some autocratic dictatorship trying to keep its people in line?

Would disinformation ever be spread by either side of a political campaign to destroy all confidence in the voting process of a democracy?

Well of course not.

That just doesn’t happen in America, right?  What with all our FREEDOMS of press, religion, speech, right to bear arms, right to peaceful protest, etc., those nasty blotches on our freedoms cannot possibly exist, can they?

Yes, I can see that this new word “PERSPICACIOUS” will be gone from my mind as quickly as it arose, because there simply is no need for it.

All is well.  I can easily see that.

A Bit Too Early

After watching last night’s debate spectacle the only thing that I am certain of is that I took my nightly shower WAY too early.

It’s unfortunate that so much shadow-fodder has become the determiner of who will become the next President of the United States of America, but it appears that this is indeed the case.

limbo party.jpgThis was reminiscent of 1960’s “limbo” party-goers shouting to the gathering crowds: “How low can you go, my friends?  How far backward can you bend and still pass under the low-hanging bar?”

Well, it looks like we nearly scraped the ground last night with only those who slither capable of passing beneath it.

And slither he did, …this way, … and then that way.  One commentator said it was like watching a stand-off between a cobra and a mongoose.cobra-mongoose

 

Beyond the dust-kicking spectacle on last night’s television, I was a little amused Friday night and Saturday by the religious zealots suddenly remembering their moral stances and denouncing their alignment to limbo snake-dom; but as I mentioned in my previous “hypocrisy” rant, if they were actually true to their supposed moral-compasses, they wouldn’t have needed to change direction at this stage in the game. Trump said the same thing to all who defected from his campaign. He actually called them “HYPOCRITES” for deserting him, and that was about the only truth that he stated all weekend.

So there you have it.

In my opinion, this is what the murky, shadow-world exposition has revealed to all: There’s a lot of nastiness (energies, attitudes, actions) everywhere in the world right now, and when a candidate tries to make himself look cleaner by slinging twice the amount of mud on his opponent, we all get doused with it.

We’ll need to shower more frequently until this election season is over, so don’t use all the hot water.group showers.jpg

Those Dissin’ “Chaos” Energies

(Pertinent repost from May 23, 2014)

Noticed a bit of discomfort lately in situations, relationships, and personal endeavors? It might be the malingering effects of the dysfunction-creating  “D’s”—those discombobulating chaos energiesdolphin waves rainbow we’re swimming in at present, with two of the most noticeable aspects being dissonance and disruption.

For those of us who are energy sensitive, we know the feel of these disturbing energies when you’re in them. Once-normal situations now seem tense and potentially explosive. People you normally associate with walk around frowny-faced and withdrawn, preferring to be left alone—with you being one of them.

Easy to tell that this isn’t a fun environment to be in or near; and that makes for yet another “D”—difficulties.

So what is going on in the world right now?

The likely culprits are some very weird energies coming in to the world at present, and those strange oceans of energy that we are all swimming in seem to be chaos energies. It’s easy to recognize chaos energies because they create lots of upheavals and uncertainties wherever they are present; resulting in all those previously mentioned “D’s,” which are so obvious right now whether at work, at home, communally or personally.

What is perhaps even more distracting is the sheer strength of these latest chaos energies which are straining relationships and creating sleepless nights for many of us who are so energy sensitive.

I asked a dear friend who is also a highly-intuitive energy-worker, for her take on what is happening because I was having a hard time getting a clear read for it myself, and she said it’s all about balancing the new energies coming in to our world at present—energies that are meant to be dissonant and disruptive to shake up the old systems—the old ways of operation—and create the opportunity for change: for both individual and world-wide change.

So if you find yourself immersed in this kettle of funky, murky energy that seems to keep stirring things hotter for you, maybe it’s time find a way to turn down the heat and let the situation cool a bit. Chill out. Walk away. Shift your focus for awhile.

As someone recently wrote, “Just because you’re invited to an argument, doesn’t mean you have to accept the invitation.”

But if these chaos energies continue to be so strong and continue to adversely affect us, perhaps we need to learn how to handle these powerfully disruptive energies in more calm and constructive ways, to prevent all those “D’s” from leading to one more: disaster.

If there was ever a time to learn how to hold your own center and keep your cool in adverse situations, this is it.  So my suggestion is to meditate more and spend some quality time in nature doing vigorous activities to burn off that excess energy flooding our energy fields at present; and by all means, simply relax….just relax. Sit back and take it easy for awhile.

These energies will shift again in a few weeks, and hopefully they will be more pleasant and nurturing by then. Just try to use these present disruptive-energy aspects to clear things from your life that have long needed to be cleared, but for some reason, you just couldn’t let them go.

Try again! I bet in these energies you CAN let them go now!

ImageClean out the basement or the garage, stack the trash bins full of all that old “stuff” you’ve accumulated and kick it to the curb. That’s what these energies are good for: Clearing out the old to make room for the new.

The Chinese kanji representing “Chaos” means many things. But the greatest positive effect it represents is the “Opportunity for Change.”  And that’s the whole point of this present world-wide energy scenario: CHANGE.

The Juxtaposition of Expectations

I was fascinated by this image—the subtlety—the softness—the ephemeral quality where the horizon is inferred yet not easily distinguished—and most of all, non pink flamingos.jpgwhere the expectation is reversed of seeing black flamingos against a pink background with a pink sun.

To me it is powerful on many levels: You have the incongruity of subject matter whose very name suggests a distinct color, you have the distinction of the silhouettes cast against the pastel backdrops, and beyond all of that, you have the mirror reflections of sky with birds crossing a suggested watery surface that gives the impression of floating above their own shadows.

My mind quipped, “It’s a juxtaposition of juxtaexpectations. Nothing here is what you expect it to be: not the sun, not the birds, not the sky or the water. You aren’t even sure where the horizon meets the sky.”

That’s what makes it so powerful.

It could be my Graphic Arts training, but when I see an image this strong and almost other-worldly it gives me pause to assess why it is so impactful.

True, there could be considerable image manipulation here through filters and color adjustments to achieve that unusual background hue, but compare the image above to a few additional images that cover the same subject matter, and then see for yourself how pastel sky waterthe photographer/artist really took the walking flamingos to a new level with his rendition of them.

flam sky.jpg

 

 

 

flockflaming in water

 

The OPEN Mind

Limitation is so unnecessary.

open.jpgWhen we focus so tightly on a single issue or a single viewpoint, we limit ourselves and our outcomes.

You don’t need to do just “one thing” in your life when you can do many things. You needn’t “specialize” in a certain subject or a course of study unless you feel that “one thing” is the single guiding force of your life. Specialists in nature are often a rare, isolated species, and are the ones most prone to extinction because they limit their food sources.

While there are advantages to a tight mental focus, there are disadvantages to limiting your frame of reference so severely that you exclude other possibilities. When you zero in so tightly on a concept or even an ideology, you restrict any other explanation from penetrating your mind set.einstein quote.png

I don’t mean to be the judgmental finger-pointer here but in today’s world, being able to keep your mind OPEN to a problem’s solutions is an attribute, not a detriment.

Not only are we, the residents of this world we all share, still ignorant to the answers to all the world’s problems; we aren’t even aware of the best questions to ask pertaining to those problems.

That might sound critical of what is presently occurring in the world’s greatest problem spots, but world problem-solving depends on increasing your base knowledge of the issues, not restricting it; and single-point perspectives with limited options only create the same scenarios we’re trying to dig ourselves out from now.

Case in point: If you ever have the opportunity to go through Mediation Training please mediationtake it. Mediation is where a mediator helps two or more parties define their key problem issues; then she helps them to successfully resolve their problems in a mutually beneficial manner.  That training will help you realize how difficult it is to help two very different viewpoints find and accept common ground to build a better future outcome based on mutually beneficial goals.toddlers.jpg

It’s a lot like getting toddlers to share a slurpy even if they have two straws.

What you usually encounter in Mediation is that combatants are often like the two primary political parties mid-election year mayhem: There is the standard stalemate caused by “my way or the highway” thinking or the “you are so WRONG how could you ever be that stupid” viewpoint expressed by one or both participants in the mediation.

Emotion rules the disagreements, not rational thinking.

common groundBut the mediator’s goal is to find common ground between the two deadlocked camps, which means that if you are the mediator you have to dig deeper into each combatant’s wants/don’t wants to find out what the REAL issues are behind their immovable stances.

You’d be surprised what deeper wounds and hidden agendas are revealed in this process.

Sometimes the disagreement has nothing to do with the subject in question. The acrimony between the two camps is often pure, raw woundedness raging on whatever ground it can find to take its stand.  Those are tough situations to resolve amicably. A good mediator (not the same thing as a negotiator) earns every dollar s/he makes.

And the single most difficult task at hand for any mediator is to encourage the participants to come to the table with an OPEN mind—a mind willing to consider an option not previously proposed.

An OPEN mind recognizes that the “highway” is meant for two-way travel, and being “wrong” is often just a shift in perspective to being considered “not so wrong.”backyard.jpg

Common ground is the single unifier most sought by a good mediator. Once that is established then a mutually beneficial outcome can be defined for both parties. And once the emotional aspects of the arguments have dissipated, the warring parties are more willing to consider rational solutions to the dilemma.

But the key component to any problem resolution is that all participants must somehow achieve and maintain an OPEN mind state that is willing to simply consider ALL possibilities.kids.jpg

As dedicated as we are to our own viewpoints, stubbornness and intractability are less productive outside the nursery-school playground.

The Pleasant Strangeness of Our Times

In my opinion we are living in pleasantly strange times right now. In many respects it’s hard to pinpoint what makes it seem so strange, but it may be that there is an awakening of consciousness across the globe that is no longer possible to ignore.

70's issuesI may not have noticed this consciousness change had I been born in the mid-‘80’s or later, but I’ve been around longer than that; and there is a large difference in the general awareness level of the mass populace now as opposed to the mass populace of the ‘70’s through the ‘90’s. As a collective awareness, we’ve matured considerably from those earlier attempts at relating to others who might seem “different” from us.

I’m sure the electronics age combined with the Internet connecting us all world-wide has helped many to realize that living thousands of miles apart no longer separates and defines us the way it once did.earth

Many younger people now may even consider themselves as belonging more to the Global Community than to their own regions, especially if those regions are inclined to stagnate and maintain their centuries-old manner of operation. The ability to accept and to relish positive change is a key determiner of a society’s health and advancement.

Even the mind-set of the political party in power affects the expansion of conscious awareness. Those parties who favor inclusiveness and sharing open their consciousness to new ideas and progressive agendas. Mass consciousness truly inflates during these years of advancing social agendas over the previous war-focus.

So many factors are at play in the strangeness of these present times that it is hard to point at one or two of them and say, “It’s because this happened then that was triggered, that everything changed for the better for everyone.” And the betterment of EVERYONE is the key determiner of a society’s advancement.

white peacockPersonally I think that the energies of this TIME are quite different in quality and strength than they have been throughout my earlier lifetime. I believe that those higher-frequency energies pouring in now are playing a major role in lifting human consciousness out of the combative muck and mire where they have been stuck for centuries, and hopefully into a lighter, more spiritual focus on sharing and caring about the welfare of others, with less focus on “but what’s in it for ME” in every major administrative decision.

That perceived newer focus is based on inclusion and compassion, sharing and connecting with others in new and better ways of building community and fellowship.collective consciousness

The collective consciousness change is happening—it is underway. Hopefully it can continue to expand and rise even though we are entering the American political season where inflammatory BS usually trumps truth.

But we can prevent truth erosion by keeping our own consciousness high and above that self-serving rhetoric. Be more aware of your OWN truth and maintain that luminous connection to YOUR higher knowledge. That’s where Higher Consciousness really resides.