Confessions of a Supra-Skeptic

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posted on May, 9 2009 @ 07:35 PM
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Does everyone question? Question what?


Where are we going for dinner?
Do you want one child or three?
What kind of car do you want to buy?
Where are you going on vacation?

See where I am going with this?

How high is the average person's IQ? How about EQ? Where do most person's interests lie, at least here in the U.S?

Everyone questions. But not everyone asks out loud! How many people do I know that conform? Most. It doesn't mean that they don't ask all the big questions, it's just they have somewhere to go, and people to see, and places to play.

How many individuals in history actually create changes? What do the rest do? I am not going to base any of my perceptions on the masses, for they are organisms in Petri dishes!

Get it?




posted on May, 9 2009 @ 08:33 PM
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reply to post by JPhish
 



The current state of our society is sickening to me; the hypocrisy, the corruption, the apathy, the ignorance . . . even with the small role i play, i have trouble seeing myself playing the part for much longer.



Sometimes being irreverent is the only way to survive.



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 02:16 AM
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reply to post by MatrixProphet
 


true matpro, but in general our society is hardly having trouble surviving. Someone struggling for necessities is one thing . . . but people in america, europe, (the rich countries) selfishly pursue desires with disregard for the world.

[edit on 5/10/2009 by JPhish]



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 10:29 AM
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reply to post by azurecara
 


the whole idea of knowing - love it - to actually believe that we can know

but we do know

it's just that sometimes we only know something for a while - then we have to know something else

even when we realize that we don't know something - in order to think about it we turn it into something that, even if only temporarily, we can pretend to know so we can use it - work with it or around it

it is pretending - but still - we know



Here is the definition of absolute that I work with: Not to be doubted or questioned; positive: absolute proof.


you mean - like how the sun and planets revolve around the Earth? :-)


...You can only have an absolute of a subjective topic as it is relevant to you at a given point in time - and as people are always changing, than holding on to that subjective absolute would become difficult over time.


exactly

sometimes we think we know something - we believe we actually know it

for as long as that belief is held to be true - we are using a working absolute - something we've agreed is real and true - accepted: Not to be doubted or questioned; positive: absolute proof

language allows us to look and think backwards - and see


Now even that assertation is subject to my own questioning. Who am I to say there are no absolutes? Perhaps I am wrong; something I can healthily accept. So my understanding is that there are no absolutes.


the reason I like to use the word absolute is for just that reason - it's fun to play with things that aren't easily explained

like the word eternity

sometimes we need a word to stand in for things that exist - even if they exist just outside of our ability to understand them

think of the word as a nickname :-)


I hope no one wants to smack you around, I'm sure they will find you engaging to discuss things with.


:-)

so funny how sometimes just chatting about stuff can get people's ire up though - isn't it?

I especially love how mad people get discussing things nobody can ever really know



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 11:46 AM
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reply to post by JPhish
 



true matpro, but in general our society is hardly having trouble surviving. Someone struggling for necessities is one thing . . . but people in america, europe, (the rich countries) selfishly pursue desires with disregard for the world.


Yes, we are a hedonistic society. Addiction must always come first and people will protect their right to pursue their pleasure, at whatever cost.
Know that there are many who don't follow the tune of that drum!



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 11:59 AM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 



the reason I like to use the word absolute is for just that reason - it's fun to play with things that aren't easily explained

like the word eternity


Like the word "spiritual." How many definitions are there of it? I love the word; "serendipity." Another not too easily explained, because it could involve the G word.


sometimes we need a word to stand in for things that exist - even if they exist just outside of our ability to understand them


It makes it easier than saying, "You know! That thingie. It, whatever It is."



so funny how sometimes just chatting about stuff can get people's ire up though - isn't it?

I especially love how mad people get discussing things nobody can ever really know


The smaller someone's box is, the more it is protected. I love philosophical conversations as it opens the opportunity to expand on a belief, or adds to something quizzical.

Questions are healthy as the OP is suggesting but it is also okay to have a temporary answer and to not feel judged if we change our mind. It is what growth and learning are all about.

Nothing would ever be invented or discovered if individuals weren't prepared to take some heat and criticism. It happens to the best.



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 12:32 PM
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reply to post by MatrixProphet
 


OK - watch this - I'm about to do something really crazy - maybe even stupid

stupid if all I really want to do is be done with all this and not go on to fight about it...

:-)



I love the word; "serendipity." Another not too easily explained, because...
it could involve the G word.


the G word

and what does the "G" word mean?

just so this doesn't get off topic - I want to explain what I'm going after

if we're all talking about skepticism - or even supra-skepticism

and the discussion is about what we can or can't know - even going on to consider whether it's even possible to know anything

the thing we're all dancing around here is who knows what - and when did they know it?

and who do they really think they are - actually claiming that they can know it?

who do they think they are?

:-)

that is what this is all about - at least from my perspective

defending our sense of self - defending territory

everybody more or less agreeing that ultimately they can't know - but willing to go to the mat defending what they know

love it



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


I appreciated your post! G word: God for those who don't know.


who do they think they are?

that is what this is all about - at least from my perspective

defending our sense of self - defending territory

everybody more or less agreeing that ultimately they can't know - but willing to go to the mat defending what they know



Actually I don't have any problem saying that I know a lot!


I don't believe in false humility! Say it like you mean it, eh? I had to be a goody two shoes for far too many years when I was active in religion. Now, I believe in being me.

I have learned a lot from my vast experience and some book learning. I enjoy exploring areas where I am weak or unread. But I DO know a lot of things.

There, make you feel better?



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 04:11 PM
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reply to post by MatrixProphet
 


:-)

you should know - I replied to you - but wasn't directed AT you



Actually I don't have any problem saying that I know a lot! I don't believe in false humility! Say it like you mean it, eh?


yes - say it like we mean it - exactly


There, make you feel better?


well - I wasn't feeling bad :-)

actually - was feeling pretty amused by the whole gosh darned thing



posted on May, 10 2009 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 



well - I wasn't feeling bad :-)

actually - was feeling pretty amused by the whole gosh darned thing


I was being silly. I am older so I get to have fun! I took life too darn serious for most of my life.

I am with you!



posted on May, 11 2009 @ 05:54 AM
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Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
reply to post by azurecara
 
the whole idea of knowing - love it - to actually believe that we can know but we do know it's just that sometimes we only know something for a while - then we have to know something else even when we realize that we don't know something - in order to think about it we turn it into something that, even if only temporarily, we can pretend to know so we can use it - work with it or around it, it is pretending - but still - we know


I think you might be playing a bit fast and loose with the definition of words like 'know'; however I can see your point.





Here is the definition of absolute that I work with: Not to be doubted or questioned; positive: absolute proof.

you mean - like how the sun and planets revolve around the Earth? :-)


I have to respond firstly by saying interesting example!


So okay, we'll use that type of example. How do you know that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun? Have you actually seen them to do this? Sure it's a generally accepted idea. It is considered to be an absolute from a Scientific standpoint, and to date has yet to be disproved. But how do you know?

After going back and forth of this thread I'm now going to take the Super-skeptical standpoint. Yes that's right, I said it! Nothing in this life time is guarenteed to be the way it appears to be. Everything is suspect - even this idea is suspect!

My life and my interaction with my environment has been a defined set of parametres within my mind. I've "learned" through interacting with my environment that there are physical definitions to objects around me.

For example; this table my keyboard is resting on appears flat. It feels flat, and looks flat. I could use other objects to measure it's gradient angle, and scientific formula to represent it's flatness. However if we magnify it to the nth degree we would discover the surface to be quite coarse. At it's base form it is merely a series of densely packed atoms. This I have been told to expect from my foray into the realm of science.

Can I be certain that this table is flat? No. Is this table being flat an absolute? No, as there cannot be an absolute. As a working theory it has already been questioned in my mind, because I have 'learned' that although my senses are telling me it is flat, that upon closer study it is most likely not. Subjectively my table is flat.

Now comes the even more cynical view. How do I even know that this is a table? Because a series of social interactions with other people have defined it as such for me. An agreed upon consensus of the idea of 'table'. How do I know this table exists? Because my senses tell me it's there. Is that knowledge? No, it is merely the interpretation of a set of stimuli to my senses, and a series of connections within my brain to my memories of similar stimulus. It is also an interaction with the definition of 'reality'.

How do I know it's not a hallucination? I don't. But for the moment I'm going to use my working interpretation of 'table', until other stimulus provides new or different information to adapt my definition of 'table'.

All knowledge is relative, and abstract concepts are very subjective. Ideas, and opinions one would have to agree are also subjective. Even my very bad table explanation is subjective. How do I know this? I don't, it's just a working idea at present.


Alot of the examples used are to do with religion. I find this extremely amusing actually. As this would have to be the most subjective topic of them all, in my opinion (subject to being disproved or wrong).
You can not have a right or wrong with subjective opinions, only differences of opinion.


the reason I like to use the word absolute is for just that reason - it's fun to play with things that aren't easily explained like the word eternity
sometimes we need a word to stand in for things that exist - even if they exist just outside of our ability to understand them
think of the word as a nickname :-)


I almost supplied you with more words, then thought better of it.
Think of all words as nicknames, and you shall be half-way to my point of view.


:-)
so funny how sometimes just chatting about stuff can get people's ire up though - isn't it?
I especially love how mad people get discussing things nobody can ever really know


Discussing opinions and beliefs can push anyone's hot buttons. Perhaps if people were more inclined to couch their replys towards the ideas alone instead of throwing in a smattering of, You think What? and following that up with an appropriate sarcastic reference to someone's intelligence level.... just maaaybe things wouldn't descend into the slippery slope of


Luckily this only happened to me once. I have since tried extremely hard to be very clear and not quite so flippant with my postings.... not everyone is able to see my sarcasm. However, I digress.



posted on May, 11 2009 @ 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows

Firstly, thank you very much for the positive review.
Always love to know that my bumbling grasps into the dark occasionally hit a complimentary note in others. Madness is always best when shared.
No prob, I'll share that, lol. I apologize for not participating more in the thread, I see it has moved on from my early reply so I hope this is relevant.


But I am not so sure that taking the time to question something should be considered a luxury, it seems to me an imperative.
Well, for you it is. The reality is, that for individuals to continue questioning everything would require they place other immediate concerns aside, it is these concerns, other factors of life that would seem to relegate the activity of questioning ones existence, beliefs, the self, philosophies or perspective to a luxury of when time and space in ones life permits it, if ones life does permit such exercises. This does not mean people give up a desire to look into these or infact ask questions, at some point you would decide on something as being true, otherwise it would be an endless exercise that could take up ones entire existence, could it not?.
Acceptance may be an option purely because other recognise that the individuals offering any truth have dedicated their life in an attempt to answer or infact actually answering these questions. That is why people trust doctors, that is why people go to a mechanic, that is why people use carpenters. And why people don't stand around questioning these people endlessly as they work.


Regardless of whether it is complentary to their pre-conceived ideals or not, especially if one wants to truly champion any sort of true ideal of freedom.
Well, you really need to ask why it is you feel the need to question the habits of others in their own investigation. Pre-concieved ideals are abstract and highly individualised. How would you know wether anyone is actually living a pre-concieved ideal that would enable them to cease all questioning? or just divided between the demands of actually living and time spent pondering the many unresolved mysteries life presents to all of us.

To me, were someone to truly champion freedom, it is more than questioning. At some point you have to stop questioning and accept it as being true, you then take that on, and act on it. Freedom would then be defined as the point at which you stopped asking questions and accepted it as absolute truth. People have their own sense of this, we infact see this within our society.

To champion one true Ideal of freedom is dangerous IMHO, and sets your own pre-concieved ideal up to be sold as the truth, that you percieve others may have to meet, But others will question and perhaps think you are selling lies. It is what religions and political movements do, champion an Ideal as truth, their truth as the Ideal.

Pretty much, to put it another way, I am one who very much believes in the principle that regardless, the statement "Someone sold me a lie." is a copout because the true statement, the one that everyone seeking to put the blame elsewhere really means is "I bought a lie."
I understand that, but is it a given that everyone who has stopped questioning has been sold a lie, or infact bought one? Like you said before, to you it is an imperative, to others their imperative is feeding their kids, paying the bills and not perusing the latest in Noetics, or contemplating the personal justification of beliefs by contemplating Kants The Critique of Pure Reason.
I could question you, you yourself in questioning endlessly are finding your own copout. You avoid the inherent risk of accepting any truths, or wisdoms by asking questions endlessly. You avoid being labled as being "sold a lie" or "having bought one", but in the end have you sold one to yourself, the lie that questioning is the ultimate in finding the truth?
These are valid questions to ponder, are they not.

I like your posts.



posted on May, 11 2009 @ 11:48 PM
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reply to post by azurecara
 



So okay, we'll use that type of example. How do you know that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun? Have you actually seen them to do this? Sure it's a generally accepted idea. It is considered to be an absolute from a Scientific standpoint, and to date has yet to be disproved. But how do you know?


when it comes to this sort of thing – I generally depend on other people to explain what’s going on to me – I believe I learned about this part in grade school – not sure – it’s been a while :-)

but yes – I see


After going back and forth of this thread I'm now going to take the Super-skeptical standpoint….Everything is suspect - even this idea is suspect!


Well – Watcher will be glad to hear this – I’m sure


I've "learned" through interacting with my environment that there are physical definitions to objects around me.


And still – nothing you can claim to know?


At it's base form it is merely a series of densely packed atoms. This I have been told to expect from my foray into the realm of science.


See – I call stuff flat if the surface isn’t all up and down – because usually I can’t see how tightly the atoms are packed

On those rare occasions when I can actually see the atoms – I try to get more sleep


Subjectively my table is flat.


:-)


Now comes the even more cynical view…


cynicism? – we’ve left skepticism behind and moved into cynicism? does thinking about the table too much maybe make you a little frustrated?


Because a series of social interactions with other people have defined it as such for me.


see – that’s how I learn sometimes too – people tell me stuff – and I believe them

especially about the table


How do I know it's not a hallucination?


well – that right there is just the best question ever – seriously

over-examining the table aside – this is closer to the OPs basic idea than anything else

I actually do think this part is very interesting – because – your brain can just make stuff up as it goes along - no foolin’


But for the moment I'm going to use my working interpretation of 'table'


your working what? :-)


All knowledge is relative, and abstract concepts are very subjective


yes – but we shorthand it and call it knowledge

so, after all of that – if someone were to point at the table and ask you what it is – what would you tell them?

Would you tell them you don’t know?

(It would really be more fun if you just said yes right here) :-)


You can not have a right or wrong with subjective opinions, only differences of opinion.


until they stop being subjective - I’m just sayin’


I almost supplied you with more words, then thought better of it.


thank you - lol - the last thing I need is more words to play with


Think of all words as nicknames, and you shall be half-way to my point of view.


I already do – so, I think maybe I understand you already


Discussing opinions and beliefs can push anyone's hot buttons.


yes - almost always


not everyone is able to see my sarcasm.


I understand completely – I have similar issues – I forget people can’t hear me :-)

OK - been kidding around - but, it's not as if I don't understand what both you and Watcher are saying

I understand because - this is the way I really think

but - I also live in the real world - from time to time

everything can be questioned - and there's nothing wrong with questioning things until they no longer exist - unless you need to know something in order to function

so - to make it simple - I still say - we do know things

but it's possible to say we know them at different times on different levels - and one view doesn't cancel out the other - they can actually complement each other

but regardless - it just depends on whether you need the water to be hot or cold - to fit the situation



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 07:56 PM
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Sorry for the late post, work decided to widen it's monolopy of my time for a short while.
Spira, what caught my ire was that your posts general tone to me was one of general passive aggressive condescension. Notice that I said that was what the tone came off as to me. Coupled with the fact that you felt the need to make a semantic argument then later within the same post hedge your argument with how semantic arguments are silly.
That being said, I do still disagree with your stance that everyone always questions. History speaks volumes about that. Asking questions for which you think you already know the answer is not questioning, that is the very basis of bias and it's human nature to naturally go along with what he or she accepts as fact sometimes despite contrary evidence.

MatrixProphet, at no point did I say anything aboslute and nor did I mean it such. Did you or did you not notice my constant usually or mostly? Those are not absolute terms as they do not cover "everyone", just commenting on a predisposition of humanity not a universal rule. And neither was I passing judgement except in the fact that I was stating my opinions on the matter, but it does not mean I stating myself as better than anyone because I am really not as I will readily tell anyone who asks.

Simple fact of the matter, asking a question for which you are sure you already have the answer is not a question. Anymore than iron pyrite is gold.



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 10:06 PM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 



MatrixProphet, at no point did I say anything aboslute and nor did I mean it such. Did you or did you not notice my constant usually or mostly? Those are not absolute terms as they do not cover "everyone", just commenting on a predisposition of humanity not a universal rule. And neither was I passing judgement except in the fact that I was stating my opinions on the matter, but it does not mean I stating myself as better than anyone because I am really not as I will readily tell anyone who asks.



Actually, I am not passing any judgment. I could have missed a couple of 'usually or mostly" in your posts. Sorry!

Most of humanity just eats, sleeps and defecates, with some occasional procreation.



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 11:09 PM
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reply to post by MatrixProphet
 


No worries. Just clearing the air. And most likely I accidently did not put some of those mostly and usually's in as I am somewhat of a lazy typer due to the fact my fingers can't keep up with my brain half the time. But I in no way was speaking in absolutes.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 09:12 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


Watcher – glad to see you’re back – I thought you’d gone for good


Spira, what caught my ire was that your posts general tone to me was one of general passive aggressive condescension.


I hadn’t noticed any real obvious ire :-) (OK – a little – just around the edges)

but, I am amused at the irony that comes with the accusation – general passive aggressive condescension

lol


Notice that I said that was what the tone came off as to me.


it’s easy to confuse our tones here – I’ll admit

and the whole time – I thought we were just having some fun


Coupled with the fact that you felt the need to make a semantic argument then later within the same post hedge your argument with how semantic arguments are silly.


:-) oh Watcher – they are silly – but we’re not making law here – or sentencing prisoners – we’re just messing around with ideas

also, semantics, whether you’re willing to see it or not – are a huge part of any argument

you’re perfectly capable (I know – because I’ve seen you do it) of pointing that out when and where you see it – and arguing your point right then and there

what’s preventing you – not keen on the idea of hitting a girl?

I want to say lighten up a little – but, maybe that would sound a little condescending?


That being said, I do still disagree with your stance that everyone always questions. History speaks volumes about that. Asking questions for which you think you already know the answer is not questioning, that is the very basis of bias and it's human nature to naturally go along with what he or she accepts as fact sometimes despite contrary evidence.


fair enough then – let’s keep fighting about it :-)

edit to add: Watcher - thanks for the explanation of the word condescension - did you read it?

[edit on 5/18/2009 by Spiramirabilis]



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 07:26 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


Spira, let's drop it shall we? That tone has not left and quite frankly whether you're meaning to do it or not *or even doing it at all in truth* it's infuriating to me. I would much rather continue to be "kewl" with you than any temporary buzz err whatever I would get from declaring total verbal war. Not that it would serve any constructive purpose anyway. So, shall we drop it and agree to disagree?



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


ok Watcher - whatever works



posted on May, 19 2009 @ 03:30 AM
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Just as a by the by here is a good thread I just found.
Hubris: The arrogance of conviction





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