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The History of a Skeptic. A personal story.

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posted on Oct, 6 2012 @ 09:02 PM
'Skeptic' is one of the few labels I accept. In all appearances, I am a soul who doubts everything that I haven’t fully experienced with my entire self—my senses, my reason, my emotion, my body, my memory and all inward and outward expression. I am, as a result, incredulous, cynical, pessimistic, doubtful, sensual and extremely honest with myself—usually at the expense of someone else’s, but mostly my own, philosophical assertions. I cannot allow another’s hands to shape my entire life’s masterpiece, my most important art, my soul, the entire memory and idea I have of myself. It is my duty to form my truths, no one has the casual rights to such an honour. This is a goal I set for myself long ago.

I attribute this curse to my youthful suspicion of authority, which I seemed to have developed at an early age. I began to peer psychoanalytically into anyone I assumed was more authoritative than I, always questioning their knowledge and how they arrived at their conclusions. Why must I heed what this person says? What gives him the authority? were my most common questions. I only ever discovered that what they were teaching me was exactly what they too were taught: second-hand hand-me-down knowledge, interpretations of interpretations. To appease this seemingly insatiable lust to turn the tables on the authority figure, I had to dig deeper, down to their sources and to their sources sources. It was imperative for me to discover if the person teaching me how to be human was indeed somehow more human than I.

Religion was the first to fall. Nothing in it could appease my most incredulous search for truth. The history, the metaphysics, the moralities, the mythology, the cosmology, the promises, the prophets—all of them became to me artistic endeavours of mere men; people not unlike me pondering the exact same nature I do throughout my growth. I soon thereafter took to ‘spirituality’ (to use the word in its modern sense) in the hopes of finding if anyone may have discovered a foundation to stand on, a more firm footing. I was seduced quickly by their words and romantic ideas as they forced their meaning upon different aspects of existence. These 'teachers' took me further away from myself, tempting me to walk down their path in their manner. It was a different almost more poetic take on life, but a take on life nonetheless. Of course, nothing was there but the ideas of mere men; people not unlike me pondering the exact same nature I do throughout my growth. I found that in that instance, I was still being merely religious.

Afterwords, foundations shuddered beneath me. Humanity, existence and purpose began to lose their meaning and it wasn’t long after that I was to drown in the abyss of nihilism, misanthropy and depression—very real dangers that await a skeptic. I felt sickened by the nature of man in all its cruelty, self-hate and vanity. I saw through my own illusions and hence the illusions of others. Man, to me, was no longer great; and it remained this way for some time. I became existential, removing myself from the herd as to become no longer a part of this wicked game. Luckily, hitting a spiritual bottom doesn't always end negatively.

Philosophy became a life-raft for a me. I found love and joy not in what they taught or their ideas or their conclusions; but in the way they taught, the way formed their ideas and the way they arrived at their conclusions. These mere men, experimented with life in the most beautiful way. The insurmountable odds against the expression of their life's work astounded me and I discovered a new avenue in which to approach my own life: to discover and create it for myself, to become architect of my own foundation, my own philosophy, to become my own prophet—free from the invasive almost parasitic ideas of others—a true skeptic.

Everyone should be proud of their enemies and hold them in the highest regard. My greatest enemy in the end was myself, the most important authority figure I’ve ever stood against, the root cause of all my error. I challenged my methods, my ways, my interpretations, which still stunk of the interpretations of others. I finally began to take control of myself and I washed away the paint of a thousand artists till I arrived at a blank canvas. Like a child I was to discover again.

To this day, a child I remain; it’s an approach in my method. I experience and learn through that experience. I build upon the memory I have of myself, my inward and outward expression—what I call my soul. It’s all a skeptic—some might say a human—can ever know and trust.

Thank you for reading.

PS. While I have the proverbial microphone I’d like to take this moment to thanks ATS, and more specifically, the philosophers in the Philosophy and Metaphysics section, for allowing me to practice writing, arguing, reasoning and philosophy among my fellow free-spirits. I read all your insight with the greatest honor. We are all skeptics at heart. May our searching never end, and may the truth always evade us.

edit on 6-10-2012 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 6 2012 @ 09:37 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

I like to think of myself as a practical man. My life hasn't been easy so I haven't had a lot of time to pontificate about philosophical matters. Not saying it's bad to mind you. Even without a lot of thought invested, I never trusted the clergy. Teachers, bosses, politicians, scientific authorities, doctors who change their mind whether margarine is better for your health or butter, and well you get the idea ... I always liked to think of myself as the guy who had one eyebrow half cocked ready to step out of the way of whatever weirdo was ready to throw some new heaping pile of BS my way. Though at the same time I'm not so thickheaded that I only listen to myself. I keep my ear to the ground, but I take what I hear with a metric ton of salt.

Anyways I am telling you this because you mentioned you tried some flavor of spirituality. The one thing I'm curious about is whether there is anything to lucid dreams; and if there is, is there an argument to be had that traveling around and seeing things in the dream world that directly correspond to the physical world (that you couldn't know before) indicates it's more than just our imagination? Though I guess that would be an out of body experience. That thought has always niggled at me. I don't really care if there's an afterlife, or a spirit, or any of that. I try to just focus on the here and now. It keeps me busy enough, but having an out of body experience would certainly open up a lot of questions. Thanks for sharing your story.
edit on 6-10-2012 by TheMalefactor because: it's too late

posted on Oct, 6 2012 @ 10:07 PM
Well written and understandable position.

I would say your account is familiar to me, but I don't think I had an issue with Nhilism. That requires a certain belief also that it is all meaningless.
As an agnostic-atheist, belief isn't my gig officially.
Also, my toying around with spirituality produced some very interesting results over the years...ignoring what other self proclaimed spiritualist and other religious defined it as, it simply demonstrated that I don't, and potentially can't know all that there is to this strange thing called existance...

Not going to go into any detail, just would suggest to keep the mind open and alert..there appears to be more to this life than you, or I, suspect...and since I am not trying to start a belief, I won't define what anything is in that area..just..things not expected is a good enough explanation given the subject

Not to say I abandon finding truth where it may lay..just that, I realize truth may never be fully understood with our tiny brains and limited perceptions...still, the joy is the journey.

posted on Oct, 6 2012 @ 10:13 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

That is one of the most impressive pieces of writing I have seen in some time! It is filled with eloquence, imagery and wisdom. This belongs in a book!

posted on Oct, 6 2012 @ 11:07 PM
Thank you for the kind words and for sharing your own experiences with skepticism. I am honoured you made it through my wall of text.

edit on 6-10-2012 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 05:05 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

In this moment you are a blank slate, an empty piece of paper. The beginning is now and it starts with what you write on that blank slate. In the beginning was the word - you write the story from here and what you write can be blown away, shook off and this moment will be the end of the story.
All stories are written by you now, read as you go and burn each word that is written, do not store your pages in a heavy book that you will have to carry. Just be a blank sheet that can be shook clean.

While you were hanging yourself on someone else's words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun.

Pink Floyds 'Come back to life'
edit on 7-10-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 07:47 AM
A truly outstanding Opening Post. Thanks for taking the time to compile this fantastic piece of writing.

Too often in life we are influenced by the perceptions of others at the expense of our own interpretations.

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