In new age thought, skepticism has gotten some negative press. Some seem to thrive on denigrating scientists and skeptics as “closed minded” or at least not open to new (their) ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Scientists are generally quite inquisitive and open to new ideas – which drive innovation and investigation – science! It seems to me that skepticism, then, may be the essence of open-mindedness while faith and belief may represent the essence of closed-mindedness. Feel upside-down? Maybe it is – or maybe it’s worth investigating further – as a skeptic would do.
Consider how like science Third Degree of Illumination questions look…
- What do I question?
- How do I ask a relevant question?
- Why do I ask the question?
- To whom do I address my question?
We like to look at life through the lens of an open mind that accepts the beliefs of others as possibilities rather than as truths – keeping an eye toward alternatives.
Skeptic Alternatives Thinking
When I settle on one interpretation to the exclusion of others I close my mind – “Done investigating alternatives!” An open mind continues to ask:
- What else could this observation be/mean than what I/you/they believe it to be/mean?
- How else could I perceive/believe this?
- Why else could I perceive/believe this?
- Who else could be involved than who I think is involved?
The skeptic in us asks, “Could some as-yet unknown some-[thing/process/explanation/person] account for this experience, phenomenon, feeling, and/or thought?” Most of the time, the answer is, “Sure! I just don’t know right this instant what that might be – and I’m willing to entertain options and alternatives.”