Psychological Makeup (Part 2)

Just like believing too many conspiracy theories can be detrimental to your health, being too skeptical can be as well.

A study in Canada showed people who scored high on skepticism tests had lower quality of life scores.  Lived more rigid lives and reported that they did not do well with change, at all.

This means it is probably good to be open to the possibility that we don’t know everything or understand everything.  Being unwilling to even entertain the idea that there is more out there than we understand, might make us less likely to be happy.

However, people who are highly skeptical show a need for control in their lives, suffer from low self worth (this is not the same as self esteem), and are less likely to be social.

Now, all of us exhibit traits from both sides from time to time.  I rarely outright dismiss a conspiracy theory or paranormal story.  Not because I feel the need to belong but because I feel the need to exercise my brain.

It reminds me of the Monty Python skit where a man pays to have an argument and has to point out to the person he is arguing with that argument isn’t just the automatic nay saying of whatever he says.  It requires logical thought and evidence.  And the arguer counters by saying if they are to have an argument, he has to take up a position that is contrary to the other person’s.

The irony of the skit was that both John Cleese’s character (who paid to have an argument) and Eric Idle’s character (the man he is supposed to be arguing with) are both correct, it is the execution of the argument that is at fault and both men are responsible for it.  You cannot pay to have an argument, because the other person has to at least understand what they are arguing about and Eric Idle’s character seems rather clueless about John Cleese’s character’s desired argument topic.

This is where the skeptic and believer will always disagree.  The skeptic will rarely change their position, even when given evidence, because no evidence will ever truly satisfy a skeptic, and no believer will ever change their minds based on the lack of evidence or the lack of strength of evidence, because they will always find a reason for the lack of evidence or the weakness of evidence: of course the evidence in weak for a second shooter in the JFK assassination, it was perpetrated by the CIA who aren’t known for leaving tons of evidence.  The skeptic will point out Oswald was caught, confessed, was a communist sympathizer, and capable of committing the crime.

Much like Cleese and Idle’s argument, there is merit to both of these theories.  The CIA has participated in assassinations for a long time and could probably do so without leaving much evidence, even in the US, and Oswald did confess, and he was a Soviet sympathizer, who had actually traveled to the Soviet Union on multiple occasions.

As a matter of fact, Oswald was being watched because he was a suspected Soviet spy he traveled back and forth so often.  However, Oswald was Russian, and had dual citizenship, and had family in the Soviet Union, which easily explains his travel back and forth and for a man being watched because he was a suspected spy, how did he manage to pull off the assassination of a president under the watchful eyes of the American government?  Yep, this can go on and on for hours with both sides having some critical pieces of information that support their positions and it is one of the reasons the JFK assassination is a favorite among skeptics and conspiracy theorists alike.

The point being that each of us should have a bit of the skeptic and a bit of the conspiracy theorist in us, because holding a balance of both of these things, actually does exercise the brain and force us to think outside the box, while giving us a sense of community, and keeps us happy.

Just something to keep in mind.


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