Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Repair and Maintenance of Skepticism
Not for the easily offend-able or faint of heart. Refrigerate or store in a cool, dry place. Keep out of reach of children. Shake well before reading. Should be read with plenty of water. Read this post 1/2 hour before meals. It is important that you read this post exactly as directed. Do not skip numbers or discontinue reading unless directed by Dr. Laughing. You should avoid prolonged or excessive exposure to skepticism after reading this post. This post may upset your stomach. Read it with crackers, bread or a small meal. Do not drink alcoholic beverages when reading this post, especially if you are driving and reading it on your mobile phone. Do not drink milk or eat dairy products while reading this post as they are just plain gross. This post should not be read orally. Trying to read all 10 (or so) skeptic repairs at once may result in drowsiness or dizziness. If this happens, look at the pictures or go lie down. Do not check your Facebook status while lying down. When reading this post, the effectiveness of assholism is decreased. Use additional and/or alternative methods of asinine control. This post may impair your ability to drive, operate machinery, or even think clearly. Use care until you become familiar with the effects of skepticism. Read all the information in this post. If you do not understand it, too bad. Have a nice day!
"Skepticism is the healthiest way to avoid getting taken advantage of," claimed Dr. Stolidus, the bête noire of Bardus University. "When people do not learn to be cynical about human motives and skeptical about human goodness the way normal people do, it's time to pack up and head for the hills."
Top 10 Ways To Repair Your Skeptic System
1. LISTEN closely or read carefully information you are offered that seems to go against your common sense. Common sense can be defined as good sense (of humor), sensibleness (recognition of empathy), good judgment (ability to successfully justify actions), levelheadedness (ability to BS others into agreeing with oneself), prudence (selfishness), discernment (personal bias), astuteness (ability to recognize a "sucker"), shrewdness (especially in business), wisdom (i.e., opportunist), insight (con artistry skills), practicality (ability to conform to systems), capability (ability to profit from said systems), resourcefulness (ability to make a quick buck in a down market), enterprise (ability to hack into someone else's computer database), savvy (ability to hack from a computer housed in a government facility), smarts (ability to get hired at said government facility), street smarts (remembering to switch the security camera tapes at said government facility).
2. Ask pointed questions, and expect specific answers. If someone tells you they heard or read something in the media or in a book, ask when, where, and in what context. Pin them down and don't let up until they cry or reveal that they were bs'ing you. At this point, lecture them on the philosophical, social, and behavioral implications inherent in their reaction and counsel them on redefining their response systems. Be sure to do this in public. Naturally, people will take offense to the feeling of awkwardness and reject your advice. Leaving you in a favorable position to which you can return by evoking the "I told you so" card.
3. Check other reliable sources of information. Hacking computers is quite easy from any Wifi hotspot or McDonald's parking lot. Here, you can harness the Internet via another's IP address, search for people, weapons, or any other sort of questionable material, and look for authentic links like university websites or other institutions to cover your searching trail.
4. Find the bottom line of what you are being told. Where's the money? Who profits? Ask yourself these questions, successfully track down their architects, and you can move onto number 5.
5. Listen to the news and read periodical publications. This is your greatest source of pop culture. The myth of America is that we can all be successful if we are willing to work hard enough. We can all emerge from poverty and obscurity and with a bit of luck, reach a stage in which we, like Benjamin Franklin dine with kings. "Home of the free, land of the brave," is a slogan that represents the American psyche, the voracity, the hunger for experience, and lust for success and the symbols of success so that others will know one is successful. The news is testimonial to the fact that people who are born in ordinary circumstances can "make it" by "faking it" until they are there. The news is the appealing Disneyean worldview created to accommodate the necessities of mass production. In the news, we learn what titillates the lowest common denominator, and if successfully analyzed, can be used as a sort of "magic kingdom" whereby we can rule others without their being aware of it, "Walk this way, folks. Come see what's behind the curtain."
6. Decide if the issue is worth generating skepticism. The art of skepticism requires effort, expended energy in thinking, analyzing, judging, and, ultimately, rejecting. Therefore, if it's not worth arguing over (if there's no tangible benefit to you), let it go.
7. Cultivate a skeptical mindset. Even in so-called 'science', there have been innumerable instances of accepted facts being exposed over time as ridiculous. Take this concept and run with it. If you're American, you're compulsive, conservative, and reactionary - get over yourself and use this behavioral slight to your advantage in order to become entrepreneurial, mechanistic, and perhaps playful in your behavior. Here, you will have an easier time holding onto the "Skeptical Mindset" in the pursuit of pseudo individualism and the illusion of freedom.
8. Use the reason test as a habit. This goes back to two words your mother taught you: "Pay attention." If someone tells you something, and it slips your conscious mind and harbors itself deep within your subconscious, you are twice as likely to accept it as a fact if you hear it mentioned again somewhere else. Whenever you accept any notion as a fact, trace its impetus. Find where the idea was planted, by who or whom, and in which context. If the concern is economy, accept it in a "Red Flag" thought bubble, act according to popular behavior, and revisit as time permits.
9. Test statements for yourself when it is practical. Nothing beats talking to yourself aloud using unsuspecting audience participation. It's all about experimentation. If someone tells you that you save gas by turning off the car radio and unrolling the windows, trying it when you're coasting into a gas station on fumes. Some of the gadgets on the home shopping network really do work. Irregardless of whether they cost thirty cents to manufacture in Taiwan and are selling for $29.99 plus shipping and handling, ask yourself, is it worth it? Do you like the gadget? If yes, your experiment bears fruit. If you say, "This was a waste of time and money," place an ad for the item on eBay using the same vernacular used that caught your attention in the first place and dump it on some other sucker.
10. Never imagine yours or anyone's understanding to be wholly objective. Remember, everyone's an idiot on something or another. No one has "seen it all" or can "know it all" so assume that somewhere they have cut corners and missed an important step along their process of thinking. Remember, the creativity that skepticism affords us: "Skepticism is the product of creative activity in a world we might call the virtual dimension of bullshit, which endows it with its reality. This virtual dimension is not the bullshit itself, nor is it in the imagination of the person being bullshitted, it is the coming together of bullshit and imagination that makes it so," Dr. Stolidus.
11. Remember the results of these suggestions. The object of the requested topic, the repair and maintenance of skepticism, is to endow readers with a truly infallible source of skepticism that you can have as your own. Your ability to be skeptical, in large part, depends on your own interpretation of skepticism, and should be recognized for what it is: subjective, at best - and, therefore, subject to error. You should consider your own experiences with skepticism, only if you are not under the tutelage of a Master Skeptic. Even the statements of a Master Skeptic should not be taken as writ, while those of a disreputable source, such as a humorist, should not be dismissed automatically.
12. If you think this article is BS, congratulations! You have repaired your skeptic bone. Please click on the DONATE button herein or on the top left-hand side of this site and remit payment of $299.99. But quick, if you act fast, you can save over $250 and pay only $29.99 by clicking now!
13. Every skeptic needs 13 reasons against which 10 always fail. If you recognized that there were not 10, but rather 13, ways to repair and maintain your skeptic system you may or may not have read and understood Aristotle's 13 fallacies. If you haven't read Aristotle, never mind; if you have read Aristotle, the risk of adding in yet another example might have made you chuckle, if only because your skeptical mindset would have recognized the variance between the so-called 10 ways and the 12 or 13, depending on how you look at it, ways that were described herein.