Hello Grimericans! Here we are only two months into 2017 and I’m getting out a blog post! Whoo-Hoo! Looks like I might have just learned something after all my whole time traveling fiasco. But we’ll see how the rest of the year goes before claiming that victory. Anyways, in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t misspell the title. This post is about suspending one’s belief. Or more accurately, one’s overwhelming willingness to accept claims without doing the due diligence to verify said claims. Now this can be a complicated position to take although, it really shouldn’t be. If you partake in the “Fortean Community”, whether it be on the topic of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, relict hominins or ghosties and Ghoulies, you might find it hard at times to cast shadows of doubt on your fellow Forteans’ theories, stories and beliefs for fear of being called the “S” word. I would like to say that my inbox is inundated with accusations from my countless readers that even I am too skeptic to be writing a blog called “Fortean Mindset”. Truth be told, I have never once received an email from a reader.
That might actually be a blessing in disguise. Disregarding the lack of email accusations, I do from time to time get to interact with self-proclaimed skeptics and believers alike. More often, when touching on the subject of foteana, it is usually with someone who is just curious. In any case, the outcome is usually me being told by the other party that I’m more skeptic than what they would have thought. Personally, I take this as a compliment. I like being able to keep one foot on the ground while exploring the possibilities, and if in that exploration I find something that doesn’t make sense or makes perfect sense or moreover, makes me more curious, then at least I have that foot, or in some cases, a couple of toes, on the ground. When told that I am more skeptic or too skeptic, I always iterate that skepticism is a good thing. Hell; EVERYONE is a skeptic! Whether you question the stories of people seeing discs in the skies or Ape Men in the forests, or whether you question the explanations given to phenomenon; you’re still a skeptic. Much like the word “conspiracist” has been weaponized in mainstream culture to cast doubt on someone’s rational, the word “skeptic” has been weaponized in the Fortean community to cast doubt on someone’s willingness to be open minded. The two are collectively exhaustive and not mutually exclusive.
“Check out the big brain on Fortean Mind…”
Why the word “skeptic” has become weaponized, I think, is quite simple. People don’t like having their beliefs attacked. To borrow from Dogma, one of my favorite 90’s movies of all time.
I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. People die for it, people kill for it.
And people shun other people for it. Make others outcasts for it. Beliefs are a powerful thing. And in the framework of the Fortean community, its members are used to ridicule for their ideas, their beliefs. Ridicule can hurt and hurt people can lash out. This is why being skeptical can be a complex position to take. I am by no means claiming that all those who are “believers” hate or shun a skeptical voice. There are a lot of people whose views and ideas can be considered fringe who welcome a questioning eye. There are many who feel that getting down to the crux of whatever matter they are examining is the most important thing to achieve. But by the same token, there are many who are dug deep in their beliefs, whether it be Fortean phenomena or scientific Dogma.
“Oh… He said it. Clever…”
So where does that leave us? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe one day, all of these questions will be answered and there will be no need for name calling, shunning and all together unpleasantness. Barring that, it’s up to all of us, self-proclaimed skeptics, believers and the curious alike to just be nice to each other and hear one another out. Someone having a different opinion than you isn’t the end of the world. I for one want to question EVERYTHING. That means the ufoligist’s theories about what people see in the skies as well as the official version of it just being swamp gas reflecting off of Venus. It might seem corny, by I want to be a truth seeker. You can’t seek something you think you’ve already found it. So yes, I might not quite believe that you can conjure ice spikes by thinking about it (yes, I’ve tried, many times, and to no avail) but that doesn’t mean I’m closed off to the idea that there might be something to it. Yes, I question the possibility of an interdimensional Sasquatch but that doesn’t mean I can discount how many loose ends that ties up. So if I meet you or happen to correspond with you and I seem a little too skeptical for your liking, please just know that I’m not trying to be cynical or snarky, I just have a need to question everything. Whether that’s questioning the reality of consciousness or the supposed haunted house at the edge of town. For me, being open-minded means being skeptical. I honestly would love to hear any thoughts of anyone who gave the time to read this has to say. Leave a comment below and let others know what you think. Spark a conversation. Who knows where it will lead. Well that’s it for me Grimericans, stay classy!