Scott Adams’ post “My Skeptical Journey” is autobiography of sceptical doubt that only seems to intensify and expand as his life goes on. In a transparently public confessional, he provides an open viewing to practicing what he preaches…
- “A rational mind needs regular maintenance. One of the maintenance systems I employ is to remind myself of things I used to be sure about and later discovered to be untrue. I started a list organized by the approximate ages at which I realized my errors. A healthy rational mind needs regular doses of humility. (I might need more humility than most people.) Here is the approximate age at which I stopped believing in different stuff…”
He then goes on to catalogue 42 different things he has stopped believing in from the age of 8 to 50+. Many of his failure of his confessions of failed models and notions paralleled my own – childhood fairy tale myths, open-mindedness to paranormal phenomenon, vitamin supplements, the legitimacy of the stock market. Some of his shifts I myself haven’t come to yet mostly in the area of sport (eg. “Exercising is a big help for losing weight…Stretching helps athletic performance.”). I suspect that his experience in exercising is focused on certain types and approaches where possibly these general principles don’t specifically apply as strongly.
My own confessional of beliefs that I stopped believing in include…
- Teens – Politics is a noble career.
- 20s – Ignorance of the devout.
- 30s – Sales is a shallow discipline.
- 40s – Microsoft.
- 50s – Flying superstitions (more of a meditation as way to relax myself, but after the Skeptics in the Pub session on superstition, I decided to drop it).
One of my most fundamental disillusionments throughout my life has been about the nature of reality itself. Books such as “Godel, Escher, Bach” and “Thinking Fast and Slow” opened my eyes to how deceptive my own eyes can be.