The hyper-partisan nature of our current political environment makes it difficult to know who to believe. As a result, it is best to be skeptical of anything you read or hear.
But not all skepticism is created equal.
It makes sense to doubt things people say that are self-serving. If it promotes a narrative that is favorable to themselves or a cause they support, they may have reason to be less than honest.
But that can be difficult to do, if what you hear supports your own belief. We are all more likely to accept information that reinforces our own worldview, even if skepticism is called for.
Our own experiences and beliefs naturally influence what we accept. This makes sense, because it is not feasible for each one of us to independently verify everything we encounter in a day. We need to accept some things just to be able to function.
With that said, there are many things people are skeptical about.
Did we really go to the moon? Some believe the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage.
Are ghosts real? While some people insist they have been visited by spirits of the deceased, others feel there isn’t enough proof.
Are the reported COVID-19 deaths accurate? And if they are incorrect, is it too high or too low?
The list can go on and on. Is there anything in particular that you have your doubts about? What are you skeptical of?
Related questions: How do you know who to trust? What do you get out of social media? Do you believe in the supernatural? When is doubt helpful?
If you know something for certain, there is no reason to be curious. If you show some curiosity, that means there must be something more to learn.
Do you think you are more certain, or more curious? What about the rest of society?
Share why if you wish.
There are a number of things in life that we might find uncomfortable. Discomfort can be found all around us, in both our personal and professional lives.
These can range from something relatively innocuous (say, an itchy sweater) to something more serious (like an inappropriate joke at work). For the most part, we experience discomfort for a reason. Typically, it is an indication that something is wrong.
Sometimes, however, a feeling of discomfort can be prelude to an improvement of some sort. Most people like things that are stable, and events or people that upset that stability, even in the process of making an improvement, can be disruptive. Change is uncomfortable.
Over the last decade or so, disruption has even become a buzzword in the business (and tech) world. AirBNB has disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Used in this way, the word “disruption” suggests a change introduced that may cause chaos to an established industry or service, but ultimately leads to a better product for the consumer.
What are some other examples of something that starts out being awkward or difficult, but ultimately lead to positive change or growth? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? How can we tell “positive” discomfort from the “negative”?
Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When is doubt helpful?
My proposed question is: What makes us comment on social media?
When we see a post on Facebook or other social media, why do we comment? Is it usually a visceral reaction? What makes us hold back from sharing our thoughts?
Many times I have spent 2-10 minutes crafting a response to something to ultimately decide not to post it. Sometimes it’s because I think my comment is controversial and I don’t want to offend anyone. I also don’t want to track the comment and follow up on others responses. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know the person well enough and suddenly feel it is not my place to contribute.
Often, on Intellectual Roundtable, I feel my desired responses are actually just more questions without conclusions so I don’t think I should share those. I also feel the void when I put something out into the world and no one responds. When participating in conversations in person, with strangers or friends, I am much more likely to voice my thoughts because I know I am likely to get a response.
Since I wrote this I’m going to submit it, but I oddly thought at the very end here I should delete the whole question. It feels really obvious and suddenly not like an intellectual question at all but just a way to feed the ego.
Perhaps this is why I don’t post many personal things on social media! 🙂
Related questions: What do you get out of social media? What social media platforms do you use? Why do we care what strangers think of us? How can we build confidence?
Our doubts can range from healthy skepticism to unhealthy paralysis. Everything from questioning someone’s intentions to doubting our faith (or lack of it) can be beneficial or crisis-inducing.
When is doubt helpful? Or, more specifically, how do you know when it’s good to listen to that inner voice of doubt?
Related questions: What do you do that you shouldn’t? When is it useful to fail? What is necessary to change your mind? How important is intuition?