My life has been riddled with skepticism. I have basically embraced a Cartesian approach, where I subjected mostly everything to intense doubt and skeptical analysis. This has had its benefits, especially in the age of polarizing political opinions as well as fake news, faker news, and fakest news. Being an overly gullible child and teenager prompted me to later swing to the other direction, where nothing is true, everyone is probably lying, there is always a hidden agenda, and so on. Even when presented with compelling evidence from multiple sources would prompt my inner Doubting Thomas to rear his head.
A strange irony about extreme skepticism is that it can actually have a reverse effect in making a person more susceptible to defaulting to a popular opinion or "official narrative." It's almost as though the consensus reality has such a momentum that it carries people along for the ride, unless they are able to become more conscious of themselves and unplug from that as well.
An example of how skepticism can be potentially lethal is in the field of medicine and healthcare. I suffered from extreme pain and digestive problems and went to the hospital to find out what was wrong. Many X-rays and nebulous prognoses later, and it was suggested that I just eat some psyllium fiber, take a laxative, and call it a day.
I had been extremely skeptical about different forms of dietary intolerance for a long time, relating to gluten, dairy, genetically modified food, and pesticides. I felt as though anyone complaining about these things had a sort of psychosomatic condition, almost like a hypochondriac that was always worrying about being sick.
Many months of suffering later, I came across a naturopathic doctor that told me about her battle with anxiety and chronic pain, and how she changed her diet and lifestyle to treat the problems she was dealing with. I started doing some research, and came across many cases that corroborated her testimony. Still, I defaulted to my conditioning: "I've been eating wheat all my life. Drink milk love life... They wouldn't make GMO food if it were bad for us...."
I continued to eat and live as I habitually learned, and the pain steadily increased to the point where I was almost non-functional. I got to the point of feeling as though death were a better alternative than the excruciating pain I continued to experience. It was only then that my wall of skepticism began to crack, and I became open to changing my choices.
I started cutting out my problem foods, and immediately began to start feeling better. The amazing thing was, that even direct experience was not initially enough to do away with my lethal skepticism. After finding some initial relief, I found myself thinking, "I can probably handle a nice Philly cheese steak, everyone else is fine with it..."
Half a day confined to the bathroom later, I vowed to never let my old skeptical ways override my own experiential knowledge again. Fast forward 5 years and I have gotten better and better about listening to my intuition in this arena as well as every other aspect of life.
Similar to my dietary overhaul, I faced my own inner skeptic in regards to healing from mental health issues as well. Through trial and (mostly) error I realized the limitations of our current system of medicating problems and dealing only with the surface-levels of the underlying issues.
This lead me to the fringes of things like reiki, other energy healing modalities, hypnotherapy, homeopathy, and so on. They offered a deeper, more holistic look at mental health as it relates to physical health and every other aspect of a human being, including the overlooked spiritual nature I was craving to connect with.
In spite of all this, skepticism from within and without was my dogged companion all the way through this journey as well. A lack of "hard scientific evidence" was ever at odds with my heart-felt intuition that prompted me to keep going.
Many friends and acquaintances I have known have not been as fortunate as myself. They were presented with spiritual or alternative modalities for their problems but did not take them into consideration. Many of these people ended up dying by their own hands, by overdoses, and long-term medical complications related to the (ineffective) treatment of their suffering.
This is an anecdote offering a simple plea to look at all the options we have as a human society. When we are in need of answers, let us explore new possibilities with childlike innocence rather than defaulting to lethal skepticism. Feel free to contact me for any help in this area; I am happy to offer complimentary initial consultations as a counselor.