To be a skeptic [skeptomai in Greek] means to look at, examine, consider. Thus to be a skeptic is a sign of wisdom. To think deeply about things, to not get suckered seems to be positively beneficial in this life we live.
Where I learned skepticism from
Essentially my mom got suckered all the time. It comes from AMWAY scams. My mom used to be part of Amway, and I saw my poor mom get suckered by the evil pyramid scheme which is Amway.
Also, my mom was too naive, and easily taken advantage of. Certainly from my dad. Thus it gave me a reason and impetus to be skeptical of almost everything.
How do we get easily suckered?
Why does skepticism get such a bad name?
Well in Ancient Greek times, the Skeptics (school of philosophers) were seen as play-actors. They would admit the limits of their knowledge and admit:
It is impossible for us to know anything 100% certain.
Which definitely pissed off people who wanted hard answers. Thus the Skeptic philosophers were seen as disreputable people, especially in modern history in which having ‘faith’ (Christian morality) is seen as good.
Thus to be a skeptic means:
To not have faith is evil.
Look at it with your own two eyes.
For example, I heard all this stuff about protests happening around town. I couldn’t trust the news until I saw it with my own two eyes.
I went to the protest real quick, and it was very good and peaceful. I didn’t personally agree with all the signs that people were holding up, but I am glad that I saw it with my own two eyes.
All the news is biased (even the ‘un-biased’ ones).
This is the thing:
No matter what … all news agencies will be biased.
Why? Simple; follow the money.
Never trust monetized news (or perhaps why Google might be indirectly causing mis-information)
How does the news monetize? Simple: advertisements. The basic gist is:
The more eye balls see an advertisement on a website, the more money a website will make. Or the more advertisements people click on a website, the more money the website will make.
What is in the best interest of the news agency?
The news ain’t evil and isn’t out there to spread misinformation.
No — the news just wants to earn money (the purpose of a business). When it comes to ‘facts’, we just cannot trust the news. Because all reporters, editors, journalists, and whoever funds the news is biased in some certain way.
For example, let us consider:
Whose opinion would I put more weight in when it comes to the ‘Black Lives Matters’ movement — the random opinion of a Caucasian male or an African-American male?
Of course I would put more weight in the opinion of an African-American male. Why? He has experienced real experiences, whereas the Caucasian might have only witnessed it from afar.
This is also why as a male, I cannot speak on female or feminist matters. I have never experienced life as a female, thus my opinion carries no weight.
Don’t be fooled by ethical or moralistic arguments
There are no moral facts, or ethical facts. No right and wrong when it comes to morals and ethics. It is all subjective.
Also, statistics doesn’t create “truth”. Statistics can only ever DISPROVE a certain notion or an idea (Karl Popper’s “Falsification” notion). Even if you got a trillion data points, you cannot positively “prove” anything. It just takes one black swan to cancel out the sightings of a trillion white swans.
Why I am also skeptical towards myself
My personal wisdom:
I know my personal biases, and I never claim no universal truth on anything.
For example, I know my history. I know how I am biased growing up in the Bay Area in the 90’s, of being a Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout), being raised Korean-American (a mix of confucian values and American individualistic values), getting bullied as a kid, being teased for being a fat kid when I was in the 4-6th grade, my self-racism on myself for being Asian (small dick syndrome) and other things. Also I know my heavy left-liberal leaning (participating in Oakland activism as a teenager, going to UCLA, and studying Sociology… an extremely liberal major, with the majority of my fellow friends and classmates being women).
Back to skepticism
To thrive in today’s brave new world … we must be skeptics. ‘skep-‘ as meaning “to see, to look, to observe”. Thus perhaps we photographers are the ultimate skeptics:
Don’t trust nothing until you have seen it in the flesh (embodied reality) with your own two eyes.
Also, less trust in commentators and talking heads on TV. Less faith in random bloggers and YouTubers and Podcasters (including ERIC KIM).
What is our end-game anyways?
My personal end-game:
To never stop getting stronger.
Physically stronger, mentally stronger, and more artistically stronger.
Also, to continue to cultivate my mind and thinking, and to encourage others to also think for themselves.
“Everything is permitted, everything is false”
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