Healthy Dose of Skepticism

One of the things that I have become is a skeptic. When I hear something, I look for opposing information to see if it is accurate. While some people value that, such as anti-vaxers and anti-maskers, I am not inclined to disagree with people who have provided science to back their claims. I believe science even as I know science can change. That is how science works. The more we learn, it oftentimes changes past science, and that’s okay. So no, I’m not a science denier. I’m a person who feels science benefits us and is allowed to change with more knowledge.

What I am skeptical of are things of “woo”. The manifestation podcasts I listen to often bring up “woo” ideas, to which I just roll my eyes. It also tends to make me less interested in hearing what the people have to say. I paid for a fairly pricey course on how to become a sensitive (even though I know about it and have performed that in the past. Again, much like ghosts, I tend to not believe other people’s experiences due to things like cold reading and exaggerated claims of abilities.) and literally stopped listening to the moment she talked about “The Rice Experiment” created by Dr. Masaru Emoto.

Now, for clarity, I do believe that words have value and meaning. The words we speak to ourselves about ourselves have impacts. The words we say to others about themselves have an impact. We are emotional beings, and our impressions and perspectives of life and ourselves and others are based a lot in words. We need to watch those words to make sure we are expressing our thoughts in ways that are kind, thoughtful, and meaningful. In a world where being an asshole seems to be something to take pride in, I can assure you, that has a direct impact on the world around you and that expands beyond you as it enables more people to behave similarly. There have been social experiments that have proven time and time again that when people feel being the worst of who we are is allowed, and we see others doing those things, we are more apt to participate. So we do need to be careful with our words and how we use them.

What I don’t like about The Rice Experiment is that it is so easy to debunk. If you reverse the directions, giving positive comments to the second bottle, as opposed to the first, it will get mold and decay and not stay clean and pure. There have been several experiments to debunk the experiment, all of them having been successful at it. While it’s a neat thing to do to learn about sterilization, the amount of time it takes for a food item to accumulate germs, bacteria and mold spores and how long it takes rice to spoil and/or ferment, it doesn’t prove anything about the power of words.

Much like the plant experiment, it has been discovered that plants prefer death metal over positive words, screaming, classical, and various other noises. and honestly, who doesn’t like a good death metal song?

There are also topics, such as minimalism, which has oddly come up on all three podcasts I was listening to even though they were all recorded at different timeframes. The concept of minimalism doesn’t bother me, but some of the messaging does. I don’t disagree with minimalism in general. There are lots of good things about it that are definitely worth doing. minimalization can be a very positive and beneficial undertaking, but there are also lots of things to think about in directing people to move in that direction.

Minimalization is a privileged position to be in. To make the claim that you have too much stuff is a form of opulence that may not be easily perceived. While hoarding is unhealthy, it is also a good practice to be aware that some people simply can’t afford the concept of minimalism. To have it work for you, you already have to be financially situated to be in a place where you can reduce what you have without impacting your life negatively. It also means you have the financial capacity to purchase better manufactured things that will hold up in the test of time and that you will have the finances to replace those things in the future. It is not a worry that you need three of one thing while you have the money, so that should one go bad, you don’t have to scramble to replace the item lost. There can be a sort of classism that can come with the concept that is used as a way to elevate one’s self while othering those who haven’t and we need to be mindful that minimalism is a path of those who have the ability to afford living with less. It sounds counterintuitive, but I always keep this in mind. How I live is how I live. If having less brings me peace, that is my life, but I also recognize that others aren’t in a place where they can, and that is okay too.

For the record, I am not a minimalist, however, as I get older, and have dealt with the deaths of other family members who were not, and dealing with the home of those who are hoarders, I find it very important that as I get older to reduce what I have and bring in only what I know I will use, even if it won’t be right away. I, instead, try to be mindful of what I’m bringing in as opposed to just bringing in out of the satisfaction of having, which is a process that I don’t think a lot of minimalist practitioners discuss. That it’s okay to have stuff, but be mindful of what you bring into your space, what it’s use will be, and to be willing to let it go and be rehomed when your time with it is done.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been binging Martha Stewart Living shows. I used to love this show. So much so that when I would work, I would try to make sure that I could spend my lunch break at home so I could watch it. Her show often reminded me of the Victoria Magazine that I used to buy every month. I mention this because at the time, people used to do the Ina Garten thing with her on her constant comment of “use the best you can find” on anything. Ingredients, materials, tools, whatever. Always use the best you can find. But in that same line, she also used to show you how to care for things so that you didn’t need to replace them. She would say that if you bought the best ingredients, you’d not have to use them as much because they were more flavorful. She would suggest materials like cheap costumer’s masks and decorate them with cotton balls, cardboard, paint, and other found objects in the house because they were one-time use items. She would show how to refurbish found items at tag sales and other second-hand shops so that you would have something like new. She was all about using what you have, but to make sure what you have was a good quality and that falls in line with what my idea of minimalism is.

So, as a skeptic and a socially aware person, there are parts of the manifest lifestyle that I find either hard to swallow or I find a bit cringy. I don’t know if that creates a problem with my own manifestation in some cases, like, since I just can’t let go and believe, I somehow am self sabotaging, but at the same time, I can’t sacrifice reality for fiction. I also can’t make excuses for ideologies that are potentially harmful to other people. Maybe that is what holds me back from doing a few of the things I want to do because I want to make sure that I’m adequately addressing the skepticism, or the challenges of others and how to not make them feel like they are their own failures. Hmmm…I will think on this.

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