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|Skepticism 101, The logical philsophic stand point
April 25, 2012, 2:56PM
Skepticism, long have I believed it should be taken in healthy doses. To look at all things from every imaginable angle. Is not that the road to understanding? Or rather the great intersection? In that light one must continually examine and seek to find the undeniable answers. But can such answers be obtained in regards to a philosophic stand point? Where so much is based upon our own beliefs and the way in which we perceive the world and the workings of it. To me it is the difference between truth and fact. Where in truth can be spoken honestly, if not correctly as it is known to the speaker, but fact is undeniable. And in that sense one cannot claim fact over how they see the world for there shall always be a different opinion. Allow this paper to demonstrate the ways in which perception is born and ultimately lays waste to any “unshakable” foundation to a philosophic truth.
Whether the state of humanity or just the human state. There is much to be said about the way it effects how the world is perceived. Imagine if you will a man in the prime of his life, youthful and in perfect health. How might he view the world around him? It is known that when you are youthful you are more full of energy, in an eager state of mind. This has a lot to do with the basic chemistry within the body. Hormones and endorphins are at an all time high, the fuel of life some may say. This energized and excited state has a great affect on how one sees the world. Where in a one may see a wall, a youthful soul may see only a barrier to climb. Optimistic is a common place term for such an attitude. To perceive encounters and barriers as a welcome challenge that confidence ensures they can over come. All this effected and brought about by the healthy and youthful state of their body. And what of the other side of the coin? An elderly person, or perhaps someone who is very ill. A body that feels heavy tends to weight on the mind. A person in this state may see the world in more of a gray scale. Bring up the metaphorical wall once more and a person who's body is frail and tired will tend to shy away from the challenge. Within such a mind set, a general acceptance of limitations comes about. How then does the world seem? Perhaps moving a bit slower and out of reach. These feelings are generally brought about by the drop in hormones or the aches and pains that come with age and illness. Constantly reminding one that their body is not what it once was. Within just these two examples we see a monumental difference in how just a state of health and age in which a person's body can bring forth a generally optimistic or detached sense of being. Thus, the a person's state, greatly affects how they see the world and though the same things may be looked upon, they will not be viewed in the same light.
Environment our world in which we live, it would be naive to believe that our surroundings do not influence the way in which we perceive things. To follow that train of thought it would seem obvious that a different environment will generate a different outlook. A few simple examples come to mind. If one examines the difference between rural and urban areas there stands a stark contrast, but how might these contrasts change how we view the world? Let us examine the urban areas first. Quite often refereed to “melting pots” of cultures based upon the variety of cultures and the large population. Growing up exposed to such conditions makes variety and difference common place. One could then argue that growing in one of these “melting pots” will lead you to having a more open mind simply because you are exposed to so much varying attributes of society on a daily basis. The counter part (being the rural area) tends to have a much slower pace of life. Not much changes over decades in these areas. With such a constant life and within a small community there tends to bring about a unified idea of the “norm” where most of the people living within the area, know each other and have similar stand points and ideas. Thus one could inference that growing up in this environment would bring about a mind of customs and traditions. Abrupt change of vast differences would then be rejected or even feared. Effectively closing off ones mind to many new ideas to maintain that state of normalcy. However, the smaller population also brings about another trait, a stronger sense of community. Often rural areas are described as a place “where everybody knows everybody”. How does this effect the mind set? Well when the community is close nit the people tend to think as a whole. Viewing what would be best for everyone. This perception goes hand in hand with our previous observation and in fact fuel each other. Back to our urban area, vastly populated and full of variety. This places breeds independent minds (not to say there is no community) but on such a grand scale the knitting is not as tight. And so the free thinker tends to come from these areas where so many ideals and mini communities come together one is forced to examine things in a different light. And so it is easy to believe that where our minds develop will have a grand impact on the way in which it perceives things.
Sense, arguably one of the most important influences of perception. As the senses are our guides to the world around us, of course how they react to things will affect how we ultimately judge them. Perhaps the most basic example would be to look at the varied tastes in food. And how almost every person adds their own little bit of seasoning to their food. A simple but wonderful example of how the sense of taste even on the same type of food can be varied greatly from person to person. Now to, or perhaps to not, look at the sense of sight. Color seems infinite and has long been inspirational and mood changing. All brought about by our ability to see and intemperate colors. Interestingly enough however, color is left to just that interpretation. Whether it be an argument of the proper label for a “shade” of a certain color (i.e. its dark blue not royal blue) or someone who was born with their eyes unable to see the hue all together (color blindness). But even deeper, how might the lack of sight change how we perceive the world? It is said that when one sense ceases to work properly the others improve to help compensate. But lets focus on the lack there of. What might something simple like the color blue be to that person? Curious to think how differently they may see things within their mind when hearing the base word of a color such as “blue”. Truly it is intriguing how something so seemingly simple as the color blue can be so vastly different based on each person.
What is there to be said about perception based on circumstance? How might they change as do the circumstances.? It is undeniable that what happens to us throughout our lives changes how we see the world. To touch back on the a persons state, the change of said state would then change ones perceptions. Thus circumstance changes perception. Take a man on top of the world wealthy with an easy going life. His attitude towards the world one could imagine to be a positive thing. When looking on the world he would see freedom as all is available to him nothing out of reach. Now strip away the variable that is his wealth. How might this same my see the world now? With such a sharp fall from grace, he may become bitter or jaded. Remembering what he had and comparing that to what little he does now could cause a spiteful distaste for the world about him. The same man, but circumstance changes his life and that dramatic change does so change how the world is interpreted.
Perception is beautiful, arguably the most powerful influence, and yet it is ever so fickle. As has been shown, the simplest of changes whether it be the human state, environment, the senses, or just circumstance can shake the foundations on which our ideals are built. And so with that one can only determine to be unsure. To keep an open mind to all possibility for while it may be true for you (and it may not always be) does not mean it is a fact. That is why a skeptical stand point, is in fact the logical stand point and shall lead to a greater understanding of the world and the ways in which it works. Skepticism in a sense, is the fuel for philosophy.
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