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Do you ever feel like this is all for naught?

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BoogieMonster
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« on: November 12, 2010, 11:42:58 AM »

I have days, today is one of them, where I feel there is absolutely no hope for the world. At all.

This follows years and years of trying to get people to THINK, close people whom I've known all this time....

And still they send me the most credulous shit through email, still cling to their beliefs, and don't seem to have even a single ounce of "care" with regards to the truth. Quite frankly, they just couldn't give a shit if anything they "know" is true. And, in fact, it seems that discovering the truth is somehow a mental activity they avoid at all costs, even if it means actively plugging their ears and screaming loudly. My conclusion is now: "The world actually doesn't want to know, and doesn't care".

I'm not talking about (just) religion, I'm talking about everything, from the latest news story to the claims of advertisements to urban myths they perpetuate with glee. I... I want to give up sometimes.

Am I the only person who feels like (to borrow from B. Hicks) "Randy-pan the Goatboy" when surrounded by normal, everyday people? They actually manage to make me think sometimes that I'm somehow a broken person for caring about anything. That wanting to "read up" on batshit insane claims in order to discover the truth is actually a FLAW, not a redeeming quality. That listening to something credulous and intuitively thinking "hmm that sounds wrong" is some kind of super-power that the rest of the world does not posses. Most of the time I don't believe that the world is hopeless, But when I get the cold treatment from people around me for being "just too weird" (translated as: "He thinks"), I feel awfully alone in the world and absolutely helpless to change it for the better.

Is this a general skeptic thing? Do we relentlessly beat at a heavy pane of glass with bloodied fists while the world stands, backs turned to us, oblivious? The entire exercise futile?

Today. I feel so.
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Faerie
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 12:52:57 PM »

Hey BM, I think we all feel like this at times.  I feel like it just about all the time when I interact with others. Sometimes, especially with family, there is absolutely nothing to speak about with people simply because I reject 99% of their chosen topics of conversation - be it religion, the latest woo, political standpoints (traditional Afrikaners), and its become so that I'm even loath to chat about everyday stuff (such as the new plants in the garden or the state of one's lawn).

At work its the same, and I'm inundated with "god is good" emails, which I have to grin and bear as its well-intentioned and I'm not in a position to propagate my viewpoints TOO vocally.

I think this is why our home is such a haven for all of us, my S/O and I "are clinging to each other with such intensity simply because there are so few out there that we can actually identify with.

We've been accused of snobbery, because of our retreat from just about all social environments - that we think ourselves better than others, even though its not that, its just too tedious to stand up for your own opinions constantly and repetitevely with the same people over and over and over again. And as you say, you start doubting your own intelligence and convictions, but honestly, do you really want to join the sheep and go milling about with a dog biting your heels when you just step out of line? I choose the seclusion rather than the mass group-think that is out there, only I have the power to think MY thinks, and my opinions and issues belong to me, I dont toe another's line, and I dont have to believe everybody else's theories simply because I have no common sense to figure shit out for myself, or the lack of intelligence to go google something and get a variety of opinions and then shape my own from the given information.

There are few of us, this is true, and I believe most of us suffer from loneliness at some point or another, I floated around single for 8 years simply because I have'nt met a man that could compliment my mindset, and the last three years with my s/o has been the happiest in my life and he echos that sentiment. It was a meeting of minds (and not in the intellectual sense, the man has far more brains than what I can ever aspire to).

This forum helps me on those days, I cant really contribute much aside from the fun and general sections, but I can feel comfortable here with people that share my outlook in life and that can advise and guide in a rational and logical manner - which is not something readily available in real life.

So, if nothing else, dont feel alone, I feel the same quite often, but the alternative isnt all that inviting anyway.

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EvolvedMind34
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2010, 14:07:48 PM »

Yes, perhaps at times we all do. We're so greatly outnunmbered and they are so heavily indoctrinated and brainwashed - what are the chances that we could actually open their eyes?

I think we should stop feeling obligated to change the world overnight. People's eyes are opening at a wonderful rate. Religion is imploding upon itself. People are seeing through it. Just like we do.

I almost imagine it to be an evolutionary thing - we're the evolved version of mankind.
As long as we keep finding like-minded individuals to interact with and prevent us from feeling isolated, and to encourage and assist us when we're fighting for our rights, then I'm almost certain we will lead fulfilling lives.
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Brian
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2010, 14:24:56 PM »

agreed...it's quite intimidating but to add to it: skepticism doesn't come with 'intelligence' wrapped up in the same package, for me anyway. It's a mindset which questions things without always having a clever answer. People don't like wiseguys and when you question some things they think you're trying to be 'clever' or 'better than us' while in fact you just want to get to the real truth/nub of the issue. I've found they then avoid raising issues in your presence, lest you start probing...shit. That's when cynicism starts to set in, sarcasm replaces true wit and enquiry and you lose the plot. All I ask is for people to allow me to think and for them to ask questions that make me think and then to allow me the time/space to debate/find answers.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2010, 14:33:50 PM »

Quote from: Brian
People don't like wiseguys and when you question some things they think you're trying to be 'clever' or 'better than us' while in fact you just want to get to the real truth/nub of the issue.

Aye, I've had a run in with my boss because something was done and I walked in, quite curious as to the rationale that was going on, and asked some questions. He got defensive and went off on me before I had to carefully explain I wasn't being CRITICAL I was merely being CURIOUS. Lots of people can't seem to tell the difference.

Quote from: EvolvedMind34
Religion is imploding upon itself.

Yeah but people dump religion and run after Deepak Chopra, or start mystically musing over "universal energy" and "frequencies" and shit. It's like these woo doctors go: "Everything you know is wrong, but do I have a new dogma for you!"

Quote from: Faerie
So, if nothing else, dont feel alone, I feel the same quite often, but the alternative isnt all that inviting anyway.

Thanks. I have to admit, I do sometimes wish I could be so blissfully ignorant.
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Lilli
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2010, 15:38:13 PM »

The biggest problem, I think, and this is what makes me feel all worn down and despondent very often, is the number of people who are simply not capable of having a discussion. I mean, I'm not religious, but if you are - I'm not going to try and convert you (why would I? every person can believe what they want to in my opinion) But it makes for interesting conversation (potentially) if religious people are willing to talk about why they believe what they do, and listen to me when I tell them why I don't believe what I do. Don't?  Undecided
Anyway, let me illustrate - I was involved in an environmental management audit a while back, and the company had category 1 invader trees all over their property. Now, according to SA environmental legislation, this particular species has to be removed at the cost of the land owner. I quoted the legislation to the client and said: "sir, you are in contravention of this law" to which he replied: "no, I'm not". How the hell is that an answer? I know the law that says the trees may not be there, I see the trees. Seems like a logical assumption would be that I am right and he is in fact in non-compliance with the law, but he didn't see it that way.
Religious nuts are the same - I say I don't think god exists because I have no reason to believe that he/she/it does; They say: "of course he does" and then the discussion ends. Because how am I supposed to respond to that?
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Brian
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2010, 16:07:51 PM »

Quote
I know the law that says the trees may not be there, I see the trees. Seems like a logical assumption would be that I am right and he is in fact in non-compliance with the law, but he didn't see it that way.
Religious nuts are the same - I say I don't think god exists because I have no reason to believe that he/she/it does; They say: "of course he does" and then the discussion ends. Because how am I supposed to respond to that?
ask them to prove it!
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2010, 18:50:43 PM »

Yes, most of the time actually, but you guys provide me with some hope at times.
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Tweefo
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2010, 19:52:22 PM »

You are a depressing lot. Cheer up! 
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2010, 20:49:03 PM »

We had a great discussion about why conspiracy theories are so popular at our last SITP in Port Elizabeth, which more or less ties in with the topic of this thread. We came to the conclusion that deep down people are very much the same, and probably a lot more skeptical than they give themselves credit for. The problem is, that this questioning mindset is employed only when it is immediately useful. Consider, for example, the credulous Sunday churchgoer who sets out to buy a used vehicle the very next day. Will the salesman's patter be embraced as easily as the dominee's pearls of wisdom only one day before? Will it hell! Why not? Because blindly believing the salesman has immediate financial consequences, while the dominee's rhetoric does not. But once the moment has passed, and skepticism is of no immediate use any longer, the mind returns to a state that the user associates with fuzzy feelings, entertaining notions and social acceptance.

Skepticism in people is a bit like the different drivetrains of Defenders and Jeeps. The Jeep pulls with two wheels until you switch it to 4x4 when the terrain requires. The Landy permanently runs on 4x4.

But then the calamari arrived and we kinda lost our train of thought.... Undecided

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ingwe
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2010, 21:57:44 PM »

I understand the sentiments expressed fully!! My SO is not openly religious but she does have many woo driven beliefs especially health related. Her twin sister who lives in the flat on our house is very into John Edwards and others who claim psychic powers including the spinster down the road who does readings (tea leaves, tarot and some fancy machine that only she understands).
I am challenged on a regular basis on my deviant religion (atheism). My reading habits appear to be as a red cape to a bull. At the moment I am reading books by Sam Harris, The moral Landscape, Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir and The Portable Atheist all on my E_Reader. The fact that I am jumping from one book to the other  and that these and the other books in the memory are mostly of an atheist nature brings out the “best” in a menopausal hellion or enigma. I do not discuss or mention my reading but still it and my membership of various sceptic sites seems to be a problem while any mention of woo in any form is my being clever or looking down on others.
With the sisters I tend to have stereo problems with strong chirping from both sides!! But it does get lonely!!
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Wandapec
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2010, 03:27:02 AM »

ask them to prove it!
I so agree! About a year and a half ago I had a discussion with my mom about this. I flat out said that I was completely atheist and that there was no such thing as a god etc. She seemed a little shocked at the time, probably not from the fact that I was one - we weren't a religious family in any way - but more from the fact that I just came out and said it. (I was reading Michael Shermers' book "Why people believe weird things?" at the time....so I was in the zone!  Cool

She was talking to my wife about the fact that we all have a guardian angel that looks after us. I said that that was nice and comforting but it's bullshit! She then said in disbelief, "Steven! How can you be saying that etc. etc." (You know how moms' get when they use your full name.... Smiley) I also had my wife ganging up with my mom telling me I was wrong. At that point I turned the conversation around and said to her "If I am wrong - being that I am your son and that you love me...blah, blah, blah, blah... - show me where I am wrong? Show me the evidence, proper evidence - not anecdotal stuff. Clearly she couldn't. The best she came up with was a line from a recent BEP's song - "I got a feeling...."
while any mention of woo in any form is my being clever or looking down on others.
I would use the same technique here ingwe. Just tell them that you really would like to understand, you're not trying to be clever or look down on anyone, if they could just explain, with evidence, exactly how it all works.... I suppose you will end up in a discussion about what is evidence etc. But at least, ultimately, the burden of proof will lie with the people that just make the shit up, which is where it should be!

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Faerie
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2010, 09:52:37 AM »

It would appear you're feeling a bit more yourself again Boogie?

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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2010, 10:02:31 AM »

Yeah, the world refuses to change to suit my needs though. Very irritating. But at times you make peace and get upbeat again. I have something brewing at the moment which seems to be having a significant impact on my life. Right now all will not be revealed, but I will get around to assessing the situation fully and reporting back.
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2010, 11:22:53 AM »

Is this a general skeptic thing? Do we relentlessly beat at a heavy pane of glass with bloodied fists while the world stands, backs turned to us, oblivious? The entire exercise futile?
Brilliantly written Boogs, and exactly how I feel today. I get sooooooooooo f*cking frustrated sometimes - but then I come to this site and feel a little less insane again. SIGH.
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