Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

It seems a bit counter-intuitive, catering my BodyTalk website to skeptics, doesn’t it?

It doesn’t to me, but since I was asked, it must.

I like skeptics. I’m a skeptic myself. I considered skepticism to be the bulwark of critical thinking. And there is not nearly enough critical thinking going on.

In the woo-woo industry, we like to ignore skeptics. I like the argument; it’s sound. For some people, there is no way to change their minds. They are completely identified with skepticism, to the point where nothing can actually be proven and they often cannot even be asked to participate and gain first-hand experience. And people like that are, to put it mildly, infuriating. I don’t actually know what they hang around for. It must be rather boring for them.

So I suppose it could be said that I like openminded skeptics. In fact, I like them a lot better than the people who simply agree with everything I say simply because they trust me. Flattering as that is, it shows such a distressing lack of thought that I really cannot endorse it. See that tagline, up there, at the top of the page? That’s what I aim for. I hope everyone else will, too.

So personally, I have no problem with people who want me to back up the claims I make, to discuss the mechanics of the processes I use, who are really asking for clarification and not actually attacking me or my profession. I have no problem with people like that whatsoever.

But this person, who is a marketing professional, persisted “Why write for skeptics? Write for your ideal audience, so that you attract them.”

Skeptics are my ideal audience.

They’re my ideal clients. They’re my ideal — period.

I’m a skeptic. And I’ve been won over by a number of different types of alternative therapies, and my favorite is BodyTalk. I believe it works, and I believe it works for verifiable, scientifically-based reasons, operating under physical principles that we haven’t completely studied and don’t totally understand yet. But I’ve been convinced.

However, I’ve been convinced in the form of several dozen practitioners I respect, several thousand dollars of seminars in three years, and two mind-blowing workshops with the BodyTalk founder, John Veltheim.

None of that is very convincing to your average skeptic. I’m not blaming you. It wouldn’t convince me either.

And although Dr. Veltheim has explained some of the scientists he’s studied with, some of the principles he’s working with, I don’t actually know enough to present that knowledge to you guys in way that I can endorse. I’m working on it, though.

So until then, my mandate is to create a space where skeptical, compassionate, and even-handed debates are de riguer. I write as thought-provokingly as I can, in order to stimulate conversation. I try, as much as possible, to create a refreshing watering hole in the vast arid savannas of the internet, where it doesn’t matter when you drop in, you have a stimulating experience, with people who are worth talking to.

It would mean a great deal if you guys would let me know, either privately, or in the comments, what I’m doing right, and more importantly, where I can improve. I would also love to hear what you think would make this place cooler. Thanks. I appreciate it.


Comments on: "Open-minded Skepticism" (9)

  1. Critical Thinking – one of my favorite pastimes 🙂

    You’re right there’s not nearly enough of it anymore and that disturbs me on many levels. It worries me that so many folks are so ready to believe almost anything they see, hear or read.

    To your question-I’m obviously a skeptical person and am intrigued by your subject and the way you approach it. So, if that’s your “target market” you’ve at least found one of them 🙂

    • Hi Monette,

      It worries me too. And, it puzzles me. How are we training people to passively accept whatever is fed to them, and what makes outliers like you and I different|?

      But I’m glad to see I’ve found one of my people in you. Thanks.


    I love this. Open-minded skepticism. Critical thinking in the midst of woo.

    Yes. I’m right here with ya.

  3. I love being able to discuss things of this nature critically – I *want* to because I *care* about them. by ‘them’ I mean new agey/spiritual/woo woo shit.

    I’ve been in too many situations where pointing out that my experience didn’t fit the mold or that someone *elses* experience didn’t fit the mold or asking a question that challenged the mold – or pointing out a rationale that failed to reinforce the concept or practice even if the practice itself still seemed sound (and on and on) that meant I was being difficult, resistant, defensive.

    I know the feeling of a happy bubble being burst – I *know* that it aches to loose or crack a faith that you were enjoying by questioning too close to the bone – so i’m not insensitive to why it makes people uncomfortable – but I can’t *not* question when things aren’t adding up.

    I love the language of experience – I tell you that when I woke up this morning I felt more groggy than usual, I couldn’t get my brain straight. I sat in the living room with the fresh sun that glinted through a plastic crystal I have hanging in the just-right spot and waited for the rainbows. and when they come the twirl and dance and *feel* like company to me – I commune with them, it’s much more than watching – the way they fling themselves around the walls makes my own stomach swoop as though i’m riding on waves of light. and that’s *meaningful* to me. It changes how I connect throughout the rest of that day.

    when people reduce the language of experience to ‘crystals have healing power’ something in me wrenches like a needless, senseless death has occured. It’s not because I don’t agree – but more than I don’t even know what It is they *mean*. So what? is pretty much the constant question in my mind.

    someone tells me their experience and I *feel* it. Someone tells me their beliefs or the ‘science’ behind something like reiki and i think ‘so what?’. it’s become a pretty clear signal to me, that someone who can’t dig into themselves for a grounded answer to that question is probably *not* experiencing it – (maybe they have and just can’t articulate it – i’m not trying to be completely dismissive) so it might be a legitimate thought-experiment but i can’t put it to use on the farm of my soul – so to speak.

    You know – I write better here than on my own blog – for me, that means whatever you’re laying down, i’m picking it up – the way you write connects me to my own thoughts in writing better than me searching for them in a vacuum. I think i’ve always drawn out my own thoughts more clearly when they’re in direct response to something (like the other person acts as a counter weight I can pull myself up against) and you, shanna – and this blog, are an excellent counter weight for me – not too light, not too heavy – just right.

  4. Well, that is awesome to hear! That’s what I’m aiming for here. Goodness knows I wouldn’t want to take things too seriously…

    I think that’s a very good illustration you used of crystals. I was actually thinking of Reiki today, and how to explain how I can sense where people are having problems. I am dissatisfied with every explanation I’ve ever heard. Perhaps we try too hard to explain and define things, but then, how else shall we challenge our assumptions?

  5. Well, I’ve inspected the premises thoroughly. Everything appears to be in order thus far, but should you attract the attention of the Woo Patrol, I’ll be sure to stop back in and give you a stern talking-to. Keep it on the up-and-up, ma’am.

    (You’ll have to imagine me doing that two-finger gesture where I point to my eyes and then to yours, because I don’t think there’s an emoticon for that.)

  6. I think what attracted me to this space, Shanna, is precisely that you present metaphysics with a heaping dollop of intelligence. For those of us who don’t care much for the airy-faery aesthetic (but for whom spirituality is important), it’s a nice place to drop by.

    Thanks for your hospitality.

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