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The Practice of Skepticism

What do people mean when they use the term ‘skepticism’?


The Practice of Skepticism

Contents

1 – Introduction

2 – Definitions

3 – Are You Practicing Skepticism?

4 – Objective Reality

5 – How We Spend Our Time

6 – How We Value Time

7 – Watching vs Doing

8 – The Beauty and Power of Logic

9 – Take a Walk on the Wild Side

10 – Nobody Can Do Your Research For You

11 – tl;dr

Credits


1 – Introduction

During the aftercall of a recent Memeber Skype Call, I was reminded of one of my many shortcomings:

I do not explain what I mean by my use of the term ‘skepticism’ often enough.

The consequence of this is that a lot of people who watch/listen/read my content, including recent arrivals as members of this site, may be operating under a misunderstanding of what I mean when I speak about ‘skepticism’.

To put it simply, there appears to be some confusion about skepticism the concept, and skepticism the practise.

Therefore, when I speak about the potential benefits — and the potential drawbacks — of following the skeptical path, it is entirely understandable that some people may find themselves wondering, ‘what the hell is he talking about?’

Worse, some people may find themselves agreeing with what they believe I am saying, when what they believe I am saying and what I am actually trying to say are two very different things.

So in this post I will try to explain what I mean when I speak about ‘skepticism’.


2 – Definitions

The first thing to point out is that a word can be defined however the speaker/writer chooses to define it.

Most words in common usage have generally-understood meanings. Ideally a dictionary definition for a word will reflect this general understanding. If you look at the various dictionary definitions for the term ‘skepticism’, you will likely find that many of them mention terms such as ‘attitude’, ‘disposition’, ‘doctrine’, etc.

Merriam Webster definition of ‘skepticism’.

This could be considered skepticism the concept.

Usually when I am speaking about skepticism, I am speaking about the practice.

To give a very simple example, consider the question of the supposed shape of the earth, or the Earth Shape Question (ESQ).

It is a ‘skeptical’ thing to ‘question’ or ‘doubt’ the official story. It is an entirely different thing to:

Take the time, and

Put in the effort, to

Inspect the available evidence, and

Arrive at inferences for oneself.

Anybody can claim to be ‘skeptical’. Most people do.

Ask some regular lemmings, ‘are you skeptical?’, and see if you can find many who say, ‘no’.

Good luck.

Now, how many people will take the time and put in the effort to search for the available evidence? To inspect the claims made by authorities and/or by other parties? To compile a data set of one’s own empirical observations?

Only practicing skeptics. And we are few and far between. When it comes to topics like ‘ancient history’, the only practicing skeptics I know to exist are here on this very website. I wish I were exaggerating.

Once a person has spent time searching for available evidence, inspecting claims made by authorities, compiling data sets of empirical observations, THEN that person will naturally come to their own opinions, based on inference.

When I speak about skepticism, this is what I am talking about.

When I describe myself as a ‘skeptic’, this is why: because I take the time and put in the effort to search for the available evidence, and then I draw inferences from that evidence.

Is a person who merely ‘doubts’ stories a ‘skeptic’? Yes, by the definition of a dictionary. But is their ‘skepticism’ the same as mine? Certainly not.


3 – Are You Practicing Skepticism?

Let me be frank: if you do not generally have your own opinions about relevant topics, then you are not practicing skepticism.

You may call yourself a ‘skeptic’, you may fit the general definition of a ‘skeptic’, but the way you live your life, the way you see the world, will be very different from the way that I do, on a fundamental level.

This does not make me ‘better’ than you at all. I am not talking about value judgements here. I am not even trying to suggest or imply that practicing skepticism is an inherently good thing. In the most recent MSC I spent considerable time trying to explore the notion that perhaps, if anything, the skeptical path may occasionally be detrimental to those who follow it.

I am merely pointing out an important distinction between two different things. And I am doing so because these two distinct things can be (and often are) confused, which leads to misunderstandings.

Let’s return to the ESQ. Recall that in 2017 I released an 18,000-word treatise concerning my opinions on the ESQ, semi-facetiously entitled the ‘Bon Earth Model’.

Whether or not a person likes or agrees with the model I have put forward, what will be clear to any reader of that piece is that I have done the following:

i) Searched for evidence

ii) Inspected the claims made by authorities (and other parties)

iii) Compiled a data set of documented and/or empirical observations

And, having done so, I have then:

iv) Applied a logical framework to the available evidence, in order to…

v) Arrive at inferences — opinions — on the matters at hand

If you ask me, ‘what is your opinion on the ESQ’, I can offer you an opinion.

I will point out that my opinion is merely an inference (or it is based on a collection of inferences), because I do not believe the ‘shape’ of the earth to be a self-evident truth, and then I can proceed to offer you the reasoning (the evidence and the logic) which led me to my inference(s).

This, my friends, is the outcome of practising skepticism: The development of opinions which I am able to explain — and, should I choose to do so, defend as well.

Even if at the end of my several-year process of researching the ESQ, I came to no solid conclusion about the supposed shape of the earth, I could still at least explain my reasons for rejecting the claims made by others.

Flat Earth, you say? Then how do you explain the southern hemisphere flights? How do you explain the TWO pole stars?

Spinning Ball Earth, you say? Then how do you explain the fact that we sense no spin?

You may have answers to these very questions. If you do, then this is good news! It means we can have a productive, two-way, interactive conversation, which may be mutually beneficial.

We can scrutinise each other’s evidence. We can scrutinise each other’s logic. We can assist one another by pointing out flaws or shortcomings of the opinions being offered.

If on the other hand you have no opinion about anything, if you are not willing to draw inferences from the evidence, if you are not even willing to compile a dataset of evidence for yourself, then we cannot have that mutually beneficial conversation. You cannot help me. You evidently cannot even help yourself (at least with regards to this topic).

It is that simple.


4 – Objective Reality

We live in an objective reality.

There are self-evident truths. There are cause-and-effect relationships between the physical elements of this thing which some people call ‘the universe’.

If I drop a pen, it will fall. If you drop a pen, it will fall. Why would any sane man want to deny this, or argue the point? If this is a man’s objective, to argue about self-evident truths, then that man is welcome to do so: but why the HELL would I waste my finite time trying to converse with this person?

Life is too short.

Of course, a well-trained logician could argue about these points, if he wanted to do so. I know that I could argue about every single sentence in the opening paragraph of this section, if that were my desire. The easiest method would be to entangle myself in semantics: the meanings of words. What is a ‘pen’, what does it mean to ‘fall’? I could argue about epistemology: how can one ‘know’ that their ‘reality’ is the same in any inherent way as somebody else’s ‘reality’?

It would be all too easy to destruct the conversation down to the level of meaninglessness.

Some people may feel compelled to do just that. To argue in ‘figure-eights’, going nowhere, as my old buddy Dave J would say. If a person feels this is a worthwhile use of their time, I for one would not try to get in their way. I also would not waste my finite time in their presence. Would you?

Let’s return to the ESQ. I accept objective reality, I am happy to work from the basis that some things are REAL. Those southern flights? They exist. I know because I took one. The southern pole star? It exists. I know because I can look at it, and have even uploaded a timelapse video to document what is visible from Australia at night.

If a man denies these facts about objective reality, that is perfectly fine. Perhaps he has never been to the southern hemisphere. Perhaps he suspects that I (and every other person who reports that the flights and the pole star exist) are all in on a grand conspiracy. This is perfectly fine, too. His suspicions might be valid: JLB may well be in on the Southern Hemisphere Hoax.*

*If they (whoever they are) paid me enough money, I would happily claim to live in the Eastern Hemisphere where there are dinosaurs in every backyard, and the night sky has thirty-three pole stars!!!1!

But at that point in the conversation, it is now incumbent on me to change the subject. I have nothing to gain from conversing about objective reality with a person who does not believe in it. I have nothing to gain from conversing about objective reality with a person who will not go and inspect it for themselves. My own opinions — inferences — about the ESQ are based on objective reality. The pen falls when it is dropped. The plane departs Johannesburg and arrives in Perth. The southern pole star does not appear to move in the night sky.

Perhaps, if a person does not believe in or care about objective reality insofar as the ESQ is concerned, he may yet believe in or care about objective reality with regards to some other topic. Excellent, then this is a topic which may be worthy of discussion. We can find a topic about which we agree that there is indeed an objective reality. Then, and only then, can we proceed to have a worthwhile conversation.


5 – How We Spend Our Time

Now we move on to the next point: when I say ‘worthwhile’, I am talking about worthwhile for me.

A person may have no opinions on anything, but still enjoy chatting with somebody like myself, about the very topics on which they themselves have no opinion. In this sense, I am merely entertaining them. Which is perfectly fine, I have no problems being an entertainer. I have come to accept that this may well be my primary role in the Kosmos’ grand opera. A man who entertains people. I can think of much worse roles to play.

However, this kind of entertainment does not require the setting of a two-way conversation. I can simply record my thoughts, and the man who seeks entertainment can listen at his own leisure. This is how I get my own entertainment: I watch/listen to things in my own time, with no direct interaction with the person(s) entertaining me.

Anybody who wants to be entertained by my opinions on the ESQ, just go back and listen to my conversation with Reds Rhetoric and his moronic pals. For all of their flaws, at least they accept that there is an objective reality. The problem is that they allow other people to do their thinking for them. Thus when they then proceed to pick a fight with a practicing skeptic, it doesn’t end well for them. At all.

Truly, that was an utter demolition.

And I was barely even warmed up! And it was two years ago — I have come so much further since.

Now, can you imagine what might have happened during that call if I were merely a ‘skeptic’ by dictionary definition, rather than a practicing skeptic? I would suggest that call may have gone very differently indeed. The reason why I was able to utterly destroy those fools was because I knew their story better than they did.

Why did I know their story so well? Because I had taken the time and put in the effort to study it. I knew the problems with their story because I had taken the time and put in the effort to compare it with my own empirical observations.

I made a mess of those poor fools not because I am a ‘skeptic’ but because I practice skepticism.

Do you see the difference?

I already sense that when I look back at my life, I will sigh that I spent inordinate amounts of time conversing with people who could not help me (at least, not on the topics being discussed). It is incumbent on me now to slowly but surely reduce the amount of time I spend in go-nowhere conversations. From now on, if somebody asks me for my opinion on the ESQ (for example), I will try to ask them for their own. If they do not have an opinion on the ESQ, I will politely change the subject to one on which they do have an opinion. Then, and only then, can a mutually beneficial conversation take place.

Unless, of course, I am in a conversation merely for the sake of entertainment — and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But when I am in a Member Skype Call, I am generally among two, three, up to six other people who have ascended beyond normie-tier. These are the only two-five hours per week in which I expect to be able to have genuinely intelligent conversations. Do you think I am joking?

Let me restate this: the MSC is the only time during the entire week where I feel like I am talking with people who are at my level.

The rest of the week, I either do not speak at all^, or I speak in full knowledge that the person(s) I am speaking with are not capable of the conversation I personally prefer. It is kind of like speaking with children, except that children are generally more enthusiastic about life than adults.

^I can go days without any human interaction other than, ‘Hello, how are you, good thanks, may I please have one standard flat white, no sugar, thank you, have a lovely day’.

So from now on, during the MSC’s (or equivalent), please do not turn the topic of conversation to the ESQ, if you do not have your own opinion(s) on the topic. Otherwise I will have to politely change the subject, lest we end up going around and around in circles, wasting the few hours of the week where better conversation could be had.


6 – How We Value Time

Let me state clearly that I know how the words I have written here may come across as ‘offensive’ if not understood in context. The main point I can make in reply to such a criticism is this:

I value my time, and you ought to value your time, too.

Mere entertainment can be had anywhere. There’s hundreds of hours of entertainment available to download from this very website right now! The MSC’s are not mere entertainment for me. I don’t participate in them merely to pass the time.

The benefit I gleaned from the first MSC’s back in 2017, which were not even recorded, is/was immeasurable. Chad, Dante, fuhng, Mezzie, Nate (and others), how can I ever communicate to them how much their participation in those early calls assisted my own mind? Well, I probably cannot, but hopefully the development of those calls into the MSC’s as they exist now, and the effort I have put in to promoting and producing this season of MSC, has gone some way to demonstrating the value which I think these calls can offer their participants.

Nothing I have written here ought to be taken as, ‘please do not turn up to MSC if you do not practice skepticism’. On the contrary, my hope is that this piece will be comprehended along the lines of, ‘please turn up to the MSC and help all participants get the most out of it’.

And as with all skepticism, the main benefits to participants in the MSC will be derived via practice.


7 – Watching vs Doing

Now onto the final Grey Pill for today:

Merely consuming skeptic-oriented content is not the same thing as practising skepticism.

You can listen to a two-hour podcast of intense conversation and within hours have forgotten the majority of what you just heard. I know this because I have done it myself, many, many, many times. For so long, I would listen to podcasts and tell myself that I was learning something in the process. Now I appreciate and understand that, no, I am not really ‘learning something’, I am merely being entertained. And that is okay. There is nothing wrong (in my opinion) with entertainment.

And better that entertainment be via people who question stories about nukes and war and other negative things, rather than people who help propagate these stories as though they are ‘real’.

To be sure, occasionally I may recall something I heard in a podcast, I may have retained a piece of trivia. However, the ‘bang for buck’ in terms of time investment is utterly pitiful. After a two-hour podcast I may recall a small handful of claims, and almost never am I able to recall the evidence put forward for those claims (if any). The podcast format is not ideally suited to conveying well-researched information. Podcasts are terrific for encouraging/inspiring inner thought and reflection, but not for learning and retaining key information.

Take my chat with Reds Rhetoric and his buddies. I went into that chat armed not with hours and hours of listening to Eric Dubay and Jeranism and so forth. I went in armed with key information, names/dates/places/etc, which I had been able to retain via research and revision. Actual research and revision, not merely watching YouTube videos and listening to podcasts. Books, pens, paper. These are my training aids. These are the training aids of any practising skeptic.

Am I suggesting that listening to podcasts (such as the MSC series) is of no intellectual value? Of course I am not claiming that. Far from it. As I mentioned just a moment ago, podcasts are terrific for encouraging/inspiring inner thought and reflection. Listening to a good quality conversation on a meaningful topic while out on a hike or a bushwalk is a truly wonderful experience, in my opinion. And I can only hope that listeners of the MSC series feel the same way about these calls as I do: they feature the best quality conversations to listen to anywhere on the internet.

PERIOD.

But the point of this section remains: merely consuming skeptic-oriented content is not the same thing as practising skepticism.


8 – The Beauty and Power of Logic

Some of the concepts I have touched upon in this piece today, happened to form the basis of a video/podcast I released about 12 months ago.

JLBM #17 – The Beauty and Power of Logic (26-Jul-2017)

Boy how time flies. It is interesting for me to look back and notice that that was JLB Member Video #17, and it was released around the same time as the heliacal rising of Sirius.

In any event, what I was trying to do was encourage the members of this site (of which there were apparently only 22 at the time — shiiiiiiiiet) to consider revising my Thinking 101 series in order to help their practice of skepticism.


9 – Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Of course, what I am doing with my videos/articles/podcasts is to offer/articulate/demonstrate the theory.

What I also try to do is encourage the members of this site to put the theory into practice in a specific way: by taking a trip out to Tucson for themselves.

For all you know, myself and the others who speak of the wireframe mesh are liars and blasphemers. Or we may just be very bad drivers, and we all got lost along the way. Perhaps it takes a three-year ‘History’ degree to learn how to drive to Tucson. Maybe Tucson exists after all! Perhaps there are extant primary sources, with consistent documentation of provenance, which confirm that Herodotus et al existed in the Before Time, just as out elders have told us!

How would you know? If you won’t take the time, if you won’t put in the effort, to drive out to Tucson for yourself, then why would you be so confident that JLB’s anecdotes about ‘the end of the road’ are anything other than pure fantasy? Perhaps you are being led down the merry path by elaborate practical jokers…


10 – Nobody Can Do Your Research For You

This was supposed to be a short post, and it has turned into a rather lengthy piece.

If I had to boil it all down to a single sentence, this would be it: nobody can do your research for you.

Not even me.

Even if I am the World’s Leading Skeptic (and I truly believe that I am), I still cannot do anybody else’s research for them.

Even if I wanted to do your research for you, I cannot. It is beyond my ability, it is beyond my remit.

I am just some dude from Brisbane.

The research I am talking about is not the mere accumulation and repetition of facts. It is truly a process of deprogramming, of coming to interact with the world in a tangibly different way; an experience which some people might describe as ‘ascension’.

The reason I sat down to write this piece is this:

Recently I asked a member of this site for their opinion on the ESQ, and they told me they had no opinion. What about the pole stars, the southern flights, do you at least accept that they exist? ‘No opinion’. I would not have asked these questions, but my interlocutor had actually asked the ESQ of another participant in the very same call. Okay then, I thought, let’s change gears. How about the ‘JFK Assassination’? ‘No opinion’.

I was beginning to notice a pattern.

So I asked my interlocutor, why don’t you look into these things for yourself?

‘That’s what I pay you for, John.’

Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiet…

My words here cannot convey how disappointing it was to hear this at the time.

Since then I have come to realise that more than half of the membership of this site signed up AFTER I released material such as ‘The Beauty and Power of Logic’. There are a lot of people here who may not be familiar with my attitude towards research, knowledge, and the many other issues touched upon in this piece. This is not their fault: if anybody is to blame, it is me. I ought to be reiterating this important point on a regular basis:

I cannot do your research for you, and you are NOT paying me to do your research for you.

Ever. Period.

All I can do is my own research, and share it with those who are interested in seeing what I have found.

If I share the findings of my research in a certain way, some people will also find me entertaining.

That is cool, too.

I’m happy to slowly but surely build up a little business as a researcher-entertainer. If I am successful at developing my craft, perhaps even a skeptic-comedian. Apart from people who instruct/entertain in genuinely creative fields (music, dancing, painting, etc), I can’t think of too many roles which are cooler than what I am hoping to ‘be’.

Just as in those fields, however, there is instructing and there is entertaining. The best musician in the world can’t help you become a musician by simply performing in front of you. They can entertain you, and that is cool, but they cannot help you to improve your own musical ability if you won’t do the work yourself.

Imagine somebody describing themselves as a ‘painter’ and then, when asked, ‘can you paint me something?’, the person responding with, ‘oh no, I have a gallery of paintings I bought from others’.

Imagine somebody describing themselves as a ‘musician’ and then, when asked, ‘can you play me something?’, the person responding, ‘oh no, I pay my instructor to do that’.

It doesn’t work that way.

My friends, if you consider the content of this site entertaining enough to remain a member purely for entertainment purposes, then I am flattered, and I am happy — and I am sure that the other regular members of the MSC series would take this as a compliment as well.

Where can you find a more amusing performance of deadpan comedy than Chad’s work in MSC 29? When I was listening back to that call myself, Chad had me chuckling out loud. Brilliant stuff, and much more entertaining to me than any of the junk on TV.

If you consider me an apt and worthy instructor in what I call skepticism, then once more I am flattered, and I am happy.

But please never confuse the two. If you want to improve your own skepticism, you have to do the work.

Merely watching/reading/listening to the content on this site is not work, any more than listening to a Cat Stevens album is practicing the guitar.


11 – tl;dr

I do not explain what I mean by ‘skepticism’ often enough.

I am speaking about skepticism as a practice.

Practice involves work, which involves research, which will lead to inferences i.e. opinions.

In other words, if you are truly practising skepticism, you will have opinions.

We live in an objective reality. Some things can be accepted as ‘true’.

The MSC’s are the only time I get to chat with practicing skeptics.

I value my time, and you ought to value yours, too.

Consuming skeptic-oriented material is not the same thing as practicing skepticism.

I have covered these ideas before, but I realise that was a long time ago.

What I am trying to encourage you to do is to try skepticism out for yourself.

Nobody is paying me to do their research for them. Period.

I’m happy to entertain, and I hope people find my website entertaining.

I’m also happy to instruct, but instruction alone is useless if the instruction is ignored.


Credits
As at 15-Aug-2018.

Production notes: Written and published to full-access Members 15-Aug-2018. 4,500 words. Released to Freeloader and Part Members 16-Aug-2018 as part of Mid-August Mailout.


 

23 thoughts on “The Practice of Skepticism

  • good read. and sooner than later i will schedule a day of undivided attention to reviewing the BEM.

    –The benefit I gleaned from the first MSC‚Äôs back in 2017, which were not even recorded, is/was immeasurable. Chad, Dante, fuhng, Mezzie, Nate (and others), how can I ever communicate to them how much their participation in those early calls assisted my own mind?

    curious to know – aside from how these calls may have shaped the direction of future MSC or your ways of communicating with the audience based on feedback for how things were landing …is there anything specific that i or anyone said that assisted your mind? mezzie for example suggested 13th floor which many if not all of us benefited from immensely. i recall suggesting you document your process which resulted in the PSRM article. i know other members contributed ideas that sharpened the jlb.com axe or led to work xyz.

    are these the kind of things you are talking about? or were there any revelations / insights you hadn’t considered before? i remember one time you saying how you wish the call was recorded because a 15 minute or so chunk was “golden”.

    but in that moment, i was just answering and responding with questions that seemed perfectly normal and obvious to anyone following a conditional / contrapositive line of reasoning. with most of the ‘q’s ending in an ‘i don’t know’

    • As I said in the piece, I don’t think I can convey to you in words the benefit I derived from those early calls. I do however understand that you would like me to try, so here is my best attempt.

      Can you imagine what it is like to have new /novel ideas to discuss, and to be so keen to discuss them, that you find yourself mixing with people who resent you (consciously or subconsciously)? Can you imagine what it is like to get used to walking around with a target on your back? This has been my experience at Fakeologist. At times there it has even gotten to the point where people will agree with what I am saying, but still argue with me anyway. I know that sound utterly absurd, because it is utterly absurd. but it has happened and it has been documented.

      This has been my experience for years now.

      Our early MSC’s were different because I was often trying to explain myself to people who disagreed with me, or didn’t understand my point, but were open to trying to discuss things constructively. I wasn’t under attack. I didn’t have to worry about simultaneously speaking to the immediate audience (those on the call) AND the external audience (live listeners, podcast listeners). It was a completely different experience.

      And it allowed me to see which parts of my thinking and communication patterns were effective, and which needed a lot of work. In this sense, it was truly constructive conversation, week after week after week. Rather than trying to parry away ad hominem red herrings, I was able to see WHERE my explanations were falling down, and then reattempt to convey my ideas in a different form.

      This process also allowed me an insight into how my interlocutors’ minds were operating. If I would suggest X and somebody would ask/object Z, I was able to infer that the problem may be in Y. I could try to address the Y in real-time. If I was unable to do this, I could go away and rethink the matter for a while before revisiting the matter the following week.

      Suddenly I was able to share my ideas with people who could HELP ME even when they disagreed with what I was saying. By disagreeing, they WERE helping, because it was disagreement in the process of constructive conversation. There was no grandstanding or showboating or ‘I’m gonna disagree with JLB for the hell of it’. Perhaps somebody has to spend a few hours in destructive conversations, live on the air, before they get the gist of how intellectually AND spiritually frustrating the process can be.

      This is not a complain about Fakeologist. For one thing, nobody ever forced me to visit their audiochat function. For another thing, I did actually get to have some cool chats there over the years. I am much better for it. And when there was no JLB.com, when there were no MSC’s, Fakeologist was the closest thing I had to an intellectual chat lounge. I remain grateful for Ab’s platform.

      But that place was like landmine for me. I could be having a nice chat with somebody, discussing worthwhile things, and then out of nowhere another person would join the call and it was back to ‘let’s argue with JLB for the sake of it’. They probably weren’t doing it consciously, in my opinion: there is something about me which causes the untermensch to feel internally aggrieved, as though I have somehow harmed them by merely being me. They are generally okay when one-on-one, but the moment they feel a numerical superiority, they devolve to the level of pack animals. This means that even when in the middle of a good conversation, I was only ever a moment away from being inundated with ad hominem red herrings.

      The early MSC’s were the complete opposite. Yes, we agreed about things a lot of the time, but the value for me was often when we disagreed, or when we seemed to misunderstand one another. We were able to constructively work through those disagreements/misunderstandings, because it was a fundamentally constructive conversation. Where I was misunderstood, I was able to try to infer why: what was I failing to explain, which premises had I taken for granted which in fact needed further exploration? What had I overlooked?

      To boil it down: the early MSCs offered me a constructive environment for exploring my ideas, when I had spent dozens and dozens of hours in an environment which was often destructive, sometimes even genuinely hostile.

      Again, this may not seem all that important if you have not experienced the destructive conversations for yourself. And now that we have the MSC platform, there is no need for anybody to subject themselves to the destructive environment. What’s more, a n00bie on Fakeologist will generally be treated well. It was only after I had established myself in the scene that the target on my back was painted. The more prominent I got, the less interested the untermensch were in constructive dialogue.

      Kind of like a ‘tall poppy syndrome’: it is almost as though the lemmings feel, ‘if this guy has an audience, I am going to disagree with him, because he deserves no larger audience than me’.

      Crabs in a bucket writ large.

      Getting back to the early MSCs, I will give you an example of a disagreement which was constructive. I asked the members of the call, ‘If you knew you would get away with it, would you shoplift from your local major supermarket chain?’. Another hypothetical I threw out there was, ‘If you found a bag of money behind a bank and knew you would not get caught, would you keep it, or take it to the cashier?’

      We discussed the pros and cons of different answers, the philosophical corollaries, the ethics involved in living among other humans with certain mindsets, etc.

      There was no, ‘you are a bad person’ nonsense. No grandstanding. No showboating. No moralism. Just a constructive discussion about what we THOUGHT and WHY WE THOUGHT THAT. Thinking through our initial responses to the questions, thinking through the programming which may (or may not) be in our minds.

      By the end of the discussion(s), nobody had changed their minds (as far as I remember). But I for one had gleaned a significant insight into how not only my own mind was working, but how the other call participants’ minds were working as well. For just one example of such, I had not previously considered how pervasive the ‘what if the store clerk gets fired?’ program could be. Several people used this exact same argument: ‘what if the store clerk gets fired?’

      Lol. No disrespect to anybody here but that is still genuinely amusing to me. A hypothetical situation, and some of us are so empathic^ that we feel for the livelihoods of nameless faceless people who don’t even exist, that we will assume that if we benefit in some way (e.g. keeping the bag of cash) then somebody else must suffer, and therefore it is ‘wrong’!

      ^But this is not actual empathy, in my opinion. It is programming. And it begins from a young age. Actual empathy is about being able to relate to and feel for the experiences of other humans. The hypothetical store clerk who ‘might lose their job’ does not have feelings because they do not exist! The hypotheticals I put out there involved no store clerks losing their jobs, no cashiers who had messed up with the bag of money. These were add-ons being placed there by my interlocutors’ minds. Our minds are so programmed to ‘do the right thing’ that we would rather imagine that our actions are out of empathy to NON-EXISTENT individuals, than consider that maybe we have been programmed to prioritise the state/establishment over our own interests. Of course, this is another discussion for another day, and I am not trying to kickstart that discussion in this thread.

      So the benefits in this example were several-fold: I got to explore my own sentiments about the hypotheticals involved, I got to see what the common responses would be (I hadn’t even expected a common response, which made the instant reactions all the more insightful), I got to think about where/how my own opinions on the relevant matters had gone so far away from the norm, and I also got to hear constructive — not destructive — contradictions to what I was saying, I had benevolent actors pointing out to me where my own logic might be fallacious.

      So that is the best I can do for you, Dante. If this does not convey to you why those early MSC’s were so useful for me on not merely a psychological but a spiritual level, then it verifies exactly what I said in the original piece, doesn’t it? ūüôā

      • but the moment they feel a numerical superiority, they devolve to the level of pack animals.

        –this happens in real life to me all the time, especially in group threads. they dont immediately know where everyone else stands until more than 2 parties chime in. then a sense of comfort is established in who the target of the group mind is. many will take the side of / root for the group, not even knowing a thing about the subject matter at hand. ive seen and experienced this on countless occasions–

        Getting back to the early MSCs, I will give you an example of a disagreement which was constructive. I asked the members of the call, ‚ÄėIf you knew you would get away with it, would you shoplift from your local major supermarket chain?‚Äô. Another hypothetical I threw out there was, ‚ÄėIf you found a bag of money behind a bank and knew you would not get caught, would you keep it, or take it to the cashier?‚Äô For just one example of such, I had not previously considered how pervasive the ‚Äėwhat if the store clerk gets fired?‚Äô program could be.

        Several people used this exact same argument: ‚Äėwhat if the store clerk gets fired?‚Äô

        —i recall chad and myself echoing sentiments of that argument.

        Lol. No disrespect to anybody here but that is still genuinely amusing to me. A hypothetical situation, and some of us are so empathic^ that we feel for the livelihoods of nameless faceless people who don‚Äôt even exist, that we will assume that if we benefit in some way (e.g. keeping the bag of cash) then somebody else must suffer, and therefore it is ‚Äėwrong‚Äô!

        —-i remember this was one hypothetical question to a hypothetical scenario. obviously the imaginary characters in a thought experiment aren’t worthy of real empathy any more than my taste buds are sated by pilfered fruit.

        —-also, my comments stemmed more from a kantian categorial imperative (if everyone was a klepto, there’d be no merch in the store) than worrying about the livelihood of one imaginary cashier. one reason you disassociated the act was because a major chain accounts for theft in their ledgers and they wouldn’t notice it at all.

        –and perhaps the weakest argument i recall hearing in favor of stealing the goods was “if you don’t know them who cares”. yet if one did know the owner, a friend’s father for example, and he sold the same piece of fruit in his minor chain as the major chain, then stealing from him was a no go, even if you got away with it was not an option.

        —leveling up, your position was that even if that store owner / friend’s father had multiple corner stores and operated under the same corporate structure as the big box store chain, it’d no go on the theft simply because you know him.

        –i mean no disrespect either, but this is equally amusing : )

        —i don’t steal from family, friends, co-workers, strangers, or wal mart. if one programs for themselves a moral code whereby stealing is only problematic if there’s a risk of getting caught or they don’t know any of the parties that might be impacted … that’s perfectly cool. i know people from my past that have justified / rationalized their thieving.

        –but at present time, i’ll simply pass on that free software installation, however dated and buggy my current version is.

        • Dante, dude, you should have been there for the whole msc. Last night was great, but I think it would have been better if you were there.

          It cracked me up before the call when you pointed out that it was the first time JLB EVER said your sound was coming through good.

          After the call we were talking about new members and any onboarding(paddling) they might get before joining a msc. We were thinking that a person might join the site, but not be aware of the history hoax, war hoax, holohoax, birth trauma, or any other potentially offensive views some of us share because that material came out way before the member joined.

          I imagined a new member getting embarrassed or triggered during a call after being confronted with some of our beliefs. Things could get uncomfortable or unproductive. Wasteful, lame.

          Idk, its not about excluding people, we just have a really cool “clubhouse”. I dont want the conversation getting held back by newbies that are still struggling to let go of basic stories. And I usually dont enjoy listening to triggered, crabby folks.

          We thought of some articles and videos a newbie might want to go through to get up to speed (or get filtered out).

          Some dogs you can’t teach new tricks. It would be cool if folks fully understood skepticism before they were exposed to the war hoax or history hoax, but im afraid that despite fully understanding skepticism and JLBs research, some people will always be too entrenched to let go of certain narratives.

          I should mention, nobody here has the same beliefs. Having a belief that is different from JLB or anyone in the group shouldn’t exclude anybody from the site or the calls. We all have different beliefs.

          Anyway, after that discussion I got off the call and I had the idea that it would be cool if everyone posted an honest list of the beliefs that they DO have in their head. Their beliefs about history or science or cosmology or life. I would love to see an honest list from each member, but especially from JLB. Even if people “don’t know” what to believe about certain topics, they will usually have “most likely scenario” in their head sorta filling in the void. “37 inferences JLB Makes About the World”!

          So with that idea fresh on my mind I thought I would share my perspective on the shoplifting/money-bag scenarios. I think I might have already said what I would do, but im not sure, my memory is so weird I cant remember.

          Im not trying to say Im right or wrong about any of this, Im just sharing what Nate’s brain would tell him.

          I would shoplift from big stores if I could get away with it. 100% all day. I would not shoplift from a family owned store, but if the store was part of a big chain(20+ stores) I definitely would.

          If I knew the owner of a big chain of stores, i dont know if it would even affect my decision to steal from his store or not, I would probably still shoplift from “his” store.

          In my mind, once a business is big enough it no longer belongs to one man or one family, after a certain size the store becomes a sort of “public works”, or public property. Even if a big chain is owned by a single dude, I still think of it as a public property. He just happens to collect the profits generated by that public property.

          It is illegal and wrong to take rocks or flowers or arrowheads from a public park, but Ive done that before and I don’t feel bad about it. It was only a few times, but Ive done it and Id do it again. If everyone broke that rule then maybe those things would all disappear from the park, right? So maybe its wrong for me to take stuff from the park, idk. Ive never found an arrowhead, but I have taken home flowers and rocks and other stuff from parks before. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong, I did it and I would do it again, and I dont feel bad about it.

          Shoplifting a shiny pair of shoes from a big chain store would be the same to me as finding and keeping a strange and beautiful little rock I found while hiking through a remote part of a national park.

          I have been suddenly struck with poverty a couple times in my life and had to suddenly start worrying about and paying attention to “money” everyday. Each time I kept thinking of the Ginsberg line, “America, when can I go into the supermarkets and buy what I need with my good looks?”. I think that seriously! Why do I have to go through all this nonsense of wasting of my time, playing along, trying to look busy and taking things seriously? Seriously, I look at myself in the mirror and I think, “Im so fucking good looking that I should be able to walk into the store and take whatever I want. They can just look at me, that’s enough, what else could they want?” But I suppose everybody couldnt do that because then everybody would just take everything from everywhere and be dicks, right?

          A bag of money? I would look around, see if anybody was looking, then I would take the money and run like John Connor fleeing the terminator. I would take the money and do some cocaine, and then Id use the rest to set myself up to get myself OUT of the money game as much as possible.

          I dont think of my actions in either scenario as “theft”, I think of it more like picking fruit in a forest. I dont care if some piece of paper has some symbol on it, that doesnt mean this blackberry bush right here belongs to some japanese businessman! Its silly, nobody can own a berry bush in the forest. You can own a bush in a garden, and you can own a corner store, but nobody can own a forest.

          Oh! And that idea I had about making a list of beliefs, I want to do that. Instead of a list though, I thought I would just end up making a long, long comment. It seems like it would be better to start a wordpress site of my own and start writing about my beliefs and syncs and visions and my path through the act realm. So I started a site and I started writing a little. Then I got distracted by this comment. I am mentioning making a site of my own to motivate me to stick to my plan, its the “12 week challenge” trick of accountability. Speak your will, and simply keep your word.

          There were so many things I was thinking about last night during the call and afterwards, I dont think it would take me long to write a bunch of stuff. I dont know if anyone will understand or like what I write, but its something to do, and I think it would be good for me to express all this crap I think about everyday.

          Maybe I could set up a patreon or go fund me page? Maybe I could create a fund to get dante proper internet, yeah?

          • Excellent comment. I read this one twice.

            Regarding the aftercall

            Yeah, Dante missed out. Bigtime. The OG crew were all there: Chad, fuhng, Mezzie, Nate. It was terrific.

            I don’t know about you guys but it dawned on me during the call yesterday just how far this website has come, AND how the newer members of the site might not realise the changes which have already taken place over the (almost) 2 years since the members section first opened.

            Those who have been here since mid-2017 (or earlier) have had a different experience to those who have joined in 2018. From July-December in 2017, the History Hoax was pretty much the main thing going on here. This meant that quite a few people took their own trips to Tucson, or at least watched on closely as each new report came in from somebody else who had taken the trip. Given that this happened over the space of a few months, it is fair to say that the second half of 2017 was a unique time to be here, a time which probably had an effect on some of us which we may not yet have come to see the significance of.

            To the more recent members of this site, let me say this: when I speak about History being a Hoax, I am not joking. I am not merely putting forward a ‘thought experiment’. I am 100% serious. And I think the History Hoax is a bigger deal than all of the Baby Hoaxes combined. And I am stating categorically that the History Hoax is easy to demonstrate, simply by checking through the sources. And I proclaiming that an true understanding and appreciation of the History Hoax opens up ones mind to genuinely considering what the hell is going on here. The creatures we call humans are not double checking anything. They never do. The ACT realm is no better. We are in uncharted territory.

            And although I can’t speak for the rest of the OG crew, it seems to me that most of them are on a similar page to me, in this regard. The History Hoax is not just ‘some conspiracy theory’, it is not ‘just some topic’. It is a big deal, and if you have not yet gone back and checked out the History Hoax material and properly engaged with it, then your overall experience of this place simply will not be the same for you as it is (and has been) for some of the members who signed up earlier in the website’s journey.

            I’m not saying, ‘you have to go back and read the old articles’. It is entirely up to you what you do. You signed up, you know where the content is, you now engage with as much or as little as you like, that is totally cool. What I am saying is that there is — in my opinion — a different outlook on the world, shared by those who were there in 2017 as the History Hoax material unfolded, and especially among those who have taken a trip to Tucson for themselves.

            This difference in outlooks became ever more apparent apparent to me yesterday when the OG got back together again for the first time in so long. It was like chatting with a bunch of old buddies from the past, who didn’t spend any time arguing about this or that, because there was nothing to argue about: we were all there and we all saw the same thing.

            Idk, its not about excluding people, we just have a really cool ‚Äúclubhouse‚ÄĚ. I dont want the conversation getting held back by newbies that are still struggling to let go of basic stories

            I get what you mean, and it did feel a little bit like a ‘clubhouse’ yesterday in the aftercall, in a good way. A very good way. It was fun just sitting back and reminiscing. Even though it has only been a year or so since the first Member Skypes, it feels like so much has happened. A lot of stories. More than a few ‘where are they now’ moments. It was cool to be able to share all of that with the OG crew yesterday.

            With all of that said, if the membership of the site continues to grow, we will have to accommodate more people who are simply not hip to the History Hoax or to Sync or even to some of the lower-tier Hoaxes such as human evolution and War and so forth. There is no way to get around this. Occasionally a n00b will sign up without checking 37 Things Normies Believe, or they will simply not appreciate how genuine my (our) doubts about those Things are. So it is inevitable that people will come along who do somewhat ‘slow things down’ for the regulars. Nobody is going to be able to ‘hit the ground running’ and be across all of the material from the get-go.

            I’m open to suggestions about how to best manage the situation, though. Perhaps a demarcated call schedule may be in order. Something like: every second call is open to everybody, but every other call is open to those who have taken their own trip to Tucson and documented their findings. Even if people come back and say that they believe Tucson is real: great! Document your trip for the rest of the site to read, and you are in. So long as you have taken the trip, you’re ready to mix it with the old-timers.

            In a way, I kind of liken it to the local sports club. The regulars all know each other, they train in pairs/groups with each other, they are the core of the place, year to year. When a new guy joins the club, he is welcomed with open arms. The more the merrier. And every new member might be the next gun player, might eventually become one of the long-time regulars. But generally speaking, the new additions to the club are not thrown straight into group training with the core group. They are given time to find their feet.

            To expect a new member of this site to be able to walk into this place and keep pace with the old-timers is asking too much. The ‘me’ of three years ago would have struggled with Sync, and probably would have struggled with the History Hoax to some degree. It took a long time for the whole thing sink in. The notion that TPWRTS are benevolent pranksters? The ‘me’ of three years ago would have been open-minded but also a little suspicious. And so on.

            Anyway, my point is, if we are going to welcome new members, we have to accept that it will take time for them to get up to speed. After all, those of us who have been here from the start have all had two (plus) years to get our heads around a lot of these ideas.

            Anyway, after that discussion I got off the call and I had the idea that it would be cool if everyone posted an honest list of the beliefs that they DO have in their head. Their beliefs about history or science or cosmology or life. I would love to see an honest list from each member, but especially from JLB. Even if people ‚Äúdon‚Äôt know‚ÄĚ what to believe about certain topics, they will usually have ‚Äúmost likely scenario‚ÄĚ in their head sorta filling in the void. ‚Äú37 inferences JLB Makes About the World‚ÄĚ!

            I like it. Will try to put together a post on this topic soon.

            Regarding the Shoplifting / Bank-money hypothetical

            This also deserves its own post. Will work on it now.

            Oh! And that idea I had about making a list of beliefs, I want to do that. Instead of a list though, I thought I would just end up making a long, long comment. It seems like it would be better to start a wordpress site of my own and start writing about my beliefs and syncs and visions and my path through the act realm. So I started a site and I started writing a little.

            I still find it odd that not a single member of this site has taken me up on the offer to post any articles / podcasts / videos they make. I can publish it for you either publicly or ‘behind the paywall’ if that makes you feel more comfortable. If necessary, I can perform a copy edit and proofread of your work; I can even create the thumbnail artwork for you! All you need to do is write down your thoughts, or record some audio, or make a video, and I will share it for you.

            I’m willing to bet that most of the members of this site will enjoy engaging with other members’ material. We are already at the point where a lot of people seem to be signing in just to read and respond to each others’ comments. Why not go one step further simply write up an article or two? Even if it is to argue a point which is contrary to my own opinions, who cares? No problem. I’ll be happy to publish it. Just type it up and we can share it with the membership here. Some people will agree with you, some people will disagree. Just how it is. All good. The benefit for the audience (myself included) will be exposure to independent thought, which is a rare commodity these days, and probably the main selling point of this site in the first place.

            I have been making this offer for ages now and not a single person has taken me up on it. Bizarre stuff.

            • watermanchris

              I am planning on writing some articles in the next couple of weeks and will send them along to you for copy/proofing and publishing. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and I had decided to do it last week but this comment was the sync push I needed to put a time frame on it. I’m a procrastinator so without this, it likely would have taken ages for me to take the plunge.

              • Excellent. When it comes to getting into writing or recording, it seems to me that the most important step is the first one. Just sitting down for even fifteen minutes is enough to get the ball rolling.

                Where could a content creator — new or old — hope to find a better audience than the one we have right here?

        • I am going to make a post about these hypotheticals. Will be particularly insightful to get the newer members’ takes.

  • watermanchris

    JLB’s work and this website have helped me to go out and do the work to truly see that “it’s all a sham”. Ancient history is not real. I don’t think I could have ever come to this REALization without both JLB’s insights and suggestions AND going out and searching for myself.

    This article does a good job at conveying that message. Reading the works of others can only get you so far. For many of the topics discussed here, you have to invest some time to truly see the gravity of the situation.

    As old mate Dave J likes to say – “you have to do the work.” In his case this is extremely important as he has some genuine gems in the midst of a lot of crap.

    I feel that JLB’s thoroughness can allow content consumers to get a bit too comfortable. Maybe he should do a little – “find the fake story” – type of exercises but in reverse. This is a gag that is done on local radio here in south florida. They will pick 4 ridiculous stories and 3 of them will be “real” (i.e. in the “news”) and the contestant has to guess which is “fake”. In the JLB version they could all be “real” stories and the members could try to find which one actually has some evidence to support it. I would participate in that for sure.

    • Thank you very much for the kind words. This part stood out to me:

      I feel that JLB’s thoroughness can allow content consumers to get a bit too comfortable.

      I suppose it is a double-edged sword: the more effectively I communicate my conclusions about, say, Herodotus, the more inclined a reader/viewer may be to simply accept my findings.

      In and of itself, this is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. In a way I would take it as a compliment.

      The problem is that I could easily be WRONG and/or a PRANKSTER.

      If I am wrong, then I would rather find out from a member of this site, who would offer their correction in good spirit.

      If I am a prankster, then accepting my conclusions without checking my presises (evidence and reasoning) is clearly not a smart move for the audience.

      But more importantly than any of this, the beauty of Tucson is the trip to the get there. All I can show people is my own happy snaps.

      No matter how good my happy snaps are, nothing compares to taking the drive for oneself. Nothing.

    • Fair question.

      A truth which is obviously so. Everybody who understands the terms (words) will be able to agree with the claim.

      And anybody who disagrees with a self-evident truth is disinterested in constructive conversation, or simply below the intelligence threshold required for constructive conversation.

      For example, day is generally warmer than night. This is a self-evident truth.

      Anybody who would try to argue the point is either not capable of, or not interested in, productive conversation.

      Can it be warmer in the night time in some places than it is during the day in other places? Sure.

      Can it be warmer during the night in summer than it is during the day in winter? Sure.

      Can it be warmer in a house during the night than it is outside during the day? Sure.

      But when I say, ‘day is warmer than night’, everybody with a functioning brain knows exactly what I mean. They have experienced it too: days are usually warmer than night.

      If I have to present evidence or an argument to somebody to demonstrate that day is usually warmer than night, then I am wasting my time with that person.

      Does this make sense?

      • Yes, that makes sense.

        I just remember that phrase, self-evident truth, from Lesta Nediam. But he said the shape of the earth WAS a self-evident truth, so I was a little confused.

        I can’t remember his exact definition for that phrase, maybe it was “something any person could figure out on their own, without relying on second hand proof”. Lesta took down all his stuff otherwise I would look it up.

        how about this…
        “And anybody who disagrees with [pole stars & southern flights] is disinterested in constructive conversation, or simply below the intelligence threshold required for constructive conversation.”

        • Yes, I remember Lesta using the term ‘self evident truth’ as well. It is a shame that Lesta seems to have gone into hibernation. Or just disappeared altogether?

          The ‘shape of the earth’ is not a ‘self evident truth’ in my opinion, because it is something we cannot see for ourselves directly.

          The best model for the ‘shape’ of the earth is merely a model.

          There are however self-evident truths which lead to inferences, which lead to a model.

          Consider the shape of Texas. For whom is the shape of Texas a ‘self evident truth’? Nobody. But by inference, the accuracy of the map (the model) can be confirmed.

          The southern pole star exists. Anybody in the right part of the world can see it.

          The light just sits there, going nowhere in the night sky other than where it began.

          Of course, like anything else, one man’s ‘self evident truth’ is another man’s deception, or speculation, or whatever.

          The real value in this discussion is in encouraging ourselves to question what we think we know, and why we think we know it.

  • this is always timely, so perhaps you should consider adding some version of it to your “KEY TOPICS” dropdown?

    • Excellent suggestion, Agent fuhng. Will do that right now so I don’t forget.

  • Very good reading JLB thanks.
    I’m still unable to see why we should sense the spinning of the Earth.
    Is that supposed to be a self-evident truth?
    If not i think it would be interesting to expand about it.
    As far as I can tell, what make us feeling a spin is the centrifugal force. If that force is small enough in relation to other operating forces we have no way or reason to sense it.
    Just imagine, for e.g., to stand on the edge of a merry-go-round that has a circumference of 24 m and a rotating period of 24 hr, do you think you’d “sense the spin” while going 1m/hr?
    According to the official story and figures we are on a giant spinning merry-go-round which generates a centrifugal force which at the equator amounts to about 0,3% of the centripetal force (i.e. “gravity”), and that seems a reasonable explanation for not sensing the spinning.
    I’m not endorsing the official story, just saying that not feeling the spin maybe isn’t a good reason to challenge or doubt it.
    Does this make sense?

    • Addendum
      The spinning earth centrifugal force may be too small to be “sensed”, but certainly that 0,3% difference could be easily detected by a precision scale.
      A mass that weighs exactly 1 kg at the north pole should weighs 997 g at the equator on the same scale.
      We can easily calculate the centrifugal force at any given latitude, it’s simple trigonometry.
      Just go as far north or south as possible in order to maximize the difference, proceed to weigh the mass then compare with the measures taken on that same scale and mass at the equator.
      Unless I’m overlooking something, it seems to me this simple and relatively inexpensive esperiment would be able to prove beyond any doubt if the earth is spinning or not.
      To my knowledge, this test was never performed, I wonder why….

  • Whoa! I never thought about that! Very good CM!

    I have to admit, I’ve never liked JLB’s argument that we would feel like we are spinning if we were actually spinning. So I like your argument.

    As far as I can tell, what you say seems correct, it seems like we should be able to tell a difference in weight at different latitudes. We wouldnt even need a “torsion” balance or anything fancy, a $10 balance should be able to measure the difference.

    At my previous job we had a balance that cost over $10,000. That thing could weigh 100g to a resolution of 1/10,000th of a gram! The standard 100g weight I used for a daily calibration check was usually 100g +/- 0.0003g, or an error of only 0.0003%. Im just thinking how a difference of 0.3% due to latitude should be very noticeable, it would be up to 1000X more than the systemic error of the balance.

    Not trying to complicate things, but now that I think about it even if I kept that balance in the same spot, the weight each day probably should have been affected by the position of the moon in the sky.

    • Thanks for your response Nate.
      Actually, with your 10,000 $ balance there would be no need at all to go freezing our butt near the poles.
      If my calculations are right, a 10 degrees difference in latitude would suffice ad abundantiam to do the testing (that’s like moving from Minneapolis to Little Rock).
      10 degrees is 1/9 of the latitude range, hence 0,3/9 = 0,0333333333% (isn’t that a nice periodic number?).
      That difference is still about 100 times greater than the systemic error of the balance.

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