Wednesday, 2 March 2016


By Heather de Wit – Founder of Inspiring South Africans – INSPIRING SOUTH AFRICANS

The Skeptic

The Skeptic - also spelt Sceptic - is generally any questioning attitude towards unempirical knowledge or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, a method of intellectual caution and suspended judgement.
Also an attitude of doubt regarding claims or a disposition to incredulity, that are taken for granted elsewhere. Skeptics may even doubt the reliability of their own senses.
Skepticism is often separated into categories related to morality - right or wrong - or religion - religious doubt -  or the nature of knowledge - there is no knowledge beyond how things appear.

Some definitions of the Skeptic

·         Philosophical skepticism is a systematic approach that questions the notion that absolutely certain knowledge is possible.
·         Classical philosophical skepticism derives from the 'Skeptikoi', a school who ‘asserted nothing’. 
·         Religious skepticism, on the other hand, is ‘doubt concerning basic religious principles, such as immortality, providence, and revelation’.
·         Scientific skepticism is about testing beliefs for reliability, by subjecting them to systematic investigation using the scientific method, to discover empirical evidence for them.
·         Legal skeptism is a branch of jurisprudence, an essence, a critique of the natural law theories and of the legal positivism.

Sometimes the word skeptic can be perceived as a rather harsh word and at other times it fully resonates. We move in and out of skepticism as human beings, driven by the senses, the heart or by the head.

Quite simply – when choose to assume the role of the skeptic, we don’t believe what we are hearing or seeing to be true, to be a fact, a reality and more especially when we are feeling vulnerable.


The general perception of vulnerability is that it is weakness. However, it is absolutely at the core of fear, anxiety, shame and every emotion we experience and it is also the birthplace of love, belonging, of creativity, of faith.

We’re actually losing our capacity and tolerance for vulnerability, because joy actually becomes almost foreboding. It’s much easier to live a disappointed life, than to admit being vulnerable – We numb it out.

Vulnerability is the state of being open to injury, or appearing as if you are. It might be emotional, like admitting that you are in love with someone, who might only like you as a friend, or it can also be literal, like the vulnerability of a soccer goal that is unprotected by any defensive players.

Vulnerability refers to the inability of a system or a unit, to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.

A window of vulnerability - WoV - is a time frame within which defensive measures are diminished, compromised or lacking.

Social Vulnerability

Social vulnerability is one dimension of vulnerability to multiple stressors, the agent responsible for stress and shocks, including abuse, social exclusion and natural hazards.  Social vulnerability refers to the inability of people, organizations and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple stressors to which they are exposed. These impacts are due in part to characteristics inherent in social interactions, institutions, and systems of cultural values.

Cognitive Vulnerability

A cognitive vulnerability, in cognitive psychology, is an erroneous belief, a cognitive bias or pattern of thought that is believed to predispose the individual to psychological problems. It is in place before the symptoms of psychological disorders start to appear, after the individual encounters a stressful experience, the cognitive vulnerability shapes a maladaptive response that may lead to a psychological disorder.  

In psychopathology, cognitive vulnerability is constructed from schema models, hopelessness models and attachment theory. Attentional bias is one mechanism leading to faulty cognitive bias that leads to cognitive vulnerability. Allocating a danger level to a threat depends on the urgency or intensity of the threshold.

The World today

The reality today is that we are living in a very fast-paced world, with information streaming in at a phenomenal pace, via the Internet, mainstream Media and Social Media and so on, where we can very quickly and easily be swept into believing untruths and buy into unhealthy mindsets with convincing mind control techniques by all these and other mediums.

Many of us live in a culture where there is not enough, the big diverse divide is a reality, it’s not safe enough, we are not good enough, we are not extraordinary enough. Somehow an ordinary life has become synonymous with a meaningless life and we are missing what is most important, because we are on this journey we believe is extraordinary, not understanding that it is in the ordinary moments of our lives, where we can find the most joy !

How do we thrive on the planet as Skeptics and Vulnerable human beings ?

No quick or final answers here I’m afraid … a few thought to ponder on …

·         Don’t believe everything you see or read  
·         Research all you can before assuming it to be true or judging it
·         Tap into your intuition and inner genius
·         Listen to your inner child
·         Surround the situation with loving, positive energy
·         Surround yourself with people who are on the same mission and you are
·         Allow more joy, love and gratitude into your life
·         Stop, breathe listen

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