Friday, 2 April 2010

A year of skepticism

If you had asked me a year ago what I would be doing in a years time, I wouldn't have guessed correctly. Perhaps I would have estimated I'd still be working for Slave masters plc. - trying to please those above me so I could earn a place higher up the chain. I would have been wrong though because I walked out of that job after two years of bullying. I have too much self respect to stay in a place that makes me psychologically ill and I'm still recovering from that a whole year on.

I wouldn't have even made a guess at my involvement with the highly popular podcast; righteous indignation - because it was in May of 2009 that we made our first ever (cringe worthy) episode. Thousands of listeners later and the show is going from strength to strength. I've made loads of great skeptical friends and people are listening to what I say and it's great and scary all at the same time. Becoming involved with RI was a chance that was thrown my way by Trystan nearly a year ago and I thought "why not?" and I am so glad I did.

In the past year I have learnt some very vital lessons about skepticism and critical thinking; I've managed to come to understand logical fallacies and how we're not all safe from using them in our day to day lives. A year ago I didn't understand the huge impact anti-vaccination groups have and I didn't know half of the problem that is alternative medicine. Since a year ago though I have spoken publically about skepticism to around two hundred people (and I got cornered by the spiritualist afterwards, which made it worth while), I've interviewed people that I never dreamed I would talk to, I've made friends with people I had admired for a long time, I've developed the ability to challenge things that I know are wrong such as promotion locally of dangerous health advice, I've build a local health directory that shows the truth about the multitude of alt-med available in my town to counter the huge promotion of bullshit on a local level, I've overdosed on homeopathy in a mass protest, I've had people knock on my front door to tell me they agree with me (thanks, if you're reading)and apparently I've inspired other people to become more vocally skeptical. It's been an amazing year and I've learnt so much about the world around me, not to mention myself.

I'm just an average person that you wouldn't look twice at when I'm walking down the street; I don't have any major qualifications or an amazingly successful career - however, I don't believe you need these things to be happy, unless of course they are what make you happy.

The biggest thing I have learnt in the past year is that one person can make a huge difference, no matter how insignificant it might be. You just have to keep yourself in check; keep yourself up to date with information and keep at whatever it is you are trying to do. The thing I love most about the skeptic community is that not knowing something isn't a weakness, as long as you are willing to ask and learn about it. There are always people out there willing to help you and it's wonderful.

Gosh, I seem to have gone all sentimental and I apologise. This blog post was spawned from a morning of pondering what has come to pass in the last year. I didn't realise it was so much until then and it sort of blew my crazy little mind.

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