I’ve met many people who think being skeptical is part of their innate personality. In fact, I often hear pride in their voice when they say, “Well, you know I am a skeptic”—as though ongoing skepticism was a true part of their DNA.
Yet, when I hear someone claim to be a skeptic, I actually hear that as a red flag of an underdeveloped pons—even though it’s unlikely the person has ever made this connection.
Why would I make such a claim? Well, first of all, people with an underdeveloped pons are still wired to be in a hyper-vigilant state—which means they’re always on the look-out for a possible threat and danger. Such people are also more likely to react (before pondering and reflecting on whatever is happening), have distorted fears, and resist change.
So, a person who’s automatically skeptical about anything new and different is acting as though everything “out there” is always suspect. That’s why they need to be so wary, right?
Of course, that kind of distorted thinking then infers that the rest of us—those who do not view ourselves as skeptics—are all naïve. In other words, skeptics must think they’re somewhat superior to others since they’re ensuring that they’ll never be deceived (since they’re automatically skeptical) while the rest of us are just sitting ducks for all the con artists and liars and thieves in the world. Yet, it’s that distorted fear of being duped that fuels their skepticism in the first place.
Well, then how do people with a well-organized brain process information about anything new and different? First, they’re open to hearing it without judgment. After all, there is no danger or threat in doing that. If warranted, they seek additional information.
Next, they reflect on what they’ve learned in order to decide whether the information resonates with their prior experiences. They then consider, based on what their intuition tells them, if whatever they’re exploring might be a “fit” for them or not. If they conclude the information has not been persuasive, then they’re done—but not necessarily because they think whatever they’re exploring is nefarious. Simply, they’ve decided that whatever they were pondering was not congruent with how they think is best to move forward—again, for them.
That’s because a person with a well-organized brain remains open to the possibility that others may still benefit greatly from whatever they did not choose for themselves. In other words, when looking at the bigger picture (another sign of a well-organized brain), not everything in life is a one-size-fits-all deal.
When people with a well-organized brain decide that information they’ve been exploring resonates with them, they now have the confidence to give whatever a whirl (i.e. act on it)—and they do so without being particularly attached to the outcome. They’ll engage with curiosity, rather than a “you need to prove it to me” mindset.
In fact, people with a well-organized mind “get” that having faith is actually an action, rather than a thought—and that we all (including the skeptics) act on faith every day. For example, none of us know with absolutely certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow.
And yet, we act today as though that were already true. If we didn’t have that faith, we’d spend today very differently.
Okay, suppose we move forward on something, but it does not actually turn out as we hoped. Well, that’s hardly a reason to now doubt everything else in the future. In fact, those kinds of experiences create a better organized brain because they become rich opportunities to “wrap myelin” (a great outcome in the brain that results from a little struggle) that then helps us to learn how to tweak our analysis skills. But skeptics miss out on all that—and a whole lot more.
Now, I realize that skeptics, by their very nature, will likely dismiss the possibility that their skepticism might be in any way related to incomplete lower brain development. They may even feel it necessary to defend a universal need for skepticism or cast doubt on my own credibility since I’m the one suggesting that they may have incomplete lower brain development.
But from my vantage point, those reactions would just underscore my original perception that such responses come more from the pons rather than the cortex. Simply, if we were responding in our cortex, we’d be open to learning more about pons development before making a decision on whether the information was valid or not.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging those who identify themselves as skeptics. They can view the world any way they choose—for as long as they like. Truly.
I only present the possibility of a connection between skepticism and incomplete lower brain development because I honestly think it’s a much nicer world when we’re functioning in it with a well-organized brain. So if even just one skeptic decides to learn more about lower brain development after reading this post . . . then I’m good.