Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Skeptometer. John Of ’Worke introduced me to this wonderful term. It seems that one of the deplorable results of our indoctrination-style school curriculum these days is that people have not learned how to be appropriately skeptical. (I won’t even get into how easy that makes the advertisers’ jobs!!) Basically, as we gain experience we start to learn who we SHOULDN’T believe unconditionally. We look for inconsistencies. We learn to look for signs that might indicate closer examination is warranted. I guess this is one of the elements of wisdom. And it is why we expect that people who are young don’t have fully functionional skeptometers. – and why we expect adults to gain accuracy on their skeptometers as they become seasoned with life. The term itself is brilliant. In one word I can communicate with my friends the whole idea. And it is simple code to refer to someone who’s skeptometer is broken. To refer to my skeptometer pointing to redline as I am hearing a story related via email (about, for instance, someone from a small African nation that wants me to help them recover their lost millions…)

Closely related, perhaps, is the fact that TAC graduates have come to be known by the phrase “careful readers of text” by many in the higher education world. And I believe it is used in an attempted pejorative way sometimes. But I wear the title as proudly as that of “geek”. I would not surrender the tendency to be a “careful reader of text” – in fact I work to maintain it. The tendency is what helps sharpen my skeptometer! It was funny to hear it for the first time because, again, the term describes the situation elegantly and accurately. The method at TAC, of course, includes plenty of calls of “can you cite the text for that Mr. Honey?”

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