The skeptic as the consumer

If there should someone who's termed a 'healthy' consumer, then he must be one who brings a fair amount of belief and skepticism when faced with a purchase. A steep inclination to either belief or skepticism can be termed 'unhealthy'. Its the balance that's critical to consumer purchases.

Let me illustrate. When faced with an advertising claim, its healthy to be a bit skeptical. That provokes enquiry. Which helps in bettering purchase decision making. Extreme skepticism on the other hand is what spawns the likes of Naomi Klein and 'No Logo'. The converse illustration is the almost reverential submission by followers to con artists in the guise of god men. These are the 'extreme' believers who don't tolerate any contradiction to their blind beliefs.

The believer is a marketer's delight. The skeptic poses a dilemma. In fact its the extreme skeptics I want to talk about. Immune to any belief, they question everything that requires faith. They need reasons to believe. Marketers must give them that. And in a manner that suits their psyche.

Skeptics may in all probability be rationalists who seek evidence. If it isn't there, they wouldn't subscribe. In fact its interesting the way Scott Peck talks about them (read, secularists) when he describes the issue of dreams, of God and of grace and revelation. He states;

'Why are so many immune to the evidence-that still small voice and our dreams, among other things-of grace and revelation? I believe there are two primary reasons. One is that people are threatened by change. Most with either a fundamentalist or secular mindset are simply not likely to be open to the evidence that could call their mindset into question. The other is that there is something particularly frightening about seriously acknowledging God for the first time. With the dethronement of one's ego involved in favor of putting God in the lead of our lives, there is a distinct loss of control (as there was in coming to terms with my own recounted "big dream" of God doing the driving).

For many secularists, the rejection of any evidence of God is not simply a neutral or passive sort of phenomenon. It is common these days to speak, for example, of addicts and others who reject massive evidence of their problem as being "in denial". Such denial is a fiercely active psychological process. In this respect, I believe we can think of some secularists as being addicted to their secularism. No amount of challenging evidence is going to change their minds. It isn't simply that they don't have the same access to God as everyone else has' it is that they have chosen to avoid and deny it'


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