“Get skeptical!“

Skepsis is a commonly used word in German. The media, for example, uses it often: “German skepticism about the future of the Euro is increasing.” German skepsis here. German skepsis there. The broad population is always skeptical about things new.

To be skeptical from the outset is a legitimate approach in the German culture. To be skeptical is to be critical-minded. It means to take an objective, distanced view of things. It is neutral. One doesn’t have to take sides.

Germans are critical especially when it comes to their health: gene manipulated food products, electronic smog, chemical fertilizers, technical products which may or may not function properly.

It can appear as if Germans were fearful of all things new. Not true. They are simply aware, perhaps over-aware, of what they don’t know or of which questions remain unanswered. Germans will often say “Let’s not badmouth everything. Let’s just remain skeptical.” So how do Germans view the future? With a healthy portion of skepsis.