Are WE what is holding us back from getting answers?
Belief in the paranormal has been around for centuries, and yet we are still no closer to answers. We are far more skeptical than our ancestors who were certainly a lot more spiritual and faith based as a general society than we are now. I have to wonder if our human nature and attitudes is what is actually holding us back from getting answers?
If we did find the answers and we had it on paper endorsed and stamped that it was scientifically proven for example that we live on after death or can exist in some other dimension, will our human nature eventually try to take advantage of this? Knowledge is power and human natures does not always cope well with power. Knowing there maybe something better awaiting on the other side, will some try to speed up the process toward the next step? Will people try to mess with natural laws? People can be capable of some terrible things, especially for their own gain. Would this be any different? Will some be driven in a quest to 'live forever'? We even see certain behaviours already in the paranormal field of some individuals treating it more as an ego driven exercise than a pursuit of the truth. Is this a warning sign? Perhaps for our very own 'protection' it is better in a lot of ways to not know some things. On the spiritual side of things, I hear people tell me that there are certain 'rules' on the other side that are governed by some sort of council. In fact I know a lot of people who tell me that 'spirits' can tell us the day we are going to die, except their law says that they can't. I suppose in a lot of ways it makes sense that if we have certain natural and physical laws (im not talking criminal laws), the afterlife or other dimensions would like have some form of these laws as well. Perhaps we are able to get a glimpse but not the full picture, because we cannot be trusted with this knowledge. As humans, could we be trusted with that 'power'?
Our brains are capable of so much, this we already know. Our brain processes information in ways that science cannot always recreate and cannot measure. While there is a lot that we can explain, there is so much that we are yet to understand. The human brain though is not fallible and much like power can be the down fail of human nature, ego can be equally damaging. If we refuse to open our minds to other possibilities, how are we able to move forward as a field? If we are unwilling to acknowledge and correct our shortcomings, can we move forward?
Are we setting ourselves up before we even begin?
We as investigators talk about evidence and data and how significantly important it is in how we collect and interpret this information. The problem is, often we use this data to concentrate on validating reported paranormal phenomena instead of looking at the phenomena itself. How do we know what we are reading in terms of data sets when we don't fully understand it's connection to paranormal phenomena in the first place? Yes we goto locations and measure statistics on things like temperature because the general theory in the paranormal field is that if a spirit is manifesting, it will produce a cold spot or a drop in temperature. Or what about the readings we take of 'EMF' because for some reason we seem to believe that a spirit either emits EMF or can somehow manipulate the field. I am led of course to ask the question, who exactly came up with these theories? Why are we blindly measuring this information without actually know what specifically to look for? You may say if there is a 10 degree change in temperature that is significant enough to consider it to be paranormal. What about the difference of temperature in each room? What about certain items retaining heat? What about the fact that people feel the 'cold' differently. What about the ultimate fact that the laser pointer thermometers that a lot people use to measure this information are actually incapable of measuring a 'cold spot' because they only read a surface? While some people do collect data using loggers etc, it still means that there is a lot of data out there that is being measured incorrectly. If we are gathering data incorrectly in the first place, it is insignificant before we even begin. For arguments sake, true controlled EVP sessions should really be done in a sound proof recording studio as this is the only way you can say without a fraction of doubt that there is no outside influence possibly contaminating the recording. This of course is quite impossible in most instances so where does it leave us? Does this mean we are we setting ourselves up to fail before we even begin?
Do we overcomplicate things?
The longer we have been investigating, the more confident we become. Our beliefs and viewpoints will change many time and we can at times actually fall into a bit of an overconfident comfort zone and we can start to overcomplicate things. When we have this 'comfort zone', even debunking a certain piece of evidence can sometimes turn into an elaborate theory of a series of events. In some ways while there is a possible natural explanation, it almost seems to be more unlikely than it being something paranormal because it has become so elaborate and complicated. We investigate with 3 large kits of equipment, is it really all needed for a 3 hour investigation? Are we trying to make things too complicated? What if were to apply Occam's razor to our process?
Occam's (Ockham's) Razor
Occam's Razor stems from philosopher William of Ockham.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem - More things should not be used than are necessary.
William of Ockham
It works with the pretense and is used a lot in science that when you are presented with two different explanations, the simplest is more likely to be true. It in essence tells us to keep it simple. It tells us not to over complicate things and focus on the theory that works best based on the circumstances in front of us.
‘Occam’s razor is summarized for our purposes in this way: Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.’
William J. Hall - Paranormal author
It is used as a benchmark when hypothesizing or 'coming up with theories' which is a large backbone of what we do as paranormal investigators, or more to the point, what we should be doing. I really believe that some people investigating the paranormal, don't really know what it is they are looking for. They copy what they see on TV or what they see others do yet I don't really know if they truly know what they are looking for. We need to be asking questions and looking down different paths. William the Ochkam used this principle to justify many conclusions, including the statement that "God's existence cannot be deduced by reason alone."
Why can't this be used when it comes to the paranormal?
Keep it simple
Strip back the tech and simplify the techniques we use during an investigating. Let's get back to the basics. Sometimes we can also overcomplicate things too much when it comes to the things we theorize to the point that we can't effectively test or experiment with it because it is just too complicated. Sometimes we modify or create an 'experiment' on an investigation to the point we don't even know what we are doing anymore because there are too many steps to follow or too many variables to look for. When you start simple, as you collect data or 'evidence' it in turn then starts to add the details and more complex information to the hypothesis and all on it's own, it evolves. It also means we can look at our methods of collection. I don't think given the environments that we investigate in that we can ever do a proper scientific investigation, it is just impossible. We know there is some sort of phenomena out there, or we wouldn't be here. Perhaps we may never know what this phenomena is and maybe as human's we are not meant to know. Perhaps it will always remain a mystery, but at least we can enjoy the journey looking.
Nature operates in the shortest way possible.
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If you enjoy this, check out the Supernatural Synchronicty series I wrote with fellow blogger Ashley Knibb