by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
There seems to be a certain level of Schadenfreude in the paranormal community. Not everyone, of course, but quite often I come across individuals, entities (not the invisible “boo” kind of entity – the other kind) or groups who seem to delight in the misfortunes of fellow investigators. The investigators I know who are on the receiving end of this are usually left feeling really confused. Why all of the antipathy? Aren’t we all (or shouldn’t we all be) one community working towards the same end?
We see this a lot especially with those who have achieved some level of notoriety or fame. There are those who seem to delight in even a tenuous association with scandal or misfortune. I get it. It has become a cottage industry to make ad hominem attacks on those in public positions. I have no problem with attacking issues with an objective eye to telling all sides of the story. I have a big problem with attacking individuals because it boosts your own notoriety to do so. I’m not just talking paranormal here. I’m talking politics, religion – you name it. We have become a society that not only condones ad hominem attacks, but stands watching eagerly with stones in our hands, ready to toss them without hearing all of the facts. I blogged about this in a recent blog, Enter the Hero.
Witch hunts, of course, have been around for centuries. Bob Davis and I wrote about it in our October issue of Paranormal Underground e-Magazine. How we love to be the villagers with flaming torches shouting “Burn the witch,” certain of our own moral superiority and the moral turpitude of others who don’t believe as we do.
You see it in religion, as well. “My religion is the one true religion. The rest of you douche bags are going straight to hell.” Never once do you hear those on the moral high ground say, “Well huh – maybe we are worshiping basically the same God after all.” Religions fight and attack one another – and have throughout history – in the name of a God that differs from the God of those they are attacking mostly in semantics. I personally have had many come at me in a variety of fashions – both passive and aggressive – because of the version of God that makes the most sense to me. I recall one lovely summer day when an employee actually got in my face and screamed at me that I WOULD go to hell because I was doing it wrong. No – I didn’t fire her. She was just a kid. I’m hoping time has rounded and smoothed some of those rough edges. Plus, seriously, she was – and is – just as entitled to her belief system as I am to mine.
Which brings me back around to the paranormal. I have seen arguments between paranormal groups because one group is trying to investigate one way and the other group doesn’t like it. I have seen turf wars. I’ve seen badmouthing over philosophical differences and differences in interpretations of the findings. And not just polite disagreements. We’re talking disagreements that could lead to restraining orders. Heck – I know of one person in the paranormal community who has received threats of violence (no – it isn’t anyone famous – so no need for speculation). All because of the belief that my way is better than your way.
Paranormal investigation is a field that requires bold new theories. It requires a variety of techniques and methods. And then, ultimately, it requires communication and cooperation between paranormal groups of all shapes, sizes, types and philosophies to get together and share what they have learned. That’s why I really like groups like Paranormal Science and Assistance that provide a place where investigators with different philosophies, techniques, interpretations and findings can all get together and share information and ideas with one another about the paranormal.
Here’s something I learned years ago. There is no right way to do something. There is no wrong way. No one ever holds the moral high ground. Not really. Instead of there being a right way or a wrong way, what there are are the ways that work the best for us. And just because it works well for us as individuals or groups doesn’t mean that our way is better than anyone else’s. It just means that our way is better for us.
There are those who seek to make others wrong because of what they choose to believe or how they choose to be in this world. I believe that the people who do so do it because they are not as fundamentally sure of their own philosophy as they believe themselves to be. And so they attack. Maybe if they slam down the opposition, it will make their own position even stronger. I also believe that if someone chooses to attack or malign me because of my choices and beliefs, it says nothing about who I am and a whole lot about who they are. It certainly doesn’t make either one of us any more right.
It’s taken me years to develop this “water off a duck’s back” philosophy. And a lot of pain. It used to be that every judgment of who I was pierced me like a knife. Occasionally, I still fall prey to a personal attack in the heat of the moment, and it is only after I step back and take stock that I am able to see it for what it really is. The rumblings of one who is unsure of their own place in this universe so they see fit to attack mine.
We are who we are. And that is good enough for me. To those who have different philosophies or beliefs than mine, I welcome them. I’m always willing to hear of another way, another thought, another belief. Who knows – it might even be something that resonates with me. Or, it might not. But in the end, thoughts, philosophies and beliefs respectfully shared leave everyone involved in the sharing better off. Because by knowing what works for you, I have a better understanding of who you are. And that, my friends, is what makes the world go ’round.