by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
I was digging around this morning looking for quotations to use in a project I am doing. One of the quotes that I came across made me think of the paranormal.
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” ~Stuart Chase
While Stuart Chase is no longer around, his true words carry on into perpetuity.
There’s a reason I really like this quote and why it resonates for me. Because it can apply to – well – everything. Religion. Politics. The paranormal. In all of those areas, true believers and true disbelievers are both equally unwilling to hear any arguments or see any proof to the contrary.
I see it a lot in politics, and sometimes the way that this causes people from either side of the spectrum to massage the facts and twist the truth to justify their belief system leaves little old moderate me with my jaw hanging open.
When it comes to the paranormal and religion, this quote defines the opposite of skepticism. So many believe that the skeptics are disbelievers, but that is a misnomer. True skeptics are open-minded. They are the ones who are willing to look at each situation and weigh the evidence in either direction. Sometimes based on that evidence, they can come to a conclusion. More often than not, they can’t.
What is it that causes someone to tilt from middle of the road skepticism to either belief or disbelief? As always, I don’t really know, because I think the answer is highly individual. Anyone who has read my blog here for any amount of time knows this about me: I waver. I’m wishy-washy. I’m a flip flopper.
It’s not that I can’t make up my mind. It’s just that I am always a skeptic. I’ve had experiences that have made me think, “boy howdy ghosts sure do exist.” I’ve seen evidence that, while interesting and anomalous, isn’t absolute proof that ghosts exist. And so I wind up where I always do – looking at each situation as it arises and looking at each piece of evidence as it arises and making judgments based upon what I come across.
Do I believe in ghosts? Mostly. I believe that I’ve had some pretty amazingly interesting experiences. I’ve had some fairly anomalous evidence to back up those experiences. But do I know for a fact that those things are caused by a ghost? Not empirically.
At some point, if I am to fully believe in ghosts, I must make an intuitive leap. I’ve made a pretty big leap. I think that ghosts probably exist. But would I stake my child’s life on it? Nope. The same thing goes for my belief in God. I think I believe – but I know it isn’t based on logic or empirical evidence. It is based on an intuitive leap that I have made.
Within those intuitive leaps lie my hopes, fears, agendas and psychosocial filters. Another person with a different set of hopes, fears and filters might have the exact same experiences and see the exact same evidence and reach an entirely different conclusion.
Even in politics I wind up in the middle. Because I’ve found that when it comes to the extreme ends of any spectrum, it just doesn’t make room for all of the factors that may come into play.
And so as each thing comes along, I weigh it and measure it. Occasionally I have an answer. More frequently, I don’t. This used to bother me – not having an answer. Now I feel differently. I feel that – for me – the questions are more important. Because it is the questions that cause me to seek rather than sitting on my bum eating bon bons, content in the fact that I know all there is to know. Sure – the bonbons sound tasty, but sitting complacent and thinking I know something I don’t just doesn’t cut it for me. Besides, I’m allergic to chocolate.
And so I will ask – knowing that I may never have answers. And that’s okay, because it makes life interesting. If I really knew, then what how would I spend my time? One who is allergic to chocolate can only eat so many bonbons before anaphylaxis sets in.
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