Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Subjectivity of Defining The Paranormal

The Surrealism of Realism By Way of A Competition or
Whats Wrong With This Picture?

Pretense and Theory
Some firmly believe as an act of religious faith that the paranormal does not exist. The setting of rules for the possible as a bulwark that is constituted by a defensive psychology more so than a demonstrable reality is one of the ironic hallmarks of uncertainty. Gregory Bateson once opined that how our species thinks and how nature operates are two entirely different affairs. Depending on which physicist's calculations you prefer, we live in strings bubbles or a hologram whose source is unknown. Perhaps I should call this series of posts, "Back To Basics"
In the battle between the empirical science community and the paranormal community can one be be a conscientious objector? Each side claims victory lacking a conclusive argument while neither side realizes that in this game, one hand is washing the other in a cooperative movement in competition to pin the tail on the donkey while the donkey is missing in action.
Both the scientific community and the paranormal community seemingly exist in a world dictated by their own terminology in what Robert Anton Wilson categorized as variants of "naive realism" in that with science, by repetition, blurs the line between theory and fact as does the paranormal community strictly on the basis of contingencies that become pseudo guidelines of consensus subject to a deeper scrutiny.
You can choose these pseudo terms of science that are theoretical and compare them to the equally lofty use of expressions such as "vortex " or "demon" or "UFO" which completely lack specitivity in their architecture... a sort of free floating dictionary. A verb describing an unknown noun. A majority of Ufologists have defined the study of their subject to be extraterrestrial, again, as a matter based upon what they appear to be and that is where the matter rests despite no verifiable evidence to support this faith. Skeptics rightfully point this out that in essence discards other unknowns in the dualisms built into a theology that revolves around a straw dog. One theology versus another that has the worn garnishment and patina of religious orthodoxies that revolve around uncertainty which both have managed to banish other options with an evangelistic fever. One could easily observe this to be a dead heat on a merry go round. A certain Biblical metaphor seems apt in terms of a architectural critique.

No Middle Ground
One could say both affirmed para-normalists and skeptics largely make up stuff as they go along within the long view of history whose attics are filled to capacity with straw dogs and red herrings. Looking back while ruminating on where the journey takes us is a relationship that defies rationality as well as probability in terms of our intents, motivations and more importantly, any outcome swayed by these factors, as subject to change as the weather. Perhaps I should re-title this post as the memoirs of an agnostic. Can one be skeptical of the scientific community in the same breath as applying this to the paranormal community?
One could say how we define reality is a matter of taste. One could also say the same applies to para-normality. To define accurately what is paranormal as a matter of comparison and contrast we need a solid footing to push up against in trying to create a accurate architecture. One could say our confidence by consensus as to what constitutes a solid footing is subject to unpredictability and change as they say, being a constant. Change more accurately outlined within the confinement of the probable as we define it. Some things about human nature are so obvious as to elude any cognizance of their presence. One could go so far as to say this is a chief characteristic of our species.
There are some who have attempted to measure the processing velocity and capability of the human mind, and if the latest measurements are correct, it’s enough to make one’s jaw drop in astonishment not only in terms of what our evolution has created in us as a species, but the degree to which we are unaware of those same processes that are alleged to create our generically named self awareness.
We ourselves have defined self awareness without knowing what it is.
"Wait a minute..that's not supposed to happen" is the result. Circle the wagons.

That Nasty Unpredictability
Again some things are obvious while others are not. Most chose to look away in order to dream themselves into a comfortable platform of observation free from contradiction which seems to be another hallmark of our species.
Some have said that if these parameters were matched by computation alone and placed into a synthetic rather than organic set of hardware and software, you have artificial intelligence as a autonomous device. However, I cannot imagine that all of this computational power would only result in a zombie that could parrot sentience. That is to say, giving the surface appearance by algorithms while not being linked by nature to the quantum realities we are entangled in especially the mind itself as it is nearly impossible to imagine that we have some strange immunity from that which permeates all of matter as it is constituted. Of course science focuses on the repeatable in measurement on a strictly set basis of parameters that in of themselves are subject to change or being altogether discarded in the flux of what we discover is probable as opposed to what we once thought of possible within an architecture somewhat like the machinery of a fine tuned watch or the set choreography of a ballet, only to find ultimately that the universe is stubbornly unpredictable.

A Matter of Taste
Of course Zombies as a literary and theatrical metaphor are extremely in vogue as I write this as a parable of our species devouring itself  differentiated by zombie intelligence versus sentience and then there is Ouspensky in the background making the statement man is a machine of a much more global process. Some suggest we are energetic food, a cuisine for the appetite of planetary evolution created as a self harvesting crop. The crop in particular being rotated in geological history.
A more stoic approach is to say we don't know if we are zombies or sentient or both. An admixture in play against future generations, replications and mutations.
We are awash in prosaic paranormality inasmuch as no one has defined the origin let alone the nature of what we assume is our consciousness which is one of the fulcrums of this blog as a matter of exploration which to my way of thinking bears on the nature of what we do call openly
the exceptions to our self created rule book of consensus terms as paranormal whereas I would love someone to describe exactly what normal is. In reading the synopsis of Terry Gilliam’s latest film, he appears to think our version of reality as practiced is akin to surrealism.
How do we define imagination, let alone it’s purpose? Opinions vary. Some suggest it is a means to becloud our realization of our position and orientation by our imagining in our self image to be what we are not. Some would suggest it’s a process of nature itself within creation and that it is a signet of evolution within the parallel realities akin to a spectrum of visible and invisible light as the universe is imagining what it, itself may be.
What exactly is now? Rick Phillips and myself think there is no “now”. Never has and never will be.

All of this has a influence on how we manipulate the term “paranormal.” which is more of a cultural artifact than it is a reality meaning that it is ( in my view) a subjective term.


  1. If the definition of now is an empty still life, then the rest probably would just be on it's own, and try most everything to make whatever sense or nonsense to form an alliance with whatever narrative exists.
    Maybe the dynamic of nothing and whatever is lack of irony.
    I guess that depends on how comfortable one becomes with the idea of madness being rational over time.

  2. Anon
    Your comment read like a surrealist excursion.