The Mind’s Power to Believe It or Not

In looking at the uniformed nature of many belief systems, it seems interesting to explore the possibilities of both beliefs and disbeliefs according to the nature of the individual.  When we look at people who believe in a given thing, they often feel strongly about it despite the fact that emotion may not inherently be a source for proof.  Likewise, disbelief is similarly expressed by individuals who staunchly oppose the concept.  It is perhaps one of the most heartening things for a believer in the paranormal when a heated debate becomes emotional on the part of the skeptic.  If reason were the only tool and faith not a factor, emotion would not enter the equation.  Therefore emotion on the part of a skeptic betrays a sense of of reason overwhelmed by a strong inner faith that such an idea cannot exist.

The greatest known skeptic in the true sense of the word in the world was Charles Fort.  Often when people hear Fort’s name they suggest he was a true believer in the paranormal.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Fort was skeptical of the widely held assumption of the early 20th century that scientific facts, if sufficiently experimented concluded vastly reaching things about the universe that would never be changed.  Throughout his life he collected facts and anecdotes out of fascination with the strange, and often touted his own belief that reason, while incredibly important, could not be as easily discovered as many scientists suggested.  True reason, it seemed, would have to make accommodations for the absurd and incredibly unlikely.  In fact, given the chaos of the universe and its vastness there is a theory in the paranormal field that the perceived impossible is not impossible at all, but merely extraordinarily unlikely.  Given that hard science cannot prove anything through the scientific method with one hundred percent accuracy, but rather can only prove things to the ability and certainty of human perception, it seems likely that Fort was closer to the truth than many of us ever will be.

Of course this doesn’t mean that the whole of science is flawed.  It is the very determination and staunch belief that makes science such a huge success.  Without making concessions, scientists can build upon previously held theories with the assumption that they are correct because they are held to such a high standard before they can be “proven.”  For this reason it’s easy to understand why a subject like the paranormal would be so difficult by nature to prove if they were simply the exceptions to the rule.  Of course observational evidence should still be able to be gathered, but observational evidence is often criticized for its low quality.  Meanwhile, most high quality hoaxes keep the idea that high quality evidence through current means is possible, alive.  Of course these very high quality hoaxes work under the assumption that such evidence is possible and therefore at once reduce the credibility of low quality genuine anomalies being documented that work outside the realm of what is considered by “skeptics” possible.  The very idea that a “skeptic” would have a uniformed opinion of all things paranormal suggests a sort of dogmatic conviction that there is something commonly held (and therefore right) and any deviation is the exception (and therefore wrong.)