Skeptic sensitives support network?
July 9, 2011 1:33 PM   Subscribe

If there are really paranormally gifted people, why aren't they organizing or talking to each other? If there's one person who can see ghosts, and another who's done it longer and knows a bit more, couldn't they share resources? Where do I go to really see why I can read cards without getting my brain probed or signing up for a spiritual faith?

I can read Tarot, for example. It's not like I can see the future, but more than 85% of the time, the cards are genuinely relevant to the question; in my experience, it's not like the cards tell the future, but rather offer insight into the energy suffusing the individual's present, which of course has tendrils reaching into both past and future. How can one explain this rationally? I feel I am self-aware enough to notice if I'm 'stretching' or pushing the archetypes to fit, but I'm not. There are definitely times when I get a reading that makes no sense to me (usually when the question is flippant or there's something silly about the whole concept).

Then there's stuff like this article in the NYTimes, where a person sees ghosts and recounts their ability in such a believable and matter-of-fact way that-- combined with the presence of other such accounts-- makes it really difficult to simply discount this, if you have an open and rational mind.

What concerns me is if there's a way to explore this stuff-- the paranormal-- without edging into either rationalist (that is, pseudo-scientific sensationalism) or quasi-religious belief systems. I'm skeptical about the reductive, sensationalist approach characterized by those ghostbuster TV shows and the scientific cranks who start testing people's ability to bend spoons, and also the faith-based approach of actual believers, pagans and other religious practitioners, etc. FWIW, I'm an atheist.

I don't think the Tarot thing means I'm a 'sensitive' or have any special gifts; it is my belief that the universe is... psyche-reality entangled, for lack of a better term. My only gift is simply imagination, making connections and interpreting symbols, which is why Tarot is a good fit for me; the individual and the universe are there to be read through any number of mediums (including conversation). However, I think others' gifts are more directly entangled with the universal hard-wiring, and theoretically all sorts of things are possible. I definitely think some people see ghosts, people who are sane. If there's an underground aside from the magickal community (which is heavily invested in its own beliefs), I haven't found it.


So is there another pathway?

Full disclosure: I'm a fantasy/sci-fi fan, and have probably read too many books, so I am both skeptical of my own desire to believe, and of my tendency to imagine there must be 'an answer'. Maybe no one has a clue and everyone is flying blind. Has anyone heard of any organization, large or small, that exists to support as well as research, and that-- ideally-- functions as a communications network among genuinely 'gifted' people? Have I just read too much fantasy fiction after all?
posted by reenka to Religion & Philosophy (29 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
It is pseudoscience.

Human beings naturally enjoy making connections between seemingly relevant things, whether they turn out to be relative or not. You probably just want to be believe in that stuff, so you fantasize about it. We all want our fantasies to come true.

I want to go to Heaven when I die, and when I am there I want to be able to tour all space, time, and history at my leisure all while smoking a regenerative blunt of special supernatural heaven-engineered mechabud.
posted by TheRedArmy at 1:42 PM on July 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


I think you may read too much fiction. The reason schools or institutions for helping people with paranormal gifts don't exist is because the gifts don't stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Institutionalizing the paranormal would make it much more obvious to the general public that there really isn't anything there, so the hucksters have a financial motivation for keeping things vague and unorganized.

Or else, you know, it *is* happening in a government lab somewhere.

I think things like Tarot and cold-reading can be very interesting (and helpful to people!) without relying on the supernatural.
posted by auto-correct at 1:50 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


A lot of this comes from confirmation bias.

There was a classic demonstration of this done by James Randi. He got the students in one high school class to give him their birthdays. Went away, came back later, and handed each of them a horoscope.

They all read them, and he asked them if the horoscopes were accurate at describing them. They all agreed that they were.

Then he had everyone swap horoscopes -- and they all discovered that they'd all been given exactly the same one.

Successful fortune tellers learn how to tell people things they want to hear, and to describe people in terms which seem individual but actually are generic. People who want to believe will be convinced.

Tarot turns out to work the same way.

I can read Tarot, for example. It's not like I can see the future, but more than 85% of the time, the cards are genuinely relevant to the question; in my experience, it's not like the cards tell the future, but rather offer insight into the energy suffusing the individual's present, which of course has tendrils reaching into both past and future. How can one explain this rationally?

The answer is that tarot cards are simply a set of symbols, very broad symbols, and all of them are "relevant" if you want them to be, or believe them to be.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:50 PM on July 9, 2011 [25 favorites]


I don't think the Tarot thing means I'm a 'sensitive' or have any special gifts; it is my belief that the universe is... psyche-reality entangled, for lack of a better term. My only gift is simply imagination, making connections and interpreting symbols, which is why Tarot is a good fit for me; the individual and the universe are there to be read through any number of mediums (including conversation).

This makes it seem like you don't actually believe anything paranormal is going on. You seem to imply that even I can read tarot, or have conversations, or use my imagination, or whatever, in order to "not like...see the future" but to gain "insight into the energy suffusing the individual's present."

That sounds like mundane reality described using some woo-woo newagey terminology.
posted by General Tonic at 2:00 PM on July 9, 2011


I don't really want to get into a whole thing 'defending' Tarot, let alone my own tiny experience with it, since I already admitted I don't think it's supernatural on my end, but:

Successful fortune tellers learn how to tell people things they want to hear, and to describe people in terms which seem individual but actually are generic.

I don't do this. For one thing, I have only done it with people I know well (my friends), since I'm always depending on my knowledge of them for choosing interpretations. But that's at most 50%. For another, I know (since I'm doing it), the reading isn't generic, and I also am self-aware enough to know I'm not stretching or simply "wanting them to be", since sometimes I fail to make that leap. That part is most subjective, of course: how can you know, or why would you believe me? I'm just saying, I don't have a lot invested in the linkages, and experience learning from the process myself. It just seems more complicated than confirmation bias. I'm sure that's often a factor, of course, since it's human beings we're talking about. I guard against it to some degree, though I'm sure some sneaks in. Doesn't explain the results to me, though. I think the symbols are broad, but not broad enough to explain the results, quite.

Anyway, I'm not satisfied with a totally rational explanation of Tarot (that is, pure symbol reading) since the cards are mostly random. Note, I don't think it's 'magic' or a special gift. But neither does it seem valid if all the symbols were interchangeable or 'equally true'. That sort of defeats the point of archetypes, really. It's that hanging uncertainty that I want to explore, without saying it's magic and without explaining it through my own perception.


I don't think anyone can read Tarot-- for instance, my friend tries and isn't very good at it. Not everyone's good at interpreting symbols imaginatively, especially not rational-minded folks. The thing I think is interesting about it is that the cards are relevant as often as they are, not any reader's ability to read them. You can explain it-- if by 'explain' you mean deny it-- but to me it's more interesting to simply leave a little bit of room to not know what's going on.
posted by reenka at 2:04 PM on July 9, 2011


[Please stick to a narrow interpretation of this question and stick with "where can I find other people to talk with this about" and not "Is Tarot reading real" please. OP, please don't make this a place where you defend Tarot either, thanks]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:07 PM on July 9, 2011


The JREF has a long-standing offer: If you can demonstrate a supernatural ability in a scientifically rigorous way (i.e., a controlled experiment), they'll give you $1,000,000. No one has ever claimed this prize.

You want to believe, so you're very receptive to the idea of the woman who can see ghosts --- but there's no evidence of her claim in that NYT article besides the woman's own word. Which is more likely: A woman who can see ghosts, or a fraud who consoles the living by visiting the graves of their beloved deceased? It doesn't help that the article is a credulous fluff piece.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" is an oft-quoted motto in the skeptical community. Tarot cards can be widely interpreted to fit any situation; that you're good at it shows that maybe you're good at reading people --- emotions, body language, facial expressions --- but that doesn't require a supernatural mechanism. This is one of the basic skills involved in cold reading. Nothing magical about it, and it can be very convincing, especially to those who are already inclined to believe.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:12 PM on July 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


>So is there another pathway?

The obvious one:

Set up a forum on the topic, and do it yourself. This way you can set the parameters, criteria, and filters that you personally believe are appropriate.

Maybe everyone who joins will be self-deluded, or trolling, or otherwise not-what-you're-looking for.

But hey-- and here's the important part-- maybe not.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:14 PM on July 9, 2011


I think you have a difficult quest. Just beware that the 'teacher' you find does not see you as a meal ticket. There are several non-overlapping possibilities. Occult shops that may have classes, that would probably be best if a class had a pre-defined fee. 'Hobbiests' you may find probably don't have deep expertise even if they seem skillful. Skeptics will just frustrate you. Beware any of the tea rooms, they have only one objective.

I'd suggest Cordina's 13 steps to mentalism it is in the category of 'magic' but his chapter on cold readings has some incredible insights.
posted by sammyo at 2:22 PM on July 9, 2011


reenka, I believe hermitosis is the resident expert on tarot -- he reads them professionally and has posted multiple explanations of how it's supposed to work. You may want to look through some of his past comments or drop him a Mefi Mail message; I'll also let him know about this question and see if he's got anything to say about your take on it.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:27 PM on July 9, 2011


What concerns me is if there's a way to explore this stuff-- the paranormal-- without edging into either rationalist (that is, pseudo-scientific sensationalism) or quasi-religious belief systems.

Are you just trying to go camping and tell ghost stories?

Because if you don't want to analyze it scientifically (our only dependable way of validating phenomena), or ply it with faith (the socially-acceptable way of bypassing the necessity of facts), I don't know what you've left but blind, superficial ritual.

The only aspects that -- as far as I can tell -- aren't disqualified are the motions of the practice, and non-judgementally following its internal logic. That'd be the only way to avoid statements about belief (faith) or questions of mechanisms (science).

That's how I'd define the goal, but fulfilling it seems rough. I think (in spite of the tarot stuff, which I'll bite my tongue on) your love of science fiction might be the only thing extensible here. Discussions of fiction allow for all of the internal logic to be explored, ideally without actually assuming the beliefs or subjecting them to scientific rigor.
posted by evil holiday magic at 2:35 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only aspects that -- as far as I can tell -- aren't disqualified are the motions of the practice, and non-judgementally following its internal logic.

Hm, yes, internal logic.

I guess I'll put it this way: I'm non-dualist but ultimately wedded to reason. In practice, this means that I often think rational explanations aren't useful because not enough data is available to make useful theories. Therefore, I'm more interested in gathering data, as non-judgmentally as possible, yes. I'm ok with a 'soft' (social-science level or even folklorist, yeah) approach; I think too often things get cut off by people who're prejudiced by certain assumptions about the universe. I think this happens to scientifically-minded and religious folks alike in different directions.

I'm not interested in the motions of practice alone, though, since they are not illuminating at all. Internal logic is more interesting. By temperament and a bit by training, you can perhaps call me a folklorist. I'm ok with subjecting things to 'scientific rigor', and ideally, that's my end-goal. However, I think that there are multiple ways to approach the stage of 'observation', and context is important (this is why I'm naturally a social scientist, haha). Hard sciences isolate a phenomenon (sometimes ruthlessly) and assume it doesn't exist unless it's consistently reproducible across a range of contexts. Social science and (to some degree) folkloristic approaches at least hint at the idea that some 'real' phenomena are a function of their time/place and context.
posted by reenka at 2:45 PM on July 9, 2011


Even soft sciences don't claim to transcend the boundaries of physics. That'd be kind of like having a psychologist tell you your brain was haunted.

If you want to pursue this, it depends on the narrative you're looking to create:
• x believes a round stone under the pillow will bring prognosticative dreams.
 •• x believes it, but I don't.
•• x believes it, and I do also.
••• we believe it, and I want to practice it.
••• we believe it, and I want to validate it scientifically.

There's one last option that I honestly can't abide, so if it's the case I'll give up and wish you luck.

There's the postmodern relativist approach that deems damn near anything scientifically legitimate by expanding the definition to suit any kind of belief system. For instance, So-and-so in x rain forest believes appeasing y spirit will improve hunting. Their beliefs follow an internal logic, and "work" for them, therefore science is just prejudicial for not welcoming tribal river god theory into its bosom.

I got into a drunken argument with my friend's roommate about this.
posted by evil holiday magic at 2:59 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


In my experience there are spiritualist groups that offer classes on developing your psychic abilities that, whatever the merits, aren't attempts to rip you off (this seems to be a US example, though I don't have any personal experience with them). If you do find a spiritualist group that you're comfortable with, you might want to create a bit of balance by also joining the local chapter of CSI, formerly known as CSICOP so you can approach the paranormal from two very different points of view and see what's helpful to you.

(By the way: if it's symbolism and its potential to assist in personal growth that you're interested in, freemasonry or comasonry might be worth looking into.)
posted by rjs at 3:03 PM on July 9, 2011


[Let's be clear, this question is for asking where to find like-minded people to talk to. This thread is NOT like-minded people to talk to. The map is not the territory and the question is not the answer.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:16 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not like I can see the future, but more than 85% of the time, the cards are genuinely relevant to the question; in my experience, it's not like the cards tell the future, but rather offer insight into the energy suffusing the individual's present, which of course has tendrils reaching into both past and future. How can one explain this rationally?

You're already explaining it rationally--you're an imaginative individual who is good at reading people and social situations and deriving meanings from unrelated symbols. That you're better at this with friends underscores this; that you're unable to do so when given a silly question doesn't suggest that you're doing otherwise the rest of the time. A more rational and intuitive explanation would be, in fact, that these silly questions make you self-conscious and unable to complete the imaginative process of story-telling as you usually would. The Orwellian term doublethink might help you here, as many of your beliefs (ghosts and non-dualism) are, in fact, directly contradictory. I wouldn't feel particularly sad about it, though. The human brain in a marvelous thing in that it can allow us to still believe things are true even when we rationally know better.

I empathize, as I read perhaps way too many books about psychic phenomena as a child, including fictional ones (part of me is still waiting for the Dark Visions trilogy to exist in real life), but when you start to examine a lot of what was considered fringe science of the seventies under a modern, rational lens you find that very little of it is found to hold up to scientific scrutiny. That's okay, though--there are a lot of other "phenomena" in the world that do and are still damned nifty. For example, if you excel at reading people, Paul Ekman's work on microexpressions and facial reading would probably be of use to you, and Ekman actually provides training to improve on it (though even that is controversial, and has its skeptics).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:31 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sent you a mail message here on metafilter with some suggestions.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 3:34 PM on July 9, 2011


You might interested in the work done at a place like the Rhine Research Center. I have met people involved with the project there and while I pretty strongly disagree with the mission they seemed very nice personally as well as at least somewhat skeptically minded.

I want to add, hopefully without running afoul of the bright line jessamyn has laid down here, that the difficulty of finding the very specific union between rationalism and supernaturalism you're looking for may suggest that it just doesn't, or can't, exist.
posted by gerryblog at 3:37 PM on July 9, 2011


One of the reasons there are no institutions for people who are "gifted" that are not spiritual in nature is because an institution needs a framework, and in the real world, any framework you create is likely to be spiritual because you are not talking about anything that is convincingly demonstrable.

What I mean is, in fantasy and sci-fi, you have a framework: Within those created settings, you have at least two things: (1) The gifts are unquestionably real, and (2) The gifts follow at least enough internal logic to allow the application of the institution's training to have a noticeable effect.

This is not the case in the real world. If you bring a dozen people together who believe that they're gifted, they will all have different ideas about how their gifts work. They will have different ideas about how they can be improved, whether they can be improved at all. And because the existence of these gifts is not actually demonstrable in the first place, there's no way to sort out who's right, and no framework for some kind of training/learning program.

Furthermore, because these gifts are not demonstrable and there is no known physical mechanism by which they can work, any framework you invent for them will be spiritual/metaphysical in nature, so any institution that includes the study of these gifts will be a spiritual one. You aren't going to find an institution with a non-spiritual and coherent approach because there is no empirical basis for one.

I think this is something that a person should be able to agree with even if they believe these gifts are real.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:37 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


To clarify, what I mean is that if you take it for granted that "gifted" people exist, it is still the case that they are not understood at all because the things that can be taken as evidence are so scattershot and there is no understanding of how their gifts work. That makes a rational understanding impossible as of now, so you won't find any groups based on one. You also won't find a community for "genuinely gifted" people, because as of now there's no test that can distinguish them from people who just think they're gifted.

There are undoubtedly people out there that think along similar lines to you, however. If you join a Tarot reading community, for example, you may be able to network with some of them, although you will not agree with the community as a whole.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:48 PM on July 9, 2011


What concerns me is if there's a way to explore this stuff-- the paranormal-- without edging into either rationalist (that is, pseudo-scientific sensationalism) or quasi-religious belief systems.

Hi. I'm a lot like you. I read Tarot cards professionally (well, have read them. I've been on hiatus for about a year) and I think I understand the conundrum you're describing.

My response to the bit I have quoted is that it is very dicey terrain, and there's literally no way to reach out into any sort of expansive way. You have to take people on one at a time, building a constellation of people that both affirms and challenges the way you think and practice. You pick your way through one person or experience at a time.

One thing that intensely rationalist and intensely spiritual people have in common is that they are often very damaged people who have experienced profound hurt or betrayal, and have adopted a sort of extreme belief system in response to that as a form of protection. So any sort of group that's devoted to, say, the paranormal, is going to attract a bunch of these types. If you're very sympathetic and gregarious and patient, then these groups may not bother you in the slightest, but if you're like me, you'd rather go solo than identify with a group that you yourself feel alienated by.

I have edged around several Tarot study groups or professional circles, but I always feel incredibly sketchy about them, even when the people seem decent. Partly it's because this is just such a personal thing for me, and I actually don't want to face even subtle expectations of conformity. It's much better when I just know people one-on-one, who I happen to meet along the way. People (especially these kind of people) are messy, in that they're often very unique in lots of challenging ways but also very mundane in some equally challenging ways, and in the end that can lead to disillusionment.

I have heard this referred to as the Left-hand Path -- going it alone, more or less, as opposed to aligning with a group. It is just a different way. Your personal network will grow to include as many people as you can bear; at times you will feel a nagging itch for a new influence, and you will cast the net, and someone will probably happen along and teach you something.

I'd love to suggest that you charter some sort of official group, but again, if you're anything like me you will get bogged down very quickly in determining who shall be involved, and maybe you'll end up just wanting to scotch the whole thing.

Anyhow, feel free to message me if you want to talk more about this kind of thing. Personally I think it's gross that people would try and latch onto your question as an opportunity to run a "woowoo" re-education center.
posted by hermitosis at 3:51 PM on July 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Because if you don't want to analyze it scientifically (our only dependable way of validating phenomena)...

How exactly, then, did we validate science? Certainly not scientifically, or rationally, because that would amount to assuming our conclusion.

One person in my and my partner's circle of friends has sporadically had insights into other people which I have become convinced cannot be explained without resorting to the 'paranormal.' She wants nothing to do with her own abilities, and broke off all contact with me a couple of years ago partly because I didn't stop pestering her about it (though my partner is still her best friend).

You are looking at a particularly weedy and tough row to hoe, because I think a lot of people who have these experiences are frightened of them, maybe with good reason.

I am starting to wonder whether these 'gifts' might not possess a will of their own sometimes, and don't necessarily act in the best interests of those who bear them.
posted by jamjam at 4:41 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


How exactly, then, did we validate science? Certainly not scientifically, or rationally, because that would amount to assuming our conclusion.

Scientific theories are proved wrong all the time; even ones that have had practical applications were shown to be based on inaccurate models. In fact, the whole body of science could be dependent upon assumptions that are fundamentally false. Scientific claims are perpetually tentative, designed to be falsifiable; ideally, an honest scientist welcomes the challenge, even if his/her life had been invested in their wrong conclusions.

That uncertainty is an accepted principle we live with in saying anything about the world. We must beg the question (a fallacy), at least once. If our notions of causality have been based on an incredible series of coincidences, and mass doesn't respond to gravity, the planets aren't really orbiting anything, but following some still unknown encompassing path, then we're paradoxically able to make practical use of our theories, but unable to verify the fundamental nature of reality.

But to be clear: not being able to justify the core basis of an epistemology that's been the sole distinguishing factor that's prevented our extinction invites competing methods of understanding things. It is a dubious exercise to selectively and arbitrarily dismiss the facts that have withstood scrutiny in favor of ill-defined phenomena too scattershot for confirmation (or even falsification), whenever it suits us. In people dealing with psychics, etc,. I'll quote Apocalypse Now: "I don't see any method at all."

Words like paranormal and supernatural only work in contradiction; as negatives to forcibly categorize unverifiable aberrations against inescapable realities. The words, and what they generally describe, have no definition; there's nothing to study.

Along those lines, when someone says something about UFOs, I like to say, "Of course UFOs exist. I don't know enough to ID any aircraft!"
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:12 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Words like paranormal and supernatural only work in contradiction

This is true; I use it for convenience only. What would you call it, though, assuming for a second something like ghosts could be an extant phenomena?

I do feel that the reason why we don't have a method (so far) has been covered well. None of what I'm interested in finding is about contradicting existing facts, which is why this is so difficult both to describe and to find; possibly impossible, but I like impossible things. Ideally, I want to find people who can and do enjoy seeing the possible in the impossible, especially when it's in their personal experience of the world. People who are neither afraid of exploring the abyss of the unknown nor likely to simply jump.

The sort of people that would be nice to find aren't going to go about dismissing the laws of physics (which is silly), but neither would they be bound by what's currently known about said laws of physics. I mean to say, physics and possibility are not at odds, so far as I know, or they would be no science fiction. Is it not possible to find some middle-ground between blind faith and absolute proof in a temporary fashion, in practice? That is, proof is often scattershot for concepts in physics as well.

I agree, however, that the larger problem is that there's no underlying epistemological theory to provide any sort of marker. However, FWIW, I consider this question still open on principle, so if someone wants to come along and tell me I've just not looked in the right place, I'll be waiting.
posted by reenka at 5:32 PM on July 9, 2011


You know, I'm not sure where you are geographically but as you've explained more, you might enjoy the sort of people who hang out at or around the Seattle Metaphysical Library. Some of their stuff seems woo-woo to me, some doesn't. They're nice folks. I have no idea what geographical area you're in but you might want to get in touch with them and see if they know like-minded people in your area.
posted by jessamyn at 6:03 PM on July 9, 2011


I too would recommend your local metaphysical bookstore (or a less-local one, if you don't have a local one) as a source for either good people, or good advice on where to find people or useful groups. I know there are a lot of people who fit your general description; unfortunately sometimes it's hard to find useful common ground between people with different interests or starting points. Because there's this continuum of 'more science' and 'more spirituality' it's hard to find a group that is at the same place other than at the ends, unless they were specifically pushed together toward that spot (certain religious communities, etc). But it should be a way to start meeting people, even if some of them are creepy mystics and some of them are strident skeptics compared to you.
posted by Lady Li at 7:37 PM on July 9, 2011


I have been working on this stuff for a few years. My experience is that most groups are very dicey, and I have tried more than a dozen (Masons, OTO, BOTA, Golden Dawn, Kabbalah, Tantric, &c.) I have read the Rhine books and the Radin books and the Tart books until my eyes glazed over and am almost decided that the view of Michael Polanyi expressed in Personal Knowledge is correct, which is that it is logically fallacious to analyze these phenomena with experimental statistical method. Unfortunately I do not (yet) know enough hardcore Statistics to get past the almost to absolute certainty.

It is a fascinating topic. The thing which I find most fruitful is finding a low base ground state--meditate, rest, avoid media, avoid intoxicants, avoid toxic fake foods, avoid aggressive personalities. The number I see repeatedly is that 10 000 hours of meditation is about the right number before these subtle natures of our reality will manifest. I am only about a half way there and still plugging.

Good luck!
posted by bukvich at 8:50 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


'Paranormal' fishkettles aside, people that have uncommon 'gifts' (especially things that are not staples in fiction, and would not come up in ordinary conversation), do not necessarily realize that other people can't do those things.

"Wait, you mean you don't see sound as color?"
posted by HFSH at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing about science is, if you can't get a consistent result every time-- if every time the mouse pushes a button it gets food-- it doesn't count as proof. This is why any kind of paranormal psychic thing can never be counted as "real" in our world, because it doesn't act in a consistent manner. I've read plenty of books about scientific experiments on this stuff (look for Larry Dossey, Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer, Lynn McTaggart) and research done, so people are trying, but I doubt any possible explanations as to how anything weird like this happens will ever get "proven" without a doubt to the entire world. Annoying, but there it is. Bringing up this topic to the general public will get you no respect and people will think you're a scammer or an idiot, unfortunately.

I don't know of specific tarot resources as to "why this works." Like hermitosis, I do it myself. Could be intuition. Could be "cold reading" (though frankly, I don't really know the technique and that doesn't account for doing readings for people over the Internet terribly well). I do wonder how sometimes when I am using a random Internet tarot reading/oracle that they can come out so accurately for a situation. Shouldn't that be random? Or it could be the archetypes of the psyche. I read a tarot book by E.W. Neville one time that basically said something like that. Who knows.

If you want to PM me for someone to discuss these things with, I am totally up for that.

"I like impossible things. Ideally, I want to find people who can and do enjoy seeing the possible in the impossible, especially when it's in their personal experience of the world. People who are neither afraid of exploring the abyss of the unknown nor likely to simply jump."


Me too. I have had plenty of weird shit happen to me and I am fairly sure that I am not batshit crazy, and god knows I've always been sober when it happened. I look for both spiritual and scientific explanations as best I can. If I could have done the math for it, I would have liked to have gotten a decent science degree or two so I could investigate professionally. I do kind of wonder if those of us who have experienced stuff that most people think is crap should try to do some kind of oh, giant public club or something. Where we all go, "Look, I had this weird thing I can't explain happen to me, but so far I don't seem to be mentally ill. Really. Nor am I trying to scam people." I think it happens more than most people are willing to let on. Call it the "Weird Things Happen (To Me)" Club or something.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:29 PM on July 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


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