Sunday, May 3, 2009

Define "Normal" or "Natural"

Paranormal...supernatural... the mere mention of the words brings to mind thoughts and imaginings of ghosts, haunted houses, demons, psychics, exorcisms and other eerie foreboding ideas. I find it odd tho, that most people don't really attach the same feelings to other "paranormal/supernatural" things such as angels, or miracles, or even Jesus' rising from the dead (although I'm sure it gave Mary Magdelene a start). Aren't these all things that exist (or are believed and accepted by millions) outside the realm of the everyday? It's amazing to me how much the human mind fears that which it simply does not understand yet when taken out of a safe "context."

Lets look at those two words. We all know what "normal" and "natural" mean - things that we have decided are commonplace and occur regularly enough that we no longer attach anything but a sense that they are "okay." Add the prefixes "para" (which, by the way, means "beyond, past, surrounding, etc.) or "super" (exceeding, above, beyond) and these words take on a completely different and for some people, frightening connotation. In reality tho, the words simply refer to something that is outside the realm of what we have decided is "normal."

Since this is a subject which both fascinates me and makes me feel just a little uneasy, I've spent a lot of time reading about paranormal activity and the supernatural. Am I a believer in the paranormal? Yes, for the most part - for the simple fact that I know that there is still so much out there for us to learn about our existences and the world and universe that we inhabit. And more so, because I'm one of those logical people who can step back and say "just because we can't see or touch something doesn't mean it doesn't exist" - and if we define "normal" as commonplace or naturally occurring with regularity, then perhaps all of these things will someday be deemed "normal."

Remember your history lessons about man's first voyages across the seas and the frightening and supernatural monsters he encountered? The monsters that are today known as giant squid and octopi, and other "normal" forms of marine life. There was a time when epileptics were believed to be possessed by demons - now, medicine has proved that seizure disorder, while not common nor normal, is certainly not supernatural. Even illnesses were once believed to be caused by demons or other-worldly creatures torturing the human body. Today, we know those demons and creatures as tiny microscopic bacteria and viruses - things that existed then as well, but because they could not be seen or understood, were immediately relegated to the realm of supernatural cause. Psycho- or tele-kinesis (the ability to move objects with the power of the mind) was once thought to be a form of witchcraft. Today it has gained a place among the rare, but not exactly abnormal, gifts that certain people are born with.

Ghosts - one of my favorite topics, by the way, since I've had a couple personal encounters. There is just an incredible amount of conjecture and theory about what happens to the human "soul" when one dies (leaves this plane of existence). Scientific studies (which I realize many are trying to debunk) show that at the time of death, the average human body experiences a weight loss of approximately 21 grams - weight that cannot be explained away through sweating or any other "normal" phenomenon. Is this the soul leaving the body? We haven't found a way to tell for sure, but since matter cannot be destroyed, at the very least, the electrical energy that drives our heart and feeds neurons in our brain, must go somewhere at the time of our death. Does it simply drift out into space? Does it have to? So many of us believe in an afterlife (approximately 70% of people polled worldwide), but yet, the idea of ghosts still carries with it an aura of fear to those who do not truly want to accept it. Again, simply because science has not yet proven it, does not mean it does not exist.

Science is working very hard to broaden the scope of what is normal. There is talk within the scientific community of parallel universes, multiverses, multiple dimensions beyond the four currently accepted (time is the fourth dimension for those of you who are scratching your head and only remembering 3!) As physicists explore quantum theory, it may become the "norm" to accept that there are truly 10 or 11 dimensions. So, who's to say that ghosts are not simply our life energy within another dimension? And as with all matter, there are inconsistencies in the bonds between the molecules (the veil of the structure, if you will) which I believe might allow that "ghostly" energy to find its way into our dimension.

Psychic ability is another paranormal concept that is being studied scientifically with amazing results. For whatever reason (and until the actual physiology of the psychic event is dissected and normalized), some peoples' brain activity is consistent with the existence of things such as precognition (have you ever experienced deja vu in a situation you knew you had never been in before and remembered that you had dreamt of this same thing a long time ago?) trance state (it is, after all, just a learned ability to change the electrical impulses in the brain), and psychokinesis. Does this surprise me? No, not when you factor in the knowledge that we, as humans, use 10% or less of our brain's ability on the average...or that medicine and science are making great strides in figuring out what part of the brain is responsible for such things as linear reasoning, spatial ability, even artistic ability. There is 90% left to tap into - who's to say that ESP or psychic ability doesn't reside in that neighborhood? And that the people who are gifted with these abilities aren't simply using a "natural" abililty that we just haven't discovered how to tap into yet? Perhaps we will find that it can be taught, just like babies are now taught to learn colors and sounds and can recognize their own mothers by their scent.

If you are one of the 60% of people polled who say their lives have been touched by an angel - you probably consider it a supernatural event (with a positive connotation, luckily). But 60% is a majority, so perhaps because it is a positive event, it is closer to becoming considered natural and normal.

UFO's, the Bermuda Triangle, Cryptids (creatures like Bigfoot or the mothman) may seem a bit "hokey" to many of you, but to those people who have encountered or had experience with them, they are very real. And again, I think that we need to be open-minded and realize that simply because we cannot recreate something at will, or find a creature or spaceship just because we want to, does not mean they do not exist. Will we know the answers in our lifetimes? Your guess is as good as mine. When it comes to UFO's, my personal belief is that they do exist (and I'll do an article on my expanded thoughts on that in the not-too-distant future), for the simple fact that the odds of us being the only sentient and curious beings in the universe are slim to none. We're exploring space, why would we expect anything less of any other species "out there"? The Bermuda Triangle - well, there are areas of the earth where the laws of time and space and physics seem to not apply, but I would not be surprised that quantum physics will someday give us an answer to these anomalies. As for cryptids, scientists discover an average of 10,000 new plants, animals, and insects every year...perhaps their time for discovery has just not arrived, or perhaps they are more advanced than the average creature and just don't want to be discovered yet...or perhaps people have too much time on their hands. I, for one, try to keep an open mind - after all, 52 years ago, I didn't exist either!

There are many arguments, scientific and philosophical, for both sides. The proof for anything, unfortunately, is subject to our acceptance of it as true based on our limited range of experiences. Someday, perhaps in a future existence, we may find that the things that we accept as normal are really paranormal or supernatural in the grand scheme of things.

Thank you to the following shops for the use of their items to illustrate this hopefully thought provoking article!

Behind the School - Shane Gorski
sunburst, 2009 - TyeJ
Ghost - EweniqueCreations
Astrological Zodiac Portable Tarot Card DivinationTable - DragonOakDesigns at Etsy (or )
CRYSTAL BALL Rainbow Clear Quartz Sphere on Stand - AlliPacha
Angel - dkjart
End of Man - EweniqueCreations


BlueBoxStudio said...

Fascinating. I've never felt an angel's presence, perhaps one day but am sure that death is not the end (although no religious belief).

RhiannonSTR said...

This is a very interesting post. I just read about you in The Artful Psychic blog. I believe that there is so much more than we could ever even imagine going on in the subtle world beneathe, above, around and within us.

Walk in the Woods said...

Nice post! :)

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