Friday, December 2, 2011

13

PSYCHICS, SPIRITUALISTS, AND OTHER CUNNING PEOPLE.


ODA MAE BROWN: I know you don’t think I’m giving 4 million dollars to a bunch of nuns.
SAM: Think of it this way, you’ll go to Heaven.
ODA MAE BROWN: I don’t want to go to Heaven. I want to go to the bank and cash a GODDAMN CHECK!
               
                 —Ghost, 1990, Jerry Zucker.



BLOGGING can seriously harm your health.

A week ago I got a new follower on my twitter…

Malibu’s Psychic to the Stars.
Powerful advisor to recent U.S. Presidents, Fortune 500 CEOs, and Celebs.
All matters of personal and career excellence.

…and suspiciously (or not so) it disappeared several days later.

Do I believe in psychics? For one, I say No. Yet the ad made me ponder, aside from wondering which actions might have been commanded from a psychic on behalf of a US President[1], why irrational beliefs are formed and reinforced in our brains.

Let’s have a look at some shocking statistics[2]:

82% believe in God
            76% believe in Miracles
            75% believe in Heaven         
            73% believe in Jesus is God or the Son of God
            72% believe in Angels
            71% believe in Survival of the soul after death
            70% believe in The resurrection of Jesus Christ
            61% believe in Hell
            61% believe in The virgin birth of Jesus
            60% believe in The devil
            45% believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution
            42% believe in Ghosts
            40% believe in Creationism
            32% believe in UFOs
            26% believe in Astrology
            23% believe in Witches
            20% believe in Reincarnation
                       
I’m saying shocking because Americans believe more in the paranormal than Darwin’s theory of evolution. Now I understand why paranormal novels are all the rage. Should I switch to that genre?!

The nub of the issue lies on the difference of what I want to believe based on emotions/needs and what I should believe based on solid evidences. For instance, if you can’t bear your loneliness and a psychic assures you that you are going to meet a tall dark stranger next week, you want to believe that charlatan. If you are diagnosed with a mortal disease, you want to believe in God to soften the pain of mortality through some vision of everlasting life and, although atheist, you might start praying to God, the son of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Mother of God! And I wonder: Where are the solid evidences? The emotions—basically, fear to the unknown—will swept us not to wonder, just to believe. We will smooth the path and walk through it finding the most convenient and useful explanation.


Under the calm waters, I wonder how in the Age of Science, we, humans, are not prone to search for answers[3] that come with evidences (or that will come most likely in the future). It’s understandable, nevertheless, that throughout the centuries the fear-stricken primitive minds believed in deities and superstitions. But in the 21st century?!

Most likely the issue has to do with the education, cultural and social environment, and ultimately the level of personal awareness, which will drive us to either look for the answers or to make ourselves comfortable in what’s given to us[4]—even with the peril of absorbing mistaken paradigms. Lots of layabouts make a fortune trying to relief that fear temporarily. We call them psychics, spiritualists, mediators of God, or other cunning people.[5]

Over the years, I switched jackets from believer to skeptic, realizing that as far as we know something, we drop believing in it. We don’t need to believe in the truth. We know the truth.



[1] Come on! Don’t tell me the Malibu’s psychic forced Mr. Clinton to lie to American people about his affair with Miss Lewinsky.
[2] Opinion poll of 2,303 adult Americans. “Harris Poll reveals what people do and do not believe,” Harris, 2009.
[3] Yes, there are still many unresolved questions, as for instance, in Kant’s words “The starry heavens above and the moral law within.”
[4] Nobody taught us how science works but what science has discovered. I guess it has to do with the parrot-like teaching method. Sigh.
[5] I have read that Joan of Arc was declared to be a witch and burned alive by a pope, and three hundred years later, she would be declared to be a saint by another pope. There’s one solid evidence here: FEAR (to lose clientele).


Copyright © 2011 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.
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