Hobbled and Hamstrung: The Scientific Fallacy

It has struck me that all past efforts to legitimize psychic phenomena have attempted to play by the rules of conventional logic in trying to apply established quantitative benchmarks to unknown phenomena. Making the observation fit the intellectual hypothesis is  a time-honored practice by which theoretical discoveries are brought under the umbrella of academic acceptance. Anything that doesn’t conform is considered an unsubstantiated outlier. However, in assuming that we must have our subjective experiences validated by the gatekeepers of empirical science we become hobbled by their assumptions. Because the underlying mechanics of what we do are inscrutable, such “mainstream” skepticism may not be irrational but it certainly lacks imagination and vision. The methods of the empiricists remind me of trying to determine the nature of snow by shaking one of those glass snow-globes and examining how the flakes settle; with their deductive approach they’re “all cart and no horse.” Not all mysteries will succumb to the microscope and test tube, at least not unless and until those instruments become sufficiently sensitive to penetrate the veil of the Unconscious. Our minds and senses may be the only tools we have to comprehend the reality of our existence but they are far from perfect translators, and even less so when burdened with preconceptions about what fits and what doesn’t.

I’ve often thought that the Enlightenment did nobody any favors. The world becomes a much less “magical” place when every idea has a mental bin into which it must be shoved, and “square pegs” are marginalized as an affront to “round holes.” Such uniform regimentation is anathema to the inspirational thinker who functions best “outside the box.” It may just be that I aspire to the soul of a poet, but I can’t help thinking of the Thomas Dolby song title “She Blinded Me with Science.”  We risk becoming slaves to mindless precision if we let that particularly bloodless paradigm become the linchpin of our worldview. I don’t know about you, but I like a little “gravy on my mashed potatoes.” At the same time, however, I must acknowledge Israel Regardie’s comment that the Tree of Life resembles a “giant filing cabinet” in which every idea whatsoever can be catalogued. But that is an inclusive model of the Universe for comparative purposes, not an attempt to exclude certain inconvenient truths that won’t fall into line.

Unfortunately, we aren’t helped in our mission by the fact that most of the proof of the efficacy of divination is entirely anecdotal. I’m highly skeptical of those diviners who claim anything remotely approaching a 100% accuracy rate when  veracity greater than a 50% “coin-flip” result can be considered a modest success. There may be readers who have repeat subjects and keep records the way a physician does with annual medical examinations, but my guess is that they are few and far between. Most of the available evidence falls into the “it feels right so it must be right” category, not a very dependable foundation on which to build a case for professional competence. Part of the problem is that many readings are “one-off” propositions in which the diviner never hears from the client again, so the only feedback received occurs at the time of the visit. If there was a prediction of future events, there is typically no closure regarding its eventual outcome so the practitioner relies on the subject’s immediate reaction to demonstrate proficiency. The emergence of on-line reading in which there is no real-time interface between the reader, the client and cards further exacerbates this dilemma because it offers an even more fractured testament to legitimacy. It begs the ontological question “If you can’t see it, hear it, smell it, touch it, or taste it, does it even exist?”

 

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