What exactly are we looking for?
We started off with a bit of philosophy and now we are talking about the bones of paranormal investigating. Supernatural Synchronicity really is finding it’s way to some thought provoking topics. In his latest article: What is intelligent spirit communication? Ashley asked that very question as well as questioning the methods that we use to gather this ‘intelligent communication’ and how we interpret it.
The problem this presents us with is actually relatively simple, what we thought was intelligent communication, just simply is not! ……
The problem is we often interpret reactions of devices as some kind of communication, which is an approach that has been highlighted by paranormal TV shows.
He goes onto talking about the 'technical equipment' that modern day paranormal investigators are using and how it turns our investigative methods into a 'reactive' environment which mirrors what we see on paranormal television reality shows. You have to admit, he raises a great point here and yes I am guilty of this on a number of occasions. For this reason, it is here that I am going to break away from the ‘intelligent communication’ part of things and focus on us, the paranormal investigators as I feel Ashley has highlighted a very important and significant factor here – it is all about interpretation.
Our motivation and belief affects our interpretation
I hear the word intent spread around quite a lot through the paranormal field. It is our reasons for doing what we are doing. Some will claim they are in the paranormal because they want to help people. Others are on some sort of pursuit of the truth stemming from a personal experience. Some like myself want to get to the very core of it and spend our time researching and questioning absolutely everything. There are some that just enjoy it and are fascinated by the paranormal because we also must remember that not everyone wants to be a serious paranormal investigator. They aren't out there to prove anything to the world, they just want to see for themselves. Then there are those who in some way or form want to be YouTube or television stars. This is a general summary of what is a very vast, widespread and complicated paranormal field. So when we look at these generalised categories, you can see how a person's intent will influence how they interpret an experience.
Someone looking to make a TV Show or web based video will be looking for sensationalism. As much as we will sit and complain that paranormal television doesn't accurately represent what we do in the field, the cold hard fact is that no one is going to watch a video of people sitting around in a dark room waiting for hours for something to happen. Myself included, I would probably get bored and switch it off. In order to make content they need something. I don't think it is done on a deliberate level, but subconsciously, they are more likely to interpret things a bit differently to someone there to just observe and ask the questions. They will interpret things different to a person who is there just to have an experience. The way we have 'learnt' to investigate will also have a large impact on how we interpret this information as well. Look at say how you investigate now compared to the beginning. In my case, in the beginning I was very open 'spiritually' for the possibilities and didn't care too much about what was happening, as long as I felt that something was happening. I was surrounded by people who felt they were highly sensitive to the paranormal so I read things the way they would. This soon changed and I turned into a very tech heavy person and thought wow I have all these amazing devices that can talk to me. At the time this filled a void. I felt I was surrounding by people who claimed they could see, feel and hear 'spirits' and I couldn't see what they were seeing. I couldn't feel what they were feeling. I wasn't having the same 'connection the paranormal' they felt they were having. So I felt the equipment was my direct line to the other side. Until I actually learnt how it worked. I now have taken a much more observational role, relying less on equipment and quite frankly, I am pretty hard to impress with 'activity' these days. This has been my personal progression over the last 6 years. You see if you look at the different ways I have investigated over the last several years, the way I interpreted information has completely changed on more than 1 occasion and likely will again. I think realistically this will be true for most of us as we evolve and learn. As this happens, we can at times fall into a bit of an overconfident comfort zone and we can start to overcomplicate things. When we have this 'comfort zone', even debunking a certain piece of evidence can sometimes turn into an elaborate theory of a series of events that in some ways while it is a possible natural explanation, it almost seem more unlikely than it being something paranormal because it has become so elaborate and complicated. We investigate with 3 large kits of equipment, is it really all needed for a 3 hour investigation? Are we trying to make things too complicated?
Occam's (Ockham's) Razor
Occam's Razor stems from philosopher William of Ockham.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem - More things should not be used than are necessary.
William of Ockham
It works with the pretense and is used a lot in science that when you are presented with two different explanations, the simplest is more likely to be true. It in essence tells us to keep it simple. It tells us not to over complicate things and focus on the theory that works best based on the circumstances in front of us.
‘Occam’s razor is summarized for our purposes in this way: Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.’
William J. Hall - Paranormal author
It is used as a benchmark when hypothesizing or 'coming up with theories' which is a large backbone of what we do as paranormal investigator, or more to the point, what we should be doing. I really believe that some people investigating the paranormal, don't really know what it is they are looking for. They copy what they see on TV or what they see others do yet I don't really know if they truly know what they are looking for. We need to be asking questions and looking down different paths. William the Ochkam used this principle to justify many conclusions, including the statement that "God's existence cannot be deduced by reason alone."
Why can't this be used when it comes to the paranormal?
Keep it simple
Strip back the tech and simplify the techniques we use during an investigating. Let's get back to the basics. Sometimes we can also overcomplicate things too much when it comes to the things we theorise to the point that we can't effectively test or experiment with it because it is just too complicated. Sometimes we modify or create an 'experiment' on an investigation to the point we don't even know what we are doing anymore because there are too many steps to follow or too many variables to look for. When you start simple, as you collect data or 'evidence' it in turn then starts to add the details and more complex information to the hypothesis and all on it's own, it evolves. Almost like our Supernatural Synchronicity series.
Nature operates in the shortest way possible.
Keep it simple with your investigating and as Ashley said keep it simple with your tech. Don't make things any harder than they need to be. So with that being said, it is back over to Ashley again. In the mean time, I want to hear from you. Do you think we as investigators tend to overcomplicate things? Do we need to strip back our equipment and technique and get back to basics?
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