Photo courtesy of Janna Gordon
So, what’s it all about? How did this blog come to exist? What is the point? Why have I devoted so much of my own time to the topic of ghosts? The answers to these questions are simple. And, they are not really original. They merely continue a cycle of history, and I just happen to be taking part in the current cycle.
Let’s break the answers into two parts–the intellectual and the personal.
If ghosts exist in the conventional sense, and if haunt phenomena such as apparitions, opening doors, footsteps, disembodied voices, moving objects, etc., authentically take place, then all of a sudden, the world takes on a more interesting reality. The way science is defined at a philosophical level becomes challenged in some of its demarcations. Boundaries of science necessarily undergo evaluation.
Of course, the problem is in the question of evidence. Can it be said that there is observational confirmation of these phenomena? The debate continues over assumptions, methodologies, and provided forms of evidence.
If ghosts exist in the traditional way in which we have been culturally taught, then that means the concept of an afterlife does not perish at the feet of the crowns in materialistic and naturalistic thronerooms. Such absolution would mean that the human being can live beyond a physical death and persists in some transcendental existence. This proposition would mean that it is not childish whim to imagine a survival after death hypothesis. The consequence would be of immense philosophical exhilaration in knowing that consciousness somehow continues onward in a different state than that of physical confinement. The woes of social separation by way of physical demise might be offset by hopes that reunion of some form may potentially take place, or, at least, be conceivable.
The stubborn sleuth offering a seat to any ghost who is willing to sit down and pay a visit.
I began engaging the question of ghosts on the grounds of both schools. Intellectually speaking, the subject of ghosts invokes many difficulties in terms of logic. When one steps back to Socratically question the idea, irregularities exist in such great number that coherence and correspondence to reality seem to become unattainable. But, more importantly for me, there are scientific questions that are at play, as well, especially when considering the physics involved in paranormal claims. In speaking to the personal side, any truth to the promise of life after death would certainly offer intrigue when considering the idea that loved ones continue onward after physically passing. If the time is to be taken to split hairs over the philosophy and science of ghosts, why not take on the element of human hope at the same time?
Over the many years, like anyone else, I have run across publications and seen broadcasts via the airwaves that have stated explicitly that ghosts exist. For me, such pushed confidences are a big deal, especially when they are sometimes tagged as being scientifically supported. I can’t take the notion lightly that science would have missed such a component of reality, and anytime the overthrow of established paradigms are a point of discussion, then such a suggestion is of major significance.
I claim no intellectual authority for addressing the subject of the ghost. But, considering the nature of the material, one may sometimes be left guessing who is most qualified to speak to them at all? There are intellectuals who scoff at the idea, and there are academicians who believe. There are magicians who deride entertaining the thought that ghosts are real, and there are those trained conjurors who believe ghosts exist as reported. But, from the standpoint of personal makeup, perhaps my spirit of inquiry comes into play as much as my trying to overlay the topic with an epistemologically regimented approach. I have been a bulldog in wanting to find the most authentic answers for ghosts. Settling for make believe incantations simply won’t do from my point of view.
If I am asked how I arrived at my current state, by attempting to seriously address the question of ghosts, it is the bulldog in me that comes to the fore. I have listened to scientists of varying disciplines, to philosophers, to parapsychologists, to ghost hunters, to para celebrities, and to percipients, all. Because of my determined nature, the matter of ghosts is one that I have felt like I need to engage on my own. I have heard all of the players involved, but after still not being satisfied with having what I feel is a totally settled comprehensive assessment of ghosts, I have simply made the request to proverbially have a place at the table so I can listen. I mean, I have read where arch skeptics have admitted to encountering strange events. Are these admissions true? I can now say I’ve witnessed one odd event. But, no, I can’t logically say that any of these events equate to proof of a ghost. But, if only referring to the events that I am alluding to here, in my opinion, they are enough to make me consider taking the subject of ghosts with more sobriety. Such a notion is why sitting at the table becomes more important. Skeptics who are in the field regularly, tell me what you have seen. Is there something I have really missed here?
This past week has been an unusual one for me, indeed. For starters, Matt Taggart, an accomplished writer and poet here on wordpress, selflessly shared his blog forum with me. The gesture exhibited as much class by an individual as can be bestowed. I’m usually not on the receiving end of such acts of generosity, so for a writer who awaringly comments on the world we inhabit, I very much appreciated a voice of the humanities actually taking the time to interact on ideas of synchronicity and serendipity.
Furthermore, when I began this blog, if anyone had told me that Courtney Mroch would be kind enough to drop by and comment, I would never have believed it. Her taking the time to acknowledge the underlying intent of this blog is also very much appreciated. I realize how skeptical content can seem abrasive and to be taking the fun out of the party, but I hope what offsets such sentiment is an apparence that comes across more positively. What I would want to be apparent is an overarching concern that an address of ghosts is settled in the most objective way without fanfare or stacking the deck.
And, then this evening, I had the great honor of getting to briefly correspond with a gentleman who has been a mentor of mine for years. His name is Dr. Story Musgrave, one of the most accomplished astronauts the space program has ever had. He was kind enough to impart to me a copy of an article he has written entitled, “Lessons in Life.” In the article, Dr. Musgrave states that everyone has something to offer the world, and we can refer to it as, “content.” He goes on to say that everyone also needs a way to transfer that content to the world, in what can be referred to as, “form.” But, other wonderful aspects of the essay include his application of math and systems thinking for operational success. His words are poetic as he encourages the reader to, “identify the factors and relations that will determine the outcome. The goal is to figure them and everything else out, to control and bound them, and to bring the total system to the desired state.” And, Dr. Musgrave believes in taking a synergistic approach across disciplines for achieving greatest success. Getting to read the applied ideas of one of my childhood heroes has been a wonderful way to cap the span of a few days whereby individuals have been kind enough to share their time while facilitating my own insights.
When it comes to ghosts, the venture is not quite the same as systems engineering. However, my approach to the matter is still similar to that of Dr. Musgrave’s. I try to think across disciplines and be mindful of where relations exist, and I make every effort to try and corral available evidence into some sort of consistent answer. Methodology is everything in trying to get at sensible anwers.
For however long, I feel like I have briefly been extended the invitation to sit at the table since last Thursday. Ghosts demand commentary from a society’s believers, from its scientists, from its poets, etc. I have probably abused the hospitality a bit by bumping elbows to the left and right of me as I have taken my seat at the table. My enthusiasm probably makes for a bumbling accession of my chair at the gathering. I will always be considered a pest in regard to this discussion, but such a trait only comes from an internal tenacity that is inspired by truth. I always thought that if I ever got to actually sit at the table, then I would have a few things to say. Instead, the past few days have taught me that I, instead, need to listen, but not for too long. Now, that I have gotten to sit at the table, it’s alright if I don’t tarry. Perhaps I can spare the rest of the gathering too much agitation by my presence. I just realized that if in my own arrogance of self-assurance I remain sitting at the table for too long while listening to the living,
I may miss the voice of the ghosts as they mockingly whisper in my absence.