We all have to different degree, a point that we either will not go, or even consider, or in the end, perhaps simply cant. This is called the boggle point. People, who have what is called paranormal experiences, often feel marginalized because their fortean encounters go beyond the realm of consensus reality. So when they try to express what they experienced they are often ridiculed. Also, belief systems may look upon all other worldly experiences not connected with their religion as demonic. So the sensitive person can find himself between a rock and a hard place, with nowhere to turn.
What is one to do if an uncalled for experience happens, one so powerful and otherworldly, considered impossible before the event? Perhaps an atheist gets his proof of God, or perhaps of something beyond what the realm of science can address. Well to his chagrin, he finds that his proof is in reality a personal experience. So how is he going to relay this to his atheist friends? For before this experience, he most likely laughed at the stories that others have had of the other. He now understands how he underestimated these experiences in the past, and perhaps empathizes with the frustrations of those he actually laughed at and belittled.
What is a Christian to do, after one such experience? For like the atheist, this encounter has propelled him beyond the limited world view of his or her friends. In trying to relate the event, it could all be labeled demonic, if belonging to a more conservative group. Or with a more liberal, or moderate one, in need of help with his or her psychosis. It can be very frustrating to say the least. For labels carry a great deal of power, causing great harm at times.
From my own limited experiences with the paranormal and also from my wide reading, it would seem that the world is a very strange place indeed. Reality seems very open ended, to the point even that if actually experienced directly could lead to a complete breakdown. We need our bubble that is for sure. It is just that some peoples bubbles are larger than others.
Belief systems are important safeguards, giving the experiencer, or searcher, a place from which to stand in order to help integrate ones widening understanding of reality. However if the system is too rigid and fearful of new input, it can lead to serious problems. So it is possible for two people to live in the same household and in fact, live in two different worlds. Just think of John Edwards, the psychic medium living in the same household with a convinced materialist, or perhaps a fundamentalist Christian? I wonder what their conversations would be like when it went beyond the simply mundane and shallow. Would a real conversation even be possible?
I have experienced this kind of difficulty when trying to debate or to simply dialogue with atheist. First of all it seems to bring out the worst on both sides. Perhaps this is because both the atheist and Christian have been abused by representatives from both groups in the past. For instance when attempting to carry on an intelligent debate, I often get the impression that I am not understood, that everything I write is either twisted or misrepresented. I have no doubt that the atheist I have debated with felt the same thing about me, for he voiced his frustration about this. Debate can bring out the worst in both sides of the discussion. What makes matters worse is more often than not, both sides are ignorant of the process, so communication is spotty at best.
I am a Christian, a catholic, which for a convinced atheist would already put me into a box from which it may be almost impossible to climb out of. I often feel like I am a figure made out of straw, created by the atheist and then bludgeoned; it can be very frustrating. Of course I have been accused of the same thing, and I feel that I am probably guiltily of doing this as well. The straw man ploy in debate is so common, that much more often than not communicates itself from the unconscious. So natural, so easy, making communication almost impossible, unless both sides are willing to work through their projections and transferences, something I fear that is seldom done. So the only thing left are those who actually like debate, which more often than not, are shouting matches, each putting their worst foot forward. I am not sure that I will ever really get the knack that is needed for debate.
I have my boggle point, though I am working on it. As a Christian, I do not believe in reincarnation. So when literature that is trying to give a scientific case for this reality, I find myself fighting it, being unfair in how I treat the literature. So when talking about the difficulty of going beyond ones boggle point, I am speaking from personal experience.
For many years I had used the Tarot for insight into my inner life. It worked, I liked it, but had to be very careful about who I talked this over with. One friend thought I was in league with demons, even though I told him how I used the cards, to no effect. So yes I have learned. I have strict fundamentalist in my family, so I certainly keep mum about this with them. I guess because of my highly developed intuition the cards seemed to be a natural extension of that faculty, for others whose psyche was built differently, all they saw was evil. So in order to keep the peace, I kept it too myself. I used them for over 25 years, and perhaps may use them once a year or so when really stuck and need some input from the symbols the Tarot is so richly endowed with. So my boggle point is high enough to give the Tarot a chance, but perhaps not high enough for reincarnation. I also found the philosophy of the I-Ching helpful; again I kept this to myself at least among my Catholic friends. So belief systems are important, but can also become obstacles to communication, leading different groups to isolate themselves from each other.
Lack of personal experience in the paranormal can lead to the belief that such things are impossible. It is difficult to communicate ones inner life to another. We are each unique, but have enough semblance that is common to all of us that if alluded to, could lead to perhaps better listening with less reacting. Something I am still working on. For I to have my blind spots, which of course also make me part of the problem; it can all be such a muddle.
Edited by markdohle, 15 October 2009 - 07:57 PM.