October 12th, 2010


Experimentation and Understanding others' point of view...

prashanthchengi and I were having a long chat veered to psychic and occult experiments. He expressed the following reservations about seances and such experiments, saying that he'd read a book, which said that "just like precautions ought to be taken before any other kind of experiment, precautions ought to be taken in case of occult experiments too. He completely was against the concept of 'fooling' around with occult, without proper knowledge, especially about the consequences.

"The author mentions that it was quite difficult to establish contact with spirits...because, just like we, by instinct and conditioning fear spirits, spirits too try to usually avoid us. When we make attempts to contact them, it's against the natural order. Some spirits continue to shy away while a few may see it as a valuable opportunity to communicate with the living, just as you think it to be valuable to communicate with the dead. He goes on to say that while some of these spirits may be benevolent, it is quite possible to encounter those which are malevolent too, and one must at least possess enough information in occult to make the distinction between the two.

"He goes on to say that once you delegate even a portion of control over yourself to the spirits (which is done by the medium when he/she is trying to communicate with spirts), he/she is no longer in complete control. A malevolent spirit might refuse to relinquish that control that it wields over you and the attempt at some casual fun with spirits might prove costly. That did spook me, but it did seem make a lot of sense too, at least to me.. Even our Vedas supposedly talk about these rituals.. people who deal with these aspects are those with special training.. those who have studied in depth about actions and reactions.. consequences and ways out of trouble, if and when it arises. A casual (and careless) newbie might in the name of fun just end up getting a dose of something he/she is not even capable of handling. That, I think is scary."

My response was not just to do with occult experimentation, but also about tolerance:

"This is your view of experimentation...and remember, we have no guidelines to go upon. So your view is perfectly valid. When I was studying Philosophy in college, first, Sankhya yoga and then Tantra fascinated me; I did a lot of reading about these practices, and still have an open mind on them.

"But...again, since we have no guidelines to go on....others WILL experiment. It's like..it IS...pure research. You don't know where to go, you don't know how to. You (I mean, the people who carry on psychic experiments) use the seance form because that seems to be a way that's been tried before. We still don't have any properly codified results, and a lot of humbug obscures the scene.

"And without experimentation, without exploration, one does not discover new things. With them, you still might not...but it has to be done! The first person to put to sea must have been in a horribly dangerous position, much as you describe now. The first miners must have been in so much danger (and for all the development of mines, they still are!).. imagine the danger Marie and Pierre Curie must have exposed themselves to.... experimentation, by definition, is risky, and sometimes life-threatening.

"Alas..."fooling around" is the only way humanity often has, of discovering things! :) Do you get my point?

"I once read a lovely passage in P G Wodehouse, which, to me, is the essence of good debate.

"I can see your point of view. But dimly. You see, my own takes up so much of the foreground."

"I will have my ideas, my point of view, but yet, I can see (if not share) another's, and appreciate their validity. That is tolerance and understanding Debate then becomes, not a matter of trying to change each other, one-upmanship, or friction, but a stimulating exchange of ideas that enriches both partners in the dialogue."

Thank you, PC, for making me articulate my thoughts!