Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A possible model for paranormal research

I am partway through Gary Schwartz's "The Sacred Promise," and it dawned on me that his method of research might be a good model to work from, generally, for other paranormal endeavors. I doubt that it will convince the skeptics or the scientific mainstream, but it would certainly establish credibility with the paranormal audience (which is, by association, a marginal group that will never gain mainstream acceptance).

Basically, Dr. Schwartz holds a doctorate in a discipline that has purview over the phenomenon he is researching (psychology), and he seems to be following accepted protocols for experimentation. Imposing such a discipline on UFOlogy might be difficult, but it should weed out some of the glaring errors that have occurred.

For anyone who is wondering, my academic background is an essential requirement for anyone whose career path includes dishwashing, hamburger flipping, and dorm guarding (all of which I have done): I have an MA in English Lit.... which qualifies me to write about the paranormal, even when, usually, I have little of substance to say.

I dropped out of academia in the '80s for several reasons... First, it was common knowledge then that your chances of getting tenure as a Lit major were slim-to-none; second, I didn't like competing. Academia can be very cut-throat. I attended graduate school at the beginning of America's infatuation with corporate capitalism, and I found myself competing against (and losing to) better-positioned students, economically and socially. It wasn't for me.  If I had majored in something else and gained status and acclaim in society, I doubt that I'd be blogging about the paranormal. Looking back, it's obvious that something in me didn't want this, or maybe this has been the life path all along. My interest has always been in the margins, culturally and intellectually. Although the paranormal is indeed a very marginal field, I associate with it because it's my conviction that today's margins are tomorrow's mainstream. And if I had to choose where to be, I couldn't think of many better places to be than where I am now.

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