Why Is The Unexplained ?
A thought experiment on why many aspects of the paranormal – from ghosts to UFOs – remain elusive and unexplained.The mysteries of the paranormal seem to have been with people are long as there have been people. Ghosts and UFOs have been described and reported for thousands of years. Psychic phenomena for probably just as long. Creatures like Bigfoot and Loch Ness-type sea monsters have been documented by credible witnesses for at least hundreds of years.
Yet they remain frustratingly elusive. We have no definitive, solid proof for their existence. We have bits and pieces of evidence, and in the case of psychic phenomena some very good data from respected institutions of higher learning. Yet we are no closer to really understanding them – what they are or how they work – than we were 200 years ago or more.
Why? Why with all our intelligence and sophisticated technology does an understanding of these phenomena still elude us? The skeptic (or rather debunker) would dismissively proclaim that it’s simply because they do not exist. But that response, in my opinion, is intellectually dishonest and, in fact, not scientific. Phenomena that have been part of the human experience for thousands of years cannot and should not be dismissed because they cannot be dissected and observed in a laboratory. That is very narrow-minded thinking.
But the question persists: Why? Why haven’t we been able to figure this stuff out?
One possible reason is that we can’t. Now I realize that is not much of a reason and certainly isn’t very helpful or hopeful to those of us who devote a good deal of our time and thinking to the questions of the paranormal, but it is a possibility we must consider.
It may very well be that what we experience as the paranormal is – for now at least – literally beyond what we are capable of understanding.
Let’s use the analogy of the Flatlanders. Flatland is an imaginary two-dimensional world. It has length and width, but no depth – just two dimensions. And the beings that live in Flatland – the Flatlanders – are two-dimensional creatures that do not – cannot – have an understanding of a three-dimensional world. They can understand a line, a circle, or a square, but cannot comprehend a sphere or cube.
If a three-dimensional object, such as a sphere, should somehow enter their world, they would only be able to understand it in their very limited two-dimensional way. They would only be able to see the sphere, if it were passing through Flatland, as a growing then diminishing circle or disc, but would still have no concept of its full shape, size, color or other attributes. They would experience the phenomena the sphere created but would not really understand it at all.
We might be like those Flatlanders when it comes to such phenomena as ghosts and UFOs. We live in a three-dimensional world and perhaps these things exist in some other form of reality. (We can all it another dimension if we want to, but that label might be too limiting).
Somehow and for some reason, these things occasionally intrude on the reality of our three-dimensional world, becoming visible and interacting with our world not only in a physical way but perhaps on a level of consciousness as well. After all these things are beyond our physical world.
It might be for this reason that we cannot currently hope to understand these phenomena. Like the Flatlanders, we can sometimes experience the phenomena created when they enter our reality, but we cannot comprehend their full nature. We can only perceive them and interpret them in our very limited three-dimensional way, but we cannot know why they look the way they do, how they affect us, where they come from or where they go. In fact, “where they come from or where they go” might have no meaning in their reality; those are three-dimensional concepts.
If it is the case that these phenomena exist beyond our three-dimensional reality, can we ever hope to understand them? Maybe not. But maybe yes.
If this theory is the case, then our current methods of investigation might be next to useless. EMF meters, EVP recorders, and the other gadgetry we’ve used might be able to register and record the effects of their intermingling with our reality, but they probably cannot give us an understanding of them.
Let’s take the Flatland example again. How could a two-dimensional Flatlander possibly get a peek at the three-dimensional sphere? If he could somehow pick his head up off the Flatland surface, could he see the sphere? There are problems with doing that, of course. He could not pick his head “up” because there is no “up” in Flatland reality. And even if he could, he still has two-dimensional eyes that would not be able to see the three-dimensional sphere. So the Flatlander could not physically do it.
Likewise, we cannot poke our three-dimensional heads out into that other world, and even if we could we would not be able to see anything. Yet that is what we are attempting to do with our voice recorders, EMF meters, and Ouija boards; we’re attempting to use three-dimensional tools to contact and communicate with realms beyond our dimension. They can’t work. Not really.
Our only chance to understand these phenomena, perhaps in only a small way, would have to be in some non-physical way. What do we possess that might be used to communicate with that other world? What might we have in common? Perhaps consciousness.
Consciousness is an aspect of our reality that we do not fully understand; some would argue that we do not understand it at all. While some scientists think consciousness is strictly a function of the brain, others think it is much more.
Some researchers, philosophers, even some mainstream scientists suspect that consciousness is not only part of us but also outside of us. Consciousness might be all-pervasive, existing everywhere throughout the universe – and perhaps beyond our physical universe. Through consciousness, perhaps the Flatlander would be able to have a better understanding of the sphere. Through consciousness, perhaps we can have a better understanding of the “paranormal.”
But what does that mean? How can we use consciousness to start to understand these phenomena? In truth, I’m not sure. Human attempts to raise our consciousness also stretch back centuries, even millennia. Wise men, yogis, fakirs, shamans, and wisdom seekers of every kind and from every culture have sought states of higher consciousness to “know that which is unknown” through meditation, mind-altering drugs, and other methods.
When it comes to ghosts, specifically, spirit mediums fall into trances in which they reach out to the “other world” to bring forth messages and other information to our plane of existence. The problem with this information is that it is unreliable, to say the least. With all respect to such high-profile mediums as John Edward and James van Praagh, we have only their say-so that they are contacting the spirit world, and you can’t prove them wrong. Yes, they seem to get remarkable “hits” occasionally, but so can skilled cold readers and stage mentalists, who make no claim to psychic powers.
Some people who have taken mind-altering drugs such as ayahuasca, which contains the powerful psychedelic dimethyltryptamine (DMT), have reported experiences that they say have taken them to other realms of existence or reality. The problem here, too, is knowing what is true and what is hallucinatory. How can we know? It’s impossible to trust these experiences.
That leads us back to the dilemma raised earlier: Even if we could raise our heads out of our three-dimensional world into that other world by altering or raising our consciousness with drugs, meditation, or trances, is it possible for us to really “see” that other world or process any understanding of it with our three-dimensional brains?
The bottom line is: We might be stuck in the position of not being able to understand the true nature of many aspects of the paranormal. Perhaps we’re not evolved enough as a species, and perhaps no amount of evolution will get us there. If these phenomena are beyond three-dimensional existence, our three-dimensional selves can’t get there. Success might require some breakthrough in human consciousness.
However, if our consciousness survives the death of our physical bodies, perhaps then we enter that extra-dimensional world of superconsciousness where time and dimensions have no relevance. And then we will not only understand that vast, mysterious other world, we become part of it.
But a lot of good that does us here and now, where we’re stuck with the unexplained.