So, I was reading this book (a certain someone was making me feel like I was simply coasting on the literature I read as an impressionable teen) and the author kept quoting “the literature.” No actual citations, just, y’know, so-called common knowledge.
Since some of the things he was talking about were sorta sketchy, I was pretty cranky he didn’t include citations. That really irks me. One of two things is happening: a) you’re trying to pull the wool over my eyes and hope I’m too awestruck by your apparent authority to question it, or b) you’re a sloppy author. I don’t CARE how long you’ve been an expert in the field cuz if you can’t back up your arguments I’m going to assume you have an agenda.
I know. I’m cynical that way.
But, given the author’s area of expertise (spiritual mediumship and astral communication, if you must know) there weren’t a lot of sources the author could quote that would satisfy my demands for reliable sources.
What would satisfy me, I thought?
It brought to mind a quote from the Buddha, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
The reason I was reading the book is because an acquaintance of mine is an angel medium, and I was having trouble seeing her point of view. (Meaning I had to strive hard to avoid being negative and condescending.) This is an aspect of myself I didn’t like, so I resolved to explore the topic and try to understand why all the angels she spoke of had Judeo-Christian names.
What would I take as a reliable source of information here? Well, for starters, I chose the book because it was published by a well-known metaphysical publishing company, and I purchased it in an occult bookshop. So I didn’t immediately dismiss the author out of hand, even though I’ve never heard of him.
Reality, however indisputable it may sound, is really just a collection of perceptions, fitted into a mental framework that is partly inherited from the people who raised you and partly a reflection of the belief systems that have been positively reinforced upon your consciousness.
Now, although the “touch of spirits” could be easily misconstrued, (the author tells us that tingles, chills drafts, scents, or strange thoughts may be interpreted as astral communication) you can also see how positive reinforcement may occur. You might also call it superstition, but regardless, for the person who believes it, it is inarguably real.
Now, lo, these many eons ago, I had a professor who gained inexplicable pleasure from posing logic questions to the class. I always mixed up cause and effect, and henceforth, am wary when someone breezily explains, “Well, it’s cuz….etc” Um, is it? Let’s examine our assumptions, shall we.
[Unfortunately, I can become somewhat of a bore in casual conversation. I hate imprecision of language, though I am often guilty of it myself.]
My, my, I seem to have lost my original point. Now where are my glasses?
Oh yes. In this era of specialization, which has laid the egg of the information era – entry level knowledge is freely available, expert knowledge still attained on an apprenticeship basis, (remind me to explain my thesis in detail later,) determining the veracity of information has become hugely a value judgment based upon the reader’s own experience and perception. QUITE the paradox we have here, haven’t we dears?