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What is the difference of “western” parapsychology to parapsychology in general?

I’m doing a paper about parapsychology and I had my topic limited down to western parapsychology. I was wondering how I would be able to elaborate or expound more on this topic. How I can make it more “western” and all?

5 Comments

  • In general there is an openness to possibilities based on myths, superstitions, legends and stories along with other unexplained things a person may have experienced.

    The western mentality is more narrow minded in that the need to prove and control things prior to giving any credibility is often pushed by extremists. There are some that have a tendency to claim that because no one has accepted and been able to claim the prize in challenges such as that of randi.org and others, this is proof that anything of this nature is fraudulent or at best coincidence and luck. As for people who may choose not to become public figures and/or may not be able to turn the abilities on and off as one would a lamp, they generally do not care what the supposed “scientific” minded persons believe.
    One may compare the skeptics mentality to many who believed (based on proof, or better lack of prior to 1954) that it was physically impossible for a person to run a mile in less than four minutes. Although it may have been accomplished, there was no official record of the event. In 1954 Roger Bannister did break the four minute barrier and this was followed by John Landy also breaking the barrier just 46 days later. The current RECORDED world record stands at something like 3:43.13 which proves the skeptics were incorrect. They may take some consolation in the knowledge that the barrier has still held for women with a RECORDED current world record of 4:12.56 (although I do not keep current so my statistics may no longer be accurate.) Eventually this will also be challanged and more than likely become a myth.
    One may also see the lack of proof as a failure by the science community because although they have been able to show that many claimed abilities are done by cold reading or trickery, for some there remains no explaination which in turn leaves a possibility that there are things beyond explaination by current “scientific” methodology. A lack of the ability to harness, control and test does not prove a lack of existance and ability.

    I will have probably stepped on the toes of some here but if they are so set in “science” and proof, they can take this as a challange to prove a lack of existance and not simply show a lack of testable method. I too am a skeptic with many of the claims, although one with an open mind.

    Hope this helps and gives another viewpoint that you can work with.

    Edit: One primary way to look at the differance between Eastern and Western ideas is that the Eastern look at the spiritual aspects equally to solid evidence whereas the Western are in the first line looking at methods that are used for other areas to establish proof and testing and find it difficult to first accept potential existance and then find a way to establish proof thereof. There are some in the west that do work with the possibilities available but are generally discounted in their methods being as they do not concern themself with creating a theory as to what/why/how in order to show statistical proof.

  • It’s a little known fact that people called Doc Holliday “Doc” because he had a PhD in parapsychology from University of Edinburgh. So if you’re researching Western parapsychology I’d start with him.

  • Parapsychology is the study of unusual, unexplainable, “paranormal” phenomena. It’s intent is to document the existence and types of such events. To my mind the only distinguishing facet of Western Parapsychology is that it attempts to prove the existence of these paranormal phenomenon using the scientific method. Thus, researchers in this field study paranormal phenomena under controlled, laboratory conditions. You can contrast it to “psychical research” perhaps. The Widipedia site is actually quite informative about the history Parapsychology and the people and methods involved in this attempt to raise the field to a science.

  • Parapsychology is a vestige of old myths, folklore and superstitions that people who have been brainwashed by the old ways have convinced themselves is science. Every separate civilization has its own separate superstitions. So it would stand to reason that parapsychology itself would be different in different civilizations, while something like chemistry or physics would be more or less the same in any culture since it is actual science and it doesn’t grow out of cultures’ unique superstitions. The myths that exist in western civilization – bigfoot, gray aliens, vampires, werewolves, etcetera, are not really shared by, say, Japan, which has 2-tailed supernatural shapeshifter cat creatures, 9-tailed shapeshifter fox creatures (kind of redundant actually), water sprites, the monkey king, etc, except for what could be accounted for by whatever bleeding together the two have experienced in the last 100 years. So if you look up some bit of craziness in western parapsychology – for instance, the vardogr – it is contrived in the West and wasn’t conceived of in the East and has no place in it.

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