Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


Nshila Ileloka speaking again – fictional witchdoctor and consultant assassin. I am still annoyed that skills like mine are dismissed because they are seen as lacking scientific credibility. At a time when huge numbers of people are interested in paranormal ideas – and serious scientists are speculating about alternative universes – why is there so little serious investigation? Many folk dismiss the idea of worlds beyond our own because belief in them is such an obvious way to diminish the fear of death. The argument goes that the need for comfort is such a powerful force that we are psychologicallycompelled to invent a continuation of life – in some form or other. But the fact that we want it to exist in no way proves that it doesn’t. That’s a daft argument.

The process of scientific discovery frequently begins with observation of one phenomenon being paired with observation of another and a link between them being suspected. Thus Darwin observed birds with different beaks prospering in different habitats and wondered why. There have to be two things, and attention must be drawn to them. That is a matter of human observation. Suppose, now, that I make a clay image of a man and stick pins in it with intention to kill. Anybody who knows what I have done will watch the victim carefully, thinking it possible that there is a causative link and the victim will die.  If I am successful often enough, somebody will try to figure out the nature of this link. But suppose that there never was any link at all and the whole concept has been misunderstood for centuries. If that is true then the second of the two things observed has been erroneously paired with the first. Nobody has though to look for a different pairing – partly because human psychology brings me enough success to make people keep looking that way. Plus the fact that people like me want to keep the mystique alive, and derive power from it.

So perhaps we should look for some other effects that appear subsequent to my spell-casting. That brings me back to the vast extent of the presently unkown. There may be spiritual connections that we can’t observe or measure yet. The history of ‘the scientific method’ gives eaxmples of new physical apparatus (like the microscope) which revealed the existence of organisms we never knew about. The same might happen in my field.

Scientific research takes a huge amount of money. How much is devoted to witchcraft, magic and the paranormal? Practically none. It needs to change. Why am I breaking ranks and inviting investigation and abandoning the inherent secrecy of the profession? Because I can make things happen with a bearable degree of accuracy but am annoyed by my lack of understanding. We need progress.

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