Friday, September 09, 2011

The Total Passivity of Skepticism

Well-known physical medium, David Thompson, recently responded to ignorant attacks on his professionalism by a "skeptic" who attended one of his amazing sittings. Who are these skeptics, anyway? Do they need any more attention? I happened to be reading "Soul Force" - written by a friend and colleague, Paul Olsen, a brilliant clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and published novelist who transitioned 10 years ago. Published in 1978, I'm not sure if it's still in print. But I found what he had to say about skeptics quite interesting and will share it here:

   "... skepticism is one of the most prevalent and damaging counterforces to recognizing the power of the soul, a short-circuit par excellence of inner energy. It prevents a living connection, and so it keeps us deadened, inert, checks our every movement.
"The problem with skepticism is that it has become an accepted position. It is even supposed to label a person 'smart.' But skepticism is total passivity: you don't have to do, feel, or think anything at all to be a skeptic. All you have to do is say No. You just have to be negative. It's an uncharged position, like a dead battery; it has no life to it. It's a wall trying to dam up a flow.
   "The 'position' is accepted because it comes from the misuse and misunderstanding of the scientific viewpoint which for decades has had us by the throats. It's a show-me position that takes the place of imagination with as deadly an effect as a surgical brain transplant.
   "But why should anyone show me anything? Why should anyone have to prove anything to me?
   "Skepticism is a position of arrogance—and it is utterly devoid of imagination and creativity. No spontaneity at all. Yet how can such total passivity be so arrogant? Precisely because anything so passive, so inert, so without curiosity and a sense of wonder, finds itself cut off from its own energy—and so it lives in a world of being acted upon by forces outside itself, and in its helplessness it becomes arrogant. Helplessness—then it feels fear and becomes a dictator that persecutes anything new and different. In psychology this is called 'overcompensation.' But kids peg it in a different way: inside every bully is a coward. The skeptic hurts himself far more than he can ever hurt you.
   "Maybe at this point you might be asking: what about the 'healthy' skeptic? The person who isn't in the habit of buying the Brooklyn Bridge or getting set up by con men? The 'healthy' skeptic hangs loose. The healthy skeptic doesn't believe everything he hears—but what he does is investigate. Not with the idea of disproving something, but with the idea of finding something that may enrich him. Implicit in the healthy skeptic is that he might find something, and so he sets off actively. He seeks experience. Openly. And so he is not really a skeptic at all. He just wants to do it himself.
   "The true skeptic will ... avoid exploration, the main reason being that someone has suggested it to him. He will call it all nonsense. But how can he know it is anything at all unless he tries? Obviously he won't try, so therefore he knows nothing. Or he will try only to defeat the purpose.
   "It is important for the skeptic that nothing ever happens.
   "So we cay say, with pretty good assurance, that the skeptic keeps himself deliberately in ignorance, in his dark trap. This idea is crucial for almost all that follows. Skepticism is a position of inert, self-willed ignorance. It is soulless.
   "The 'healthy' skeptic, if you want to use that term, will try—with the idea of experiencing something. And that is a position of self-willed knowledge."
We will also reiterate our own recent take on skeptics from August's report on a sitting he attended:
"Just as our book was not written for skeptics, neither do these mediumistic sittings occur for them. Mediumship has recently arrived at a new level on its path, in that it is now abandoning any and all efforts towards educating skeptics. They had their chance, and now they're free to return to their own mentally-darkened basements. We bless them and will welcome them – when they’re finally ready to sit down and be still."