Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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What is Philosophy?

In the beginning of this course, this very same question was the theme to our first assignment. My summarized view was; philosophy is the study of truth by asking questions and answering them with our objective reasoning of our perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs. The metaphor I used to represent this analogy was that philosophy is like a painting. I also stated that philosophy was not as important nowadays as it once was. Are these still my view on philosophy?

First of all, how would we define philosophy? I would say that the definition I gave the first time was quite good but not accurate enough. I would redefine my definition as follows: Philosophy is the study of truth and reality, with a method of asking questions and generating answers from perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and ideas.

This definition alone may be satisfying but it does not tell us what we can learn in philosophy. I assume the reason most people enroll into a philosophy class is to gain wisdom, more knowledge, and comprehend a new way of thinking rationally. With that said, the study of philosophy can be quite a broad study but, you’ll certainly gain some wisdom. This study is broad in the way that it’s not possible to specialize in all fields of its’ study.

So, what are the fields/branches of philosophy? Well, historically Philosophy was divided into 3 main branches; these were: Natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy. In fact, many modern day studies are rooted from these three branches (e.g. science, psychology, economics). So, that was back in the past, But what about now? Today, modern day philosophy is primarily composed of following branches: Aesthetics, Logic, Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics.

philosophersPhilosophy has played a critical role in human history. It has arguably been just as fundamental and impactful as mathematics. Most of philosophy’s impact has been on individuals’ ways of thinking in societies. Influential philosophers and their ideas were the main root causes for historical events and creation of new political ideologies such as the French Revolution, Utilitarianism, Marxism, Fascism, etc. Influential Philosophers to be noted are: John Locke, Renee Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith,  and Voltaire.

My favorite unit was logic. I thought this lesson was quite useful, I didn’t know what constituted a rational argument and now I do. The Logic lessons were also quite fun.

In my personal opinion, Philosophy 12 was not as difficult as some in this class claim it to be. I don’t think the course material and the concepts we went over were too complex and unreasonable to understand and comprehend. But I think that’s because its’ our first year learning what philosophy even is and therefore the units weren’t gone into as deep as actual philosophers in college go into. The class discussions were quite interesting most the time, but I feel that they were constantly being dominated by the same group of people and whenever disagreements arose, a large body of people rose in opposition and their responsive arguments were emotionally structured rather than logically, this disencouraged people from participating and the class did not feel fully open to everyone.

degreeTo conclude my essay, I must say that in the first week of this class I thought philosophy was a useless study in the 21st century and people who chose to major in this in university would be very limited with their career options once done with university. I’m not too sure on whether that second part of my statement is true, but I have changed opinions on the importance of philosophy in the 21st century. I think some of the branches of philosophy can be used in conjunction to several other studies and be quite contributive. For example, Ethics could be used in conjunction as a minor or second major for those pursuing political science as their career; or logic for those pursuing law with theirs. So I certainly don’t think philosophy is a useless study nowadays, but don’t think it’s as impactful on society as it used to be.

 

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Epistemology Is Like A Brick Wall -Arden

Proposition:

  • If experience is the totality of the cognition given by perception; all that is perceived, understood, and remembered
  • And if reason is the ability or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge; either direct or indirect, or through a logical argument
  • Then knowledge is a series of experiences processed through the brain using reason.

So, basically what my proposition is saying is that experience is everything happening around you that you notice or observe, and reason is the logical argument that would take place when you experience something, if both of those things are true then knowledge would be the process in which the observation and logical argument occur.

This proposition is probably the directly in between Rationalism and Empiricism. Rationalism essentially believes that your senses can’t be trusted and that the only way to “know” something is to use reason. At the other end of the scale is Empiricism which believes that all experiences are knowledge and our knowledge is shaped around our experience. I believe my proposition is right in the middle of these two beliefs.

Emanuel Kant is probably the most well known philosophers to study this general belief. This is a very simplified version of his general belief. Kant believed that there were two stages of knowledge, the first one is the awareness of the sensations as perception in time and space. and the second one is the process of categorizing them into areas of thought. Kant arranged the ideas into his famous 12 categories consisting of; unity, plurality, totality, reality, negation, limitation, substance-and-accident, cause-and-effect, reciprocity, possibility, necessity, and contingency.

From this I was able to expand my proposition. This is my new and improved proposition inspired by Emanuel Kant:

  • If experience is awareness of sensations, all that is perceived, observed, understood, and/or remembered,
  • And reason is the ability of acquiring intellectual knowledge and categorizing it,
  • Then knowledge is a series of experiences and sensations processed and categorized in the brain using reason.

-Arden

 

 

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What Is Philosophy? (Final) – Arden

At the beginning of the semester I walked into philosophy nervous but excited about what I was about to learn. The first
question we were asked was What is Philosophy? at the time I had no idea and to be honest I still don’t. For my first What is Philosophy blog post i said: Philosophy is like a child both are very open, both random at times and children grow just like the ideas. Today nearly five months later I can still say that I believe philosophy is like a child. Several of the topics we covered and discussions we had are still able to support this including; the logic unit, the discussion about whether or not its ethical or moral to kiss a robot, and even just the conversations themselves.

As I said in my previous blog children are known for being very open to other opinions and don’t have a view clouded by life experiences and influences, this openness reminds me of the class environment and what our class discussions are like. Philosophy as a whole is a very open study and that was proven in the class discussions.

Children grow as do the ideas in philosophy as a child grows so do there opinions and there ability to articulate these ideas. In this class I was able to learn more ways to articulate my views in the logic unit when we formed our logical arguments.

The third reason that philosophy is a child is because some of the things that kids say are completely random and I think that in this example the child is the philosopher. In this course has proved that philosophy can be pretty random. An example of this would be the discussion on whether it is ethical or moral to kiss a robot. This was a very strange conversation with very strong and varying opinions. It was quite interesting to learn new things about my classmates even this late in the semester.

From this class I have learned how to form my opinion and share it in the way I want to, as well as how important it is to look at the other peoples perspectives using reason rather than responding emotionally. I also learned that philosophers are children, they never stop learning and they are never satisfied with a simple answer. Philosophy is about asking questions and always asking why.

-Arden

 

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Knowledge is Understanding Truth

The concept of knowledge is the composition of things that are known and what is known is and can only be true, therefore knowledge in essence is the understanding of truth.

  • Premise 1: For you to have knowledge, you need to know things
  • Premise 2: Premise 2: For you to know things the things you claim to know need to be true
  • Conclusion: Knowledge is understanding truth

What do I mean by “understand”? By “understand” I mean the ability to comprehend, perceive, or grasp. We as human human beings are not the only ones who can possess knowledge. Through my argument, there are several animals that possess the ability to understand truth and therefore acquire knowledge. For example, a pet dog has been disciplined to not pee on the carpet, and knows if he pees on the carpet he’ll get smacked or punished in some other way. Though from this example we may get the assumption that knowledge is only influenced by humans; pets being influenced through incentives. This however is not the case and there many ways in which other animals can acquire knowledge. If, there is extraterrestrial life, I would even state that they too would be able to understand truth and thus acquire knowledge, thus making knowledge Universal. Knowledge of course being only acquired by living things.

How do we know if what we claim to understand is true however? Scientists and I would tell you through evidence. Though not pure Empiricism, the evidence can be abstract, a priori such as Mathematics, or concrete, a posteriori such as Evolutionary Biology, and is then rationalized. Neither Empiricism nor Rationalism being absolutes in determining true knowledge. But this does not mean each individual must find evidence to know something is true. If something has already been realized as true, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion, learning the concept would be suffice. This structure of understanding truth I’ve developed is similar to Immanuel Kant’s views on knowledge. Here’s what Kant had to say:

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason. – Immanuel Kant

There may be several congruent definitions we can give to knowledge, after all the concept is quite broad. With this said, to summarize what knowledge is based upon these paragraphs, knowledge is the art of comprehending truth. If you are on a path to acquire as much knowledge as possible, here’s a quote to help motivate you more:

Knowledge is Power – Francis Bacon

 

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We are the Same

 Our intelligence is in a constant cycle of gathering information and being tested on what we know. We are told that we must know certain things in order to succeed. Some struggle to grasp the ideas while others understand yet our intelligence, what we know, is all the same. What we know, we pass to others like a family heirloom is passed down through the generations. In schools, we are taught the same things and our parents and the people around us taught us how to act in social situations.

We are taught the same things.

We are continuing to grow our knowledge and pass it on to others who now have that same knowledge.

Therefore, our knowledge and what we know is the same.

The human brain is something that baffles us. We do not fully understand how our own mind works. Full of firing neurones that tell our bodies how to function physically and mentally as well as emotionally, it is the ideal of intelligent. We are not animals because we have understood how to use our knowledge and advance ourselves and our society. We are constantly trying to understand what makes us human.

To make a human out of a machine is a goal that drives inventors and scientists. The transfer of human knowledge into a machine shows that intelligence is the same. Though it has been programmable, the knowledge is still the same as ours. Possibly, what machines cannot do that we can, is decide what we do with that knowledge. We all have it, but we have the choice to decide what we want. We consciously choose to pursue what we want, to do things.

Being conscious is being aware. It’s being aware of what we know and what we do. Is a machine conscious if it is aware of the knowledge it has and what it does with it? Perhaps if it hasn’t been programmed to act a certain way.

We can copy our intelligence and put it into a machine, almost like how in schools the knowledge gained over the years is taught to us and we consciously choose what to do with that knowledge. We all know basic math, writing and reading skills. Some might pursue writing while others pursue math but when you break it down, it is all the same. Even if it is artificial.

Intelligence is something that could have many definitions. Going back to the machine example, we think that machines could never be human because they do not have the emotional intelligence that we humans have. Emotional intelligence is being able to read a situation and react to it appropriately. We feel things and understand them such as knowing when we are happy or sad. This is why the Turing Test is valuable in testing machines for emotional intelligence. (x) (x)

Another form of intelligence would be academically smart, knowing how to answer equations and solve problems. The belief that someone who is more academically intelligent is not as emotionally smart goes against my idea. I believe that even if someone looks at things more logically, they still have the basic emotional intelligence that makes them equal to others no matter what a test score might say.

Knowledge is the facts and bits of information that we know. Intelligence is more how we use the knowledge we have, including thoughts, ideas, and actions, etc.

Every day, we pass knowledge that we know to someone else, and we gain knowledge in some form or another. We have gathered knowledge over the course of our existence and passed it on, teaching every person the same basic things, making our intelligence equal. The same. However to say that intelligence is equal is to give it an amount and since we cannot understand our brain, we cannot give it a definite number.

Our lives are full of judgement based on what we know. I believe other wise, that our intelligence is the same. We are aware of our minds and our intelligence which makes us conscious. We model our minds in machines since we see them as the highest level of intelligence. We are all capable of thought, abstract or not. We all have the same basic knowledge such as allowing us to function in society in academic or emotional situations.

Our knowledge is the same. Our intelligence may differ in that we consciously make choices in our lives with what we do with that knowledge but we are all the same in the end. Our knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, sometimes changing or staying the same. We should not judge based on knowledge.

 

 

 

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Music Makes Us and Daniel J. Levitin Alive!!!

My Original question was What Benefit does music have to human survival? In Doing the first blog I realized that wasn’t actually the question I wanted to ask. The question I was really trying to ask is: What is the benefit of music beyond survival? And how has it shaped society? In this blog post I will try and answer those questions as Daniel J. Levitin would. In his book ‘The World in Six Songs’ Levitin says each song is a benefit or a reason for music. The six reasons for music are; friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love.

The first benefit of music is creation of friendship, Levitin said in his book that:

“Synchronous, coordinated song and movement were what created the strongest bonds between early humans, or protohumans, and these allowed for the formation of larger living groups and eventually society as we know it.”

Basically what he said was that music created a bond between people that simply speaking cannot do. When singing as a uniform group can make themselves look and sound bigger and more important causing more influence among groups. This influence can cause the groups to be able to maintain a larger population without chaos due to unpleasant interactions between members of the species.

The second benefit to music is the expression joy! Levitin said that at one time or another everyone experiences a feeling of giddy and unrestrained joy. He later goes on to say; that music is the way for people to express this feeling of sometimes random happiness or joy. Levitin talked in his book about talking with members of the band The Police about this topic in the discussion they said: 

” ‘Sound is different than sight, because when you see things, it feels like they are out there, but when you hear them it feels like they’re in here’ pointing to my head. He responded with ‘Yes – sound joins the inner world to the outer world.’ “

The third benefit to music is comfort, people find comfort in music. Levitin dropped out of college to join a rock band, not because he found rock and roll more interesting than calculus and physics, but for his mental health. Its not that he didn’t like his classes, it was that he hadn’t made any connections and was lonely. Music offered him comfort during this time as it had in his childhood. In his first year away he listened to more and more music to cope with his solitude. Levitin believes that music helps people deal with difficult times and be able to see the good times to come.

The fourth benefit to music is the potential for knowledge. In the simplest form levitin believes that music is an art and art is similar to science. In his book Levitin  went on to say:

“Art and science are about extracting and abstracting world knowledge in a form that makes it more readily understandable and memorable – what they share is a sense of overview and unifying themes, decisions about which facts-of-the-world are relevant and which are not. Art and science are not able to represent everything; instead they entail (require) difficult choices about what is the most important.

Levitin also made an argument that i think would be best broken down like this:

  • Premise 1: Real science, the kind that offers a parsimonious and predictive understanding of how the world works, involves taking those facts and generalizing global principles from them.
  • Premise 2: Abstraction is required for real science, as is creativity, rationality, intuition, and a sensitivity to form similar to what is required in the creation of long-lasting art.
  • Conclusion: Therefore you can not have real science without a musical brain

The fifth benefit to music is religion. In this chapter levitin talks about rituals and how everyone has rituals whether it be religious rituals or even just musicians executing a set of scales as a pre-concert warm up. He also talks about religion is a series of rituals some of which include singing and dancing to religious music.

The sixth and final influence to music is love. I would say it was a benefit to love because you can express love through music. But while reading this chapter I noticed that Levitin believed that music had a inaccurate representation of love really was. He believed that romantic love is a impossible because two people cant have the exact same idea of romance and love. He also believes that music about love is merely an allusion.

After reading and analyzing this book I have learned the depth of which music is a part our everyday lives at a deeper level. The question I still have is why do people have different tastes in music and different opinions of what good music is?

 

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Do we have a Destiny?

destiny road

Image taken from http://www.vaterrarc.com/ and modified under Creative Commons License.

Since the early ages of civilization, destiny is a concept that has riddled mankind and continues to do so. This concept although, quite old, still remains with no clear answer. Philosophers continue to be split when it comes to this concept. There are several questions that can be asked from the “Concept of Destiny”.

First of all, what is destiny?

Destiny can be defined as a predetermined course of events a person will go though throughout one’s life. In essence we are not in control of our destiny and therefore cannot be change what is going to happen.

But what about free will?

The “Concept of Free Will” and the “Concept of Destiny” are always at odds. They always contradict one another and if one is true the other cannot be. We knew this much already, but which one is true? How do I find out? It seems there is no empirical answer

How do we know destiny exists?

I don’t think we can know. A common argument for determinists who believe in destiny, is that it cannot be disproved. But is this a good basis to believe something? We cannot disprove the existence of fairies, or Santa Clause, or elves, yet it’s quite evident they don’t exist.

Perhaps destiny is an illusion?

It might be that destiny just happens to be an illusion. To elaborate on this, if we convince ourselves we have a destiny that will drive us to achieve greatness, and we end up achieving incredible things, it does not mean destiny itself exists but rather perhaps, the illusion is what drove us.

But, if it does exist, is that a bad thing or a good thing?

columbus arriving

Image taken from https://en.wikipedia.org and modified under Creative Commons License.

If destiny does exist I don’t think it would be black and white when it comes to ethics. If we take a look at history, to be more specific, historical figures, we could see that many who believed they had a destiny ended up committing terrible crimes, and others some very noble acts. Christopher Columbus is a good example. Christopher was a man who we could call a “man of destiny”. He believed it was his destiny to go around the world, traveling from Europe to Asia through the Atlantic Ocean. Although he failed in doing so, he ended up discovering a new continent! It was his destiny, or self-belief in destiny that drove him to achieving this. Unfortunately, even though today we see him as an enlightened explorer, he ordered his men to commit several crimes against the Indians (Natives) of Hispaniola! Was it his destiny that predetermined for these atrocities to be committed? I don’t know.

Based on all this philosophical thinking, my current stance is, yes, destiny does exist. My reasoning behind this is, being the determinist I am, I do not believe in free will, and think all our future events have already been predetermined. Ironically, I think it’s free will that happens to be the illusion. Let’s see if philosophers agree with me and/or if I change my mind with my second blog on Destiny.

 

 

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Can you talk to ghosts?

The belief that the paranormal can only be studied with digital recorders and nightvision cameras is not only limited but it is not exploring our other options of discovering what happens to us after death. The study of parapsychology looks at our minds and the possible psychic abilities we have. The field studies things from telepathy to hauntings to the Reichenbach Phenomenon aka Odic Force.

Surprisingly, many people in the field often consider themselves skeptics, possibly because the field questions the paranormal in other ways that most people do, demanding an explanation while others will simply say “I could believe in this theory.”

One of the field’s founding fathers was a firm believer in survival after death but he was searching for an explanation, not just theories. J.B Rhine had first gotten his phD in in botany at the University of Chicago in 1920 but he had never truly believed that that was something he wanted to do with this life. He turned to the paranormal and the American Society for Psychical Research and worked for their journal/magazine. He teamed up with a medium, William McDougall and Walter F. Prince and began experiments of ESP; extrasensory perception preterition. Rhine believed that one in every five people has ESP, believing that these people were closer to the paranormal world that anyone else with skills in telepathy (mind to mind communication) and clairvoyance (extrasensory awareness of a physical object or physical event). Rhine thought that the closest way that we could possibly answer the question if there is more after death, it would be through researching ESP and our connection with the paranormal while we are living.

Many of his experiments included Zener cards, to test the abilities of the mind such as telepathy and clairvoyance. The person being tested for EPI / PSI (paranormal sensory information. Exp; psychokinesis). They would guess the card that is on the top. You can test yourself for ESP here (x). The more hits/guesses you have right, the more likely you are to have ESP/ PSI! People even believed that ESP and PSI could be used to solve crimes, many people sending letters to Rhine asking for help in solving crimes psychically.

However, skeptics argued that Rhine’s form of testing is unlikely because it is simply based on odds. The possibilities of getting the card right depends on the amount of the cards and not mental skill. That said, Rhine’s testing and theories paved the path for modern parapsychology and it’s studies. It is one of the few possible ways of scientifically proving that there is life beyond death. Maybe the only way we can understand death is through the living and the power of our own minds.

Going back to my previous post, I asked why some people are more connected to the paranormal than others and what keeps spirits here? I am not a psychic, in fact I’m more skeptical of these things. That said, my mother is proven to have a skill, possibly ESP. I recently went with her to Riverview hospital, thinking about this topic and these questions. Out of all the buildings with so much history, there was only one that she sensed something. She said it felt sad. She senses emotions and ‘stories’ as she calls them.

For example, in a hotel in a small town in northern Ontario, we spent the night there when we were visiting my grandmother. The town is an old mining town but the mines have been long shut down. When they shut down, many men were out of the job and could no longer support their families. Many chose to end their lives then face the hardships. In our hotel room, my mom refused to go into the bathroom, saying that someone had died in the bathtub. When my dad, a total skeptic, went down to the front desk to ask about the history of the room, he was told that a man had electrocuted himself in the bathtub.

The paranormal has been something that has always been a part of a my life and I’ve always wondered why my mother could experience these things but I couldn’t. Maybe this is why I am so skeptic of psychic abilities and choose to believe in more scientific proof of the paranormal like captured EVPS and apparitions because I cannot sense them. Many people are this way. Because we cannot see it, because we cannot sense it, because we cannot repeat our results on command, people do not believe in it, saying that it boils down to a matter of faith and nothing more. Possibly. For some, they need to believe that there is more than just this to life, that it means more.

Rhine believed the same. The basis of his research was to answer the question if there was life after death. If there was survival after death in shape or form. Motivated by his quest to find answers, Rhine created the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man which later became the Rhine Research Centre  which still to this day, tries to understand the paranormal and if life can survive after death.

With the paranormal being something that is a big part of my life, I am thinking it about and what it means and what my life means. Many people in the field are faced with these questions that I have asked and that people like Rhine have asked as well and will continue to ask because any answers we get will only led to more questions. Where do we go after we die? Why are some people like my mother, so connected to the paranormal while others are not? What does it all mean?

 

 

 

 

 

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Music Makes Us Alive!!!

For my metaphysical topic I would like to pose this question:

What benefit does music have to human survival? 

I chose the topic of music and its value to human survival because it was one of the first philosophical ideas I thought deeply
about, for along time I wondered about this question but didn’t even know how to ask it never mind answer it. I find the topic interesting and worth investigating further because music is such a big part of society all around the world and has been for thousands of years. In the article Why Music? by The Economist it was said that: The average American teenager spends 1.5-2.5 hours a day listening to music. It should be noted this article was written in 2008 so it is a little bit outdated but still proves the point that music is a huge part of peoples lives.

My initial findings on this question show there are many theories, two of which I am able to comprehend at this point:

The first idea is a theory proposed by Shakespeare “that music is one of the foods of love.” this meant that music was necessary  for reproduction. Charles Darwin agreed with this idea, the musical food fit in with his theory of natural selection. Darwin believed that features of animals were not only for survival but also to attract a mate. An example of this from the why music? article is; songbirds, the female bird would be most likely to choose a male with a good and potentially more complex song. The same can be said with a peacock and the beauty of their feathers.

The second idea is that Music is used as a communication tool to bring people together and make a stronger bond between people in a tribe or community. Even today people bond over music, at concerts, in bands and other music groups. even people who have the same taste in music come together with this common interest.

Some other questions i now have after doing a little reading are:

  • Is there a reason for music if not for survival? If so what is it?
  • Why do people have different tastes in music?
  • Why do we like the sound of music rather than other everyday noises?

This topic deserves to be inquired further because of the fact that music is such a big part in the lives of people all around the world, different areas in the world make different sounding music. There has to be reason why music is such a big part in our lives maybe for survival reasons or maybe just because it sounds good. I never really considered the study of music a philosophical topic and now that I know it is, I have many new questions I look forward to exploring more.

 

 

 

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It’s time for some ghost adventures

Coming from the Greek word for ‘Para’ which means ‘next to’ or beyond and ‘nomos’ which means ‘rule’, the paranormal has been something that has fascinated humans for hundred of years. The definition of the paranormal; phenomena that cannot be explained with logic or  experiments using the scientific method. Putting it simply, it is the things that occur in our world that we cannot explain. Most commonly associated with ghosts aka spirits, it also includes physics/matter, energy and culture. ( In every culture throughout the world, there is some aspect of the paranormal. For example, in Catholic/Christian beliefs, there is the demon and angels. In Egyptian beliefs, there is Ba, an entity that can travel between the world of the dead and the world of the living. In Celtic lore, there is Ankou, the personification of death.)

 To  better explain something that is considered paranormal the way we know it, I’m going to give you an example of a well known haunting. About forty minutes outside of Chicago, Illinois is Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. It’s first burial was in 1844 and the last recorded burial was in 1989. I say recorded because the small lake/pond the cemetery is located near became the burial place for people killed by the mob in Chicago. This cemetery is unfortunately extremely vandalized. From people digging up bodies to stealing the gravestones which created a legend that the gravestones move by themselves.

It’s common paranormal phenomenons are ‘phantom vehicles’ which might be a residual haunting, and floating lights. These lights have no source and are often red or blue in colour. It’s most common apparition is not a person but a house. According to witnesses, the house is always far away and always described the exact same. It’s a white house with porch pillars, a swing and soft lights in the windows. Yet whoever gets near it says that it will disappear before you can get close. The house is never reported in the same spot.

Photo taken by Mari Huff in 1991

There are also other apparitions seen in the cemetery and the forest that surrounds it. Some of them include a farmer and his horse who is said to have drowned in the pond, a two headed man and a large black dog. The most famous is the “White Lady” or the “Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove.” One of the most famous photographic pieces of proof that the cemetery is haunted as well as one of the best pieces of photographic evidence  is of a woman, possibly the “White Lady” sitting on a tombstone. It was taken in 1991 by Mari Huff, a member of the Ghost Research Society. Mari said that the woman was not there when she took the photo. Some people argue that it is a double exposure but professional photographers say that is it genuine.

When you think of the paranormal you might think of psychics and people standing in the dark and asking “can you give me a sign that you are here?” That is the metaphysical approach. In the Paranormal, there are two approaches. The metaphysical way and the non-metaphysical way. The non-metaphysical way is very scientific, using equipment to document phenomenon and disprove it as well as prove it. However, skeptics find the paranormal hard to believe in because the paranormal even with the non-metaphysical approach because it  cannot be tested with the scientific method.

“We have to understand that we are dealing with the unexplained. We only know what we can see, hear, smell, taste and feel; everything else is just a theory. Sometimes I feel that humans have the mentality of a two year old. Why does it do that? Why is this the way it is? Why, why why, why? We’re curious beings who are programmed to ask questions, but if there isn’t an answer than it must not exist and we ridicule it or make fun of those who believe in it. Anyone who has spent a day in the paranormal field has experienced this kind of skepticism. ‘Ghosts aren’t real and you’re an idiot if you think they are’ people say. – Zak Bagans, lead investigator of the Ghost Adventures Crew

Since this is a metaphysics post though, I’ll keep it to the metaphysics, but if you want to explore the non-metaphysical side of the paranormal like seeing some of the devices used to research the paranormal, you find some references here. (x) (x)

People believe that with a sixth sense, you can sense spiritual energy through different ways  from empathy to telepathically. Yet because of  so many frauds and lies, it is hard to believe these people. I, myself, am skeptical of people who say they can communicate with spirits, saying they can talk to them and hear them.  I do believe however, that people may be able to see or sense them more easily, sensing energy that others cannot. Maybe this is could tie into the collective consciousness idea that we are all connected in some way and when we die, that connection might become weaker for some and/or stronger for others.

This topic has been one that has been talked about for centuries, becoming increasingly popular since the Victorian era when things like Ouija Boards and  Spirit photography were invented. As well, people were starting to really think about death, especially during and after the first world war when death was something people faced every day. People want closure when they lose someone. People want to know that this isn’t over, that there is something that makes all of this worth it.

Photo my friend took at Riverview Hospital in 2014.

Photo my friend took at Riverview Hospital in 2014. A face is visible in the window.

There is more to the paranormal than things that go bump in the night. If you truly believe, a ghost is more than something scary. It’s someone’s consciousness. It’s someone who lived a  life like you and me. The paranormal is like direct contact with our past. For example, if you were to go to a place where there was a battle, you can still experience sounds, and see things from that time.

When you look past the things people experience in the paranormal, you realize that something must be keeping this energy here and that is the greatest mystery of all. Maybe it’s their actions and choices from when they were alive. Maybe it’s something that is bigger than what we can possibly understand that keeps them here. (I haven’t even touched on demons/demonology and other entities that are not human-like that have been documented. If you are interested on reading more of that, you can go here (x) (x) )

That only leaves more questions that with our current technology and thinking cannot even begin to answer yet. What is consciousness? What keeps a soul/spirit here after death? Why are some more connected to these spirits than others?

So until we fully answer these questions, all we can do is stand in the dark and ask “Are you here? Can you give me a sign?”

 

 
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