I'm not dead! + Keeping a critical mind while studying the supernatural.

Hey everyone, you may remember me from 2012, posting a lot as Cyrus Kirkpatrick, before I dropped off the face of the Earth. I still listen to Alex's podcast every time i have a long plane flight, which is fairly often as these days I am traveling the world (currently in Prague).

Truth be told, I stopped posting here because I grew exhausted by the skeptic versus believer debate. It wasn't really contributing to my own personal journey. It was really just exhausting. Constant back-and-forth, leading to nothing. No progress ever. Spinning wheels in the mud.

These days I'm back to writing a lot, and I've found myself more embroiled in this world again as I work on a book, the working title being "Life After Death for the Critical Thinker". To stay on point on this forum, as I needed something to write about that's consciousness related, I decided to include an excerpt. Enjoy:

To Keep a Critical Mind

As a proponent of life after death, at no point am I going to release my skeptical guard. It’s extremely important to approach this topic with a critical mind, while abstaining from cynicism or personal bias. One important point is that many of the skeptics, who fight against charlatan psychics, are quite justified, because many psychics and mediums are exactly that—charlatans.

This is a phenomenon that has been occurring, I presume, since civilization began. The reason is because as shadows and hints of the so-called spirit world pervade society, and as people feel desperate to understand details so they may understand the fate of loved ones, so do the manipulators of the world descend upon the prey. The scam is as old as people. Step forward, claim to have the answers, and ask for money in exchange.

Self-deception also pervades the borderlands between the spiritual and the literal. There are many examples of this, especially in the New Age genre. Self-deception typically preempts falling into the arms of one of the aforementioned con-artists. An example could be reading the writings of a charlatan channeling-medium who claims to have the answers for mankind. A credit card payment later, and the self-deceived victim is flying to Sedona for a $5,000 personal reading and a $12,000 retreat with others who also believe they are going to be swept away by celestial beings.

Sometimes self-deception is more subtle. Don’t even get me started on some of the electronic voice-phenomenon ghost apps floating around the iTunes stores. One such app, EchoVox, claims to be able to detect spirits as they try to talk, by giving the spirits randomly generated sounds that they can manipulate somehow into full sentences. So, what the app essentially does is that it blurts out sporadic noises that sound like variations of broken speech.

I won’t hate on the people who designed the app. The theory seems to have some merit in parapsychological circles who have tried to perfect EVP techniques. The problem is that people download the app and start to presume that the software’s randomly generated noise interface is, in fact, the voices of departed souls. If the smartphone running EchoVox is set anywhere, it will begin spitting out noises that could be interpreted as words or even sentences. It does this randomly, and at no point should any of these voices be considered departed souls. However, fans of the app get extremely excited, making themselves believe that “Mffmmsru” was General Custer repenting for his mistreatment of Native Americans.

To literally experience the astral world is powerful when it happens, and it’s also unmistakable. Whether it’s the apparition of a loved one, a near death experience, or even an EVP recording where, in an isolated environment without background interference, a mysterious voice calls your name. However, these profound experiences are rare. In fact, some believe they’re rare intentionally, as how could we learn the lessons of our human lives if we are constantly bombarded by the astral dimension? As a result of the general obscurity of such phenomena, those desperate for evidence use their imaginations to fill in the blanks. The truth is stretched and flights of fantasy are woven to accommodate the sudden existence of all manner of supernatural experiences.

The rest will be out in the future, when the book is finished :) I am currently working on a chapter on Leslie Flint. I've been digging into the skeptical arguments against him and surprisingly in that miasma I am finding more reasons to suspect there was genuine mediumship at work. Stay tuned ~ CK
H It’s extremely important to approach this topic with a critical mind, while abstaining from cynicism or personal bias.
Why is a "critical mind" approach important? On what do you set the baseline for that critical approach? And how do you verify that said approach isn't affecting your results? As for abstaining from "personal bias" one can do that to a degree but - by definition - it is almost impossible in standard state to achieve that. Case in point, your liking for "critical mind" is itself one of your personal biases..

With all that stated, best to you in your research and writing.