"How" vs. "Why" - Working towards answers or seeking a thrill? (An editorial comment...)

by Matthew Didier - Taken from the PSICAN message board

A while back, I posted a "motto" for the group pertaining to ghosts...

"Some groups go to a site to see the ghost. We go to a site to see what's there."

...which is basically laying out in one quick statement our agnostic point of view towards investigation and research... that we're open to things being "ghostly" or things being "non-ghostly"... we don't take a stand on what's happening and work strictly off what we can find.

I also jokingly said that many in CSICOP could use...

"We feel that almost all groups are overly credulous... save ourselves... and go to places to see the ghosts because they're nuts. We stay in our office and proclaim things to be nonsense without setting foot-one in the field."

Anyway, I digress...

While having a brief "face-to-face" meeting with a couple of folks, it also dawned on me that far too many people (groups and solo investigators) are more interested in "capturing anything from a ghost" then the mechanics of what might be at work.

Now, we know this to be true in "orb photography" (far too many people kicking around cemeteries taking orb photos and getting very excited) but it also seems to be true with pretty much everything else.

I think the main issue I'm having currently is too many people saying "How?" and not enough people saying "Why?"

"How do I record a ghost talking?" not "Why might I be able to record a ghost talking?"

"How do I photograph a ghost?" rather than "Why might I be able to photograph a ghost?"

...or the big one...

"How can I see a ghost?" and not "Why do people see ghosts?"

This begs a new question... If they're more interested in the "How?", why are they bothering? What do they hope to accomplish?

You can't say "PROOF!" because, in order to establish something as evidence, you MUST be able to explain the mechanism behind it's existence.

It seems to really come down to two things...

#1: A thrill.

Yup, there are STILL many (too many) would be ghost investigators hoping for some sort of "good scare" and "something to tell the guys" rather than trying to figure out what's going on. "Bragging rights" seems to be more important to some that unravelling an ages old mystery.

#2: Cheap fame.

Too many websites and groups STILL seem to want to be in the paper or on TV more than do actual work or help in the general understanding of the phenomena.

See: Fame vs Success for more details...

I guess it's to be accepted... although it's sad.

None-the-less, and not saying anyone here who "enjoys" the shock-factor of ghosts and hauntings (hey, it's okay and not a bad thing... just realise that this is your main thing and you're not out to do actual investigation or research) I am a little more than depressed over the lack of people trying to work on the "Why?"s as well as the "How?"s.

In a real study, you need both, in my humble opinion.

Comments, pro and con, are more than welcome. (Although, if you are gonna slam me, keep the posts nice and professional please. I meant no ill will towards anyone here... in fact, these boards are full of reasonable people and as I've always said, "Colleagues disagree." and can argue a point without being nasty!) Please post comments on the PSICAN message board on the thread found here.

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