Post No.: 0179
I personally cannot find many satisfying horror movies – they’re generally full of protagonists doing things I think normal people in real life wouldn’t do if they were in the same situations, hence most of the time I’m simply frustrated about what silly things they do rather than being scared, and I end up rooting for the monsters or aliens to put these characters with peas-for-brains out of their miseries instead(!) (Urgh, did someone mention brains?)
I’m not too bothered about the sight of blood or gore (the smell would be undeniably off-putting though but ‘smell-o-vision’ hasn’t caught on, yet). What I’d probably do would be what I do in my own dreams. If I see or sense monsters or threats – I chase them or we chase each other mutually, like in some kind of deathmatch. (Have I been playing too many video games?!) In our dreams, our prefrontal cortices are actively suppressed though, meaning that we’re less inhibited and not in full control of our impulses – so I probably won’t go zombie-hunting in real life unless I’m severely drugged or something like that(!)
Now zombies do apparently exist, particularly in the insect world, but there’s no risk of a human zombie outbreak, yet. Toxoplasma gondii parasites that might be found in cat litter trays are said to affect mice, rats and maybe even humans though – turning the hosts into mind-controlled zombies in order to carry out the reproductive cycle of the parasite! (I get tested regularly and I’m clear so don’t worry! Meow.)
For me, the best horror movies put the protagonists in very dilemmatic situations – between two or more bad options – where it isn’t so easy to guess what one would do oneself if one were in the same situation. That’s when you hope never to be in such a situation in real life. Another interesting angle is when there are insidious psychological threats that don’t actually exist or aren’t as bad as the division they cause between the characters themselves when they start accusing each other of being dishonest and behind the hidden threat. And this horrible situation is one we often see in real life, where suspicion and distrust borne from biases, fear and conjecture, rather than specific, unambiguous hard evidence and ‘innocence unless guilt has been proven’, cause human groups or individuals to hold unjustified prejudices against one another.
Anyway, do ghosts exist? For me, there has not been sufficient unambiguous hard evidence provided to suggest that they do. Feelings or intuitions that they do exist shouldn’t be sufficient evidence, just like suspicions that someone is out to harm us shouldn’t alone be sufficient evidence that they will (as in the divisive distrust situations mentioned above). With all this search for ghosts or spirits around the world and throughout history, nothing supernatural or paranormal has been proven that does not have other, more natural, explanations (e.g. ouija boards and the ideomotor response). All the claimed evidence has been too ambiguous and has been interpreted via confirmation biases. And why an overwhelming bias by those who believe in ghosts claiming they have seen or otherwise sensed human ghosts? Why not believe in other animal (and possibly plant) ghosts too? They should be statistically more likely to be seen. Most spaces should be saturated with dinosaur or past-life ghosts if ghosts exist.
We don’t have the ability to sense all physical phenomena that occur around us (e.g. we cannot sense magnetic fields or gravitational waves without the help of external tools/detectors) – but this doesn’t necessarily mean that things like ghosts therefore exist within this realm that we cannot naturally sense. Well if you think they do then invent a detector that’ll unambiguously detect their existence – get rich out of it. Although if they do exist and can be detected in this way then they won’t be immaterial spirits because they’ll be emitting a material/physical signal hence material detectors will be able to detect them. And if they’re material then so are snakes and bats, bacteria and viruses, for instance, and what’s special or uniquely scary about ghosts if so(?!) And if those material signals are just noise then I’m not scared of a bit of noise.
Despite the proliferation of mobile device cameras that can record quite clear images nowadays, we are seeing fewer alleged recorded cases of claimed paranormal activity or UFO sightings. Unlike the fuzzy and ambiguous image-capture qualities of recording equipment from the past, we can now more unambiguously see what that ‘smudge’ was in the photograph or clearly identify what would’ve been ‘unidentified’ in a video from the past. (The UFOs that people spotted over Nevada, USA, during the Cold War years were the result of military testing but the government went along with and even stoked the ‘aliens have visited us but the government is hiding this’ conspiracy theory so that people of the world (especially the Soviet Union) were diverted from the truth that advanced military machines were being developed and tested by the US. Other claims of alien sightings have had other, more-down-to-Earth, explanations too e.g. rare or high-altitude lightning phenomena, or even reflections of indoor lights on glass windows!)
Note that I’m not commenting on whether there might be intelligent extraterrestrial life out there somewhere (input your own numbers into the Drake equation to do that) – I’m commenting on whether some might have already visited Earth.
Currently at least, as a result of more people in the world constantly carrying cameras in the form of smartphones nowadays, there have been a lot of recorded ‘weird’ events around the world (e.g. rare weather phenomena). But it’s not the case that more weird stuff is happening nowadays – it’s just that more people have cameras to record, and also social media accounts to spread to the world, these moments. But as more and more of the same phenomena are recorded, and as people get more and more educated about what they are, they’ll no longer be considered ‘weird’. (It’s therefore harder for people claiming to be messiahs or to have performed miracles to be taken seriously today too.)
This highlights that the more knowledge of the world one acquires, the less one is surprised by so-called ‘freaks’ or ‘weird’ events because one will know enough to know that few things are really that unique. The antidote to calling people ‘freaks’ or being surprised by rare events is simply more personal education and exposure to these things. Meow.
So note that, despite more people in the world carrying cameras in their pockets and taking photos, and that these cameras take pictures with greater definition than ever before too – there have been fewer claims of hard UFO or ghost sightings! In the past, when video and still camera images were more blurry, smeary and therefore blotches where more ambiguous, these ambiguous blotches were often interpreted by some as proof of alien sightings or spiritual apparitions. More opportunity to capture plus less ambiguity in what is captured has actually led to fewer new claims of ‘indisputable’ proof of such phenomena, which suggests that they’ve never really been captured at all. But those who still believe that they’ve been captured before might argue that actual intelligent extraterrestrial alien visits have died down since the mid-20th century, or that ghosts cannot be picked up with modern cameras, or some other rationalisation, so beliefs can always be maintained via rationalisations.
Would I be scared if I ever see a ghost? Well the logic I follow is that, if the supernatural doesn’t exist then it doesn’t exist thus there’s nothing to fear – but if it does then it does, just like hedgehogs, polar bears, magnetism, auroras and so forth, and so I’ll react to ghosts like I react to seeing these things that also exist, which is usually with wonder and curiosity. It’s not that e.g. a polar bear isn’t potentially dangerous to approach, but it wouldn’t invoke trembling fear – in fact, it’d evoke extreme fascination and awe. (I’d genuinely love to meet a ghost, mythical monster or the like for this reason. I think it’s propaganda to suggest that ghosts need be evil if they do exist. And I can’t think of any ghosts who’d have a personal vengeful grudge against me for me to be particularly worried about them(!) I love fantasy worlds, creatures and stories as many should realise, but I can separate reality from fantasy. Some things you shouldn’t take too seriously!)
Or if one is scared then one could take a ‘I wonder what that’d taste like?’ attitude to terrible monsters if they existed – like my mother does. She is probably the ultimate top predator because whenever she watches nature documentaries of animals – instead of thinking how interesting they are – she’s more interested in wondering how they’d taste, whether they’re small furry animals or fierce predators in their own right! From that bizarre influence, I’ve learnt a technique to turn the tables if you’re scared of a creature – mentally decide to want to ‘catch it, cook it and eat it’. You don’t literally need to do so but this mindset puts you in the position of the predator and this creature as the prey. There’s still respect for the defences of a prey but not paralysing irrational fear. (My mother came from a different time and place! Please don’t judge her.)
Would I be bothered about becoming a ghost myself? Well if I’m not to be conscious in the form of being dead then I won’t be bothered because I won’t have the consciousness to be bothered about being dead! Just like when I’m totally asleep and not dreaming (i.e. completely unconscious), I don’t care about not being awake or not dreaming at all. Or indeed I wasn’t bothered that I wasn’t alive or conscious in all that time before I was born (if there was a concept of a ‘I’ or ‘me’ before I was at least conceived).
And if I’m to be a conscious ghost then as long as I’m conscious then it will feel as good as being alive because I’d be conscious, like any other living and conscious being. So would one really care if one were a ghost as long as one were conscious (I suppose as long as it’s not a painful existence)? Do people care about being ‘only in a dream’ whilst they’re dreaming? Will people care if they’re actually in a virtual reality simulation as long as they can believe it’s all real? Are we actually in a virtual reality simulation right now as ‘ghosts in the machine’? Are we possibly even in a virtual reality simulation within a virtual reality simulation, like a dream within a dream, right now(?!)
In summary, if ghosts don’t exist then why worry about things that don’t exist? And if they do exist then I’d personally be as fascinated by them as I am about most things that exist; possibly even more. I’d feel excited rather than scared. And if I end up as a conscious ghost myself then it’s going to be interesting to see what that’s going to feel like.
These are just my personal and casual ponderings and I’m aware there are many alternative views on this subject. I also want to add – if the tricks magicians do for entertainment were real then wouldn’t you think at least some of them would rather use their powers for something far greater and important than light entertainment (e.g. saving lives, curing diseases, solving engineering problems)?! It’s magnificent entertainment in its own right but if real-life people really do claim to have clairvoyant skills, telekinesis or the like, then why aren’t these people using their powers for something, anything, far more impressive and worthwhile than the little things they do for money, or for some, their egos?!
Meow. What’s your favourite scary movie? Tell us by using the Twitter comment button below!