In grade school my report card included an line and grade for “Plays well with others”. Looking back now I see that was the introduction to the concept of ‘Group Dynamics’. How we get along with others – especially our co-workers, colleagues and peers – is of the utmost importance to our success and the success of the groups we belong to. Efforts these days are just too big for one person or group to confront by themselves. At least not successfully.
This paradigm is clearly exemplified in the paranormal investigation field.
Divide and Conquer
Establishing healthy working relationships with in a group should go with out saying. After all, why did you join a paranormal group if you don’t get along with the people in it? If you joined for name recognition or for the thrill of the paranormal, I’m surprised you made it through the group’s screening process. Most groups shy away from thrill seekers and personal notoriety hounds. A group has to be able to work together, come together, and be united for the benefit of their clients and the field.
No Man is an Island
While I believe whole heartedly in rugged individualism, that won’t get you very far in the paranormal field if you are truly in it for the work. There are just too many things to learn, to many thing to [try to] understand, to many places to be at one time. Then there’s the equipment. You can’t go into the field as a one-man-band loaded down with all kinds of meters, recorders and cameras. And certainly not to be overlooked is the safety issue. You should never go investigating alone or on a home/business investigation by yourself. Besides possible liability issues, if something happens to you – even if just a ‘normal’ accident – you’re that much more in a jam being by yourself.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
The fact is also that one person or one group simply can’t think of everything. Different minds, different ideas. Sometimes the path of investigation brings different people down the same path to the same conclusion. This is very good as it shows independent thinkers came to the same conclusion so the path of thought must have at least some validity. Like wise if the result is a false or otherwise bad result that’s something too. Even a bad idea is still a contribution because (hopefully) someone else will take note of it and won’t try the same thing themselves.
Conflict is Good
I don’t know who or where the idea started but it’s a dumb one – that conflict, particularly in research, is bad and to be avoided. Conflict is the driving force of research. One person’s idea verses someone else’s, or verses the established norm. Science and research is not about consensus building. Great discoveries and conclusions do not come about because a group of researches meet and take a unanimous vote on the subject. If you have ever seen or attended a scientific conference where papers are presented you would know the kind of scrutiny and criticisms the presenters have to endure. Some dissent is normal and healthy. How that dissent is expressed is the issue.
Don’t Burn Your Bridges!
Inspite of the near exponential growth with in the last couple of years the paranormal community is a small one. The core of truly dedicated paranormal investigators, researchers and groups performing good work and helping people is not as big as one might think. Word gets around fast. People you never met may sing your praises. Likewise, if your reputation is tarnished that too will come around quickly. It is imperative for a successful paranormal investigator or paranormal group to maintain strong, professional and cordial associations with other individuals a groups. For all the reasons I cite above as well as many others no one who’s intention is to be in this field for the long haul can afford to burn a bridge with any other group. It’s just too small for that.
Being defensive for any comments, making false accusations, constantly threatening legal action – these are not ways to win friends and influence people. There is so much unknown in the paranormal field and such a high requirement for good evidence if you can’t take the comments then either a) don’t put questionable or “ify” items into the public domain, or b) perhaps you should look at another field. The paranormal field is not the arena a person can just muscle their way into. You can’t take the approach of saying “I’m here so recognize me and my greatness!”. Doesn’t work like that in the paranormal field (or most other fields for that matter!).
Charity Begins at Home
If a person or group can’t get along with the other paranormal groups in their own locality that says a lot about them, their approach, their way of thinking. Work on mending fences in your own backyard before you attempt to go national or international. If your local peers take issue with you chances are very good the same will happen when your broaden your scope.
Be kind to the people you meet on the way up, you'll meet them (and need them) again on the way back down.