MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

July 15, 2008

Greatness in the Paranormal

This is a re-post of an artcile I published on another site. But not everyone who reads this blog will visit that site and this article got so much praise I felt it deserves reposting here. Besides, I like it.

I also fixed some of the formatting that didn't come through as I intended on the other site. I think it further enhances the meaning of the article.

(And no, this picture does not imply anything paranormal about George Washington other than to say he is an example of a great man.)


Greatness shines through unto itself. It does not need light to shine upon it.

With the explosive growth of the paranormal field over the recent years it was inevitable for the age-old argument of who is better at the paranormal to raise its head. It is by no means easy to measure the value of a given investigator or group to the field.

Indeed, all paranormal investigators and groups have something to contribute to the field (though not always in a positive way). Ranking one over another is usually far more subjective than objective (though applying a set of standards can definitely help quantify the distinction, but that's a subject for another time).

And then there are the motivations. Some in the field are here to do true research into the paranormal. Some see it as a mere thrill and joy ride treating it with all the care of going to a Six Flags park. Some want so urgently to prove it exists, some to debunk (or discredit) it at all costs, and some don't care either way as long as they can help bring comfort to people who don't understand what is happening in their lives. Then there are some parties that want to make a name for themselves and achieve an immediate level of greatness. It is to this latter collection that this article addresses.

Greatness is self evident. Greatness speaks for itself.

"Great" is a conclusion other people reach regarding the persons in question. History determines the level of a person's greatness (or not). People and organizations that are deemed to be "great" are elevated for such consideration because of the work they do and the achievements and contributions they have made.

Persons who are considered "great" stand for something. It is clear and unambiguous what their philosophy is, their methodologies are, what their supporting sources are, and where they stand on related topics. Great people are unwavering in their stand, particularly for truth and openness. Great people make a decision and stand by it, not simply saying what is most expedient for the current audience then change to a different stance for the next audience set or when popular opinion shifts. This is not to say great people are closed minded. Not at all. But when they have come to a conclusion they need more than just another point of view to change their mind.

It follows that great people can give you a clear, well thought out, well articulated and documented (with verifiable references) argument as to why they have their point of view. Great people will accept another point of view, so long as it is also clear, well thought out, well articulated and documented too.

Greatness also comes with a healthy dose of humility. While there is nothing wrong in taking a moment to be proud of one's achievements and successes, the truly great people in history frequently shunned accolades seeing it as a distraction from their work.

Greatness is not self declared. Greatness does not seek out recognition.

A person or organization is not "great" because they say they are. Persons and organizations can't anoint themselves as "great". Only others can do this. The more a person or organization touts their own greatness the less true greatness they have and the more scrutiny they acquire. People and organizations that rely on repeatedly stating (claiming) all the years of (claimed) experience they have under their belts, all the things they have done, all the people they know, all the ideas they put forth, etc. as justification for supporting their greatness are grasping at straws hoping to be lifted into the light by an unseen hand. Greatness is not a line item on your resume.

Greatness can not come from simply tossing out ideas like seeds on the wind, hoping one or two will find a fertile patch in someone's mind and take root. It would be nice work if you could get it. But few people get recognition solely for an idea without anything of substance behind it. Great ideas do not exist at face value only. Like a seed to be planted, a great idea needs to be carefully selected from lesser ideas (not all ideas are created equal), guided by logical flow, feed the right mix of fact and hypothesis to warrant its existence, and supported by truth until it stands on its own (or fails as often happens as well).

People who are great rarely seek out the spotlight of center stage (i.e. television, radio, print media). Their contribution to the media is usually behind the scenes as a reference or consultation source rather than the special guest feature of the presentation.

As the paranormal field continues to expand and more people enter the field recognition and award will follow those who have demonstrated true commitment to the field and achievement there in. The glory hounds will at best get frustrated that no one is taking them for the greatness they feel they immediately deserve and will probably leave the field or shrink to anonymity. Or, at worst, will attract a small cadre of like-minded followers that will spend their days patting each other on the back in their own mutual admiration society and then too fade away into anonymity. Either way the question will be answered once and for all.

To expand on an old saying "Do what you love and greatness will follow."

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