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Old 02-10-2017   #1
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The Supernatural

I'm curious to know if the "supernatural" aspect behind most weird fiction has in some way opened the minds of some people here to the possibility that the visible world is merely a small portion of something both quantitatively as well as qualitatively larger.

Speaking for myself, I keep thinking about the account of everyday perception in phenomenology, or the notion that we only perceive a single aspect (side) of an object which presupposes an infinite number of other perspectives that can't be presented all at once. Perhaps the visible world as a whole is governed by the same principle.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 02-11-2017   #2
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Re: The Supernatural

We like to think of ourselves, in the form of human beings, as the top of creation and evolutionary ladder, as enlightened, and perceptive, as morally superior. But our understanding of reality is limited, perverted, and illusionary. For one thing, our anatomical parts are specialized and meagerly developed, fitting into a small earthbound section of reality. And compared to other species, our eyes (we are used to the bent cockeyed picture seen through those particular small lenses), ears, noses, and sensory touches, are inferior, less developed. We perceive only a small and distorted part of reality, far from all sides of reality. And we don't understand so much as we like to think we do. Symbolically we can be said to be sitting inside an "apartment" with walls shielding us all around. We have only recently started to walk upright, which our spines are not even yet anatomically adapted for. Objectively speaking, we are freaks.
Human beings are very very smug and arrogant in their self-positioning. When, instead, we should look humbly upon ourselves as just one among several animal species.

I believe individuals can have glimmerings of more enlightened perception (non-Aristotelian logic, "null-A" to quote A. E. van Vogt), but it rarely lasts.
I also believe evolution can bring Homo sapiens, with time, to something else, of a much higher level of development; but whether that will happen, or not, is dependent on many un-forseeable circumstances of future history. The best we can do, is to strive for it, as maturely as we are able; that is a positive aspect we already possess, in part, for a rough direction.

As to supernatural or spiritual perceptions, I believe those can also be a form of faint glimmering beyond our physical capacity (if not, more often, purely mental illusions and emotional distortions of the senses). But such experiences are so personal, that they cannot really be shared with others. The responses from telling others, will not be meaningful beyond gaping disbelief and blank stares; in other words, deeply unsatisfactory. Such experiences are best left transformed into the arts, where some meaning may be destilled from it.
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Old 02-11-2017   #3
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Re: The Supernatural

The inverse is certainly true; attracted to weird & supenatural fiction because there seems to be more truth to such an approach to reality than to a purely materialist view of the possibilities of existence.
Not that i think the Old Ones are real, or that the dead can return as vengeful spirits; but that there is such a thing as Spirit, and that existence stretches far beyond material perception are things i've always suspected.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 02-11-2017   #4
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Re: The Supernatural

My reading of Robert Aickman, M. R. James, Walter de la Mare, Sheridan Le Fanu, William Hope Hodgson, Sarban, Arthur Machen and others drew me away from the materialism I had been drowned with in this post-industrial age, and what I saw as simple pulp entertainment soon became a sacred ritual driven by poetry of the uncertainty and the animistic region of the undefined.

Last edited by James; 02-11-2017 at 11:00 AM..
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Old 02-11-2017   #5
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
As to supernatural or spiritual perceptions, I believe those can also be a form of faint glimmering beyond our physical capacity (if not, more often, purely mental illusions and emotional distortions of the senses). But such experiences are so personal, that they cannot really be shared with others. The responses from telling others, will not be meaningful beyond gaping disbelief and blank stares; in other words, deeply unsatisfactory. Such experiences are best left transformed into the arts, where some meaning may be destilled from it.
I explained this to someone recently. If someone does in fact encounter something supernatural, then it must be frustrating beyond belief to communicate it to another person.

@ James

Yes, I've thought of the "region of the undefined" you mentioned as an "open space" in which strange things can possibly happen.

@ Ibrahim

I think there's a sort melancholy longing embodied in a lot of weird fiction, a longing for a different world. A materialist can experience this, though he or she must ultimately recognize its attainment as illusory. What do you mean by "Spirit?" My knowledge of Islam is (sadly) very poor.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 02-11-2017   #6
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
As to supernatural or spiritual perceptions, I believe those can also be a form of faint glimmering beyond our physical capacity (if not, more often, purely mental illusions and emotional distortions of the senses). But such experiences are so personal, that they cannot really be shared with others. The responses from telling others, will not be meaningful beyond gaping disbelief and blank stares; in other words, deeply unsatisfactory. Such experiences are best left transformed into the arts, where some meaning may be destilled from it.
I explained this to someone recently. If someone does in fact encounter something supernatural, then it must be frustrating beyond belief to communicate it to another person.
Oh absolutely.

"So you believe in God. Well, have you seen him?"
"No but i feel Him near"
"Your imagination"
"I believe the eyewitness accounts of those who have seen a mountain see Him"
"Hallucinating madmen"
"Mountains can hallucinate, but men can't feel their creator near?"
" you're being unreasonable"
&c &c

In the end all you can do is shrug, sit down behind your desk & draw a comic.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 02-11-2017   #7
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
As to supernatural or spiritual perceptions, I believe those can also be a form of faint glimmering beyond our physical capacity (if not, more often, purely mental illusions and emotional distortions of the senses). But such experiences are so personal, that they cannot really be shared with others. The responses from telling others, will not be meaningful beyond gaping disbelief and blank stares; in other words, deeply unsatisfactory. Such experiences are best left transformed into the arts, where some meaning may be destilled from it.
I explained this to someone recently. If someone does in fact encounter something supernatural, then it must be frustrating beyond belief to communicate it to another person.
Oh absolutely.

"So you believe in God. Well, have you seen him?"
"No but i feel Him near"
"Your imagination"
"I believe the eyewitness accounts of those who have seen a mountain see Him"
"Hallucinating madmen"
"Mountains can hallucinate, but men can't feel their creator near?"
" you're being unreasonable"
&c &c

In the end all you can do is shrug, sit down behind your desk & draw a comic.
Another example would be supposed witnesses of Christ (post-crucifixion). The writers of the New Testament mention that he was seen after the crucifixion by hundreds of people. But at some point you can't provide someone with enough evidence for something like that.

It sounds paradoxical, but I sympathize with both the believer and the skeptic. Both seem to be rational in their own way. If I were present at something like that, I would respond in the same way as Thomas. He believed, but he believed after seeing him in the flesh. Thomas' skepticism was nullified. I feel that every person should be given such an opportunity.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 02-11-2017   #8
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Re: The Supernatural

Yes, it has.

For a time I was an ardent materialist, but I gradually changed my mind thanks to a few personal experiences and a growing dissatisfaction with the way the nobility of scientific pursuit has given way to scientism and technical evangelism, at least in the open mainstream. People like Rupert Shaledrake, bless his heart, are exceptions.

Based in my own, few, experiences and what I have read about the topic, "the supernatural", seems to exist solely at the fringes of daily perception. Ordinary folks like me get to experience anomalies rarely, if ever. Some may go to their graves without having experienced anything unnusual, or at least without being aware of it. Other people seemed to be more acute to the supernatural. Others, like I'm sure is the case of men like Dawkins and Degrasse Tyson, are just unable to do so. Just like a kind of savant is able to solve, in just a fraction of a second, complex mathematics that would take a supercomputers a few minutes to crack. People are born with different wiring that allows or deters certain abilities and perceptions.

As for what I have experienced, mainly psy. Spontaneous telepathy and premonition.

Anyway, people die...
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I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
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Old 02-11-2017   #9
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I feel that every person should be given such an opportunity.
Ah but we are given this, countless times each day; that we choose to squander or ignore such opportunities is another matter entirely...

With the mention of Spirit, i was just ineptly and generally grasping at an entire group of concepts somewhere between god's inbreathing of creation and the Jewish concept of Shekhinah (insofar i have properly understood it, not being Jewish), to point towards all things that could be roughly described as originally pertaining not to this perishable realm.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 02-11-2017   #10
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I feel that every person should be given such an opportunity.
Ah but we are given this, countless times each day; that we choose to squander or ignore such opportunities is another matter entirely...
What do you mean? The fact that something exists at all is itself supernatural, or that what we label as "ordinary" or "mundane" is, if viewed from another angle, extraordinary?

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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