When the paranormal is normalBy Jaime T. Licauco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
There are several often-used terms in the paranormal and occult fields which I wish were never invented, because they tend to confuse rather than clarify.
One of them is the word “paranormal” itself. This word does not tell us what it is. On the contrary, it tells us what something is not—namely, it is not “normal.”
But what do people regard as normal? Well, they consist of things that are commonly agreed upon by the majority of people, and that science considers to be normal and natural. Everything else outside this broad definition is considered to be paranormal or beyond the normal.
But as far as I am concerned, ironically enough, there is no such thing as the “paranormal,” meaning beyond the normal or natural state of things.
What people consider to be paranormal are those events or practices that are apparently outside the scope of science. So everything that science cannot explain is considered paranormal. But science was never intended to explain things beyond physical reality.
Its concepts, assumptions, tools and paradigms are limited to what can be seen, touched, smelled, heard or tasted, and to things that can be detected or measured by scientific instruments, like the microscope, the telescope, the electrocardiograph, x-rays and so on.
Any attempt to explain nonphysical phenomena in terms of physical standards of measurement is bound to fail and appear ludicrous. For example, one accepted theory why the native people of, say, Hawaii, India and Fiji Island can walk on fire is because “the natives have developed thick soles and very strong sweat glands so that when they step on the fire, the sweat glands on their feet are activated, thereby cooling them. That’s why they are not burned or hurt.”
It never occurred to these distinguished scientists that the natives of Fiji walk on six-foot- long, three-foot-wide and three-foot-deep paths of molten lava, which are a thousand times hotter than ordinary charcoal fire. No amount of sweat glands can cool such a high temperature, and yet this theory is accepted by scientists.
I believe that so-called paranormal phenomena are still normal, but not from the point of view of materialist physical science. If they had included the role of the mind and spirits in the explanation, everything becomes clear and normal.
Another word which is a pet peeve of mine is “psychic.” In the Philippines, this word has become associated with fortune-telling, or the ability to tell what’s going to happen before it does. But this is not what the word “psychic” means. Literally or etymologically, this word means “mind” or “soul.”
So anybody who has a mind or a soul is a psychic. And that covers practically all human beings, including congressmen and politicians, believe it or not.
Although I am convinced that everybody is indeed psychic, there are degrees of its manifestation. Some people are more psychic than others and are able to manifest such abilities at will or deliberately. Others may do so only rarely.
But this is the same case with almost any other human skill, talent or ability. For example, anybody can sing, but not everybody can sing like Gary Valenciano or Nora Aunor. Everybody can draw, but not everybody can draw or paint like Fernando Amorsolo or my greatgreat grandfather, Damian Domingo. The same is true with psychic ability. It is natural.
Related to the word psychic is extrasensory perception (ESP), sometimes referred to as the “sixth sense.” This was, in fact, the title of a popular Hollywood movie starring Bruce Willis. It was about a 12-year-old boy who could see ghosts all the time.
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an extra or sixth sense. We all have only five senses. But some rare and extraordinary individuals have such strength and sensitivity in the sense of sight, sound, touch or smell that it is regarded as a sixth sense.
Actually, what people consider a sixth sense is the use of the five senses in the astral or nonphysical body of man. For example, we see ghosts not with our physical sense of sight, but with our spiritual sight. That’s why even if you close or cover your eyes, you can still see ghosts. I have experienced this several times. And people have reported to me a similar experience. So it is not rare or uncommon.
Because of the vagueness of such terms as psychic or extrasensory perception, a famous Dutch psychic researcher from the University of Utrecht, the late professor Tenhaeff, has proposed the use of the word “paragnost” (a term which he invented) to refer to persons who have strong or well-developed psychic faculties or abilities. But this word never caught on. And therefore, we have no choice but to use words which are commonly accepted despite their vagueness and confusing nature.
There are other vague terms which I would rather not use but am forced to because people have become familiar to them—for example, supernatural, or the third eye, or occult or even ghost. But that’s another story.
Attend the next Practical Mind Dynamics seminar on July 13-14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the next Soulmates, Karma and Reincarnation seminar on July 20, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I, Legazpi St., Greenbelt, Makati City. For details, call tel. nos. 8107245, 8159890 or 0908-3537885. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.jimmylicauco.com.