Why is there no academic interest in studying psychic surgery?By Jaime T. Licauco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I was recently interviewed by a 30-year-old Swiss graduate student of anthropology on the topic “Paranormal Anthropology,” and specifically zeroing in on psychic surgery in the Philippines and Brazil, the two countries in the world where this practice is most prevalent or well-known.
“The purpose of my study is not to show or prove whether psychic surgery is true or not,” explained Lara to me, “but to look at it from an anthropological standpoint. That means, to trace and describe its origins, practices, values and the backgrounds of people practicing psychic surgery. I am not going to make a stand on its validity or nonvalidity.”
I told her that I have been interviewed countless times by many Western researchers during the last 25 years, and all of them took a stand that it is either real or a complete fakery.
Lara was surprised to discover that when she tried to seek information about any academic study done on this subject by any local university, she could find not one graduate student or faculty member who has studied it.
Although the practice of bare-handed psychic surgery must have originated in the Philippines, it is not recognized by either the Philippine government, the Philippine Medical Association, the academic community or the Church. And that’s why no academician or doctor has written about it in this country.
There’s hardly any scientific article written about this subject. In fact, I told Lara, when a psychology student of De La Salle University made a thesis on an “Annotated Bibliography of Paranormal Phenomena,” she found that 75 percent of all literature on the subject was written by me, after searching in the libraries of leading schools of higher learning and newspaper archives.
When thinking stops
Lara asked why there is no interest by scientists and universities in the Philippines to study faith healing and psychic surgery. I replied, “Because they have already concluded that its practice is a complete fakery. So why bother to study them? To do so would only make them a laughing stock by their colleagues.” As J. Krishnamurti said, “When thinking starts with a conclusion, thinking stops.”
Then she asked me why I got interested in studying and researching on this phenomenon. I told her, it’s because I wanted to know for myself whether psychic surgery was real or not. Now I know the answer that satisfies me, but may not satisfy the academic, scientific or medical communities.
I told Lara that, as far as I know, the only time that parapsychology was included in the curriculum of a local university was when I taught the subject as an elective in the sociology department of De La Salle University in 1982, and again in 2005-2007, when I taught the subject under the philosophy department of San Beda College.
Of course, it is well known that in Russia and other Eastern European countries—for example in the Czech Republic, Hungary—there is great interest by the academic community to conduct research on paranormal and psychic phenomena, which they call psychotronics or bio-energy research.
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