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Re: Jerry Clark On The Paracast 10-20-13

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 08:54:57 -0500
Archived: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 06:36:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Jerry Clark On The Paracast 10-20-13

>From: Eleanor White <ewraven1.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 22:25:47 -0400
>Subject: Jerry Clark On The Paracast 10-20-13

>I just had the pleasure of listening to Jerry Clark describe his
>work and thinking about the UFO issue, and the greater body of
>high strangeness experiences, on The Paracast.

>This was on the October 20, 2013 show date.

>Jerry, if I understood correctly, opined that high strangeness
>experiences, unfortunately, just happen, and that currently,
>humanity doesn't really have a sound method for finding meaning
>in these experiences. High strangeness experiences could include
>some UFO-related, and a wide range of other so-called
>"paranormal" experiences.

>I'd like to offer the opinion that, after a lifetime of hearing
>about this class of experiences, I feel these experiences
>literally scream that our world sometimes interacts with other
>dimensions. Even if there is no other common thread, that
>property of these experiences seems undeniable to this observer.

>And that is a pretty heavy-duty "meaning".

Hi, Eleanor,

It's hard to express oneself on a subject on which even
something so basic as a vocabulary exists.

The problem is the way we speak of it. You say "other
dimensions." I'm not saying you're wrong or right. Nobody knows.
It is, at the same time, easy to try to define even if the
definition tells us nothing that really helps us.

Unless "other dimensions" can be established and their workings
demonstrated, the phrase is no more than a couple of words of
the sort we habitually throw at a range of phenomenal
experiences we have no way of grasping. From what I've seen of
the content of experience anomalies, it looks very much as if
whatever its ultimate nature, it is filtered through human
expectation and perceived in forms recognizable from prevailing
cultural beliefs about the supernatural and the otherworldly. If
we're talking "other dimensions," we're not using the usual
science-fiction definition, which is to say other planets by
another definition.

When I said such things have no "meaning" (except as some people
may draw religious inferences from them), I should have noted
that it is possible for human beings as a whole to conduct the
modern world on the presumption that anomalous experiences
amount to no more than the usual list of suspects: mental
illness, delusions, mistakes, hoaxes. Witnesses, society judges,
are fit only to be ridiculed or to occasion embarrassment when
they are unwise enough to speak up.

The overall lesson appears to be that, whatever it is, the
significance of experience anomalies is not self-evident.
They're just things we undergo on usually unexpected occasion,
and they don't fit -- by a long shot -- into any sort of current
understanding. "Experience anomalies" is intended to be a
description, of course, not an explanation.

The phrase came to me 20 years when I was writing about
anomalies and thinking of an expression that would allow that
people's strange encounters occur in some vivid "real" sense but
that would not commit the analyst to a literal reading of them.
In my opinion, the debate about anomalies, waged by literalists
(proponents, believers) and rejectionists (skeptics, debunkers),
stalled centuries ago because the two sides have held absolutist
and unjustifiable positions which demand far too much of the
available evidence.

(Yes, there are event anomalies, too, but we needn't go there

My own experience anomalies -- one involved observations of a
phantom doglike animal in our front yard on three summer
evenings -- may be spectacularly devoid of any (then or since)
detectable moral, point, larger meaning, portent, personal or
cosmic cosmic uplift, or whatever. To everything I could
discern, they were random and meaningless.

For a full explication if you're interested, see the
introductory essay "Grappling with the Anomalous" in my book
Unexplained, 3rd ed., Visible Ink Press, 2012. That piece
represents a lifetime of conclusion after decades at this.

Jerry Clark

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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