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 What do we accept as evidence and why?

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Seraphyna

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PostSubject: What do we accept as evidence and why?   Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:09 pm

When looking for “evidence” to support one’s personal theory/theories, what constitutes personal proof? I mean, a lot of us cite many reasons for why we believe what we do with respect to our “true natures,” but just how valid is the evidence we site?

We cite things like phantom limbs—a phenomenon that can be explained by brain chemistry and has been the subject of many a scientific study. We say we feel things like wings, animal parts, etc. Are we truly feeling the remnants of a lost limb? Are these sensations symbolic? After all, wings have been a long-standing symbol of freedom and many of us “feel” them (not to mention symbolism that could be attributed to other limbs). Or are can what we believe to be phantom limb sensations be explained away by science?

Are mental shifts, our beliefs that somehow our thought process changes to that of our kin-type, just that? Or are they once again a product of abnormal brain wiring and in no way associated with our personal beliefs? Do we all just suffer from some version of the same mental illness? Are they truly what we believe them to be, or is it a case by case basis? How can we be sure one way or the other?

Past life memories could very well be products of our subconscious. What makes us accept them as anything else? If they’re repeated? If we find strangers who provide us evidence that they share our memories, thus validating them? Or do we just accept them immediately as “true memories” and leave it at that?

Current tendencies are often a way that some people explore the possibilities of their kintype. They cite things like an affinity for meat for further proof that they’re wolf therians, feelings that one doesn’t fit into humanity are very common, blood lust is something that many people say led them to think that they’re a vampire, demon, or some other “dark” race. Surely physical things are a product of our humanity and nothing more. Some people, ‘kin and non-kin alike, have longer canines, heightened senses, etc. We are all part of the same vast gene pool and capable of the same “abilities” like energy work, empathy, and the like after all. When can we accept something as being beyond the scope of normal human tendencies? Can we ever?

Still others cite their gut instincts and what they are just drawn to out of nowhere as “evidence”. Is one’s gut ever a reliable source? Do some of us ignore this potential source of confirmation too much? Or are those who heed their gut just giving in to wishful thinking and delusions of grandeur? Can the gut ever be heeded as something other than an organ which often leads us to believe what we most want to?

How should/do we analyze this “evidence”?

Many of us seek a purely scientific approach to the phenomenon of otherkin. We try to apply the scientific method—forming a hypothesis, then looking for evidence to support or refute the hypothesis. We tweak the hypothesis or throw it out altogether, repeating the first few steps until we come to accept whatever personal gnosis as a theory on our inner selves. Are we too skeptical of ourselves? Do we ignore “evidence” that shouldn’t be so easily tossed aside? When does scientific thinking hinder instead of help?

Others seek a purely spiritual approach to otherkin. We analyze our affinities, our phantom limbs, the aforementioned personal “evidence” for our beliefs. We look into our souls and see what does and does not lead us to whatever personal identification. But like the scientific approach, the purely spiritual approach has its downfalls as well. When does this approach lend itself to indulging our innermost wishes and desires? At what point does it enable self-delusion? Is a purely spiritual approach, taking everything that could be construed as “not entirely human” as proof of one’s kinship, healthy?

If you ask me, we need to seek a middle ground. We need to meld the scientific and spiritual, for the phenomenon we call “otherkin” is neither one nor the other in its entirety. Where some people reference their soul/spirit/fundamental energy as the cause of the phenomenon, still others point at their psychology and mental wiring. One explanation will never be agreed upon. So what should the middle ground be? At what point does one cross into the dangerous territory of too spiritual or too scientific?

Personally, I try to meld the two as best I can, but if it wasn’t for friends who are more than willing to proverbially smack me upside the head when I lean too far in one direction, who’s to say I could maintain a balance and not fall dangerously close to self delusion or ignoring “evidence” because it isn’t scientifically acceptable? How can/does/should one make sure neither extreme becomes favored?

Do we always seek out others to run our beliefs by? Do we do our very best to take the current hypothesis or theory and apply spiritual thinking and then scientific scrutiny? How can we be sure we aren’t just indulging in wishful thinking and how do we make sure that we don’t lose ourselves in our skepticism and analysis?

Well, we can’t prove our beliefs one way or the other. If only there were some physical indicator that we could test for to once and for all prove that we are what we believe ourselves to be. Since there is not, what do we do?

What is the evidence that you gather and how do you process it? How do you decide on a theory/hypothesis for your “inner nature” and how do you then analyze it? Do you analyze it? Or do you give that shady organ, the gut, the benefit of the doubt? Is your approach scientific, spiritual, or some combination of both?

To answer my own questions, I try to keep my approach a combination (as I said above). I cite a mixture of introspective and meditative experiences, past life memories I’ve had confirmed by two outside people, phantom limbs and mental shifts, the most benefit of the doubt. That much doubted organ, the gut, has taken the backseat. Lately, though, I’ve wondered if I’ve been ignoring my gut too much or if the gut is never a reliable source of information. Have I hit a wall because I have ignored it for too long, or should I be ignoring it?

So what do you all think?
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Ashtart

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PostSubject: Re: What do we accept as evidence and why?   Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:53 pm

Quote :
what should the middle ground be?

I would love for the (mainstream) scientific community to study paranormal phenomena at length and to accept their findings, whatever they may be. The scientific community right now is biased towards what seems to be rooted in the physical world. For many scientists, spirituality and the scientific method are at odds with one another, as opposed to two parts of a balanced whole. I'm sure all spiritual phenomena can be explained with science. Explained "away," no. But explained. We do not cease to believe in sunlight because we know what it's made of and where it comes from. We may even be able to explain "Source" one day, which would make it more real, not less.

I would love for the otherkin community to be studied and analyzed by science. I think sometimes that it's possible that we're all suffering from a mass delusion.... but how likely would that be? It doesn't seem likely that I would share a (matching) neurosis with 10s of people, save 100s or 1000s of people. That the delusion I see is the delusion they see. (that really pissed me off in a movie once... a psychological thriller called "Perfect Blue" that tried to argue that the protagonist and the antagonist were sharing a similar delusion, so they couldn't tell apart reality from fantasy. Do they know how incredibly unlikely it is that they would both have matching hallucinations about the same thing at the same time??? I was screaming at the screen.)

When it comes to science, a lot comes down to what is likely vs what is unlikely. Probability and statistics and whatnot. If it's a 1:100000000 odds that something would occur naturally (winning the lottery of probability), it's probably not likely to be true. I think it's probably not likely that thousands of people are sharing a mass delusion... which ties into similar "symptoms" between people who have never met, similar "memories" of things that have possibly happened, etc.

Also, modern science, history, and other areas of study are not infallible. That they are is the opinion of those that serve them. Modern science tends to omit or gloss over facts (facts - discovered and provable) that do not "serve the greater ideal" of what science is. In 20 years, what is true in science today may and probably will be proven wrong, just as science today has done for the science of the past. That could include aspects of spirituality. Hesitance to study the "coincidence" of a child in India who can identify with startling accuracy people she hadn't met and landmarks she hadn't visited, with the scientific method, is a mistake.

Right now, there are many spiritual truths that are on the verge of being approached by the scientific community. Quantum mechanics is blowing up what was the accepted "truth." And have you seen this article? "Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe?". It's already being acknowledged that there are other dimensions and planes of existence. We don't know what "consciousness" really is yet. What happens when we do discover that? That could revolutionize everything, again. I think we're almost there. I think science and spirituality will merge. And then, we'll all be able to say "congratulations on figuring out what was already known."
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Ishtahar
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PostSubject: Re: What do we accept as evidence and why?   Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:03 pm

There is only one truth... your truth.

At the end of the day all we can ever rely on is the gut. The head takes in evidence from all kinds of sourses, internal and external. Our structure shapes our perception so that we discard those things that don't make sense or fit within our frame of reference.

But it's our gut... or our heart that creates the form out of all that data and shapes our personal truth. And it is the gut that tells us when we come across something that doesn't fit within our frame of reference but expands it, amplifies it and enhances it.

We are all very different in the way in which we internalise information. What makes absolute sense to one person makes none at all to another. i try to be as balanced as I can, to be open minded and weigh each fact and each piece of information from every source equally before I accept or reject it. But of course that is completely impossible. My natural frame of reference has prejudices built in... everyone's does, which have been built up from years of following a particular path.

But every time I learn something, every time I am able to accept something new and realise someone else's truth in the vast amount of truth that exists beyond my own narrow frame, it expands and, I think, I become a better person and a step closer to truth and true understanding.

For me the gut wins every time.
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Veil

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PostSubject: Re: What do we accept as evidence and why?   Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:50 pm

Seraphyna wrote:
Are we truly feeling the remnants of a lost limb? Are these sensations symbolic?

Are mental shifts, our beliefs that somehow our thought process changes to that of our kin-type, just that? Or are they once again a product of abnormal brain wiring and in no way associated with our personal beliefs?

Past life memories could very well be products of our subconscious.

Is your approach scientific, spiritual, or some combination of both?

So what do you all think?
First, I'll say I try to keep a combination of both scientific and spiritual, and that due to my personal experiences from a very young age (non Otherkin related), I taught myself to shut out some intrusions that science would probably call a hallucination or just my imagination. I think I mentioned it on the old forum, but those early experiences are what led me to further spiritual exploration when I was mature enough to do so.

In terms of the lost limb, my feeling of wings is much less frequent than it seems to be for many of you. Most of my feelings are related to lost paws and musculature, but I wouldn't call what I remember being exactly ferocious. I believe we -my kin type- could be, and that we were enforcers/balancers of a sort, but most of the time we were just large catlike animals. So my sensation of paws isn't related to wanting to be anything special or especially dark or evil. I also don't know what paws would be indicative of, because unlike wings, there is not a huge significance to having furry feet.

Like others, I feel it's unlikely we're hallucinating the same thing. As stated, the odds are just against it. I'm willing to admit that what I consider past life memories (of a non Otherkin sort as well), may be something in my subconscious coming out, but the other is harder to merely chalk up as a mass hallucination. I tend to think it's more like we're potentially keyed in, for some reason, to experience things on a different level.

This might sound like I am bordering on the "we're cooler than humans" tendency, but I am thinking more along the lines of the current belief about individuals suffering from fibromyalgia. For those that aren't familiar with the theory, it boils down to the belief that for some reason, these individuals are simply much more attuned to levels of pain that most people would not feel. So they feel pain that most of would be completely unaware of or feel as a dull ache at most. They have higher pain thresholds, but this is probably because they experience pain, on an almost daily basis, in amounts most of us can't imagine.
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Scratch

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PostSubject: Re: What do we accept as evidence and why?   Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:43 pm

I think you stress a lot about the "whys," which used to drive me crazy. Asking that, incessantly, was one of the hardest habits to break, because I couldn't find any satisfactory answers.

I am extremely instinctive, but was taught to ignore what everything but logic told me. I've pretty much swung the opposite way now, not caring much for explanations anymore. As far as I'm concerned, stuff happens to me without my invitation or premeditation, which seem similar to things that happen to some other people (who are not as rare as I thought), which "proves" that something is going on. That's enough for me. For the first time in my life, I'm honest with myself, and if that's me being honest about my insanity, so be it. It's there.

The simple fact you need to ask this question, repeatedly, shows it's important to you. But seriously, so what if you're wrong? If you were to find out tomorrow that science had somehow managed to disprove, with hard, organized evidence, that there is any validity whatsoever to "otherkin," would that change how you perceive yourself? How? Is your theory of having angelic origins somehow a threat to society, or yourself? Would those feelings go away if someone was able to convince you thoroughly enough that you are delusional? Would all your doubts magically vanish if science was able to concisely prove it's all true?

I think, first and foremost, we all need to have faith in ourselves, and our own perceptions. I'm tired of comparing myself to others, because I always come up short in my mind, even when I should, in reality, compare quite favorably. Being less than everyone else was another of those nasty things I was taught to believe. The more I let go of "why" and "how" and "really?!" and just go with the fact that this stuff is happening to me, looking at it without trying to make it into anything, the more sense it makes, and the less afraid of it I am. That gets ego out of the way, so when someone disagrees, I can look for where there might have been a mistake without fear. This approach allows me to accept it as a good thing when someone agrees, as well. Wink
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Ashtart

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PostSubject: Re: What do we accept as evidence and why?   Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:09 am

My experience was a lot like yours Scratch. I used to tend to analyze everything to a ground up paste o_o And while that sort of method served me in a way earlier in life [thirst for knowledge and all that], I realized eventually, just a few years ago, that trying to figure out the minute and every detail of my experiences (spiritually and emotionally) was only hindering my growth. For me, learning to let go of the desire to "know" all the time, and to simply let myself "experience" was a huge boon to my health and my happiness.
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