I’m going to go ahead and say it; there are no mysterious supernatural forces at work in the universe.
There are no ghosts, there is no great beyond, the dead do not communicate with us, there are no gods, no unicorns, nobody has an eternal soul, there’s no chi, no ley lines and when you die you’re dead.
Further to that anything you do to heal yourself spiritually is a waste of time; it’s just relaxation dressed up in a kaftan. Along similar lines, crystals are a load of old cobblers. Holding a lump of quartz won’t counter black magic, protect from negative energy nor is it very useful on the third eye chakra for clarity of psychic vision and it most certainly won’t enable you to communicate with spirits or other worlds.
Yet all of these claims are made for it.
You’ve seen a ghost? You haven’t, find another explanation.
You felt the hand of god touch you? You haven’t. Blame your brain.
You’ve communicated with a dead relative? You haven’t, you were duped by a cold hearted liar. Get your money back. Actually no, snap their shins, then get your money back.
Most psychic’s acts – for make no mistake, that is what they are; acts – are entirely based on the manipulation of the distraught and bereaved. People who come to them seeking solace and reassurance that their loved ones live on in a better place.
Whilst I don’t for one minute doubt that people who attend these shows get comfort and reassurance from psychics, what I do doubt though is that any of it is genuine. Psychics don’t do this simply to help comfort people but for financial gain.
Is is the most cruel of all the beliefs in the supernatural, the most cold and cynical. So long as the psychic’s gift extends to correctly identifying a few tawdry details of the departed’s life, they’re scot free. No one can disprove what they say.
Well, not until they die of course.
So to put this another way, just as you’d get some comfort from being told by a builder that your leaky roof has been fixed and is entirely water tight, and because you can’t see it and they’re expert in these matters, you’d believe them. You’d feel comforted and secure. Until it rains of course at which point you know they’d fleeced you.
Sadly in the case of the supernatural, by the time it rains you have to be dead.
In the case of stage magicians, they’re not quite the same, they don’t claim to hold magical powers nor do they manipulate the vulnerable, so that gets them off the utter shits list. They do tricks. That by me is fine.
Unless that is they’re the increasingly prevalent and intensely irritating phenomenon that is the, ahem, street magician. They can just do one. They try to make us think they really are doing the impossible.
Just as Uri Geller did a few years back.
Now I wouldn’t mind if these guys turned around and said, ah-ha, it’s a trick, try and work out how I did it. Instead of that though they hide behind monosyllabic mysteriousness (droopy eyed, Balducci illusion loving David Blane) or worse claim not to know how they got their, ahem, powers just that they have them (Israeli spoon bending, cock-munch, Uri Geller).
Well if you just saw someone do the impossible sorry, they didn’t, things are impossible for a reason, there is no magic, it’s all just illusion. You were tricked, accept it. Hell, work out how they did it, that ought to piss them off.
The aforementioned Balducci illusion is so simple to perform that I managed to fool my wife the first time that I did it. The problem with the TV shows these guys churn out is that they don’t show uncut, unedited, end-to-end footage of the trick. No, what they do is edit it to show audience reaction to the trick they perform, then cut in footage that shows the absolute impossible (by means of wire work in this case), the end result of which is a segment of film that shows the illusionist rising a clear two inches off the ground (filmed after the crowd left) and their audience explaining that, yes, this is exactly what they saw (filmed just after the unaltered illusion took place) and it was amazing!
It reinforces the belief in mysticism and the impossible-becoming-possible, which are the same beliefs that enable televangelists to swindle people out of millions by scamming the vulnerable with claims of healing powers or the ability to help you grow your wealth.
That last one is particularly nice, reap and sow being the principle, guess who you have to sow your cash with? The healing’s not much better, it still involves you parting with your money, only in that case you get healed through the power of prayer. Praise be!
The root cause of the televangelist isn’t of course a street magician, no these shysters are able to prey on the weak and vulnerable because ultimately these weak and vulnerable people believe that god truly can heal them, should he be so disposed.
Believing that a god or the god if you fancy, will heal you is ludicrous though. Why would they be bothered with your trivial illnesses? Really, why? Moreover why would they need to have your plight brought to their attention by a well tanned man in a shiny suit? They’re omnipotent, all seeing, wouldn’t they already know of your pain and want to heal you anyway? They are a loving god, right?
Of course these people believe in the Christian god. Not some fanciful, silly notion like Zeus or Odin. They believe in the real god. The guy in the white robe with the big long beard. And Jesus, don’t forget Jesus.
Putting healing aside for a moment, what makes it acceptable to believe in a single god? If I were to proclaim that I had, all of a sudden, found the Norse gods, people would think me insane. But why, it’s no less fanciful than believing in the god that Christianity puts forth. In fact it would appear to be a whole lot more fun whether he could heal you or not is another matter.
All told the world would be a better place if we reserved fairy stories for children and kept the fact that they’re just stories at the forefront of our minds, if we accepted the rational and stopped putting our faith in the wrong things.
None of this is to say we shouldn’t keep wonder in our hearts, because we should. We should just use that wonder constructively. Instead of trying to fool ourselves and each other, we should explore the universe and our part in it. The longer we stay tied to these childish beliefs, the longer humanity will stay stuck to this rock, missing out on the very real answers and awe that the universe will ultimately provide.