Well, I'm not certain what to think about a lot of Mr. Bennett's thoughts in this new article of his, primarily because I'm certain that at least some of it was written for effect and shouldn't be used to reach conclusions of fact. In addition, and more to the point, his style of writing seems at least partially dedicated to the manipulation of thought -- and I assure, you, I don't mean that insultingly.
It's actually an admirable trait, in my opinion. Some years ago, I read an essay by G.I. Gurdjieff in which he insisted that his style of writing represented a particularly difficult exercise for him, in that his intent was to force his readers to make a substantial effort
to understand what he was communicating, the point being that those readers most willing to dedicate themselves to understanding by putting forth the necessary effort to do so would be the most deserving
of his knowledge. While I'm not necessarily certain that Mr. Bennett's style of writing requires substantial effort due of its value
(an uncertainty of mine that also applies, I have to admit, to the works of G.I. Gurdjieff), I'm certainly not so dismissive of his work as to suggest that such effort is pointless.
However, I followed a link of his in this article to one originally published in 2007 entitled, Did a Fishmonger Do It? A Theory of Explanations: a Fortean Essay in Story Technology
, [here: http://www.combat-diaries.co.uk/diary30 ... monger.htm
] and that
article, representing, in its way, everything that bothers me the most about Fortean theoretics and the bad habits of conspiracy junkies trying to justify their own confusion, deserves (in my opinion) a more immediate response. So I threw one together, and here it is, some thoughts directed to the author, Mr. Colin Bennett:
Your discussions of both UFOs and Bigfoot imply that either the sightings must necessarily be assumed to be actual events in order to reach valid conclusions in regard to the physical and measureable existence of such phenomena, or the sightings, being irrelevant for that same reason, cannot be used to establish any of the quaities necessary to analyze such matters thoroughly. Either determination neglects to consider the human origin of the claims made, even though that human origin is the only factor that we can reasonably examine in the first place. You state:
Yet lacking the slightest thread of any such "evidence," still Bigfoot creatures are seen. Like the UFO again, and like the pseudo-Oswald, such beasts are witnessed by the widest possible spectrum of people from an equally wide spectrum of class, income, personal disposition, age, intelligence, and culture.
We have to consider seriously therefore that such manifestations as both Bigfoot and the UFO do not exist completely within the traditional Cartesian frame of "objective" reference. Certainly, Bigfoot, just like the UFO, cannot be "measured" in any traditional sense, yet Bigfoot leaves images on photographic emulsion and digital memories.
You miss the only
important point entirely: People lie.
They make mistakes. Their topics of interest are multi-dimensional while their analyses are very clearly not.
The only reason that "Bigfoot, just like the UFO, cannot be 'measured' in any traditional sense" is because we don't have a Bigfoot or a UFO to measure -- all we have is what we've been told.
Even when we're presented with photographic evidence, we're never told the whole story. Who was the man in the costume? Why do those shadows have to be a living creature? What sort of processing was the film subject to and by whom was it conducted? Oftentimes, it's only when we ignore everything else we understand about the world around us are we able to examine what we've been told, shrug our shoulders against both common conceit and conscious denial, and conclude that "yeah, that sounds pretty good to me."
That flavor of willful ignorance tends to justify belief when everything else tells us that somebody's lying to us, somebody's telling a joke, or somebody's resolved for whatever reason to never bring this case to a jury.
Even when belief is a structured assurance based upon decades or even centuries of psychological forbearance, it should not be merely accepted
without any consideration of the source. For instance, our westernized love of freedom convinces us not to be overly critical of another man's religion, and that's all well and good, and admirable in the face of polite society, but anybody who sincerely believes -- as many Americans do -- that North America was colonized by Hebrews, and does so in the face of massive amounts of evidence proving the contrary, is an idiot, from my point of view, and should not be forgiven for his idiocy on the grounds that his beliefs have a religious tone to them or a motivation related to his thoughts of God and eternity. I can understand
it, certainly, and I can understand that he may not wish to examine his religious beliefs due to psychological conditioning, but his blanket acceptance of such matters does not indicate to me that he is a particularly credible source of instructive data. It suggests, to my mind, at any rate, that he apparently lacks the ability to reach valid conclusions. Credibility is important
. You can't simply believe everything you've been told, and only a fool would establish for himself such a guideline and put it to use while attempting to understand the world around him.
Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what you've decided to do, and have actually tried to justify, if not put into practice. You seem to ignore everything you already know about life and other people and the way we go about learning and experimenting and confirming our observations, forcing yourself to adopt a position that allows you to reach only one viable conclusion: in the absence of relational explanations for all of it,
all we can do is look at what we've accomplished as a species -- what other people have accomplished with systematic assurances that the methods they've used can be repeated, that the results can be recorded and thereafter applied to the resolution of hardships faced by humans in all
societies -- and merely admire it as some form of weird, abstract art! It forces rejection, supporting thereby the intolerable view that the world is useless and cannot be experienced in a way necessary to establish or define
our goals as living creatures. Sooner or later, that kind of relationship with the world is going to leave you with a structural smile on your face and little else, because everything around you is nice and pretty and fascinating, all because you understand nothing
about any of it. Instead of using your senses to understand the world around you, you use your senses to confuse yourself
so utterly that all you've got left is admiration for how distracted
it all makes you feel. Any search for understanding and definition turns into a search for all those things that you lack the ability to understand and define, except in this
case, the confusion and the absence of any real understanding is almost entirely due to the fact that you've accepted what you were told by other humans as completely factual -- an underlying and receptive naivete that most children outgrow by the time they're ten!
It would be so much easier if you just did what most adults do: assume someone's bullshitting you and look for further evidence to prove or negate that assumption.
I assure you, you'll understand the world and people a lot quicker and more thoroughly if you do. People lie;
they kid around; they very often don't recognize what they see; their senses play tricks on them, just as they do with everybody else, me included. And when someone says to you with a strong yet stolid assurance and self-evident belief and the heart of concerned will and directed need, that "I don't care what you think, because I know exactly what I saw,"
there's a very good chance that they're simply wrong.
Colin, you close your article with the following thoughts:
Such anomalistic events pour out of the cracks in our shattered self-confidence. This once assured us that we were the master mechanics of all Creation.
Perhaps we could be forgiven for thinking that an observation by Charles Fort is apt:
"I think we are property."
Again, it's not my intent to insult you, so I hope you don't feel that way, but I can't help but feel that anybody who might consider that phrase "apt" is very likely a man who is more confused
-- and that's exactly what happens when you ignore credibility as a factor of relevance in those stories and accounts and folktales that people tend to base their world-view on. Charles Fort spent a very good portion of his life looking for those things that he couldn't explain, and -- just as you seem to have done -- he found himself forced to "believe" everything he was told, or read about, or attempted to investigate. Being open-minded is generally a good thing, but only an idiot would drill a hole in his head to accomplish that goal. When you consciously spend your life looking for ways to confuse
yourself using senses that are much more attuned when used to explain
the world around you, it's natural that you'd feel like you're not in control of yourself or your better nature -- like "we are property."
A man who seeks confusion and irrelevance in his own world will invariably find it. Personally, I don't see the point in it; it represents wasted time that could have been dedicated to assisting
one's reason instead of thwarting