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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ghosts, and the People Who See Them

If you are a regular reader of my blog you can probably guess that I don't believe in ghosts.

However, throughout my life I have encountered people, who I respect and are otherwise very rational, who insist that they can sense/see/feel spirits. Many of these same people even reject religion and other dogma as ridiculous. So I find it difficult to just totally dismiss their claims.

I know many otherwise normal and rational religious people slip into to kooky-land just for religion and nothing else. Could the same be true for my ghost-seeing friends? I suppose.

I also know that things do exist that we can't directly sense and that we can become aware of the evidence for these things if someone teaches us how. This holds true in both science and sociology. For example, most American white people and men have no idea that they have immense societal privilege until someone else makes them aware of it. This is often met with skepticism and disdain and even dismissed by the privileged - but none-the-less privilege exits! So is this the case with my ghost-seeing friends? Perhaps.

Also, I often wonder about the flow of energy. Everything else in our environment functions in cycles - water, rock, carbon, etc. What about energy? It comes from the sun, hits the earth, get tangles up in plants, animals, people, fossil fuels, and whatever else, and then if flows away? Is there a cycle here that we don't know about? If there is, could that help explain the whole ghost thing?

I don't know why, but I want my friends to be right. I want them to be sensing something. I don't think its because that would help me deal with the concept of death, well maybe a little - but that doesn't seem to be my main motivation. It is also kinda of exciting if they are right, the opportunities to potentially communicate and there is enjoyment in knowing there is mystery out there - like the deep ocean, and outer space.

2 Comments:

Blogger NotZed said...

I'm sure a scientist could explain better - but don't worry, all of the energy from the sun can be accounted for.

Most of it simply heats the ground and atmosphere and radiates back out to space - that is why it keeps getting colder at night until the sun comes up again.

Another huge amount drives the weather - cyclones are basically giant energy converters, converting stored solar energy (heat, water vapour) into destruction. And the ocean currents (along with gravity from the moon and sun) -- which are also a part of the weather system. Rain releases large amounts of energy too - rain works something like a giant refrigeration system. Water evaporation cools the surface it evaporates from. Water vapour condensing into droplets of rain releases the energy higher up in the atmosphere where it has a better chance of radiating into space.

Only a relatively small amount (i'd guess) drives life. And not only does it drive life to build it up, it then drives the life which breaks it down, and repeats the cycle. It requires a constant input of energy, it isn't lost, it is used to build and break chemical bonds, over and over. e.g. plants use direct solar energy to grow. Animals use the energy stored in plants to break down the plants and re-arrange the chemicals into their own structure, or to do other work, like move around (which generates heat, which eventually goes into space, or drives other chemical processes), or think (chemistry again). Microbes do the same once the animal dies, etc. And then plants re-build the same elements again. Any energy that isn't stored in the system ends up as heat, and eventually ends up in space (e.g. coal is stored energy, until it is burnt).

People's minds are complex. And even without some latent mental disorder, minds can make all sorts of things up and cannot tell the difference between made-up memory and real one. This is the whole basis upon which the scientific method exists. It exists to take the vagaries of the mind out of the equation - completely. And this is why when phenomena, such as ghosts, do not stand up in the slightest to scientific scrutiny.

22 October, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

NotZed,

Thanks for you comment and for reading my blog!

My post wasn't very clear, I'll admit. I wasn't worried about about all the energy from the sun being accounted for - I am confident that it is. I was wondering about the energy that flows away from earth, I assume into space, does it somehow return to a sun, or something else, and repeat the process of being generated/released all over again? Does it function in a cycle like other things (water, carbon, rock) or not?

Thanks again for you note!

23 October, 2008  

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