Friday, August 10, 2012

Communication Breakdowns

Recently, I left a group project (not related to anything paranormal).  There were about 30 of us participating and for the past few months, there has been a lot of frustration over the lack of effective communication from the leader.   Many of us found if we asked him a direct question we would never seem to get a direct answer.  All the participants are competent adults, many with college educations, so it's not like we're a bunch of drooling idiots.  (Well, maybe me, but that's usually only before my first cup of coffee.)

So naturally, there was a lot of grumbling and complaining among us.  A few participants resigned.  A list of questions circulated among us to try to get answers.   In an effort to get this resolved, I sent a mass email to everyone, asking the leader to directly answer the questions in a "reply all" so that we could all have these issues clarified and move forward.  I never received a reply from him nor was I even acknowledged.  Instead, the very next email from him was addressed to the group and referred to people "in this email list" who were "trying to derail the project".  Oh, and no answers to the list of questions.   W.T.F.?!!!
Photo by MHarrsch

Since I have no respect for the use of bullying tactics discouraging further questions, I also resigned from the project.  This prompted a sh*tstorm of defensiveness and deflection from the leader - with no shred of his taking any responsibility for the communication issues dogging the project from the beginning.

What the heck does this have to do with paranormal investigating?  Well, this same situation is too often played out in the paranormal community.  When investigators are asked direct questions regarding their "evidence" or methodology, more often than not, it initiates defensiveness, hostility, attacks, etc.  If investigators are so confident in what they present, this should not be the case.   They should be more than willing to share the details of what controls and procedures were used and what other data they have to support their evidence.  If they truly are posting for peer review (which involves quite a bit more than "cool" and "good catch") then they should be open to feedback from others, some who just might have a little more relevant experience than them in photography, audio engineering, electrical engineering, etc.

We also see a lot deflection techniques in the community. Instead of addressing and trying to resolve the issue at hand, some defensive investigators list their "accomplishments" to somehow try to convince others they have more authority.  "I've been doing this for 20 years" or "Our team was featured on XYZ TV show" or "We have 1000 fans on Facebook."  Like that somehow is going to make posting orbs or downright faking things okay?  I don't think so.

Another deflective technique is name calling.  Instead of being willing to take an honest look at their "evidence", some investigators will call those who challenge it "bullies" or "trolls" or "jealous" (that one always makes me laugh because I picture an angry little toddler stomping their feet) or even worse.  Not exactly a means of productive discussion.

"You just jeawous we got weal proof of ghosts!"

I often hear people from the paranormal community claim they are "seeking answers" or "trying to find proof" of the paranormal.  Clinging to misinformation and false evidence is counterproductive in achieving these goals.   This is also why the cry for "unity" in the field rings hollow.  Too many people don't want true unity: they only want a pat on the back and validation of their "evidence".   They are closed off to any alternative explanations or useful discussion which may serve to educate them.  This merely fosters further division in the community and brings us no closer to any answers or "proof". 

Any real progress in research can never be achieved without open and honest communication.   It should be a top priority within the community to address and help prevent miscommunication.  If we want to be taken seriously, we need to act like responsible adults and recognize our own mistakes and reassess our methodology in order to earn authentic credibility.

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