Wow, you brought alot of them to the table. I'll take a stab at a couple of them:
1. Who says they are spirits? Well, I think this is probably because many of the appearances have been people that the observer recognizes that has passed away or has been historically researchable. I suppose it could be true that they are not ALL spirits of dead people.
The point I was making was that the concept of "spirit" was invented by very primitive people. People who had no idea what the moon actually was - considering when the initial concept of spirit was conceived, it's not likely that the best and brightest had a clue as to what that pale glowball inn the sky actually was. They were guessing, and we've decided that they were right. That kind of strikes me as odd, since we don't assume that they were right about anything else - dragons, giants, elves, magic and other staples of their world.
We know that there have been forms of natural energy - in existence as long as nature's been around - that we've discovered fairly recently (last 100 years or so), and much of it has been invisible to the 5 human senses, even while it's always had an impact on us and the world around us. We know that there are photographic technologies that can give us a glimpse of energies radiating from us, and that these energies adjust in accordance to our state of mind, and are therefore dynamically a part of our physiology. And yet, we still cling to this romantic notion of the human being as a corporeal Camry being driven around by a supernatural commuter that's going somewhere or other via this whole process, and gets out when the car wraps around a pole, to either leg the rest of the journey to heaven, snag another homo sapien 4 door and drive on to who know where, or linger at the scene of the crash refusing to let the whole thing be an end in its own right.
Then there are the folks who just can't bring themselves to believe in anything they can't choke down even if they bury it in ketchup.
I am convinced that we aren't asking the right questions about all of this. I am also convinced that some guy that's been dead for 5 thousand years, is not the person I should look to for answers concerning what I am, how I came about, and why I exist. I used to think it was insane to allow 16 year old kids to choose their career paths for the future. I sure as hell wasn't wise enough to know what career I would be right for me as a 40 year old adult. I feel even less confident that a man (or group of men) who sincerely feared that a dragon would fly by and burn the village to the ground, had any real insight into why the atoms that make up my body were set to spin in the way that they do. And I figure that if that level of revelation is beyond him, then why should I believe him when he tries to tell me who set that atom to spin and why they did it.
Anyone can give an explanation. Doesn't make it true, though. Maybe spirits aren't spirits. Maybe there are no spirits at all. Maybe we're looking at something entirely different, but haven't figured out that we have the responsibility to figure out what the hell they are on our own. We have the technology to get a break in this case, but we won't break anything if we allow reality itself to be defined by people who couldn't have possibly known anything at all about it.
What do you think?
The human brain processes information. It accepts data, translates that data, assimilates that data, stores that data, retrieves that data, and creates new data by comparing and contrasting that data with other data. This is learning, but it's also what allows us to BE who we are as we become even more of ourselves from moment to moment. I've known people who were hit with schizophrenia (hits in the late teens/early 20's generally) and they became completely different people overnight. Even when they got on the meds, they never came back to being who they were, ever again. Head injuries will often change a person completely, even if only emotionally. The raw person is forever gone, and it's almost like Invasion of the Body Snatchers in how it feels if you were really close to the person. Now, if the soul were the actual core of the person, wouldn't that soul "peek out" now and then to just let you know that your old friend was still in there somewhere?
Consciousness is that sense of "being" that we look to as our proof that we are more than the sum total of the electrons, neutrons and protons that come together to allow us to eat cereal in the morning. That consciousness is the "self", the dynamic intellect that defines us each as individuals. The question is - is that self in control of the brain, fed by the brain, and served by the brain; or is that self the result of the brain?
When the brain dies, what becomes of that self? If that self is left behind, freed by the death of that brain, then is that self free to continue in development, and if so, then what was the reason for the brain in the first place. Reality doesn't add useless noise to any process, and I'm loath to personify the nature of existence with schemes, dramas, and Peyton Place plot lines involving superhero entities with supervillain counterparts, with the "poor widow" human soul being invariably tied to a railroad track somewhere as the 5:15 bears down on it and all of eternity holding its breath on the outcome.
Classic hauntings tell us that ghosts have a very limited capacity for education. In fact, if they had any capacity at all, they have gotten pretty BAD_WORD bored with standing in a corner, staring at people and moving stuff and making footsteps and muttering monosyllabic ghost phrases, and would have let that uselessness die a few hundred years before a ghost buster team finally outed the whole sad OCD-addled scenario with its 21 century technology. Still, these ghosts seem to be content to remain in some pretty ghastly locations, and generally seem to want to be left alone - which no one in human form would ever want. I mean, they should be hitting us up for news and screaming at us to get them the hell out of those creepy places, if they're really stuck there and fully functioning intellects. Even crazy fully functioning intellects aren't THAT crippled. Solitary confinement isn't attractive to anyone, and yet this bunch seems to prefer it. I never forget that after the ghost video ends, that whateveritis, is still there, and still doing the same stuff within the small area that it was caught on film doing what tiny insignificant thing it does, and has been doing for a very, very long time. To me, that argues against the notion that these are thinking beings - at least in the sense that they would have thought as living human beings. Even the most dynamic and sophisticated of hauntings involve a spirit that resembles a horse wgho can count to ten by banging his hoof on the stall door on command. Nice trick, but I'd hate to be so limited, myself.
No, I don't believe that ghosts are people without bodies. They exist, and we need to figure out what they are, but before we can do that, we need to get rid of all pre-conceived notions about them and start fresh. If not, the more we learn, the less we'll be able to make sense of them, and the more we'll feed into the whole idea that they're just figments of our imaginations.
Edited by Nor'Easter, 05 February 2009 - 09:18 AM.