Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm (not) a Believer!

I am an anomaly in my office.  It appears that the vast majority of my co-workers believe in something supernatural or that can not be proven.
  • Co-worker A has seen a chiropractor who "cured" her migraines but now gets therapeutic touch -something to do with energy or such - instead (did the chiropractor not work? I haven't asked...).
  • Co-worker B is has paid for Reiki sessions for her dog and believes in holistic medicine.
  • Co-worker C believes in psychics and that a chiropractor has also cured her migraine headaches. Oddly enough, she won't see her doctor about her insomnia but will try any "natural" remedy she hears about to help get some sleep. 
  • All my co-workers, to my knowledge, believe in a supernatural deity.
It makes me the odd one out, doesn't it?

I wouldn't mind but, instead of taking my advice and investigating some of these things when I express my skepticism, they ignore me and just stop talking about these things in front of me.  They also, I must assume, think that I'm half deaf and don't realize they are discussing these things across the room. I'm not and I do.

I am not rabid or nasty in my criticism.  I realize that some people are set on believing in some things because they simply want them to be true. I get that. I do get a teeny bit upset when I hear of people being bilked out of their life savings by con-artists (psychics or televangelists for example) but I also realize that people can't take advantage of you if you don't allow them to. So, if I hear that a reasonably intelligent person who has the ability to make rational decisions is spending money on some aspect of "woo", so be it!  I just gently mention that there really is no evidence that psychics can speak to dead people or that a particular alternative medicine is going to cure anyone and suggest they look into it.  That's the best I can do.

It does make me wonder why people so easily believe in things that, if you examine them, sound unlikely.

I've been told that I'm no fun - as if to have a good time, one must discard logic and common sense. I really don't understand this but I try to be considerate of other points of view so I have adopted a "live and let live" attitude about most of it.

I think, sometimes, how life would really be if the world was really full of magic and strange rules that needed to be followed (or else!!).  Imagine if you really might ruin your luck by spilling salt and forgetting to throw some over your shoulder or a black cat crossing your path really did indicate disaster. Can you picture yourself consulting your crystal ball to see what you should wear that day or your horoscope to decide whether to go out or stay in?  Can you envision a world where psychics could actually speak to your deceased Uncle Bob? (Seriously?!? If he was unpleasant in life, how crotchety would he be after life?!?) What if the outcome of a sporting event was based not on the actions of the players but on how many of them - or their fans -  remembered to wear their lucky socks? We wouldn't need doctors or medical staff to cure our illnesses as prayer would take care of that.  We'd have to be careful in the woods to avoid encountering Big Foot because who knows what such a beast would do to us if startled!  How absurd would such a world be?  It certainly isn't the one we live in - and thank goodness!

Still... there are times that I just have to wonder if I'm fighting a losing battle - especially when I find some of my atheist friends swear by some alternative medicines, too.  Scientists seem to be leaning toward the idea that we might be hard-wired to believe in the possibility of the supernatural. It seems too early to reach any set conclusions from this research but, if my personal experiences are an indication, there might be something to it.

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