Thursday, December 07, 2006

How to Evaluate a Personal “Supernatural” Experience

Before I share some of the supposed “supernatural” experiences I’ve had, I thought it might be good to think through how experiences can be evaluated.

When I relate an experience, there are several possible understandings:

1. It is truly a supernatural experience.
2. It is coincidence/natural process which I misinterpreted
3. I’m lying
4. I’m deceived (either by my own psychosis, my unintentional superimposing after the fact some details that weren’t really present or by other’s intentional plan)

I think that pretty much covers the possibilities, but if there are others feel free to let me know.


keiths said...


I'm cross-posting our last couple of comments from AtBC so that we can continue the discussion here.

I wrote:
I know your reference to "psychosis" was for comedic effect, but it's still worth stressing that perfectly normal, mentally healthy people are nevertheless subject to self-deception. We all know about sensory illusions, and cognitive illusions abound as well -- the Monty Hall paradox being a notorious example.

The beautiful thing about the scientific style of thinking is that it gives us a way of approaching the truth despite these inherent weaknesses.

You replied:
Actually it WASN'T for comedic effect, though I appreciate the assumption of mental health. The reason I included it was simply I acknowlege that as one possibility. As I share some of the experiences I have had, it is possible some will believe I must be crazy.

Maybe I am, though the history of my experiences doesn't fit the DSM-IV prognosis for any kind of psychosis. I am just trying to be intellectually honest with myself.

The purpose of me asking others to evaluate my thinking is simply to keep self deception as far away as possible. I truly believe in living honestly.

Lou FCD said...

I think you've covered them, Kevin. I can't think of any others at the moment.

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