I try to observe a personal “93%” rule when examining any unusual area of human experience. We are prone to false patterns, illogic, seeing what we want to see, and more. I’ve been bamboozled before, and I have had to teach myself “self defense” with my vulnerable brain.
When you examine things like the paranormal, the study of comparative religions, spirituality, the study of conspiracy theory (now an academic division of its own), and more, I find that a back-of-the-envelope calculation will show that about 93% of people trying to get your attention are confused, misinformed, or trying to get something out of you (money, fame, power, etc.).
However, about 7% of the time, you encounter rock-solid, hardcore evidence of something interesting or remarkable. (And no, they aren’t hard numbers, it’s more of a figure of speech indicating silver and dross quotients).
In other words, the false binary of “do you believe in X or not” can be as dangerous as much of the other false binaries that we’re forced into on a lot of topics, because reality is infinitely more complicated than that. I prefer to say I am “interested in” a topic or “not very interested in” a topic to indicate whether I find that it’s worth further study and curiosity.
I think it helps me maintain healthy skepticism while keeping my curiosity alive, and (if nothing else) it helps defuse a lot of arguments before they happen!
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