Psyonic Jesus and the Rabies he Got

Below is a heavily reworked piece originally titled Follow Your Nose.

Originally Published, June 2010

Take a moment to imagine the day-to-day of a dog blind since birth. He will likely waggle happily when he senses his master’s presence, and while curled up on the rug at night, betray no obvious handicap when dutifully barking and snarling at whatever random noise he might detect. Despite a life where the world of forms is denied to him, our canine companion is content for not knowing what he is missing.

Our friend the blind dog is not only blind, but ignorant of sight. The ignorance of the dog is complete, for he lacks both access to and awareness of a fifth sense – that there might be a world of sight can not possibly occur to a blind dog. A blind (since birth) man, living among the sighted, is all too aware there is a sense denied to him, that there is a kind of information to which he has no access.

Most human beings experience the world via sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, and then process that information with a brain. Much the same can be said for most of the rest of the animal kingdom. When it comes to exploring our universe, if there are kinds of information expressed in forms other than what our five senses can detect, then that knowledge is forever denied to us. Even technological innovation or contact with an alien species in possession of senses other than our own is not sufficient cause for optimism, for that technology or species must be able to express information that will conform to sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch, or we cannot know about it.

Ponder the philosophical riddle “If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?” I don’t wish to proffer an opinion on what one is supposed to glean about the nature of observation and reality from this cliched and ancient piece of wisdom. However, if human and animal life on Earth never evolved ears, the best we could have come up with is “If a tree falls in the forest, does it shake the ground?” Vibrations and sound waves may be one in the same, but it doesn’t become sound as we know it until it reaches our brains, and via our ears.

What a sixth sense might be is impossible to intelligently discuss. Science fiction writers often dream up various kinds of extra sensory perception; telekinesis, telepathy, The Force, empathic sense, et cetera and ad infinitum. While we can posit such possibilities, we cannot meaningfully address the likelihood of an alien species evolving ESP, or even if it is remotely possible that such abilities could evolve. What we are forced to accept, is that while other senses may be requisite for gaining access to the universe’s secrets, we cannot begin to imagine what a reasonable example of an ESP might be.

The pernicious parasite that is relativism is rooted in the notion that one cannot know another mind. While we must accept such notions as what you see may not be what I see and your experience is different from my experience I ask you to consider what questions those caveats of knowledge inform. The simple answer is: none. Sensory information is processed by almost all humans identically, and extremely similar conclusions about most everything in life will be drawn as a result. Cheetahs are faster than turtles, rocks are harder than paper, children are smaller than adults, chocolate tastes different from chicken, women bear children, chopping off a person’s head results in the cessation of bodily functions. There are no arguments between individuals or cultures about those facts of life, and while the anthropocentric nature of perception is no doubt at play when people come to those conclusions, the perception is nonetheless the same from human to human. How to raise our children, what it means to be alive, how to be a good person, and how to manage our resources, may be important questions, but the overwhelming majority of decisions and conclusions human beings make in their daily lives, are virtually identical.

We cannot in good faith accept an unsound argument on the grounds that we cannot peer into the mind of another, to see what they see and feel what they feel. Our brains may vary slightly from person to person, and our individual senses may be more or less acute, but no person who has ever lived can claim a sixth sense. They wouldn’t be human by definition.

Spiritual experience is often touted by some as representing access to information normally denied to us. Such experiences, that we choose to describe as spiritual, may very well represent suspensions of the natural order or divine influence. Unfortunately, we have yet to produce a spiritual experience informing us of a single fact otherwise denied to the culture the person undergoing the episode belongs to. Such a fact would go a long way toward establishing a truly divine intervention.

Some point to the weakness of language, and that it is unfair to insist people intelligibly express the meaning of their spiritual life for the difficulty inherent in couching such experiences. Fair point. However, if we concede that some transcendental experiences are difficult to express, those that place importance on them must concede that interpreting the numinous is equally fraught with difficulty. That in no way can one draw conclusions based on an experience one cannot intellectualize.

If you cannot express what you cannot state therefore.

Robin Lindsay

rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com

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