A Quandary

Today in the Colorado Daily, Boulder’s local paper, there was an article about the arrest of a psychic from Lafayette.  Now, I use the word “psychic” because that is what these people call themselves, not because there is the slightest shred of evidence that such people are anything other than walking swine.  In fact, to call them swine is an insult to the noble species that is sus scrofa domesticus, the domestic pig.

Never would I stoop to such a level.  I resent such an implication, and so does my daffodil.  We bid you good day.

Psychics are what I like to think of as second-tier irrationality.  The first of said tiers is religion.  I’ve made my position on religion abundantly clear in the past, and I see no need to keep beating a horse that should have died centuries ago but, for some reason, continues to stagger onward, other than to distill most of the problems with religion into one brilliantly concise rebuttal, for which you will thank me: it doesn’t make sense.  That crystal clause, that sparklingly scintillating sentence serves almost solely to explain why so many problems in this world carry on existing, save for the accompaniment of this follow-up: things that don’t make sense should be ignored.

Allow me to clarify ever so slightly, in case you lost yourself in the floridity of my diction.

A) Postulations and opinions that do not make sense or are irrational (pleonastic, I know, but bear with me) should be dismissed as irrelevant to our daily lives and, therefore, ignored.

B) Religion does not make sense, and in a sweeping host of ways.

C) Religion, ipso facto, should be ignored.  QED.

Now, the second tier of irrationality is, to me, even more infuriating.  It demonstrates that one is willing to apply reason to one’s life to a sufficient extent to banish the arcane preachings of ancient parchments from one’s world view, but not to commit to such reason for the rest of one’s thinkings.  There are an astounding number of people who will say that they don’t believe in religion because it doesn’t make sense, but will also take only homeopathic remedies that have been successed to 30C or greater because their horoscope told them that it wouldn’t clash with their current crystal healing regimen.  These people are idiots.

That brings me to my quandary.  On the one hand, I hate psychics.  I think they, in the same vein as religious authorities, homeopaths, magnet healers, people who sell those little things that go on your cell phone to block the electromagnetic radiation from your brain (more on that later), chiropractors (mostly), energy healers, etc, make a living from willfully deceiving other people for their own gain, and that’s absolutely despicable.  Making money off of dishonesty, especially if you’re fucking with people’s worldviews and emotions, is unacceptable.

On the other hand, this psychic got one guy to give her $240,000 by telling him that money is evil (so he should get rid of it), and made most of her money using other people’s credit cards to buy stuff.  How did she get their card numbers?  She told them that she needed to see if their card numbers had too many sixes in them.

So really, these people kind of deserve it.

And thus the quandary.

3 Thoughts

  1. I completely agree. As a psych major, the topic of psychics has come up repeatedly. These are people that exploit weaknesses within people for personal gain. They [psychics] are somewhat skilled. It takes some level of skill to understand the complexities of human emotion, motivation and ambition and bend these for gain. In terms of evaluating the level of responsibility the scammed individuals, I would say the have very little. These are people whos fundamental flaws led them to the psychic's shop in the first place. People like these have voids to fill, sometimes voids caused by traumatic experience. Once in the clutches of the psychic, they had no chance.

    Love the blog.

  2. I hate to disagree since I agree that irrationality should be banished, but there is one problem with the statement that “Things that don't make sense should be ignored.” To most people, most science doesn't make sense (even after explaining it carefully in words of one syllable, and it's not really their fault they're dumb). So does that mean most people should ignore science as well? For me, that's an unacceptable conclusion.

  3. Re: Anonymous – I agree with you almost entirely. Psychics are among many groups of people who willfully and skillfully exploit people's emotional trauma for personal gain, and they are despicable. I can't put all the blame on them, though. I know people who are grieving are desperate and will try anything, but should they not be held responsible for their “fundamental flaws?” These are (usually) not people with mental illnesses or any other physiological problems that prevent them from making good judgment, they are people with a fundamentally irrational outlook on life, and that's their fault, so I think some of the blame has to lie with them.

    Re: Alex – Science does make sense. I am referring to “making sense” in the purest sense of the word, in that it obeys the laws of reason and logic. If someone doesn't understand a particular concept, that does not mean that the concept is flawed, merely that the understanding is. It is worth pointing out that people DO ignore science when they don't understand it, whether they should or not. And on a final note, it IS their fault they're dumb. There is no impediment to the search for more knowledge unless a person chooses not to pursue it. And if a person draws conclusions off of incomplete data, he has only himself to blame.

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