Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Of Ghosts

Ghosts. Believe it or not. I used to believe. But these days, after being instilled with a healthy dose of logical reasoning, psychology and biology, I find them much harder to believe. Before I explain why, let's just state what I mean by ghosts. I shall adopt the ordinary visual of them. Ghosts are those spirits of persons who were formerly alive that remain or dwell on earth. These spirits can sometimes be seen. Usually they are invisible, but if one is lucky, they will be translucent but not so much that some of their features cannot be made out. They can be benign and helpful like Casper or Dr. Malcolm Crowe in Shyamalan's Sixth Sense, or suffering and requiring resolution like Sam Wheat in Ghost or a bunch of nasty ass mofos like most of them horror movies. Why most ghosts in popular culture tend to be of evil and malicious intent would make an interesting meditation but it is irrelevant for the purpose of this post.

Ghosts are not supposed to exist according to the laws of science. Biology dictates that we need a properly functioning corporeal body in existence to be able to do the things that we do. Without a brain, our body would not function - either automatically or consciously. Thinking is caused by the firing of neurons in our brains. And ghosts do not possess brains nevermind neurons, so how do they think? How do they form sophisticated intents, thoughts and puzzle solving solutions (i.e. swooping through the air and chasing somebody through walls)? Physics dictates that we are bound by gravity - but ghosts defy gravity. How do they do this? How is it that mistlike or apparition of theirs can defeat gravity so simply? And how do ghosts defeat the Second Law of Thermodynamics i.e. entropy by switching from a warm body to a cold one and to an incorporeal one which possess certain heat properties? Finally, what of Chemistry? What chemical compositions are these beings who have shed their corporeal body? Nobody can say.

Then there is the logical difficulties faced with a belief in ghosts. How does one become a ghost? Some say, that they have to be frustrated beings or did not complete their 'mission in life' or revenge, and stay until it is done. But that describes about 99% of the world population - we should have a lot more or a lot less ghosts than are reported. And why do they hang around at certain places unable to travel the world? If they are translucent, highly mobile and have designs, why can't they just drift around the world? Why is it some people can see them but others cannot? Does one need a slightly different biological make up like the Moken children's eyes that have specially adapted itself to the water and can see twice as sharp underwater than normal people? Nobody knows.

One might think it strange that we should be scared and bothered of ghosts considering how illogical existence is and how little we know of it. But this attitude is one all too human - abhoring the unknown and painting it with his prejudices until he becomes afraid of his own creation.

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