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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Why do we have to know everything?

<ir="ltr">It’s ironic; for someone who’s in general had a fear of uncertainty in daily life, things most people consider big uncertainties, like spirituality and unexplainable events, don’t scare me in the slightest. I don’t quite know what I believe about these things, and I’m perfectly fine with this. I don’t feel the need to truly understand what I consider the unexplainable. With unexplainable events happening everyday, I think it would be a little presumptuous to dismiss all of them as examples of people’s propensity for drama. Yes, some of these events might be tall tales, but stories are generally based on reality (even if this reality has been manipulated).

Ghost hunters, horror movies, haunted houses, and ghost tours haven’t helped the validity of the existence of ghosts. Like most things in America, they’ve been made into an industry, and I’ll be the first to admit that this industry is largely fabricated. Whenever a horror movie has on its promotional material, “based on true events,” I know this means they made the story into a Hollywood story. I’m not arguing that horror movies are documentaries. I also know that haunted houses and ghost tours rely on lighting. theatrics, and people’s prior belief in ghosts to sell their horror stories. However, unlike ghosts, this industry didn’t appear out of nowhere (I know it’s a dad joke, but I couldn’t resist). Ghost stories have been around for thousands of years and exist across cultures. Although their characterizations are different, they share many similarities, with many being described as having an air-like quality, seeming to not be completely there. They are considered the left behind souls of the dead across cultures as well.

I’m someone who doesn’t believe in coincidence. While it could be argued that people develop similar ideas across cultures, even if those cultures didn’t meet and exchange ideas until recently, I think this example shows a universal experience we as human beings have. Just as death is a universal experience, so is the reconciling of death. In my mind, this is an extension of the world’s many religions, which I believe to be basically the same thing interpreted differently through different cultures. I agree that due to our fear of death, we try to ground our knowledge of death in facts. Even the most adamant of religious believers have their doubts on what happens after death, which is why the idea of ghosts is so appealing. Ghosts are a way of confirming that life exists after death, which is why some people believe they are made-up by people’s conscious or subconscious fear of this ultimate of uncertainties. Our brains lie to us because we are not perfect. I think some people exaggerate these experiences because they want to feel comfortable with the idea of death. That being said, since we’re not perfect, I am seriously doubtful that we can definitively say these unexplainable events are always the result of our imaginative, worried brains. Some might be, but I think others are completely real.

I’ve heard so many ghost stories from so many different kinds of people. There’s my sensible dad who saw the ghost of an old lady above his bed one night. Him and my mom had just bought their first house, and the previous homeowner (an old lady) had recently died in the house. He wasn’t a believer in ghosts before, but he said once he saw one, it all made sense. It wasn’t scary; she didn’t talk to him, they just looked at each other for a while, and then my dad fell back asleep. No, it wasn’t like in the movies where the ghost was actually an angry spirit who’d been murdered, and then him and my mom were haunted and had to call on some ghost hunters to perform an exorcism on their house. I agree that many of those types of stories are exaggerated, but I do believe there are some people who for whatever reason aren’t quite ready to leave Earth after they die. I believe some ghosts feel tied to a certain place due to the grief that happened there, and that some just want to come to Earth for a visit. But this is just a belief. I don’t have any evidence to show you other than my dad’s story, and the multitude of others I’ve heard from family and friends. I don’t have any sketchy, old photographs to show you with an apparition peaking out from behind the curtains. I know I could be entirely incorrect, and I’m okay living with this uncertainty. The way I see it, I don’t really have a choice. One of our biggest faults as people is assuming we know everything, when in reality we know so little about ourselves, each other, and everything around us. No one has the intellectual capability, or the time on Earth, to understand it all, so I say let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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