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Defining 'paranormal'

To: alt.magick
From: markk@West.Sun.COM (Mark Kampe)
Subject: Re: Defining 'paranormal'
Date: 7 Jun 1996 19:38:47 GMT

In article, (Jeremy) writes:
> Help me out here. 

	You should really consider getting a dictionary.  I find them to
	be immensely helpful when ever I have questions like this.

> What is the difference between paranormal

	"para", from the latin "par" meaning "like"
	paranormal phenomena are experiences slightly
	outside the realm of normal experience.

> psi

	this is a word used, primarily in works of fiction, to refer
	to telepathic and "mind-over-matter" type powers.

> psychic

	one who is capable of discerning information that is not
	obvious to others, presumably through the use of unusal
	mental powers or connections to unusual sources of information.

> supernatural

	beyond what happens in nature

> occult

	literally: hidden, invisible or secret
	generally refers to subjects that were studied and practiced
	in secret, because other people would object to them and 
	might persecute the students/practicianers.
> magik

	I have not studied this spelling, but it probably comes from 
	the latin "magis" meaning "more" or "greater".  In general 
	"magic" is a generic explanation people often give for inexplicable 
	results, or the study of creating results that others might consider 
	to be inexplicable.  In modern usage, magic is often divided into
	"sleight of hand" and "ceremonial magic".  The former being
	illusion.  The latter involving more arcane.

> paganism

	from the latin "paganus" meaning rustic
	refers to nature and fertility-based religions in general,
	and to (recently re-discovered) non-christian (pseudo) religions
	in particular.
> New Age

	a term used by people of the current age to distinguish themselves
	from their predecessors ... generally used to describe liberal,
	humanistic, inclusive views of people who consider themselves
	to be more "enlightened" than others.

> mystical

	from the latin "mysteria" meaning mysteries
	generally refers to pursuits whose aims and benefits are not obvious,
	and more specifically to pursuits aimed at transcendantal or non-worldly

> miracles

	from the latin "miratio" meaning wonderment,
	an occurrance that surprises or astonishes, presumably because
	it is either unlike anything that has ever been observed before,
	or perhaps because it would have been thought impossible.

> and so on

	english idiom meaning "and other similar things" or 
	"proceding in that fashion"

> Are people who are using these different labels
> all talking about the same thing(s)

	I do not believe any of the above terms to be synonomous,
	although many of them are related, and many of those words
	could be used to describe a single thing (e.g. a block
	could be both "small" and "green" but this doesn't make
	those words synonymous).

> why do they use these different labels?

	People usually use different labels because they have 
	different meanings, or at least carry different connotations.
	Often there may be a rhetorical means for choosing a 
	particular term (alliteration, allusion, ...).  Often a particular
	term is used because that is the term of preference in a 
	particular group.

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