Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why are We Obsessed with The Supernatural?

In recent year’s vampires, ware wolves, aliens, ghosts and zombies have all risen in popularity. Movies, books, video games and even television shows depicting the supernatural, the paranormal, and psychic phenomena are drawing audiences of all ages and all walks of life.

This is not the first, and likely will not be the last time our interests shift to the other worldly. Research suggests that when certain conditions are evident within a society, its members begin to explore the unknown and question the unexplained.

There are three primary human conditions that provide fodder for the paranormal. The first is fear. Children don’t imagine monsters under the bed until they are old enough to understand that a monster is a frightening thing. In adulthood, when we feel insecure about our place in world, we begin to revert back to the monster under the bed. We being to wonder if there may be something else out there that is causing our fear and uncertainty. It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between countries at war and U.F.O sightings. Does this mean U.F.Os’ are attracted to human conflict? Perhaps it is more logical to believe that when people are under extreme emotional turmoil, they begin seeing monsters again.

The second human condition is confidence. When a society is fat and full, when they are economically strong, well fed both physically and emotionally, and happy with their place in the world they begin to feel like there should be other worlds to conquer. We settled the west, we traveled to space, grew technologically by leaps and bounds. Human beings are genetically conditioned to seek, explore, and conquer. Not everyone can cure disease or create world peace, but everyone can explore a haunted house, search for a strange creature, and look for a U.F.O.  When we feel secure, we hunger for new things to believe in. This is in large part the reason that we have made so many advances in technology.

Finally, the third human condition associated with interest in the paranormal is insecurity. When a society begins to lose faith in their leaders, their economy, and their security, they begin to question their priorities and beliefs.  Some turn to religion and become more active in their churches. Others look for the answer in the unexplained. It is human nature to look for more when we begin to question the meaning of things. We need purpose and understanding. If what we thought was the best way to live our lives is no longer giving us what we need or desire, we look for something else to provide us with fulfillment.

Of course there are those, like me, who have always had a healthy interest in the paranormal. We are intrigued regardless of our current life position. We watch the movies and read the books when we are happy, sad, confident and insecure. But it is our human condition to question why when we see our membership rolls grow so quickly and so vast. This genre has grown and declined in popularity with noticeable peaks and valleys for over one hundred years of recorded history and will likely see another decline as world politics and economic concerns become more stable but for now, there is definitely a plethora of entertainment out there to satisfy the hunger of an eager audience.

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