Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bigfoot and Yeti: Why we Fear

Wisdom Quarterly staff editorial

Indian history is replete with mention of non- or semi-human beings. These beings have histories and seem to belong to larger societies. They were accepted and spoken of by mystics (e.g., rishis, yogis, the Buddha and accomplished disciples, who as a consequence of developing their meditation were able to see them at will).
Is the recent Bigfoot body a hoax? (The famous Patterson footage seems sufficiently debunked and put to rest as a fraud). Is it simply an unknown primate? For most of Western history, no one believed in the mountain gorilla. Yet less than two weeks ago, an additional population of 125,000 was found (Reference). When the mountain gorilla was positively identified by Western scientists, the result in the culture was the making of King Kong to play up the fears and stereotypes surrounding the discovery. This apparently authentic footage of a Himalayan Yeti remains quite convincing:
When the coelacanth is your poster child, as it is for Cryptozoology, people invest the poorly understood with their fears and fantasies. It's tragic xenophobia.

Of course, the reason people are so put off by Bigfoot ever being discovered is that there is a part of the brain where we put things like Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, the Loch Ness "monster," Chupacabra, and/or anything we dismiss as mere superstition, legend, or "conspiracy theory."
These disparate things are confounded as all being of the same type -- nonsense and therefore to be dismissed out of hand. (We tend to forget that most people do not believe in Science, how much the less what even science does not agree on?)
The tendency is to fear what we do not understand. And science, by claiming objective-understanding, gives us a sense of control that alleviates fear.

To admit that one thing is true uncomfortably opens the possibility that others are. And we will not stand for that. The conservative media will not stand for that. The system holds itself together regardless of what's true. War is good. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. This is a simplified way of suggesting that fear is the problem not facts.

Let us encourage data, encourage investigation, open inquiries, analyze without preconception. In the meantime, WQ hopes to track more fantastic distractions in terms of the suspicious activities and whereabouts of scary Lindsay, Britney, Paris, and our national obsession with celebrity.

There is no Bigfoot/Rudra ("howler"). Why do the indigenous people talk about these creatures -- the Native Americans with their Sasquatch, Sherpas with their Yeti [abominable snowman], Tibetans with their Yaksha (ogre), Indians with their Rudra (a.k.a., "roarer"), Pentecostals with their Daemon (evil spirit), Han Chinese and their magical Dragon, desert-dwelling Muslims with their Jinn (genie)... Hair samples with inconclusive DNA profiles? Sightings, histories, and footprint casts? Of course there are deliberately perpetrated hoaxes; is that all there is? Science, what are these recorded howls and roars in American forests?

CLARIFICATION: The purpose of Wisdom Quarterly is not only to find the truth but to understand and assimilate it. Buddhist cosmology already allows for nonhuman and semi-human beings coexisting with modern humans on earth, and beings beyond earth, and so many co-existing worlds so much older than can be comprehended...that it is simply exciting to see what our forebears were referring to when they mentioned them and accepted them when so few people at the time could see and directly verify their existence.

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