In the fortieth chapter of The Science of Discworld, LET’S TALK ABOUT WEIRD SHIT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
The supernatural has been a part of my life for a long time, but almost always in the sense that I’ve consumed stories about it. I did share that one creepy experience I had as a kid in a review for a Doctor Who episode, and I’ve also seen some weird stuff while I lived between two air force bases. But this chapter gave me a new way to think about it all! What if our collective obsession with the weird and the strange and the terrifying is a result of some sort of instinctual evolution?
I actually think it’s a compelling narrative to think about, though I don’t know how that would necessarily explain everything. I’m pretty skeptical, and I don’t believe in any higher beings or deities or mysterious forces at work in the universe. Yet there’s so much that people claim has happened, and how is it possible that all of it is either manufactured or some bit of our imagination? Right? Just from the odds alone, like ONE of these tales or myths has to be real, right???
So, for example, I’m not sure how to explain the wild-ass shit my brother and I experienced as kids. We’re twins, though, so if it was some shared hallucination due to stress or fear, I feel like I’d accept that. (To this day, we still have odd experiences and coincidences, so come ON. It’s possible.) But what about all the weird things that we saw in the sky above our home in Riverside? Some nights, we’d stand in the backyard and watch lights dance around above the mountains in the distance, and it was impossible that they were any sort of normal aircraft. There have been rumors for years that they test stuff at March or Edwards Air Force Base, so maybe that’s what we saw. Is it possible that creatures from another galaxy are visiting us? I suppose it’s possible, but is there any convincing evidence of it that exists in the world?
I used to believe that all the UFO books I read as a kid were true and real, and it certainly didn’t help that I was watching The X-Files in real-time, which posited that the government was hiding aliens from us and had been doing so for years at a time. In that case, I was biased to accept information as true because of how my environment affected me. That’s not to suggest that there is nothing within the construction of The X-Files that is true; the writers borrowed heavily from a vast history of government corruption and exploitation, and it’s one of the reasons the show was as popular as it was.
But I just want to know. I’m sure you’ve seen how this is a common theme throughout these reviews, but I’m absolutely the kind of person who just wants to know more about the world. I wish I could travel to all these unexplained events and see them for myself. Did they really happen? Or did other factors bias the people who experienced them? I JUST WANT TO KNOW, OKAY.
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