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On Scams and the Paranormal (And Philosocom's Subcategory On Manipulation)

Updated: 3 days ago

A table with the shapes of a half circle food.

(The Directory:

Part I: The Perils of the Unexamined Belief

Many people believe in at least one paranormal entity, and divinity could also be included in that category. Whether divinity exists or not, ideologies serve a functional role, and I'm trying to do whatever I can so I won't fall victim to scamming, more common than ever in this contemporary world. I refuse to fall victim to beliefs whose verification is so immensly difficult in both logic and evidence -- the components of truth.

Scammers and fraudsters are expected to exploit new technology and emotions around major events yet to come to trick and scare people. But scammers will always have the same goal—to get your personal information or money. Learning about these latest developments will hopefully help you stay one step ahead. -- Loius DeNicola

Isolation and the Pursuit of Truth

For ethical purposes, I choose to isolate myself from this world, also so I won't have to be manipulated, nor resort to manipulate myself.

After all, in societies that seek to hear "the truth" they want to hear, can we really expect everyone to embrace and be grateful towards our honesty? Can we really expect the truth to be a social value, when many of us lack the mental strength for to pursue it relentlessly? When we actively use PC culture and cancel culture to diminish its expression, are we really prepared for a thing we desire, but seek to protect ourselves from hearing it?

I never liked manipulating despite the fact I mastered it in order to survive in the ruthless reality of my country's special education system. I have no desire to keep these ways. I prefer redeeming myself instead. It is only through the development of our moral reasoning, and the cultivation of a greater character, that we can not only embrace the quest for truth, but also be strong enough to be vulnerable, and not lie and scam so much! That especially goes for those who are dear to us.

Scamming has always been around. Some may claim that fraud has existed for over twenty centuries. Unfortunately, it's quite simple to con at least one person. All you have to do is convince them of something that isn't true and then use that convincing to distract them from your true intentions.

Can we really trust our critical thinking skills when we do not improve them? Reality is seen not only through the eyes or heart but also through our intellect. When we lack the ability and methods to understand good enough, can we really say our vision is in line with reality?

It takes much more than a stable mental health to understand reality. It requires training and self-discipline. The stronger we are, the less truths we'll resort to denying!

Part II: Reflections: The Price of Misplaced Trust

One of the most common forms of scams I remember were email messages that told you that if you didn't forward them to a certain number of people, bad luck would befall you. These scamming methods also goes a long way back in human history:

Chain letters have their roots in ancient folklore, and are tied to a range of old cultural superstitions and hoaxes. Historically, in both pre- and post-internet times, chain letters have touched on topics relating to luck, protection, religion, charity, humour and scam-like money-generating initiatives.
And while many older examples have been lost to the tides of time, folklorist, archivist and mathematician Daniel VanArsdale’s digital archive “Chain Letter Evolution” chronicles over 900 chain letters, stretching all the way back to 55 AD. They’re cultural ephemera, and their pertinence in the minds of recipients is illustrated simply by how much the chain ends up being shared. -- Taraneh Azar

In retrospect, I'd consider certain stones that would bring you luck to be a scam too. There is even a guide online telling you how to use gemstone superstitions to your advantage to better seal your deals as a merchant.

I suppose that when you're a kid, you're easier to manipulate. You can find this in corporations and in market research firms. Many of them far more interested in your parents' money than in your wellbeing.

And yet, even children themselves would manipulate just for kicks. Once in elementary school, I was told by a bunch of bullies that entering a certain structure would be fun. Once I got out, a teacher stood by and scolded me. That was the scam I remember most. She didn't scold them. She scolded me.

The Path to Vigilance

Once I became solitary, there were fewer people to take advantage of my naivety. Realizing its folly, I killed off my former self accordingly.

Those who embrace the paranormal, whatever form it may take, must remain vigilant against exploitation. Belief, much like scientific inquiry, requires trust. Yet, excessive trust can be a double-edged sword, leaving one vulnerable to deception. 

Concepts like luck, curses, fortune, and even vitality have been manipulated to extract money, power, or simply amusement. History is replete with examples of this, from military dictators consulting fortune tellers, to the pervasive practice of trusting the unknown instead of preparing for it...

I believe that life always presents us with what we need the most in a certain moment, and our role is to maintain the inner state that allows us to see and follow. - Justyna Cyrankiewicz

Must we succumb "to life's" given data, when we can investigate regardless, and when we can overcome adversity by our own power?

The human psyche often seeks external validationWhether through fortune-telling, coffee reading, or other such arcane arts, we look for signs and confirmations of our beliefs. This reliance on external validation can cloud judgment and make us susceptible to those who would exploit our trust.

Part III: Science, Skepticism, and Over-Confidence In Labels

“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.” -- Karl Popper

There is a certain mistake about science that spiritualists have noted. Science isn't necessarily something that is always 100% certain, because even scientific observation could be wrong at the time. As a result, things that were once thought to be true using this method were proven to be false. In fact, being wrong is part of the scientific method.

I am a scientist. I am often wrong, and that’s okay.... vigilance against errors is the key ingredient to making advances in science. -- Paulina Kuo

"Ether" energy, for example, is something that remains in theory, and thus, within the territory of belief, not within fact. Therefore, calling something "scientific", therefore factual, ignores theoratical science. Additionally, much "science" is pseudoscience.

It's incorrect to believe that science cannot be doubted. After all, science is something that develops through research and finding things from the past to be incorrect. 

Once the science of our age determines that something is correct, perhaps the science of the future will gather enough evidence to deduce that it is not. This uncertainty is inherent in the scientific method, as it is in other fields of human endeavor. That includes philosophy.

The Limits of Rationality

Because of the uncertainty of existence, it is difficult for the rational mind to believe in anything without skepticism. Rationality is thus limited by time. Anything that is sold or offered could be proven false in some way, if there is enough evidence, even if only theoretical, to support that claim.

Then, enough blindly accepting concepts and methods as your lords and saviours. Try looking both ways instead.

It is a rational belief that humans are not as reliable as one might think, given incompetence. This is not because all humans are untrustworthy, but because of the "party poopers" who tarnish humanity's image as trustworthy: The scammers who can sometimes escape retribution, and the people who trick others without even realizing it because they have been tricked themselves by an incorrect belief.

Accuse them of this and they're likely to argue back instead of understanding where you're coming from. Why learn information when your ego got hurt?

The Dependence Without Knowledge

To believe in anything paranormal is to significantly increase your susceptibility to deception, unintended or otherwise. This is because, when you have to rely on a middleman who arguably knows better than you, you are technically putting yourself in a position to be deceived.

When only a shaman, fortune teller, or prophet can "communicate" with a higher plane of existence, the only way to question them is through logic, not by reaching that "higher plane" yourself. Unless it is possible to do it without these gatekeepers?

It is the same dependence on technicians, plumbers, and construction workers, only in these cases you have a better idea of the efficiency of their work. You do not have to wait for something arbitrary to happen; their work is seen in the material layer, making it easier to determine whether their services were reliable or not.

Even so, unfortunately, not all service providers are dependable.

We should conduct honest exchanges....

A cartoon business card.

Final Words: The Perils of Open-Mindednes

The better option is to believe in what we can know and better examine. The earthly/natural plane, is the best plane you can rely on when it comes to awareness and evidence. Some may even go further and declare that there is nothing beyond the physical plane, nothing metaphysical, but as with the example of science given before, that too could be a form of deception (what if abstract theories and concepts exist?)

Hence the problematic nature of keeping an open mind -- the notion of uncertainty in just about everything and everyone: your friends, your parents, and even yourself. After all, the deceivers themselves could be deceived as well, without malicious intent! It is necessary for the rational thinker to keep an open mind, and doing so could be regarded as a necessary "evil".


If one desires a greater freedom from deception, extending one's lifespan to witness significant advancements in human knowledge presents the optimal strategy. Given sufficient time, humanity could theoretically approach truths previously concealed from our ancestors. However, this ideal is constrained by the practicalities and stagnation of human life.

Yet, a longer lifespan could thus facilitate greater personal growth and knowledge acquisition. This is one reason for my pursuit of longevity: not merely for health, but for a more time that can be invested for a deeper understanding of existence.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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