Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

09 May 2008

Competition, Exclusion, and Elitism...

There seems to be an increasing number of cryptozoology organizations, paranormal research groups, ghost hunting societies, and other organizations involved in the study of things Fortean, ghostly or weird. While this can be a good thing in that it gets more people involved in the field, it also has the unfortunate downside of forming a clique-like atmosphere. Groups and organizations feel the need to safeguard their territory, zealously protect their techniques, and in many cases, keep their findings to themselves.
While this is more prevalent in the cryptozoology field (where there's actually the potential to make some serious money from a discovery), it also occurs in other fields of investigation as well. Sure, I can understand the possible problems of bringing along someone new or inexperienced into the field. And I can see how an individual or group may naturally have a desire to keep "outsiders", well, outside. But, in the long run, aren't we hurting ourselves? Or the paranormal research community in general? Or even the effort to gain the respect of the legitimate scientific community?
Why should one group claim "dibs" on a geographic area? Refuse to aid another group who may be interested in performing research on their turf? Refuse to share any findings or data with others in the field?
As people interested in studying the fringe areas of existence, shouldn't we have more of an attitude of the more, the merrier? How many of us owe our interest in our particular field to the writings of those who shared their knowledge? The Colemans, Keels, Redferns, Holzers, and countless others who actively encouraged us to get out there and hunt.
Naturally, there are exceptions, those groups and individuals who are willing to share, to answer questions, to encourage us to take a theory and run with it.
IMO, it's these people who should reap a greater reward than those who seek to keep their personal findings and discoveries secret in the hope of getting that big book deal or speaking engagement.
Aren't we all in this together?

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