S. Alvarado Ph.D.
Past president (1995) and President-Elect (2002-2003) of the Parapsychological Association. Conducted research on the psychology and the features of
OBE experiences (and other parapsychological phenomena) in Puerto Rico, Scotland and in the
US. Alvarado is also known for his reviews of the historical literature of the field. He is currently working at the Parapsychology Foundation, where he is the Chairman of Domestic and International Programs, the series editor of the Foundation's Parapsychological Monographs and the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Parapsychology.
11. Concluding Remarks
the topics in this address may look somewhat disconnected, all of them touch on
a central issue. I am referring to aspects of our identity as parapsychologists:
who we are and what we do. Reflections on who we are and what our common
problems are go a long way towards revitalizing and empowering us, especially in
the light of the ever-present hostility and indifference of mainstream science.
Issues such as what types of persons become involved in the field, how effective
our training and education is, our feelings, our motivations, our conceptual
approaches to phenomena, and the strategies by which we seek to legitimize our
field, should always be kept in mind as we chart our future, especially as we
enter this new millennium. Awareness of these issues allows us to consider the
resources we have to go forward.
There is no doubt that, regardless of how few we are, we can claim to have
contributed to knowledge even if our findings are not completely accepted by
science at large. I have argued that our efforts as parapsychologists have
contributed to: keep open the range of our potential as human beings, our
understanding of the prevalence and features of a variety of experiences, the
development of ideas in psychology, the fight against superstition and the
evaluation of popular claims, the development of statistical techniques, and the
study of varied forms of deceptive behaviors.
While we may be poor in numbers and in resources, we are not poor in talent,
creativity or energy. It is possible that we look foolish in the eyes of some
and heroic in the eyes of others. Regardless of how we are seen, we ourselves
need to keep in mind our own goals and our own sense of the function we play in
society. While our problems as a profession may not be solved in our lifetime,
we need to go forward with our work. Our efforts are an important attempt to
expand human knowledge and to understand human potential by considering
phenomena and concepts that go unnoticed by other sciences. In time, as we can
draw from the expanding knowledge of other fields, we will make further advances
that will lead to the improvement of our profession and the expansion of our
currently limited knowledge.
C. S. Alvarado: This is an expanded version of
the Presidential Address delivered at the 46th Annual Convention of the
Parapsychological Association held at Vancouver, August 2-4, 2003. I wish to
thank Nancy L. Zingrone for useful editorial suggestions that improved this
Next part: 12. References