Anyone with an active interest in the supernatural or paranormal would serve themselves well by taking a moment to think on what these terms actually mean. Supernatural literally means “outside of nature”, whereas paranormal equates to “beyond normal”. When used, both terms imply that something falls outside of the normal bounds of human existential understanding. If a supernatural phenomenon is scientifically explained in a manner that fits our understanding, it ceases to be supernatural and becomes natural. The Northern Lights are a perfect example of this.
One of the reasons why I am disinclined to discuss extraterrestrials on this website is because alien beings can not properly be classed as either supernatural or paranormal. The probable existence of extraterrestrials does not challenge modern human scientific understanding in anyway whatsoever. The idea that other sentient beings populate the universe does not exceed the bounds of our normality – we are after all surrounded by other species of animal on this planet, so why not throughout the universe? Even the belief that extraterrestrials have visited the Earth is scientifically reasonable, given that we humans have travelled in space. Plus, when you consider the vastness of the universe, mathematics alone suggests that the existence of other [more] advanced life forms is highly probable.
The question of whether aliens should be classed as supernatural / paranormal, actually raises a much broader question about whether these terms have any use at all. In modern parlance, the terms have taken on a connotation that is different from their literal meaning. They are synonymous with unscientific fantasy and imply that something is unexplainable and opposed to rational thought, rather than merely inferring that something is yet to be explained. This is a false division, which inhibits human understanding. For this reason, I prefer the term “unexplained” to either paranormal or supernatural, but unfortunately, the name “British-Unexplained” doesn’t quite have the right ring to it.
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