Supernormal Not Supernatural
Perhaps a clearer understanding of this important subject will be had if
we but substitute the term "supernormal" for that of "supernatural." The
term "supernormal" is not commonly employed, and but few know that such
a word is to be found in the dictionaries, much less know its meaning;
but a study of its meaning, and its adoption in our thinking, will serve
to give us a clearer conception of the true nature of many strange
phases of experience of which we have become conscious, either by
reasons of their manifestation by ourselves, or else by the
manifestation on the part of others. It will accordingly be well for us
to carefully examine this term and its meaning.
"Subnormal" means: "Beyond, above, or exceeding that which is NORMAL;
extraordinary, inexplicable perhaps, but NOT supernatural." Now, the
term "normal" means: "Conforming to a certain standard, rule, or type";
hence, anything that is "supernormal" is something that is ABOVE THE
USUAL PATTERN, RULE, OR TYPE.
There is an important distinction to be noted here, to-wit: a thing may
be OUTSIDE of the usual pattern, rule, or type, in the sense of being
INFERIOR TO or UNDER the ordinary standard, and in this case is known as
"ABNORMAL," the latter term being employed as a term of depreciation. On
the other hand, the "OUTSIDE of the standard" quality may consist of a
SUPERIORITY to the prevailing standard, and accordingly is entitled to
be classed in the category of the "SUPERnormal"--the prefix "SUPER"
meaning "ABOVE, OVER, HIGHER, etc."
It is important that the distinction be made clearly between the use and
meaning of these two terms, "abnormal" and "supernormal," respectively.
The first named denotes INFERIORITY, and the latter denotes SUPERIORITY.
This distinction may be more clearly apprehended by means of a concrete
example, as follows:
On our own plane of existence the senses of sight and hearing,
respectively, are included in the usual standard, pattern, and type of
sense normality--every normal person possesses these senses in a certain
general degree of power; hence, on this plane of existence, a person
born blind, or deaf, is spoken of as "ABNORMAL," that is to say, such a
person is DEFICIENT in regard to the sense powers.
On the contrary, let us imagine a plane of existence, in which the
great majority of individuals lack the power of sight and hearing,
respectively. On such a plane of existence, the occasional individual
who was born possessed of the powers of sight and hearing, respectively,
would be properly regarded as "SUPERNORMAL," that is to say, such a
person would be SUPERIOR to the ordinary run of individuals--above them,
in fact. The term "ABNORMAL" means MINUS the ordinary standard quality;
and the term "SUPERNORMAL" means PLUS the ordinary standard quality. And
yet both the "plus" and the "minus" would be "outside" the normal type,
though there is a difference as wide as that between the two poles, in
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