This weekend I got an email from a reader who suggested that my little feud with Victor Zammit has gone on too long, and that I should take to heart the Buddhist saying, "Rise above it."
My reply was that while "rise above it" is generally good advice, I felt that Victor was trying to wear down his critics through incessant vituperation and stonewalling, and that I wasn't going to let him get away with it.
However, upon reflection, I think this was the wrong answer. The Buddhists are right. In a case like this, further argument will not result in any progress. Each side will only dig in its heels. Our egos will only get more invested in the outcome. The exchanges will inevitably get nastier, and no good purpose will be served.
So, for now, I'm going to exercise self-restraint and forgo further discussion of l'affaire Thompson on this blog. I reserve the right to return to this subject if some major breaking news warrants it. (Further unsubstantiated claims of Thompson's abilities, or further eccentric diatribes on Victor's part, don't constitute breaking news. Only something really noteworthy counts.)
I will, however, continue to follow the discussion in the Spiritualist Chatroom forum and to contribute occasional thoughts. (To use the forum, click here, register, then use the search feature to find the topic - e.g., "David Thompson" - that you're looking for.)
It's important for us all to realize how insignificant this whole controversy really is. There can't be more than a few hundred people who are following it. Caught up in the drama of it all, we may start to think we're engaged in a historic struggle of epic dimensions, when actually it's a petty quarrel that would appear ridiculous to 99% of the general public - and with good reason. Even parapsychologists aren't interested.
By all odds, the names Victor Zammit, David Thompson, and Michael Prescott will not even be footnotes in the history of the paranormal. We are just not that important, and our opinions are not that important. It's only too easy to lose sight of this simple fact and to take ourselves much too seriously. I believe that's what has happened here. It's time to take a step back and look at this whole nonsensical dispute with self-effacing humor. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be arguing strenuously about whether or not an ectoplasmic Satchmo was playing the harmonica in a pitch-dark room, I would have said they were crazy. Yet that's what I've been doing. Who's crazy now?
As I said, if there's some big new development, I'll certainly cover it. Maybe Thompson's abilities will be vindicated by infrared photography or foolproof security measures, and I'll have to eat a healthy serving of (white?) crow. Or maybe the lights will come in the middle of a seance, and Thompson will be caught playing the harmonica in the middle of the room. Most likely, neither of those things will happen, and the argument will go on and on, until it eventually peters out from sheer lack of anything new to say.
In the meantime, the Buddhists have the right idea, and many thanks to my email correspondent for mentioning it. Rise above it. Imagine how much brighter our world would be if we all followed this advice.
Happy New Year!