Carlos S. Alvarado Ph.D.

Carlos 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.

Reflections on Being a Parapsychologist

 - Carlos S. Alvarado Ph.D. -

11. Concluding Remarks

While 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 paper.

Next part: 12. References


Parts 1-12 of "Reflections on Being a Parapsychologist"


 Abstract and Introduction
 Parapsychologists and their Accomplishments
 Personnel in Parapsychology
 The Variety of Members in the Parapsychological Community
 Education and Training in Parapsychology
 How Does it Feel to be a Parapsychologist?
 Why are we in Parapsychology?
 Approaches to Parapsychology
 Legitimation Strategies of Parapsychologists
 When Parapsychologists Harm Their Cause
 Concluding Remarks (current page)

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