Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Xenology: Study of the Unknown

Down to the last three letters of the alphabet...

Xenology (from Greek language xenos = "foreign, guest" and logos = "word") denotes research or information about foreign, alien, secret or generally unknown things. In other words, this might have been a good title for my April blog series on all things mystical.

True, it more aptly applies to the study of alien life forms (and in fiction at that), but it seemed fitting that the study of foreign and secret concepts applies as much to mysticism as it does to whether there are creatures out there capable of delivering the Vulcan neck pinch.

As is the case with many things outside the realm of common discovery, fear of the unknown has branched this field off into a full blown phobia: xenophobia. The fear of foreign and alien individuals is a real and documented one, and though general discussion in the area lies within the realm of nationality rather than beliefs per se, I find it equally applicable to the fear of those who practice mysticism.

There are those who walk along the frontier of adventurous and terrifying discovery. These explorers have been decried as wizards or demons as they've toyed with dangerous forces to unlock some of the greatest powers and mysteries known to man. These wielders of magic do not fear the uknown--they merely test its limits to determine where, ultimately, our place in the universe lies.

Call them foolish, call them doomed to suffer brimstone, but they are at work even today, and in vastly increasing numbers. Who are these brave warriors of mysticism? They're called scientists.

Their discoveries, though met with skepticism, fear, and downright rejection, today enhance the lives of most everyone on this planet. Who's to say that today's freaky mystic won't become tomorrow's science whiz?