CULTS AND PARANORMAL BELIEFS:
PERSPECTIVE OF AN EX-TMer
(C) 1996 Jen Bergemann, Quoted material (C) 1996 Barry Markovsky,
used with permission
|The first of three parts of a summary of Dr. Markovsky's
class, "The Paranormal Society." If there's enough interest, we will publish all three parts at |
trancenet.net. If you're interested in reading the rest of the summary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a former member of the TM Movement, I've wondered how I could
have come to believe so many bizarre things. I've been concerned
that some of the conditioning was so effective that I still may
be thinking like a TMer, without realizing it.
|I learned a great
deal about mind control during the three weeks I spent at
Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, the only residential cult
recovery program in the country. If you'd like to learn more
about Wellspring, you can view their web site at
Recently I had the opportunity to expand my understanding of how
we come to believe what we believe by sitting in on a college
course called "The Paranormal Society," taught by Dr. Barry
Dr. Markovsky has taken a special interest in why so many people
hold paranormal beliefs. The number of believers in paranormal
phenomena is enormous, according to Barry. He considers himself
an open-minded skeptic and encourages this approach in his
Paranormal beliefs run rampant in cults. Let me start by setting
down some definitions:
- Paranormal Phenomenon: A phenomenon is paranormal if it
violates accepted physical principles.
- Paranormal Claim: A statement asserting the existence of a
Here are some examples of paranormal claims made by the
Transcendental Meditation Movement:
- Perfect health and immortality
- If the square root of 1% of the population of the world
practices the TM Sidhi program, it will create world peace
- Walking through walls
- Manifesting desires through thoughts
- Buildings with doors facing a certain direction will damage
the spiritual evolution of those who use the buildings
- Higher states of consciousness such as Cosmic Consciousness or
- Ayervedic medicine ensures perfect health
There are three key assumptions that Dr. Markovsky makes in his
- Without seeking "normal" explanations, most people in our
society believe claims about some paranormal phenomena.
- We cannot accurately observe many "normal" properties of
material objects and events without the aid of instruments
- Certain physiological and social processes increase our
willingness to accept paranormal claims as true.
|Barry Markovsky is Professor of Sociology at the
University of Iowa. He is also the Director of the Center for the
Study of Group Processes at the University of Iowa. Most of his
current research addresses theories of power, influence, social
networks, and the sociology of science. At the 1995 Annual
Meetings of the American Sociological Association in Washington,
D.C. he presented the work he's done analyzing the Maharishi
Effect study that came out of MIU. He has found serious problems
with this study, which he presents in his research. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1983. |
Here are examples of some of the paranormal phenomena that are
popular in our society:
- Bermuda Triangle
- Chiropractic Therapies
- Communication with the Dead
- Faith Healing
- Ghosts and Poltergeists
- Near-Death Experiences
- New Age Beliefs
- Past Life Regression
- Psychic Predictions
There are a couple of themes which Barry brings out in his course
that are relevant to our discussion here:
- Reason, intuition, and the fabric of knowledge.
This refers to the notion that knowledge can start out as an
inspiration, and it can come from anywhere such as intuition, gut
feelings, etc. But intuition by itself isn't enough. Applying
reason--or tools for critical thinking--puts those intuitions and
feelings into argument forms that can be analyzed, tested and
communicated. Even this isn't enough, though. All else equal,
arguments that square with what is known in existing fields of
knowledge--the broader fabric of knowledge that has developed
over many centuries--this is more desirable and useful than
disconnected fragments of knowledge.
- 2. Social Patterns and Influences.
This refers to the effect that social influence can have on
paranormal beliefs. This can be as simple as an interaction with
a friend, or as complex as the effects of the mass media.
In class Barry emphasizes that:
...a great deal of what is
unexplained is not necessarily mysterious or even unexplainable.
We too often fail to recognize both our own limitations as
observers and also just how much deep knowledge humans as an
entire species have accumulated over thousands of years. So even
if we as individuals or we as members of some group have no
explanation for something that we've seen, it's a gigantic leap
to the conclusion that no explanation exists or to the
conclusion that something has occurred which violates known
physical laws. It may sound silly, but observations for which
explanations are not known are just unexplained observations--
nothing more and nothing less. Unexplained observations don't
merit any special status simply because they are not explained.
They may sometimes deserve special attention, but no special
Barry explains that:
What I Gained from Taking Barry's Course
- Rooting out beliefs/conditioning left over from my years in TM
- More aware of when I was indulging in "magical thinking"
- Realizing that common sense isn't always valid
- Supplied rational explanations for many paranormal phenomena
- How to use scientific method and critical thinking to analyze
- How we come to believe what we believe
- How we're influenced by others in our beliefs
- What it means to be an open-minded skeptic
- How our senses can fool us
Dr. Markovsky goes on to explain what scientific theory is:
[O]ne of the most rigorous and careful ways
that we can attend to observations and try to understand them is
through the knowledge repositories known as scientific theories.
Theories actually are far more mind-expanding than any personal
experience or observation. They have tremendous power to help us
understand things, but they must be built with considerable
Scientific theories have a built-in mechanism which guarantees
that, with proper use, they will improve with time. They get
smarter. They "learn" to explain and predict broader and deeper
classes of events with increasing precision. How is this
possible? When things are done right, it turns out to be an
For theories, it's the ability to explain things that keeps them
going. Not only that, but a theory has to explain things better
than its competitors in order to survive. Otherwise, if a
competitor is more precise, or broader in what it can explain,
then the weaker theory dies because nobody uses it.
So a theory can start off very dumb, but if it is pushed to try
to cover more of it's intellectual environment, and if it
survives attempts to kill it, it will improve. It will find a
niche. It is always vulnerable to a new theory coming along and
taking over its niche as part of a larger take-over.... This
process is just part of the evolution of better theories.
A theory can go through many generations of mutations and
changes within the lifetime of its human authors. A trial-and-
elimination-of-error process also governs the growth and
evolution of theories.... Authors of scientific theories play
hunches, use what has been learned in related fields, and employ
a variety of tools to make theories smarter in a more efficient
way.... The nice thing about theories is that even if one goes
extinct, the theorist usually lives to produce a new one.
the world of science, theories enjoy a very special status. They
are a special type of explanation -- a type that comes along with
rules that allow others to collectively evaluate the claims of
the theory. They become focal points of controversy, debate,
egos, conjectures, and research.... Theories contain specialized
components, they grow and change, and they interact with others --
sometimes harmoniously and sometimes in battles to the death.
....A suitable working definition for "scientific theory" is ...a
set of explicit, abstract, rigorous, and logically related
statements that explains or predicts a general class of phenomena
within a prescribed domain.
In class Dr. Markovsky goes on to explain the difference between
scientific theories and alternative approaches that can be
classified as common sense.
You can think of common sense as a storehouse of knowledge about
common things -- objects, events, and relationships -- that
individuals and their cultures build up and use on a regular
basis. Common sense gets us through the day. Without it the world
would seem incoherent and unpredictable, and we couldn't survive
without help from others who do have common sense. So in general,
common sense is a very good thing to have.
On the other hand, common sense has its limitations. There are
many questions that it never gets asked, and many aspects of
reality that it is never called on to address. Also, many of the
answers that it provokes are simply accepted without critical
examination. For many purposes that involve acquiring knowledge
about the world, common sense is not adequate.
One writer characterizes common sense this way:
Common sense is... a general--that is, domain-independent --
capacity that has to do with fluidity in representation of
concepts, and ability to sift what is important from what is not,
and ability to find unanticipated analogical similarities between
totally different concepts.
What he's saying is that common sense helps us find patterns
across different situations -- patterns that we are better off
recognizing than overlooking.
Some influential philosophers of science believe it's possible
or even advisable to begin the theory-building process from
common sense foundations. They look at science as a process of
elaborating and refining common sense. This doesn't imply that
common sense and theories are the same thing, of course. It means
common sense is a reasonable starting point.
This leads to two important questions: "What are the differences
between theory and common sense?" and "How can theory improve
upon common sense?" These questions are especially relevant for
social and behavioral scientists. When the general public reads
or hears about our research findings, those results are often
accused of being obvious. They seem to have been predictable
using only common sense.
....Common sense is not a substitute for theory and research.
Investigations have shown that once people know a particular
research finding, they presume that it was highly likely and they
become convinced that they knew it all along. This is called the
"hindsight bias." In actuality, when it comes to predicting the
outcomes of experiments before their results are known,
observers' powers of common sense turn out to be not much better
than blind guessing.
Common sense is often defined as that which everyone believes to
be true. So, most people think that if enough people believe in
something, then they are justified in believing that same thing.
This is a "strength in numbers" argument. In general, it fails to
provide solid grounding for arguments. Throughout history,
numerous popular beliefs have proven to be false or unverifiable,
even when convictions in the belief were very strong and very
widespread. For science and in general, a good rule is this:
The more important it is for a claim to be right, the more
direct support it should have.
Others believing that a claim is true is not direct support.
Through nearly all of human history, everyone firmly believed
that the world was flat and this caused them no problems. It
didn't become important to be right about this belief until the
last few hundred years, when navigation over great distances
demanded an accurate representation of the planet's shape.
Some philosophers see no strict dividing line between science
and common sense, but can still pinpoint several differences. For
example, common sense is often accurate but the reasons for its
accuracy are false or unknown. This would be intolerable in a
scientific theory. So members of some group may know that the sun
will rise at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning. But they may also "know"
that sunrise occurs at the same time everywhere on a flat and
stationary earth. That's a good example of how common sense can
be practical but not explanatory. It can be very useful to know
when the sun rises and sets, even if you're completely wrong
Scientific theories try to organize and classify what is known
on the basis of small numbers of general principles. In contrast,
common sense is unaware of its limitations.
Scientific theories try to understand the underlying mechanisms
of phenomena and how they are affected by prevailing conditions.
Common sense works best when prevailing conditions are constant
because it doesn't incorporate those conditions in its
descriptions and prescriptions.
For these reasons and others, a common sense approach to
acquiring knowledge about the paranormal is not adequate for our
purposes. Scientific theories overcome these limitations.
Barry goes on to discuss 10 problems with common sense approaches
to understanding. He makes it clear that he doesn't mean to imply
that common sense is always flawed in these ways, and it also
doesn't mean that scientific theories are never flawed. But
common sense is flawed in these ways often enough to cause
problems, plus common sense doesn't have a built-in method for
protecting against these kinds of problems. Professor Markovsky
says, "I'm also claiming that the scientific method includes
techniques for avoiding many of the flaws of common sense and
that the scientific method is the most efficient and successful
one known for accomplishing this."
The Foibles of Common Sense
Common Sense can be...
- ad hoc
- post hoc
- oriented to surface features
- subjectively validated
- unorganized and vague
Markovsky's 10 Problems with Common Sense
Common Sense Explanations Can Be Circular
In a circular explanation, that which is to be explained appears
as part of the explanation, often in a disguised from. A simple
example appears in the following exchange:
Person A: Do you believe in God?
Person B: Yes.
Person A: Why do you believe this?
Person B: Because the Bible says He exists.
Person A: Why do you believe what the Bible says?
Person B: Because it's the word of God, of course!
Saying that the Bible is "the word of God" already presumes a
belief in God's existence, and it was that belief that was
supposed to have been justified. Usually, circular explanations
are much more difficult than this to identify. They can be hidden
deep within layers of discussion, spread thinly over hundreds of
pages, or obscured by changes in the words that are involved.
Importantly, however, the conclusion of a circular argument is
not automatically wrong. Circularity in the god-and-bible
argument doesn't preclude the existence of God. In general,
circular arguments are just irrelevant to whatever one is trying
to explain. They have no bearing one way or the other.
Scientific theories use several methods to help guard against
circularities. These include adopting a formal language involving
logic or mathematics to organize and check their statements,
using as few terms as possible and making them as unambiguous as
possible, and having others critically evaluate the theory. A
formal language guards against circularities by making them
immediately evident and defining them as problematic. Minimizing
the number of terms used to express a theory simplifies its
analysis and, again, helps to make circular statements more
evident. Having the theory critically evaluated by others is a
powerful method for locating problem areas and often leads to
suggestions for remedies.
Common Sense Explanations Can Be Ad Hoc
An ad hoc explanation is one that is concocted for a specific
observation. Often it is a very general explanation, even though
only based on a specific case. Because it is based on a specific
case, the ad hoc explanation tends to ignore more general factors
that may be relevant to the observation. For example, a sexual
assault may be "explained" by blaming the victim: "Women are
attacked because they sometimes dress too provocatively." This ad
hoc reasoning ignores many factors that may not be apparent to
the casual observer: The location of the assault was not a
frequent site of similar violent crimes; the attacker had been
stalking the victim for days; the victim was beaten and robbed
and conservatively dressed; the attacker has a history of violent
criminal activity. The ad hoc explanation ignores larger patterns
of which the particular event is but a part, and ignores
particulars that may not be consistent with the explanation.
Ad hoc explanations are attractive as tools of common sense
because they give us a feeling of security and control -- the
feeling that we understand life's complexities and so can choose
to seek pleasant outcomes and avoid the harmful ones. Common
sense says that one may avoid sexual assault by dressing
conservatively. That's a myth.
In science, ad hoc explanations are frequently offered as
provisional explanations for anomalous findings -- that is,
unexpected observations. They are also widely recognized as
practically useless. They may eventually prove fruitful by
motivating the development of alternative theories and new
directions of research. But by themselves, ad hoc explanations
take us no further than the observation for which they were
Common Sense Explanations Can Be Particularistic
The scope of common sense is often limited to particular times,
places, and things. This is not usually a problem. Obviously it's
very useful to be able to anticipate a friend's responses to your
words and actions, or to know how your car behaves on wet roads.
Most of us also have deep interests in certain worldly events,
and so we turn to journalists who, as part of their jobs, obtain
as much information as they can pertaining to specific
occurrences. But a particularistic approach is self-defeating
when the goal is to gain knowledge that can apply to other times,
places and things. For instance, no amount of detailed
information about the workings of the 1991 board of directors of
General Motors will by itself increase our theoretical knowledge
about group processes.
Let's more carefully distinguish two types of approaches to
gaining knowledge: the particularizing strategy and the
generalizing strategy. If we accept that the construction of
general theories is a goal of science, then particularizing
approaches do not provide much benefit to science. In sociology,
there is quite a lot of use of the particularizing approach. It
usually takes the form of a collection of relatively unorganized,
relatively concrete, and relatively common sense propositions
about social behavior. This problem boils down to just this: The
greater the depth of knowledge acquired with regard to any
particular phenomenon or entity, the less the degree to which
that knowledge will apply to anything else. This runs counter to
the goal of theoretical generality.
In contrast to a particularistic focus, theories are designed to
be generalizable. Abstractness is the quality that allows this.
Common sense often tells us that abstractness is a bad quality
because it implies detachment from reality. Of course, a theory
with no connection to reality is not going to be of any use in
explaining real events. However, total concreteness would prevent
any generalization beyond the case at hand. So good theories are
themselves abstract, but they are designed to allow connections
to be made with real phenomena. This lets one theory explain an
unlimited number of different kinds of events.
Common Sense Explanations Can Be Post Hoc
This may be the most serious problem with common sense
explanations of paranormal claims, but one of the easiest to
overcome using standard scientific procedures. The post hoc
fallacy is the claim that event A caused event B because B
followed A. Humans and numerous other species are physiologically
wired to learn by recognizing temporal contiguities. These are
events that follow one another relatively closely in time. We
recognize the temporal contiguity and infer from it that the
earlier event caused the later one. This inference of causality
is oftentimes valid: Lightening does cause thunder, and a wound
does cause pain. Sometimes, however, our programs backfire and we
make false inferences. For example, millions of Americans believe
all sorts of phenomena, from crime waves to hospital emergency
ward admissions to losing car keys, are caused by full moons.
Study after study has found no such effect, but it still seems
very real to those who believe in it.
The logic of scientific theorizing and testing actually cannot
prove that a causal relation exists between events A and B.
However, theories can generate testable hypotheses that should
hold up under testing if the events are causally related.
Statistical techniques are then applied to determine whether
those observed relationships are unlikely to have been due to
chance alone. To use the example I just mentioned, many people
believe that increases in crimes, natural disasters, and other
phenomena are associated with the full moon. To support this
claim, believers in the moon effect tend to ignore the lack of
theoretical or statistical basis for such relationships. Instead
they may base their belief on what others have said, or perhaps
can even recall specific events that occurred around the time of
the full moon.
- Common Sense Often Deals With Surface Features
A good example of this is the formation of first impressions. We
all quite easily formulate hunches about the deeper aspects of
acquaintances' personalities, often based on very limited
information. Even though we may feel confident about these
impressions, they often turn out to be ill-informed and we rarely
check their accuracy.
Another example is our tendency to attach a great deal of weight
to the first explanation that we hear for something that we don't
understand. People often accept any scenario that appears to
account for the surface features of a complex phenomenon. A
related problem is that sometimes we take the lack of a known
conventional explanation to support an unorthodox explanation.
For example, a newspaper in upstate New York reported that
citizens and scientists alike were at a loss to explain colored
lights in the evening sky over a certain small city. Members of a
state UFO-enthusiast network, questioned by the press, announced
that this inability to identify the lights provided further
evidence that the earth is under surveillance by alien life
forms. The failure to account for the unidentified objects,
however, does not increase the likelihood that they are the
spacecraft of alien visitors. As I've said before, "unidentified"
means unidentified. In general, there is no scientific shame in
having insufficient data to draw conclusions. The only shame is
promoting speculations whose only merit is an ability to weave
surface features of phenomena into a whimsical fabric.
Common Sense Allows Contradictions
A contradiction amounts to saying that something is both true and
untrue. When friends are separated, we may want to predict
whether their relationship will strengthen or weaken. Two famous
sayings generate contradictory predictions: "Absence makes the
heart grow fonder," and "Out of sight, out of mind." Each
statement seems common sensical, but both cannot be
simultaneously true without some type of reinterpretation. And
yet both bits of folk wisdom remain in our storehouse of common
sense, telling us in essence that separated friends will either
forget about each other or grow closer. In science, if we wish to
know whether or not y will follow x, it is altogether
unsatisfying to be told that "if x occurs then y will follow, and
it will not." Also, note how if somebody did a study to see what
happens to friends or lovers who have been separated, whatever
the result, someone is sure to come along and point out that
common sense predicted it all along. What this critic will fail
to mention is that common sense also predicted the opposite to
It is worth noting that if we allow contradiction in our
explanation, then any false statement that you can imagine may be
logically derived and proven true. Contradictions lead to
absurdities, and that's why we have to take care to exclude them
from our explanations. Theories guard against contradictions by
adopting logical frameworks to help locate and eliminate them.
Common Sense is Unconditional
A condition is a phrase that places constraints on a statement.
For example, "grass is green" is an unconstrained, unconditional
statement. To it we could add, "in the spring" as a limiting
condition. When common sense does try to reach beyond particulars
in search of generality -- such as with "absence makes the heart
grow fonder," it is often unconditionalized. That is, the
conditions under which the claim applies are either not
considered or left unstated. Before my first science class I
learned that water freezes at 32ºF -- an unconditional
statement. What a rude complication it was for me to learn that
water in the pond near my childhood home froze before water in
the river that fed it, and that ocean water 25 miles away could
be much colder than "freezing" without freezing! The actual
freezing point is conditional on such factors as the purity of
the water, its rate of flow, and the barometric pressure. Notice
that just because the statement is conditional does not prevent
if from being general. The statement applies any time, any place,
to any vessel of water, if the appropriate conditions are
satisfied. That amounts to a potentially infinite number of times
Conditionalization adds precision to theoretical claims and
prevents their application to phenomena outside of the intended
purview of the theory. Another benefit of conditionalization is
its capacity to resolve apparent contradictions. For example, it
may be reasonable to claim that for two people who have regular
face-to-face contact and positive evaluations of one another,
"physical separation increases emotional attachment" under the
condition that the relationship has progressed beyond the level
of an acquaintanceship when the separation takes place. The
effect of separation may be claimed to be the opposite under the
condition that the relationship has not progressed beyond this
Common Sense is Not Systematically Tested
It is easier and more psychologically satisfying to simply
believe that we are correct about something than it is to
carefully test our beliefs and risk being wrong. This is not to
say that we have to test every opinion we hold, every observation
we make, or every statement we utter. Much of what we believe,
observe and say is based on time-tested practical knowledge, and
little would be gained -- and much time and energy lost -- by
subjecting this knowledge to systematic examination. It does say,
however, that we should not be surprised to find that common
sense messes up from time to time. If we are honestly concerned
with the truthfulness of particular explanations and beliefs, and
also with the possible consequences of acting on their behalf,
then testing is the best way we know of verifying those beliefs,
eliminating false alternative explanations, and resolving
differences of opinions.
Systematic testing is part of a method for improving upon
untested common sense. This is because we may legitimately attach
more confidence to claims or beliefs that have survived direct
attempts to disconfirm than those that have not been so tested.
Common Sense Allows Subjective Validation
Subjective validation is a method that we all use to verify our
beliefs. It is a form of non-systematic testing that involves
accepting evidence that supports a belief, and ignoring neutral
or unfavorable evidence. While post-hoc inferences and other
common sense methods may plant the seed of a belief, subjective
validation helps it to flourish.
In the example of belief in the "moon effect," once the
possibility is allowed that moon phases affect people, attention
is drawn to those events that can be interpreted as supporting
the belief. Quite often this involves granting a good deal of
latitude in those interpretations. A rise in ER admissions a few
days prior or subsequent to the full moon may suggest an effect,
as might reading about a moderate earthquake in Europe, a hefty
drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or a riot involving
ardent fans at a London soccer match. During other lunar phases,
the believer simply doesn't notice how often these events occur.
During or close to the full moon, virtually any non-ordinary
event may be interpreted as caused by the moon. Overlooked is the
fact that such events actually occur very frequently and
uniformly across all lunar phases.
Many people can recount a time that they saw something in a
dream which later came true, and so believe that dreams are
capable of foretelling the future. For example, some have
reported dreams in which a certain loved one dies, followed soon
thereafter by his or her actual death. In fact, such dreams turn
out to be fairly common -- especially when the loved one is elderly
or ailing. We also tend to forget that the contents of the vast
majority of our dreams are not played out in reality, and that we
are prone to fill in many of a dream's details long after
awakening. Still, the coincidence of dream and reality can
produce such an emotional impact that the subjective validation
of a dream's ability to foretell the future almost inevitably
follows. In this example, the belief is quite harmless.
Unfortunately, however, subjective validation is also at the root
of many harmful beliefs and perceptions. The same mechanism that
allows us to validate unfounded beliefs about dreams or moon
phases also permits us to hold harmful and false beliefs such as
racial and sexual stereotypes. It also leads to a misplaced faith
in our abilities to make accurate judgments under circumstances
that are complex or ambiguous.
Scientists are humans too, and they often engage in a process of
subjectively validating their theories. This alone, however, is
not (and should not be) sufficient to convince others of the
truthfulness of a theory's claims. To be generally accepted in a
field, a theory's tests must survive the collective scrutiny of
skeptics. These skeptics are bound and determined to point out
when a test is too weak to rule out alternative explanations.
Subjective validation fails as a theory-testing method precisely
because it systematically ignores information ... that would
suggest alternative explanations for observed phenomena.
Common Sense is Unorganized and Vague
Common sense is unorganized because it lacks a system for
keeping track of what is known already, the amount of evidence
backing that knowledge, and how existing information can be used
to garner further knowledge. The difference between the ways that
common sense and theory are organized is something like the
difference between a long list of independent sentences and a
book with sentences organized in paragraphs, section, and
chapters. Long, unstructured lists are extremely inefficient
storehouses for knowledge. In constructing new theories, a great
deal of attention is paid to what theories already exist, the
kinds of evidence offered for them, and how they can be improved
by making them simpler, more compact, and still as accurate and
comprehensive as possible.
Common sense is vague in the sense that its terms lack
unambiguous definition. What do we really mean when we say that
someone has a good personality? A strong will? A mean streak?
What are we actually talking about when using the ideas of
"power," "status," "love," or "justice" in everyday discourse? If
you and nine of your friends wrote down definitions for each of
these terms, chances are we would wind up with ten different
meanings for each. This is a problem because explanations --
scientific or common sense -- can only be of use if we first agree
on the meanings of their terms.
In theories, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that there is
no absolute, "true" definition for a particular idea or concept
used in the theory. Instead, the theorist will try to insure
accurate communication by stating exactly the meaning that he or
she intends to communicate. This is done by defining the concept.
Then it is possible to have the concept of "injustice," for
example, defined in one theory as the "violation of objective
allocation standards," and in another theory as "the emotional
response to the violation of objective allocation standards,"
without implying that at least one of the definitions must
somehow be wrong.
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