Tag Archives: parapsychology

The Other Singularity is also Near

In this two-part post, I am going to outline why I think there is a dramatic shift in human consciousness coming, and how this will provide great opportunities for those courageous enough to invest time and commitment into this field knowledge. There is a phrase I would like to introduce for this: “The Other Singularity.” This is a term first put forward by Benjamin Butler at the Emerging Future Institute.

I also bill myself as a futurist. I have published and presented around forty papers and book chapters in Futures Studies journals and in several Futures-related books. I have also been a member of the World Futures Studies Federation, and have spoken regularly AT WFSF conferences. So I feel I’m perfectly entitled to call myself a futurist. The domain of Futures Studies in which I work is often called Critical Futures Studies. This branch of Futures is not so much concerned about prediction, but with analysing images of the future, looking to see who controls the power, and in particular asking “What is missing?” from ideas and visions of tomorrow. Futurist Richard Slaughter introduced the term “Postconventional Futures Studies”, to accommodate critical futurists like me who like to think well outside the box; in particular exploring other ways of knowing (OWOK) and the spiritual and mystical dimensions of human experience. Those OWOK include the intuitive and spiritual cognitive processes that conventional science and education has tended to ignore.

Despite the fact that these domains of Futures Studies are not focused on prediction, one of the first questions I typically get asked when I tell people I am a futurist is “So, what is going to happen in the future?” I normally just explain what critical futures studies is, and don’t give a solid answer. After all, predicting the future is considered to be a fool’s game by many.

But sometimes I do like to prognosticate.

You might be aware of the idea of the singularity, put forward by futurist ray Kurzweil. The singularity relates to the precise moment when computers will become smarter than people. After that point, human civlisation will never be the same. Computers will only continue to get smarter, while we flesh and blood humans will stay the same dumb “meat machines,” as Elon Musk describes us.

I’m skeptical of Kurzweil’s idea because I think that he and his followers fail to address vital aspects of consciousness and intelligence. To put this in simple terms, I believe that consciousness contains non-local properties. It is not purely localised in space and time, and very likely cannot be reduced to the functioning of micro-components – neurons. I outline this in more detail in my TEDx Hong Kong talk “Mind, Cosmos and our Brilliant Futures.” The key point here is that if I am right about this, then human beings may be far more “conscious” and far smarter than we generally think. I like to speak of a fully-actualised human mind as having integrated intelligence. This means that the individual has a highly developed intuitive capacity which transcends “rationality” as we typically define it. They are not delimited by the sensory organs, nor time and space as we typically understand them.

In short, merely replicating certain information processes via machines is unlikely to grant those machines anything close to human-like integrated intelligence, let alone consciousness (but in all fairness, Kurzweil does touch on the distinction between “human-like” and machine intelligence. But he does not take the idea of integrated intelligence seriously).

What I and futurists such as Benjamin Butler do believe is that there is another Singularity which is fast approaching. That Other Singularity refers to the precise moment when our science, education and social structures finally accept the reality of the non-local mind.

The Other Singularity, and two predications about consciousness and the future

I typically make five predictions about the futures of mind. I present two of them here on the very slides I used in my TEDx talk. The other three I will describe in my following blog post, one week from today.

This is not exactly a brave prediction, is it? If there is one thing that the history of science and philosophy shows us, it is that knowledge expands from one era to another in ways that can barely be imagined by those in the era preceding such shifts. Being knowledgeable is of little assistance here. In 1900, Lord Kelvin, who was one of the most knowledgeable and highly informed men of his day, famously stated that “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” Just five years later Einstein published his seminal paper on relativity theory, and by the late 1920s the quantum field theory was initiated by Paul Dirac, throwing a huge spanner into the works of the mechanical universe. If a highly learned man like Lord Kelvin can be so wrong, it is logical to assume that you and I are also capable of such poor foresight.

By definition, we can’t know what we don’t know we don’t know (that’s not a typo – think about it!). We tend to see knowledge as expanding in a linear fashion. To borrow from Foucault, modernity always sees knowledge as progressing from a primitive past to the inevitable outcome that is the advanced and superior present. In 1900 the known universe was precisely one galaxy big. Now we know of an estimated 100 billion galaxies. And this is not even taking into consideration that dark energy and dark matter may comprise 95 per cent of the universe. Lord Kelvin could only go on what was known then.

What big shift is going to happen next? “Oh, the internet will expand to become incredibly powerful!” many would say. But no, that would not be a paradigm shift in my meaning of the term.  The idea of a super-internet is an extrapolation based on the most obvious recent historical game-breaker. It is an observable trend. On the other hand, paradigm shifts involve sudden changes in the very way we view knowledge itself. The publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) and the theory of natural selection is a classic example. The idea of “evolution” is common-place today and used in multiple contexts, but before Darwin’s time the word – and the concept – was rarely used.

I believe that we are in the midst of another paradigm shift at this moment in history. And rather than a single thinker being behind it, the power of the internet is driving it.

This leads me onto my second prediction, which is really the one that is the real game-changer today, and the foundation of the Other Singularity.

Once the extended mind is acknowledged, it will radically shift the way humanity sees itself, including its place in the cosmos. The implications for science, philosophy and society will be enormous. The extended mind is the idea that consciousness extends beyond the confines of the brain and skull, and is in relationship with the environment – including other people, places, times and spiritual dimensions (Integrated intelligence), and describes the way that the conscious application of the extended mind can make us smarter and help solve problems. Most significantly, the expansion of Integrated Intelligence creates an inevitable shift in worldview, because one can no longer operate under the delusion that self and world are totally separate.

Why I believe the Other Singularity will occur

You might ask why I am so confident that the Other Singularity is coming?

The first reason is that the scientific evidence for the extended mind is strong, and it will only get stronger. The field that scientifically investigates concepts related to the extended mind is typically called parapsychology. As just one reference, Dean Radin is perhaps the foremost scientist doing such work. His meta-analysis of ganzfeld experiments – which test whether human beings can sense the contents of another’s mind at a distance – has produced the most impressive results. 0ver 122 experiments conducted in 20 labs and with 4674 sessions have yielded results of 300 trillion quadrillion to one (the latest results were published in Psychological Bulletin in 2010). Radin summarised these experimental procedures and the data gleaned from them in a talk he gave at the Electric Universe conference. The two videos are available on YouTube, and well worth watching for those who wish to familiarise themselves with the research done in this field.

It has to be admitted that the amount of money spent on this kind of research is miniscule, and the volume is insignificant compared to that spent on such fields as medicine and neuroscience. Further, there are various ways the research can be criticised (I will not detail those here, but parapsychologists have done a good job in countering those criticisms to date). Still, there is enough evidence here to make the claim that there is something very important worth investigating here. This is the only “rational” take on the research, in my opinion.

The second reason why I feel that an expanded conception of consciousness is inevitable is that there is just so much anecdotal evidence, with countless tens of thousands of reported cases. People throughout history and across all civilisations have reported experiences which can only be explained by the extended mind hypothesis. These experiences include crisis visions, near death experiences, premonitory visions and dreams, out of body experiences, ESP, remote viewing and so on.  While skeptics complain that “the plural of anecdote is not data”, only the most stubborn materialist could dismiss all these reports without at least some consideration of the possibility that many of these cases are genuine. Many defy any materialist explanation.

My third and final reason for optimism in the coming mind shift is by far the strongest for me. For over twenty years I have been exploring consciousness through meditative and visionary experience and have seen that the extended mind is a perfectly normal domain of human consciousness. After a period of committed scepticism in my early twenties I began meditating at the age of 26. I immediately discovered the world of psychic experience. I could not dismiss the many visions and experiences of connection with other minds and spirits that came to me. Five years later I began a systematic period of exploration of my emotional body, where I managed to dredge up unimaginable pain and hurt from within my psyche. This was not because I am masochist by nature, but because I sought healing of that pain. Although I barely read a book or watched any media, the knowledge that this six year period bought forth for me was profound, and helped me to understand in far greater depth the psychic experiences I’d had in the first phase of my spiritual development. But there then came a third phase of insight where I lessened my focus upon psychic and emotional experience, and began to allow longer periods of simple mindfulness. In bringing the mind into deep, silent presence, I came to understand at even greater depth the knowledge that I had received during the previous two phases of my spiritual development.

If I can summarise what I learned from all this exploration, it is that the human mind is embedded within a vast sea of consciousness, and that the way we experience “self” in modern society is but the surface level of the mind in its entirety. Twenty-first century life and education conditions us into a very constricted experience of consciousness, cutting us off from our essence. My inner journey helped me to see clearly that modern science and education have led us to a dead end. Scientific materialism has hit a wall that it cannot cross – at least not without a great shift in its core processes and in cooperation with those who have explored the human psyche in depth.

Science brought humanity out of mediaeval ignorance, but as currently practiced it is a hindrance to the advancement of human knowledge in the domain of consciousness, and to understanding our place in the cosmos. Humanity has gone as far as it can go in the delusion of separation. As Huston Smith so elegantly put it, the twentieth century was the century of disconnection, the century where humanity lost touch with its spiritual essence. That previous century was the age of the talking head, where our elders and truth-tellers became detached from both the body and the human spirit. It was a century of spiritual trauma. It is time for the healing to begin.

And this is what I will explore in greater detail in part two of this topic. Join me in my next post as I suggest in greater detail what this means for us in our everyday lives, and how the coming mind shift can be a tremendous opportunity for those of us who are willing to pioneer the way forward.

Marcus T Anthony

 

The Consciousness Files, Peter L Nelson: Seeing Beyond the Ordinary

 

http://mindfutures.libsyn.com/rss (click to go to the podcast page)

This is the very first episode of The Consciousness Files, where I regularly chat with some of the world’s most interesting thinkers, feelers, seers and be-ers. The subject is the human mind and its limits (if there are any).

My very learned and perceptive guest on Episode 1 of The Consciousness Files today is Dr. Peter L Nelson – author, psychologist and seer. Peter is an explorer of non-ordinary awareness, a very similar notion to what I’d call integrated intelligence. In Peter’ case, this allows him to directly know someone’s psycho-emotional state and the forces that shape it.

Peter began his scientific career in the early 1960s, exploring perception and consciousness. Later he became a social scientist and focused his research on how people create a picture of reality, including the visions of mystics and the highly intuitive, who seemed to be able to see directly into the minds and thoughts of others, as well as the last and future.

pln

I stumbled upon Peter a year or so ago, when I read his wonderful book, The Way of a Seer. Peter’s explanation of how he employs integrated intelligence is incredibly insightful. There are a lot of philosophers and scientists who cover this topic these days, but not so many who actually know how to facilitate the art of the seer, and who have extensive personal experience of using it.

I caught up with Peter a few days ago. In my chat with him you will find out why he threw in a perfectly decent and potentially promising career as neuroscientist, why he believes that Rupert Sheldrake is wrong about morphic fields, and how reading a letter sent ten years into the future changed his life forever.

Please enjoy the show!

Marcus

Peter’s web site:www.socsci.biz

Royalty free music by www.bensound.com.

 

PODCAST TIMELINE

3:57 What is a seer?

4:30 There is a non-ordinary stream of consciousness which seers can tap into.

4:50 The difference between a “psychic” and a “seer.”

5:50 “How did you become interested in these other ways of knowing, given your science background?” Peter tells the remarkable story of how he was inducted as a seer.

6:40 Peter re-tells of a dream he had as a young man, of flying over rolling hills. He immediately recognised the place as Devon, England. He came to this realisation the following evening at a movie. He then had a very strong urge to travel to England.

10:00 While working as a graduate programme in neuroscience, Peter meets a wealthy woman, who helps take him to England.

12:30 Peter quits the programme and flies to England with the woman.

12:50 Peter decides to look up two groups in England which were interested in the psychic domains.

15:40 The psychic medium tells him to “go to the other place.”

18:00 Librarian says she has some interesting notes from a trance medium, Peter refuses.

18:45. Librarian again insists he sees the notes, reads him incredible details of his life.

25:00 She offers to train him.

26:10 Example of Alice (his teacher) reading his and another woman’s mind. (Good example of mind reading).

27:10 There are two streams of perception. Inwards and outwards.

28:50 Difficulty in social adjustment, offending people. Alice taught him.

31:00 Peter had to learn to keep quiet, and avoid scaring others with his perception.

31:00 While appearing on a German TV show Peter accidentally shocks a contestant by revealing facts about his brother’s suicide.

39:30 He had to learn how to properly articulate what he saw in others as a seer.

40:30 The nature of fields, biofields. These are not the four known fields of nature.

42:40. You have to learn to feel the field. Only a higher order system can detect the field, e.g. a human being.

44:40 Fields define living things. We impregnate things with our fields, such as a place where a person dies violently.

47:40 Peter critiques Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenic fields. e.g. How a fertilised egg becomes a blastula, does not require fields.

53:00 Why Deepak Chopra is on the wrong track.

54:00 What I’m interested is the psychology of attention. I’m not interested in training psychics.

54:30 Discussion about attention. Fixed attention vs expanded perception.

Why fluid attention is very important.

59:50 This is very useful for any people in problem solving fields.

1:03:00 Our society teaches us to pay attention to certain things, esp competition, making money and so on.

1.04:30 Education. We don’t train for attention. Students are shaped. High achievers are usually highly fixed. But this is useful for certain things.

1:05:40 Steve Jobs and his fixed perception

1:07:30 Peter recounts his Albert Einstein dream, and how it influenced him to question whether special relativity theory is theory of perception?

1:11:30. Why theorising is arrogant,

1:14:40 Peter states that we can never really know the world. That’s outside of human knowing. He interested in engaging experience deeply.

1:17:10 Is there an evolutionary process with consciousness?

1:18:10 “What is the benefit for humanity in developing our capacity for seeing?

The Powerful Evidence for Telephone Telepathy

As part of the research I am conducting into my book The Future of Consciousness (yes, it’s the same book as The Great Mind Shift, only retitled) I am outlining evidence for the existence of Integrated Intelligence (INI). INI is the deliberate employ,net of the extended mind – mind which extends beyond the brain – to solve problems. Perhaps the strongest evidence for ESP in recent years comes from Rupert Sheldrake’s telephone and electronic media telepathy experiments. The results that Shekdrake has managed to glean are extremely impressive. I. This blog post I am going to outline some of the experiments, why I feel these could become the gold standard of ESP experiments. I am also going to address the perplexing question of why such potentially groundbreaking research is not be embraced and relocated, nor widely shared in scientific and popular media.

The Telephone Telepathy Experiments
The experience of apparent telepathy is the strongest of all such ESP in today’s society. People often have the experience of thinking about someone before they call them. Or they may have a strong feeling about who is calling when the phone rings. The obvious skeptical viewpoint is that people may simply be unconsciously extrapolating who is calling based on experience or statistical likelihood. Perhaps your mother usually calls in the evening on the weekend every few weeks, for example. If it has been a few weeks since she has called, and it is a Saturday evening, it would be natural to “feel” that it is your mother on the other end of the line. Clearly this has nothing to do with telepathy.

So what Sheldrake has done is put this urban myth to the experimental test, and with extraordinary findings.

Sheldrake and Pam Smart have conducted hundreds of trials to test the idea. The genius of the experiments is their simplicity. Each participant receives a call from one of four different callers. They are aware of who the possible callers are, but they do not know which one will be calling at any given time, as they are randomly selected. The person answering the phone has to guess the identity of the caller before they answer. This gives the caller a 25 percent chance of stating the correct name. In many of these trials, the participants were videotaped. (Sheldrake 2014, 29%)

While some participants scored at the chance level, many scored well above chance. The first series contained 570 trials with 63 subjects, and was not filmed. The average hit rate was 40 percent. The four best subjects were then tested and filmed under more rigorous conditions,. A total of 271 further trials produced an average hit rate of 45 percent, which represents an extremely significant result and at odds against chance of (p < 1 × 10-13).

 

The Importance of Confidence
As I have often pointed out in my books and workshops, intuition is usually most reliable when the feeling is very strong, either for or against a decision that is to be made. Sheldrake and Smart’s experiment add support to this idea. Some participants felt more confident about some guesses than others, and they were more often right when they were confident. Sheldrake and Smart then asked a female subject to record over 134 videotaped trials and state how confident she felt about her guesses before answering the phone. There were three grades of confidence: “confident,” “not very confident,” and “just guessing.” When confident she had a hit rate of 85 percent, but only 34 percent when not very confident. When she was just guessing, her success rate was merely 28 percent. This suggests that we should all learn to trust our strong gut feelings.

Empathy and INI
As with other ESP tests of this kind, it was found that personal and empathic connection was a key component in telepathy. Sheldrake and Smart conducted a series of trials where the participant knew only two of the callers. The other two were strangers whom they only knew by name. The results were remarkable.The participants managed a hit rate of over 50 percent with those they knew, whereas with strangers the results were at close to chance level.

Distance is no Barrier to INI
Telephone telepathy experiments also add credence to the claim that extra-sensory perception is not constricted by a distance decay effect. Again, this is consistent with some previous research on other kinds of telepathy, both with people with people, and with animals such as dogs, cats, and parrots.

Sheldrake and Smart found that experiments conducted within Britain were not any less successful with greater distance. To test this result further, the experimenters recruited recent arrivals to England from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other distant countries. They then compared local hit rates with friends and family members overseas. Remarkably, the hit rate for callers overseas averaged 61 percent, while with friends in Britain it was but 36 percent. Sheldrake suggests that this difference might have occured because the majority of overseas callers were people with whom participants were closely emotionally bonded, such as mothers. This is further evidence that personal and meaningful connection is a key condition in telepathic phenomena.

Email and SMS Telepathy
In 2002 Sheldrake began testing for e-mail telepathy with Pam Smart. The process was based on his telephone telepathy tests, again using friends or family members. The participants had to guess from four possible senders before checking the sender’s actual identity. Sheldrake tested 50 participants for a total of 552 trials, with an average hit rate of 43 percent. Again, this is very significantly above the chance. (p < 1 × 10-18). The 5 highest-scoring participants were tested again while being filmed, with an average hit rate of 47 percent, again very significantly above the 25 percent rate expected busy chance.

Sheldrake has also been very successful in gleaning significant results from having people guess the senders of SMS messages. In one such experiment were three senders. So with random guessing, subjects would be expected to be correct right around 33.3 percent of the time. Sheldrake has run 800 trials with an average hit rate of 37.9 percent. Although this result is not as startling as some of his other experiments, they are nonetheless statistically significant. As previously, Sheldrake retested participants with the highest scores and under filmed conditions. The hit rate was then an impressive 44.2 percent.

 

Animals and Telephones
Sheldrake has also collected reports of animals that appear to know who is calling on the phone. His database includes 141 cases, including 67 dogs, 60 cats, 13 parrots, cockatoos, and other members of the parrot family, and 1 pet pigeon.

Sheldrake cites the case of Sheila Geddes, of Yaxham, Norfolk, England.

”Our cat, Mr. Softy, always seemed to know when I was going to phone home, and he would go and sit on the phone seat and purr. Once when I was in Australia, he went up onto the telephone seat one afternoon when it would have been 1: 00 A.M. in Canberra. My husband knew how late it was in Canberra, and told Mr. Softy, “It’s no good, we won’t hear from her now.” But I had woken up suddenly, felt very far from home, and realized it would be early evening there, so five minutes later, the phone rang beside him. He was delighted to hear my voice. The distance between Sheila and her cat was about 11,000 miles.”

Such cases are report-based and thus subject to human misrepresentations, but fascinating nonetheless.

Telepathy or Precognition?
As a fascinating addendum to the telephone telepathy tests, Sheldrake decided to test a rogue possibility. What if the success of the tests was not due to telepathy, but precognition? In the latter case, in correctly guessing who is calling, the participants might be tapping into the future. To test this hypothesis, Sheldrake got the subjects to guess who was about to call them or send an SMS message before the computer selected the sender at random. The telephone tests yielded 240 hits out of 722 trials, or 33.2 percent. There was a similar result with the SMS messages, with 110 hits out of 339 trials, representing 32.4 percent. The results were not significant, given the chance level of 33.3 percent. The clear conclusion is that no precognition was occurring in these kinds of tests. Rather, it seems that telepathy was.

However, there is a “positive” conclusion which can be gleaned from the failed precognition tests. That the results were negligible is further indication that something was happening in the previous successful telephone telepathy trials, and that this positive result was not merely some anomaly, such as poor experimental method or cheating. If the latter had been the case, both sets of experiments would have produced similar results.

Real Life vs Experimental Telepathy
Sheldrake makes an important point about his experiments. Despite their striking success, they probably produce weaker telepathic effects than those which occur in real life situations. Firstly, under natural conditions people will have a precise motivation or requirement for calling. This will in turn bring emotionality and intentionality into the situation in a greater way than a dull experiment can, enhancing intuition. Secondly, the experiments probably made the participants self-conscious as they had to deliberately think about their guesses and the identity of the possible caller. As Sheldrake notes, thinking probably inhibits human intuition, as intuitive intelligence is neither reasoned nor analytical. Thirdly, there was a fear factor. The participants were sometimes afraid of making the wrong choice. When they did choose in error they tended to doubt their intuitive capacities, bringing forth negative emotionality which may have inhibited their integrated intelligence.

Thanks to people like Sheldrake and Pam Smart, we are now starting to understand the kinds of conditions that best facilitate the positive testing of Integrated Intelligence. Just a few important factors include providing meaningful situations for participants, using motivated individuals, having emotional connectivity, ensuring there is novelty and avoidance of boredom and excessive repetition, and we must also encourage relaxed states of consciousness and avoid pressuring those being tested. Further, it is likely that in the near future we will identify other factors, including the subtle.

A Platform for the Future
The innovative and adventurous research of people like Sheldrake and Smart provides a wonderful base for other scientists and organisations to step in and take us forward. That leap represents not just potential progress for science, but for the entire human species. It potentially revolutionises the way we see our species, our societies and our place in nature and the cosmos.

Why then, is science not coming on board and building on this research? That will be the subject of my next blog post.

Marcus

Are You Ready For the Coming Consciousness Revolution?

As I write this I am sitting in a street-side cafe in Bangkok. It’s the Landmark Hotel cafe, actually. I wish I could say that I am staying at the Landmark, but alas I find myself resident at the less resplendent Belaire Hotel, just across bustling Sukhumvit Road.

It’s very busy around these parts. The area is a sea of noisy traffic – old buses, taxis, mini-vans and tuk-tuks idle past. On the narrow footpath just below me, people – mostly western tourists – stroll past, their relaxed pace a measure of their leisurely holiday-mindedness.

Bangkok is rather crazy, with no apparent order. Street vendors pop up like mushrooms every few metres, and I have to wonder whether anybody regulates anything around here. Certainly, I have seen no uniformed police or other officials during my time here.

It’s madness, and yet this great leviathan of a city has its own perfection. There’s a kind of serenity in the hustle and bustle of life in this politically-turbulent Buddhist country.

As I sit here, cooling my body and mind with an ice-coffee, I watch the show roll on by. And I am contemplating the nature of time, space and free-will. And there’s a reason why I am deep in such existential thoughts. For I just came from my hotel, where I was following the result of an international cricket game played between Australia and New Zealand. The game played was part of the World Cup of cricket, so it was a major sporting event for the two antipodean nations. But for me there was something else about the game that was far more profound.

The thing is, precisely one week ago I awoke early in the morning and had a premonition about the outcome of the game. I often have these kinds of premonitory visions, as I have previously stated in my writings. The premonition of the game wasn’t so much a dream or a mind-movie. It was more a flash of immediate knowing, where information is pumped into the brain – from who knows where. In such experiences the knowing is immediate. It often requires no verbal input or sequencing of events. It’s just arrives uninvited, like a mysterious stranger knocking at your door than just as suddenly vanishing into the night.

The content of the vision was very clear. It indicated that the upcoming Trans-Tasman game of cricket would be a very exciting game. Australia would come very, very close to winning. Indeed, at the last minute they would be on the verge of victory. But ultimately NZ would snatch victory.

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Since many of my readers are North American, I won’t distract you with too many details of the game. As it turned out, today Australia batted first and posted a paltry 151 runs. In cricket terms, this is pathetic. Therefore when New Zealand began their innings (teams only bat once) I was feeling a little annoyed. It looked like my premonition was not going to unfold. The New Zealand batsmen raced away and were charging towards an easy victory, before they had a massive batting collapse. This meant that right at the last minute they were looking like losing. But I knew better. As the match reached its exciting crescendo I knew exactly who would win. NZ. And they did – by the narrowest of possible margins, one wicket.

I’ve had premonitory dreams and visions up to one month before sporting events. So it really does beg the question. Is the future already set? Is there really any such thing as free will? After all, players on a sporting field are making all kinds of choices. Some are well-considered, while others emerge from finely conditioned reflexes or pure inspiration. Yet if in the big picture the game is already won and lost before the first ball is kicked or hit, how can anyone really be making any choices at all? It’s a philosophical conundrum that would confound Confucius.

It gets juicier. The implications move well beyond the philosophical. What does the existence of premonitions tell us about the nature of time, space and consciousness itself?

Currently in psychology and neuroscience the dominant intellectual position is that there is no free will. This is based primarily upon one famous experiment. In the 1980s Benjamin Libet showed that our neurones fire a fraction of a second before we think we make a decision.

Despite this, and despite my experience with precognition, I believe that free will does exist. In fact, I believe that activating its full potential is central to human existence.

But there is nothing in mainstream science which accounts for human premonitions. Premonitions are considered “paranormal”, and not taken seriously. This is because they aren’t thought of as normal. Some have pointed out that this is circular reasoning.

So anecdotes and experimental evidence which pertain to seeing or sensing the future are rejected a priori, and often ridiculed. Yet millions of people continue to experience what they believe to be premonitions; and many also claim “paranormal” cognitive experiences related to ESP – intuitions that seemingly operate outside of localised space and time. I like to call this range of cognitive functions Integrated Intelligence, because I believe that they are a valid aspect of human mental life, and that they can enhance our mental capacities.

The scientific taboo against serious discussion of these matters is more than just a pity. It’s a cultural tragedy. For as we deepen our awareness and begin to fully understand that mind has non-local properties, it inevitably changes our worldview. Even more profoundly, it transcends our relationship with time and space. When we permit a full range of mental experiences to unfold, we begin to realise our deep connection to the world, to nature, and to other human beings.

Ironically, it is the philosophical and experiential refusal to allow such understandings that prevents so many of our academics and leaders from perceiving these things directly.

As I sit here, typing these words by a chaotic street in South-East Asia, there is a kind of deep tranquility which fills me as I simply allow what is happening around me, both in time and space, to be exactly what it is. This is the state of surrender that so many mystics have poeticised down through the ages. And therein lies our greatest capacity for free will.

And it’s a state that is not available to those who live within the delimited mechanistic representation of time and space which has come to dominate economically developed societies the world over.

I have no doubt that one day soon science will catch up with all of this. Although the precise pace and timing of the shift is unclear, I believe we are already in the initial stages of transition. The time will come when the evidence for Integrated Intelligence will outweigh the outmoded arguments of head-centric academics. Then slowly we will begin to correct this gargantuan cultural blind-spot which today has so deeply damaged the human psyche. Just think of how society will change, how people will occupy spaces in cities, town and in rural settings, once this deeper awareness filters into our hearts and souls. Science too, both as procedure and culture, will be forever different.

The transformations will be profound.

How such a future might look we cannot be certain. Perhaps, though, one can intuitively feel it.

What exactly are the limits to Integrated Intelligence? How might such an expansion of consciousness impact our lives, our societies, and our education systems? Our world? That is what I continue to explore with The Coming Consciousness Revolution project. I invite you to accompany me along the way, via these e-spaces which connect us all. If you would like to be a part of the project, please email me, marcus@marcustanthony.com, and I will keep you posted via my monthly newsletter. Or simply join me here as I blog regularly about related ideas, events and people. It promises to be a great adventure.

Marcus

Skepticism With Vulnerability

Will Storr’s Heretics: Adventures With the Enemies of Science is an exceptional book which I cannot recommend highly enough.

As the title suggests, most of the book comprises Storr’s adventures in rounding up some of the planet’s best known sçientific pariahs and interviewing them. Typically, Storr spends several hours or days with his interviewees, and sometimes even travels around with them. We get to see Holocaust denier David Irving, Rupert Sheldrake, Richard Wiseman, James Randi and several other slightly less notable figures up close and personal.,

Will Storr shows himself to be a very talented writer and journalist. What I particularly liked about this book was Storr’s personal courage in having the vulnerability to be completely honest about the questions and uncertainties which filled his own mind in the writing of the volume. This is a rare beast indeed: skepticism with self-reflection! What I also love is that Storr is a very, very fair in his appraisal of the people he meets and interviews. He shows himself willing to question his own preset assumptions. This is an attitude that many so-called professional skeptics could do well to mimic.

image

As Storr’s encounters with several skeptics in the book reveal, many are just as dogmatic and irrational as the “woo” masters they despise. This becomes particularly clear in a chapter where he digs into the dispute between radical biologist Rupert Sheldrake and professional skeptic Richard Wiseman – over their testing of a dog who allegedly knew when its master was coming home despite having no warning about the return times. Although Storr comes to no firm conclusions about Sheldrake’s work, Storr is willing to present the cases of both men, including allegations that Wise,man misrepresented his own study to make a positive outcome look negative. Most skeptics would not even bother to give Sheldrake the benefit of the doubt, instantly siding with the skeptic. Storr does not fall into that trap.

Nor does James Randi – when interviewed – come out looking like the irrepressible, hyper-rational genius his fans often portray him to be. But Storr is willing to point out the good he has done as well. And this is something many in “alternative” circles typically fail to do. As I said, Storr is very fair.

Storr does not fall short of criticicising – or even ridiculing – various “believers” who seem willing to believe almost anything, irregardless of the evidence to the contrary. Some of his stream-of-consciousness judgments of their deep irrationality make for amusing reading.

Storr concludes that the human mind is a story maker and that it is impossible for us to avoid this – regardless of how “rational” we think we are. We all suffer from cognitive dissonance to some degree. And he is right. Given this the only truly “rational” way to gaze upon the thinking of others is with a gentle appreciation that their distortions are just part of the madness of being human. I suppose the most obvious caveat is in deciding when such thinking is harmful to others – as is the case with David Irving.

If I am pressed to identify any shortcoming of the book, it might be the writer’s failure to adequately address the limits of scientific enquiry and rational analysis. I feel that any genuine attempt to sceptically question the world has to acknowledge the limits of different kinds of perception. There are mindful traditions which have come to the same insights as has Storr, but through introspective means. Some do offer a step beyond the kind of postmodern impasse at which Storr finds himself imobilised at the end of the book. This is, I believe, a civilisational roadblock that we now face. Storr is clearly prepared to explore such possibilities (he relates an agonising Vipisana meditation retreat he attended), but it seems he is yet to resolve this cognitive tension in his own mind.

But then again, it is not Storr’s stated aim to look so far ahead, and it does not make this book any less readable. It’s a great read.

This is one of the best books I have read this year. Buy it and read it. But don’t expect a comfortable ride. You might even finish it feeling a little disturbed.

Kaku in a Box

Here’s a short extract from my upcoming book “The Great Psi Shift”. It is a critical take on another futurist – Michiu Kaku – and one aspect his book “The Future of the Mind”. Actually, I like Kaku. But he has trouble thinking outside the box. So, here’s the extract.

Lazy and unimaginative

While I prefer not to make judgments about thinkers (after all, we all see the world through our own culture, experience and education) occasionally I feel compelled to highlight some of the unimaginative, sloppy or just plain lazy thinking that sometimes passes for intelligent discourse on this important subject.

Michio Kaku is a chronic offender in this area, which is rather surprising given that his entire career is devoted to imagining science-based futures. Here’s what he says about telepathy in The Future of the Mind.

True telepathy, found in science-fiction and fantasy novels, is not possible without outside assistance. As we know, the brain is electrical. In general, anytime an electron is accelerated, it gives off electromagnetic radiation. The same holds true for electrons oscillating inside the brain, which broadcasts radio waves. But these signals are too faint to be detected by others, and even if we could perceive these radio waves, it would be difficult to make sense of them. Evolution has not given us the ability to decipher this collection of random radio signals, but computers can.

The question that I want answered here is why Kaku has not bothered to do even a simple google search on the evidence for telepathy? If he had, he would know that there is – in the very least – a compelling body of evidence for its existence, stretching over a century. This is the lazy part of his work.

Part of the answer to my previous question lies in the title of Kaku’s book: The future of the mind. Note the use of the singular term of “future”, as opposed to futures. For Kaku there is only one future of the mind, and it is based on simple, linear extrapolation of current data and models of thinking.

Now let’s get on to Kaku’s lack of imagination, which is astounding. Research gleaned from parapsychology (which we examined in chapter X) strongly suggests that the extended mind operates beyond our commonly accepted models of space and time (but not necessarily quantum physics). Knowing is immediate regardless of distance, and there are EEG correlation experiments which suggest that projected thought may even travel backwards through time (which in itself does not violate relativity theory). This suggests that the mechanism is not one of the four known forces of nature (including radio waves).

As an imaginative futurist, Kaku should, at the very least, be able to question the assumptions of the current dominant paradigm and mainstream scientific worldview. He should be aware enough of the large body of research into the area, and he should be willing to consider alternatives to current conservative thinking. And his Ivy-league-educated future mind should be able to consider the possibility that the electrical aspects of neurophysiology may not comprise the totality (or basis) of consciousness. Further mind-beyond-the-skull may not operate with the assistance of radio waves. But alas, these things appear to be beyond his capacities – or his motivations.

The Future of Consciousness project overview

The short link to this page is: http://ow.ly/kCOGH

This is it! I have made references on previous occasions to something I have called The Future of Consciousness(formerly The Great Mind Shift). However this is the first time I have mentioned a project which I have been developing over the past few weeks that goes by the very same name: The Future of Consciousness. You can see an overview of the project below the book cover.

I have already formed a Meet Up group in Melbourne. Our first meeting just two days ago was very promising, with an enthusiastic fourteen members attending. This particular Meet Up group is for Melbournites only (unless you are willing to fly in to our meetings!). However, there will eventually be a Mind Shift web site all of its own, and anybody, anywhere across the globe is free to visit or become a member. Meanwhile, you can read regular updates here on this page.

I listed some initial practical possibilities for this project here.

Without further ado, here are the details of the The Future of Consciousness project, in its essence. Note that the project appears under its original name, The Coming Consciousness Revolution.

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Future of Consciousness (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

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 GMS cover basics

The Future of Consciousness

What it means for the future of science, life and business

Initiated by:

Marcus T. Anthony, PhD,

Director, MindFutures

“Where will The Coming Consciousness Revolution take us, and how can we create opportunities from it?”

The Coming Consciousness Revolution refers to the fast-approaching era of science and culture which acknowledges the reality of the extended mind and the spiritual dimensions of human experience. The Future of Consciousness explores exciting developments & possibilities in a wide array of domains including business, spirituality, philosophy, social media, education & learning, the arts, health & healing biology, physics, consciousness studies, computing etc.

The Coming Consciousness Revolution heralds an era of tremendous opportunity for all those passionate about expanded human futures and the untapped potentials within the human mind.

Overview

·        Futurist Marcus T Anthony indicates a new direction of change, & outlines what it will mean for life, work, science, education & society

·        A key purpose of The Coming Consciousness Revolution is to stimulate thinking & get people to begin expanding their thoughts about what is possible with the future of mind

·        This project has a practical focus: aimed at people who would like to seize opportunities

·        The Great Transition is a stimulus to encourage those with the imagination & foresight to explore concrete opportunities in business, career, research or life orientation.

Motivation

·        A major shift is emerging – a dramatic change in what it means to be human

·        The 21st century will increasingly be an era of connectedness, both technologically & spiritually

·        Old notions of consciousness being localised in brains will be replaced by reality of the extended mind – a mind that is in dynamic relationship with other people, the environment & the cosmos itself.

Aims of the Project

·        To publish The Coming Consciousness Revolution (book), which will be a powerful reference book (updated regularly)

·       To form The Coming Consciousness Revolution group (international think tank) to bring together a group of committed, influential experts to form a pool of knowledge & resources

·       To present an overview of some of the most important current ideas and/or scientific developments in practical applications of The Coming Consciousness Rebolution

·       To make informed predictions about where each domain may develop in the coming decades as The Coming Consciousness Revolution takes more definite form

·       To suggest opportunities for learning, business and personal growth in each domain

·        To present video and text interviews with leading thinkers in each domain

·       Regular updates (www.mind-futures.com/great-mind-shift)

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Coming Consciousness Revolution (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

All the evidence for psi you’ll ever need!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! Dean Radin has very kindly put up a page with links to all the best evidence for psi-related human abilities – ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, intention at a distance and so on. If you have ever wanted to discover more about the evidence, or point a skeptic in the direction of the evidence, you need look no further!

I have cut and pasted all the links here, but do go to Dean Radin’s great blog and web site – and to YouTube for very informative videos like his talk at the Electric Universe conference in 2013– if you want to find out first hand about all this kind of research.

http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm

Marcus

*          *          *

 

Healing at a Distance

 

Astin et al (2000). The Efficacy of “Distant Healing”: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials

 

Benson et al (2006). Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients

 

Krucoff et al (2001). Integrative noetic therapies as adjuncts to percutaneous intervention during unstable coronary syndromes: Monitoring and Actualization of Noetic Training (MANTRA) feasibility pilot

 

Krucoff et al (2005). Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: the Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study

 

Masters & Spielmans (2007). Prayer and Health: Review, Meta-Analysis, and Research Agenda

 

Leibovici (2001). Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial

 

Radin et al (2004).  Possible effects of healing intention on cell cultures and truly random events.

 

Radin et al (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of  cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system.

 

 

Physiological correlations at a distance

 

Achterberg et al (2005). Evidence for Correlations Between Distant Intentionality and Brain Function in Recipients: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis

 

Moulton & Kosslyn (2008). Using Neuroimaging to Resolve the Psi Debate

 

Schlitz et al (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology.

 

Schmidt et al (2004). Distant intentionality and the feeling of being stared at: Two meta-analyses

 

Schmidt (2012). Can We Help Just by Good Intentions? A Meta-Analysis of Experiments on Distant Intention Effects

 

Radin (2004).  Event related EEG correlations between isolated human subjects.

 

Radin (2005). The sense of being stared at: A preliminary meta-analysis.

 

Radin & Schlitz (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: An exploratory study.

 

Standish et al (2003). Evidence of correlated functional magnetic resonance imaging signals between distant human brains.

 

Standish et al (2004). Electroencephalographic Evidence of  Correlated Event-Related Signals Between the Brains of Spatially and Sensory Isolated Human Subjects

 

Wackermann et al (2003). Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects

 

Wiseman & Schlitz (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring.

 

Telepathy & ESP

 

Bem & Honorton (1994). Does psi exist?

 

Hyman (1994). Anomaly or artifact? Comments on Bem and Honorton

 

Bem (1994). Response to Hyman

 

Tressoldi (2011). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: the case of non-local perception, a classical and Bayesian review of evidences

 

Tressoldi et al (2011). Mental Connection at Distance: Useful for Solving Difficult Tasks?

 

Sherwood & Roe (2003). A Review of Dream ESP Studies Conducted Since the Maimonides Dream ESP Programme

 

Storm et al (2010).  Meta-Analysis of Free-Response Studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the Noise Reduction Model in Parapsychology

 

Storm et al (2013).  Testing the Storm et al. (2010) Meta-Analysis Using Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Reply to Rouder et al. (2013)

 

Williams (2011). Revisiting the Ganzfeld ESP Debate: A Basic Review and Assessment

 

General Overviews & Critiques

 

Alcock (2003). Give the Null Hypothesis a Chance

 

Carter (2010). Heads I lose, tails you win.

 

Delgado & Howard (2005). Finding and Correcting Flawed Research Literatures

 

Parker & Brusewitz (2003). A Compendium of the Evidence for Psi

 

Mediumship & Survival of Consciousness

 

Beischel & Schwartz (2007). Anomalous information reception by research mediums demonstrated using a novel triple-blind protocol

 

Facco & Agrillo (2012).   Near-death experiences between science and prejudice

 

Precognition & Presentiment

 

Bem (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect

 

Bierman (2011). Anomalous Switching of the Bi-Stable Percept of a Necker Cube: A Preliminary Study

 

Galek et al (2012).  Correcting the Past: Failures to Replicate Psi

 

Honorton & Ferrari (1989). “Future telling”: A meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments, 1935-1987

 

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart

 

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?

 

Mossbridge et al (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis

Radin (2004).  Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions. 

 

Radin & Lobach (2007). Toward understanding the placebo effect: Investigating a possible retrocausal factor.

 

Radin & Borges (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see?

 

Radin et al (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators.

 

Tressoldi et al (2011). Let Your Eyes Predict : Prediction Accuracy of Pupillary Responses to Random Alerting and Neutral Sounds

 

Theory

 

Bierman (2003). Does Consciousness Collapse the Wave-Packet?

 

Bierman (2010).Consciousness induced restoration of time symmetry (CIRTS ): a psychophysical theoretical perspective

 

Henry (2005). The mental universe

 

Hiley & Pylkkanen (2005). Can Mind Affect Matter Via Active Information?

 

Houtkooper (2002). Arguing for an Observational Theory of Paranormal Phenomena

 

Josephson & Pallikari-Viras (1991). Biological Utilisation of Quantum NonLocality

 

Lucadou et al (2007). Synchronistic Phenomena as Entanglement Correlations in Generalized Quantum Theory

 

May et al (1995).Decision augmentation theory: Towards a model of anomalous mental phenomena

 

Tressoldi (2012). Replication unreliability in psychology: elusive phenomena or “elusive” statistical power?

 

Tressoldi et al (2010). Extrasensory perception and quantum models of cognition.

 

Mind-Matter Interaction

 

Bosch et al (2006).  Examining Psychokinesis: The Interaction of Human Intention With Random Number Generators—A Meta-Analysis

 

Radin et al (2006). Reexamining psychokinesis: Commentary on the Bösch, Steinkamp and Boller meta-analysis.

 

Nelson & Bancel (2011). Effects of mass consciousness: Changes in random data during global events.

 

Jahn (1982). The persistent paradox of psychic phenomena: An engineering perspective.

 

Crawford et al (2003). Alterations in Random Event Measures Associated with a Healing Practice

 

Nelson et al (2002). Correlations of continuous random data with major world events.

 

Radin (2006). Experiments testing models of mind-matter interaction.

 

Radin. (2008). Testing nonlocal observation as a source of intuitive knowledge.  

 

Radin et al (2012). Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments

 

Potential Applications

Carpenter (2011). Laboratory Psi Effects May Be Put to Practical Use: Two Pilot Studies

 

Books

 

Radin (2013). Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities

 

Alexander (2012). Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

 

Carpenter (2012). First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life

 

Carter (2012). Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics

 

Targ (2012). The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities

 

Van Lommel (2011). Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience

 

Carter (2010). Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death

 

Kelly et al (2009). Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

 

Tart (2009). The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together

 

Mayer (2008). Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind

 

Irwin & Watt (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology

 

Radin (2006). Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality

Radin (1997). The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena

 

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Awakening out of the Psi Wars

Have you ever wanted to be impervious to the insults thrown at you by sceptics? That’s what you are about to find out how to do, below. The following is an extract from my upcoming book The Deepening: The Art of Unconditional Love. Here I write about something familiar to many people who are on a spiritual or awakening path, or perhaps just interested in psychic experience: the psi wars!

Note: Currently there are two longer (10 000 word) extracts from The Deepening available as ebooklets on Amazon.com. The Truth about Karma, and Trolls and Demons: How to Remain Awake in the Age of Online Zombies.

 

Awakening out of the Psi wars

One thing that is very apparent from my perusal of the blogosphere and literature on spirituality, mysticism and especially parapsychology, is that many spiritually-inclined folks have an issue with sceptics. Here I am referring to hard-core sceptics who are hostile to any notion related to the spiritual. These people can be contrasted with open-minded sceptics. The later may have strong doubts about spirituality and so-called psychic experience, but they are more open-minded, and perhaps even affable and inquisitive.

I have seen these discussions pop up again and again. The query goes something like this? Who are these sceptics? What’s wrong with them! They are blocked, brainwashed by science. They are too dumb to understand! To hell with them! There is then always a tale or two about how some sceptic was dishonest or aggressive towards them or another psi proponent.

The “psi wars” refers to the professional conflict that exists between hardcore sceptics on the one side and the proponents of spiritual experience on the other. At the top of the tree we have well-known public sceptics like Richard Dawkins, James Randi, Richard Wiseman, Susan Blackmore and (the late) Christopher Hitchins. Their counterparts include Deepak Chopra, Rupert Sheldrake,  Dean Radin, and Larry Dosey.

Quite often the discussion deals with professional dishonesty amongst sceptics, aggressive behavior by them or the way a sceptic has deliberately misrepresented the work of a proponent. These are all genuine professional issues in the psi wars that need to be addressed. For people like Sheldrake and Radin, they are either directly involved in the conducting of experiments in parapsychology, or talking and writing about others who are conducting research. And they are often doing this in public forums where those dreaded sceptics lurk. It’s their job to confront sceptics, and it is very important science. So I certainly have no issue with that. In fact I have great admiration for Sheldrake and Radin for their professional courage.

 

A not-so-wise man?

Amongst the proponents’ community, certain sceptics have a rather poor reputation (the reverse is true in sceptics’ communities).

One fairly well-known and notorious case occurred in 1995, when sceptic Richard Wiseman cooperated with radical biologist Rupert Sheldrake to investigate some fascinating experiments that Sheldrake had conducted regarding a dog that allegedly knew when its owner was coming home – without any visual, auditory or sensory cues. The owner of the dog, Jaytee, had reported the dog’s remarkable behaviour to Sheldrake. Here’s what Sheldrake wrote about what happened when Wiseman went about conducting and reporting his experiments, as described on Sheldrake’s website.

 

…rather than argue academically, I suggested that (Wiseman) did some experiments with Jaytee himself, and arranged for him to do so. I had already been doing videotaped experiments with this dog for months, and I lent him my videocamera. Pam Smart, Jaytee’s owner, and her family kindly agreed to help him.

With the help of his assistant, Matthew Smith, he did four experiments with Jaytee, two in June and two in December 1995, and in all of them Jaytee went to the window to wait for Pam when she was indeed on the way home. As in my own experiments, he sometimes went to the window at other times, for example to bark at passing cats, but he was at the window far more when Pam was on her way home than when she was not. In the three experiments Wiseman did in Pam’s parents’ flat, Jaytee was at the window an average of 4% of the time during the main period of Pam’s absence, and 78% of the time when she was on the way home. This difference was statistically significant. When Wiseman’s data were plotted on graphs, they showed essentially the same pattern as my own. In other words Wiseman replicated my own results.

I was astonished to hear that in the summer of 1996 Wiseman went to a series of conferences, including the World Sceptics Congress, announcing that he had refuted the ‘psychic pet’ phenomenon. He said Jaytee had failed his tests because he had gone to the window before Pam set off to come home.

In September 1996 I met Wiseman and pointed out that his data showed the same pattern as my own, and that far from refuting the effect I had observed, his results confirmed it. I gave him copies of graphs showing may own data and the data from the experiments that he and Smith conducted with Jaytee. But he ignored these facts. He reiterated his negative conclusions in a paper he submitted to the British Journal of Psychology together with Smith and Julie Milton. This paper appeared in August, 1998, with a fanfare of sceptical publicity in the British media, initiated by a press release accompanying the publication of the paper. ..

Meanwhile, Wiseman continued to appear on TV shows claiming he had refuted Jaytee’s abilities, and even as recently as February 2, 2000 he was still making this claim in his public lectures. Unfortunately, his presentations are deliberately misleading. He makes no mention of the fact that Jaytee waits by the window far more when Pam is on her way home, nor does he refer to my own experiments. He gives the impression that my evidence is based on one experiment filmed by a TV company, rather than on more than two hundred experiments, and he implies that he has done the only rigorous scientific tests of this dog’s abilities. I confess that I am amazed by his persistence in this deception.

 

Unfortunately this is not the only instance where Wiseman has deliberately lied about the evidence base in parapsychology.[1] Nor is he the only sceptic to engage in such unprofessional behaviour.

Given the level of dishonesty displayed by sceptics like Wiseman, it is only to be expected that Sheldrake and proponents would feel genuine distrust and even anger towards them. Again, this is perfectly understandable.

 

The problem

The problem, though, comes for those of us who do not want to be mere believers in a spiritual journey, but want to ground ourselves in deep presence. We want to awaken, and to remain there, not be regularly dragged back into mind games. And you cannot remain in presence when you are in hostile engagement with another. For when you are doing that, you are buying into the illusions of the mind; in a state of separation. And with that there is suffering.

The truth is that many advocates of spiritual disciplines or philosophies are doing just this. Most, if the truth be told.

A perfect example comes from is Kyle (not his real name) – a strong psi proponent – who has put forward discussions about why sceptics are apparently incapable of perceiving the psychic world. Kyle, who is strongly psychic, revealed that he’d spent a great deal of time trying to answer this question. He argues that sceptics are stuck in the left brain, unable to process psychic information.

Nothing wrong with arguing that, you might say. And you would be correct – if that was all that was going on. However, one of the benefits of being an intuitive is that I can peer into the souls of people (Richard Wiseman might dispute this!). What I perceive is that Kyle’s energy is engaged in battle with skeptics, and this detracts from his capacity to be at peace with himself.

I see the very same energy issue in so many psi proponents and those with a spiritual worldview. The reason for the problem is that many of them are coming from the world of mind and belief. They are not grounded in presence.

The truth is that both armies in the psi war are fighting a battle of the mind. The sceptics think that they are superior because they are more rational and don’t believe in superstitious things. The proponents believe they are superior because they have developed an inner life and are more spiritual, or perhaps more psychic. Yet from my perspective, they are both on the same paying field.

At the deepest level, what another person thinks about the nature of spiritual or psychic experience is none of your business. Certainly, at a personal (rather than professional, if you work in this area) level, you should not be trying to change their opinion. This is your mind giving its power away to an external focus.

Many spiritually-inclined folks have not developed the right relationship with the mind. For this reason, they remain the mind’s servant, not its master.

 

The world through worldview

To understand what is happening when we become engaged in dramas with others who hold different perspectives from us, we have to understand the idea of worldview, and how it operates. As you grow into adulthood your mind establishes maps of reality. Over time, the mind becomes attached to this worldview. The mind’s identity becomes rooted in it. When that map becomes threatened by opinion or experience, the immediate response from the mind is fear. If you pay close attention to the process, that fear is quickly followed by anger. Finally, the mind will then tend to launch into attack, and try to eliminate the opposing view, experience or information. This whole process effectively bypasses reason (even when the attacker identifies his position as being “rational”), as whatever data or experience is presented to the mind, it will simply retreat to its position of safety – the known.

This same process is true for all of us, regardless of worldview. Both a sceptical worldview and a spiritual worldview are maps of reality held within minds. They have no existence beyond the mind that holds them.

As someone who has explored both very subtle and very deep emotional energies within my body, I know that this fear/anger/attack response to worldview threats is true for me, too. It has remained true regardless of whatever mindful or awakened states I have developed over time. Remember. The ego does not disappear even after awakening.

This is why it is important to develop a practice of presence, and the ability to bring the mind into stillness. It is really only in this state that the mind is detached from experience and data, and can process it in a neutral way. When presence becomes deeply rooted within an individual, the mind is no longer the dominant aspect of self, and the attachment to worldview becomes much less. Yes, it still remains. It is just that a different relationship develops with the mind and its rigidity. This relaxation process occurs because one can see that everything the mind believes is ultimately an illusion. It’s just an approximation of the truth, and none of it perfectly aligned with truth (although some beliefs will get closer to the truth).

With that relaxed presence, a person feels no threat from a worldview which contradicts her own. Ultimately, as Leonard Jacobson says, there is only one ego – and it is us. With the awakening process, you will simply see yourself reflected back in the other. Her worldview may differ. It may even be diametrically opposed to yours. But each of you shares the one ego. Her agenda – at the level of mind – is precisely the same as yours: to eliminate all threats to its beliefs. The difference between you and the unawakened other is that you will rest in presence, as a master of mind.

 

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