Examining Psychic Ability: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
This is my phrase and I use it to lump together concepts such as wisdom, enlightenment and maturity. It refers the level of one’s emotional development. I developed this idea by first asking the question many years ago: What is the ideal that psychology is shooting for? What makes up the ideal, well adjusted and happy person? I haven’t read everything in the field of psychology, I don’t have an advanced degree in the field and therefore and I might have missed something, but as far as I can tell, this question is never asked and no attempt is made to discover this. Nevertheless, a basic understanding of psychology will answer this question.
Think of this as having an emotional IQ. On the low end there are people who are generally intolerant, constantly angry or sad and generally inflexible in their thinking and actions. Status is very important to them and they are generally subservient to their superiors and cruel to their underlings. They constantly seek security and safety over other considerations and they resist change. They are reactive, quick to blame, resort frequently to personal attacks and being a victim is a central theme for them. They are also at high risk for addictions and various health problems. They are easily swayed by the lure of money and power and their view of themselves is unrealistically high, but this is strictly bravado and masks a great deal of insecurity. They have very poor intuition.
On the high end of the scale people have an attitude of tolerance and flexibility and demonstrate a high level of creativity in their thinking. They are goal oriented and choose problem solving over blame. They are capable of experiencing the full range of emotions without hesitation and view the world with great clarity. They are indifferent to status and treat everyone with equal kindness and respect. Security and safety are not primary concerns for them because they see risk as something to manage, not eliminate. They greatly value happiness and take full responsibility for all events in their lives in addition to having the willpower to ward off any addictions. They are proactive and generally healthy. They cannot be swayed by any amount of money or power to change their behavior and they have a very realistic view of themselves.
Naturally, most people fall somewhere in between. I may not have this exactly right, but this should give a pretty good idea of the point I am conveying here. Emotional intelligence and conventional intelligence are related and interact with each other, but they are not the same thing.
The fundamental basis for emotional intelligence is the level of fear that a person has in going through life. The higher the level of fear, the lower the emotional IQ. A person’s fear overall fear level can be somewhat determined by several factors:
General outlook on life:
Strong limiting beliefs or a lot of them indicate a low emotional intelligence. Examples:
“I never win.” “Nothing good ever happens for me.” “I’m stuck in this job.” “No one pays attention to me unless a pitch a fit.”
The same holds true for generalized negative beliefs about the motives of other people. It’s a reflection of how the people with these beliefs feel about themselves. Examples:
“You have to watch out. People are always trying to cheat you.” “Men are scum.” “Women are bitches.”
In general, emotional intelligence strongly correlates with an ability to tolerate ambiguity and dissension without feeling the need to change these conditions in other people. For example it is not how one feels about things like abortion, political affiliation or any other number of issues, but rather an ability to tolerate the differences of others without denigrating them in some way that marks a higher level of emotional intelligence.
The method of learning for emotional intelligence differs markedly from other types of learning. While knowledge can be acquired through books, classes and discussions and regular intelligence can be improved by training the mind, emotional intelligence only changes when we face our fears. The change is usually an emotionally unpleasant experience. Basically, the emotional patterns have to change at a largely subconscious level for any real change in emotional intelligence to occur. Significant changes typically take long periods of time to accomplish. Six months is not unrealistic for minor changes and a couple of years for larger emotional changes is typical.
An example of this the time it takes for foreign exchange students to adapt to families of other cultures, (and vice-versa.) Many organizations that send students overseas have noticed that six months is roughly the time it takes for students to reach any sort of comfort level. I learned this because I was a foreign exchange student myself. I know from personal experience that this sort of adventure requires real emotional change. Families everywhere have their own values, attitudes, ideas, beliefs and ways of doing things that are unique to that family. There is often a clash as these values collide with those that the student has acquired from his/her own family. This requires emotional learning on everyone’s part and it rarely happens quickly.
As an aside, my involvement with cat rescue and re-homing led me to discover that the displaced cats that I have dealt with have behaved with remarkable similarity to humans when it comes to this adaptation process both in the time it takes and the sort of measures needed to reduce fear. Like humans, they require about six months to acclimate. I therefore would imagine that this is very much the case with other animals. This leads me to believe that emotional change is something very fundamental to consciousness.
One of the more interesting aspects of changing emotional IQ is that we will not be aware of areas where we have fear until we are ready to change them. Up until this point, these emotional deficiencies are invisible to us. An example that anyone can relate to is having the same argument over and over again with a spouse or relative. Each and every time this happens, it seems like a reasonable course of action even as the very same words and phrases are used which produce the very same unsatisfactory result that they do every time. For the repetition to occur, BOTH people have to have the same emotional issue, which is usually a deep insecurity of one sort or another. This emotional issue, whatever it is, is hidden in plain sight.
When these emotional issues are pointed out to the people that have them, the responses are nearly always predictable: denial with anger usually followed by a verbal attack. The key is the amount of emotional agitation this produces. The subconscious knows and when the truth is spoken it elicits a reaction. (When people don’t have the issue, the denial is calm and disinterested.) The psychological reason for this is fairly straightforward. The person is fighting to keep their fear at bay.
My point is that as irrational as it seems, this can go on for years and in some cases, decades. This just seems normal to both parties and the idea to change the behavior is never considered. The emotional issue is in plain sight, but invisible all the same.
One thing I have never seen in psychology is a reference to this emotional intelligence in their studies. As far as I can tell, all people are treated as though this were equal across the board . . . and it’s not. Most of the areas where I have seen testing would, in my opinion, show strong coorelations between emotional IQ and many things being studied.
For example, I read of a study where the researchers were investigating the power of the word “FREE” on the choices people made. This is an area where emotional intelligence would come into play. The higher the emotional intelligence, the greater the ability to resist making choices based on that word.
Because a high emotional IQ corresponds to a lack of interest in status, it is inherently anti-structural. The higher a person’s emotional IQ, the less interest they take in the trappings of society. This is because a high emotional IQ allows a person to see high status positions for their actual personal worth, not the worth people place on them. High status positions typically come with high expectations and involve interaction with many status conscious people. In addition to this they can also involve many activities and choices which a high emotional IQ person may not want to be involved with. Instead, they rate the high status position according to how it affects their personal happiness rather than the worth society accords it.
This is subversive and threatening to authority and other status conscious people because it reminds them on a subconscious level that their priorities are based in fear and their power is based solely upon belief. When a person with a very high emotional IQ decides to get involved in a social issue, they can create tremendous chaos because a feature of this is a very high charisma combined with an unbreakable sense of purpose. People such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Ghandi have upended social systems by simply demonstrating where real power ultimately lies. That is to say, power lies in the will of large numbers of people, not in institutions and status. When the belief in the institutions are broken, the power of the institutions ceases to exist and their status is lost.
First they ignore you,then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. – Ghandi
In our society, we acknowledge and reward standard intelligence, but we almost act as though emotional IQ does not exist. It is ascribed to officials of religious organizations that more often than not have a rather average emotional IQ. If one does not have status already within a religious organization, then a high emotional IQ is not acknowledged. It is threatening to these organizations to have parishioners be more enlightened than their priest, pastor or rabbi and to question the wisdom contained in their literature.
For this reason, as a person’s emotional IQ rises, they become less and less attached to any religion. The negatives outweigh the positives at some point and they simply move on from it in their lives.
The idea that a person can outgrow religion is also subversive and threatening because of its implication that religion is only a phase in human development and not the end result, as most religions claim. It exposes church dogma as mere belief systems.
The relationship of psi to emotional intelligence appears to be very strong. Psi has deep unconscious elements to it and can play on deep fears and bring them to the surface. It is no coincidence that so many horror films have supernatural elements to them. To use psi effectively and to integrate it into one’s life requires that these fears be addressed and overcome. Suppression will only bring nightmares. So a certain level of emotional IQ has to be present to deal with the fear causing aspects of psi.
One other thing that I have noticed about this is that people do not develop their emotional intelligence evenly across all areas of their lives at the same time. If we divide this up into the usual areas such as career, health and relationships, it is typical for people to be in different stages of emotional development in all three areas.
In conclusion I think that this is an important concept. It highlights an aspect of human existence that is overlooked, yet is ultimately quite significant. My experience is that understanding this concept is crucial to understanding people and their psychology. Because examination of this topic forces much (unpleasant) emotional introspection, it is difficult to view dispassionately. Another way to say this is that in order to understand emotional intelligence, you have to have it first. My opinion is that this aspect of it will always marginalize this subject matter. To examine it is to examine oneself and most people don’t want to look in the mirror quite that closely.