Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I saw a question posted today on a forum asking people whether they would read other people’s minds if they could. I realized that the ordinary version of this that we typically see on TV or in film is nothing like what actually happens. This is an area that I’ve given my attention to over the years. I’ve explored other people’s minds more times than I can count over the years and in this article I’m going to share the specifics of what I’ve discovered about it.
The version that we all see on TV or in film is very straightforward. Person A is having an internal dialog as if they were talking to someone, and Person B listens in on that dialog. That’s the version everyone is used to seeing and it’s what they imagine happens. So it would appear that Person B should always be able to tell what Person A is thinking. It should be clear and unambiguous.
My experience is that this is not at all close to the truth. People rarely have clear internal dialogs. What actually occurs most of the time is that people are playing out emotions over and over again. If someone is anticipating a hostile encounter for instance, they will be playing out the dialog in their head beforehand, but what will be far more prominent is the anxiety they feel. If we were to stop and ask that person what they were thinking, they might explain the internal dialog, but be completely unaware of the anxiety. But if I’m reading their mind, the anxiety will be the thing that stands out.
Reading minds requires some knowledge of psychology and particularly an awareness of the subconscious because it plays a big role in the everyday thoughts of people. People are emotional first, and logical second, and it should come as no surprise that logic is not a close second, but is rather is a distant second to emotion in people’s everyday thoughts. My experience in looking into other people’s minds is that emotions run the show and the one I most often encounter is fear. Fear is so prevalent in the minds of everyone I have ever met that when I make the effort to see inside of people, this is always the first thing I encounter.
If I don’t share that fear, then everything’s cool. I can do fine. But if I share that fear, then a sort of feedback loop starts and it becomes more difficult to read them. Most people share any number of fears with each other and I’m no different in this respect. So there is a trick to this. To read someone’s mind is to be open to their fears. If you share a deep seated fear with someone, -a particularly common one is a fear of not being good enough-. When I say that we share fears I mean just that. One of the greatest challenges of being in the mind of another person is to recognize that the emotions that are being felt are not one’s own, but belong to the person being studied. (I did not catch on to this fact until I was into my 20′s.)
So reading another person’s mind is primarily about navigating their emotions. If the fears that occupy them, occupy you as well, then it can be a bit difficult because it’s that much harder to just let it go. Think of a couple of people who can’t stop arguing with each other. It’s a bit like that only at a much more visceral level.
Assuming you can get beyond this point and actually see what a person is thinking at any particular moment, you’ll find a rather dull variety. Most people, most of the time are merely grinding along, stuck in their own particular negative state of mind. You don’t have to be psychic to see this. People have a set look on their face, usually a form of grimace and their eyes are narrowed. They are off in their own world replaying something negative over and over and over again. A characteristic of this is very little awareness of people and events around them. I would bet that people who get into accidents of any sort are in this frame of mind when it happens. That’s always been the case for me.
When people are talking they switch from this frame of mind and their emotions wander a bit depending on the conversation. Here is where people’s personalities stand out the most because the emotions that dominate their subconscious will be at play here. The most common emotion is insecurity, and this is true regardless of a person’s station in life. Again, there is no discernable clear internal dialog even while people are talking. They react emotionally, not intellectually regardless of the discussion. In general, the less emotional range that people have while they’re talking, the greater their insecurity. The more emotional range they have, the lower their insecurity.
It doesn’t look that way when we are observing a conversation until we realize that the lack of emotion is the result of fear and tension. The strong, silent type is actually an emotional basketcase. Their wildly emotional counterpart is actually far more stable emotionally. The former is far more susceptible to emotional trauma than the latter.
I bring this up because it is these less emotional people who are more likely to doubt the ability to read minds. They are also the hardest to read because their insecurity is through the roof. With so much fear blasting away, they simply don’t have any clear thoughts to read. It is that fear level in fact, that shuts down any awareness of their own psychic abiltiy that they might be able to muster.
Another common state of mind that people have is when they are concentrating on a task that requires their attention. Athletes playing a sport, craftsmen working on something, artists drawing etc. In those cases there is never any internal dialog either.Focus on an absorbing task puts people “in the moment.” Their brains quiet down and actual thinking is minimal. Most thoughts are in the form of fluid picture types stuff. When internal dialog occurs it is typically crystal clear and direct such as “He’s going left.” Fear levels are lower because when people are focusing they “forget” to have their fear. There is a heightened state of awareness that is along these same lines only at a much more intense level. It’s typically called being “in the zone.”
You can probably see here that I’ve taken over a thousand words to describe what I experience and all I’ve been able to do is give a brief overview. There is a reason that psychology is a profession. People are complicated and have many different things going on at once inside of their minds. Reading minds means sorting through all of that while experiencing it directly. It is not a simple task, like reading a book. If you are psychic and you are challenged by this, let me assure you. You are not alone.