Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
One of the many challenges I have been discovering in writing about Psi is the introduction of words or terms that are generally unfamiliar to most people. Although I am using the word flexibility, the word I actually need is lability. It is defined by Mirriam-Webster as follows:
Main Entry: la·bile
Pronunciation: \ˈlā-ˌbī(-ə)l, -bəl\
Etymology: French, from Middle French, prone to err, from Late Latin labilis, from Latin labi to slip — more at sleep
1 : readily or continually undergoing chemical, physical, or biological change or breakdown : unstable
2 : readily open to change
It is the second definition we’re focusing on here, but the first one is relevant as well. Lability has been demonstrated as an important element in the workings of psychic ability. In its most basic form this was discovered in an experiment by parapsychologist William G. Braud. Actually two experiments. In one experiments subjects were asked to influence an electric light powered by a DC power supply, (very stable) and in another experiment they were asked to influence a candle flame made to flicker with a small fan. (very unstable.) What was demonstrated was that subjects were not able to influence the electric light, but they were able to influence the candle which was far more labile.
This principle does not apply solely to psychic stuff. In aeronautics you are faced with a design choice: stability or maneuverability. As you increase one, you decrease the other. Jet fighters are made deliberately unstable to the point where they require a computer to fly at all. Commercial jets are stable to the point where they can be flown by anybody under normal conditions. (Not including taking off or landing.)
This lability does not simply apply to the act of performing a psychic ability, it pertains to the psychic person as well. Stability, of course, has its uses in our lives, but it works against psychic ability. For example, in parapsychology experiments with cards, people will tend to favor a certain card and call that one more often than others. Those answers are typically no better than chance. When the person deviates from this pattern, those answers are typically better than chance. This means that a person with generally stable thoughts will be outperformed by someone with less stable thoughts.
Psychic ability flourishes in situations where information is not pushed into predictable patterns, but rather can simply go off in whatever direction it needs to. Since much of thinking ultimately comes from a person’s emotional makeup, it is the emotional lability that is key here. A person who can experience extreme variations in their emotions will be far more psychically adept than a person who cannot.
I should add here, that lest one think that mentally unstable people will perform best at psi related tasks, there is another element to consider; namely, that when experiencing a wide range of emotions a person must also do so without pre=judging the emotions they are experiencing. Guilt and fear, the mainstays of mental instability, are themselves stabilizing influences. (always feeling guilt, always feeling fear.)
Conversely, a person who has rigid emotional states, that is to say, never experiences wide ranges in their emotions, will have very little psychic ability. One of the indicators of rigid emotional states is whether a person has strong beliefs; the stronger the beliefs, the lower the overall psychic ability. It doesn’t matter what the beliefs are, only that a person has them. Beliefs form rigid thoughts and these interfere with psychic ability.
Skepticism, for example, is very much a belief system that automatically doubts new information. Not surprisingly, people who demonstrate a lot of skepticism are going to do very poorly at psychic tasks. The thinking patterns are simply too stable to allow unusual information in.
Creativity, on the other hand, requires openness to new information and the attendant emotion (lability) and those who are the most creative generally do comparatively better on psi related tasks.
While we tend to think of something like meditation as stabilizing, it actually destabilizes a person’s emotional state. This can be a bit of challenge to wrap your head around, so I’ll go into some detail here. The thing that stabilizes our emotional state is chronic fear. The more fear we have, the more stable our emotions are. Fear not only squashes our ability to feel love, joy and to laugh out loud, it also prevents us from feeling profound sadness and from crying openly. This is what it means to be emotionally stable.
When we quiet the mind and the emotions we are figuratively placing them on the sharp point of a pin; they are balanced, but can now tip in any direction. Their fluidity has been restored and psychic information can be received. It can be uncomfortable for people because fluid emotions means feeling, and that means consciously experiencing fear when it comes up.
Remaining emotionally labile while performing a repetitive task can be daunting, which may explain why psychic ability can be so frustratingly inconsistent. As we start becoming successful, our sense of self worth gets wrapped up in the outcome and at this point, our emotional lability goes away because we become afraid of failing. Psi operates best when we don’t emotionally care about the outcome due to the fact that our emotional state remains flexible and in a state of receiving.
This can ridiculously difficult. Imagine a baseball game: You’re up at bat in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs. You’re down by one run, but you have a runner on third base. Get a base hit and you tie the game, get a home run and your team wins. If they get you out your team loses. You will perform at your best in this situation if you don’t care about the outcome; you will be loose, relaxed and not over thinking what to expect, but how realistic is it to expect that of someone?
This helps explain too why emotional sensitivity is a trait that is associated with psychic ability. You cannot be emotionally labile without being sensitive. One is practically a definition for the other.
Not only do we have to take into account our own lability, but also the lability of the situation we’re trying to affect. The more stable the system, the more challenging it is to change it. For that reason, psychic people respond telepathically to each other more easily than with other people.
I find this concept very helpful because it changes the way we think about psychic ability and can fill in areas where we might not have known how to express what we sensed about how it all worked.