The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

What Makes Psychic Ability So Strange?

This is a question that I think most people would like to have answered, so I’m taking a stab at it based on things that I’ve researched.  Aiding me in this, is the help of an article by Casey Blood, PhD and his examination of quantum physics.

Most skills require ordinary concentration and thinking in order to improve, but psychic ability requires a sort of letting go.  While intense focus serves us in many areas of our lives, that same focus will not serve our psychic ability at all.  Calm and peacefulness are not the way we normally get things done, but check out any book on psychic ability and that’s how you have to roll if you want to have any success. You have to have confidence and you have put away not only your own doubt, but that of people around you.

What is up with that?  Why should this particular ability be so difficult to identify and quantify?  Seriously, it’s not like learning to shoot hoops or a baseball batting average.  It’s really unpredictable.

First of all, it is increasingly obvious in quantum physics that consciousness plays a role.  The observer effect in particular has something to do with this.  For those that have no idea what I am talking about, here is a pretty good five minute video:

Various experiments along these lines rule out any chance that the device doing the observing is causing the effect.  -It is possible to initiate the observer effect without any measuring device at all as long as a twin particle is observed.-  The results of the experiments strongly suggest that the effect takes place instantaneously and by that I mean that as soon as this wave function/particle is absolutely certain to be measured, it becomes measurable; that is to say, it becomes a particle.  (At least that’s the ordinary answer, but there is more to this.)

What we can take away from this is that consciousness has a mechanism for collapsing probabilities prior to our conscious awareness that that this is happening.  it is one step ahead of us nearly all the time.  This is our normal conscious awareness and ordinary ability to focus our attention.  The probabilities always collapse ahead of our ability to sense them.  The reality that we experience always seems to be there.  The mechanism is quite strong and not easily overcome.

However, it is possible to unhook this part of our mind and not get engaged in this process.  This is possible because at the quantum level, reality is probabilistic, not deterministic.  That is to say, there is no objective reality to tie into.

The article that i cited above makes the convincing argument that there is no proof for the existence of particles and that they are merely another form of the wave function.  That is to say, it doesn’t actually collapse, we are just looking at  a different aspect of it.  His argument is that nowhere in physics is the particle necessary for any of the math.  Everything we know about subatomic particles can be found in the wave function.  This sounds right to me because it is a minimalist interpretation that reduces complexity.  (i.e. we are seeing two sides of the same thing.)

The wave function is also known as a probability cloud and is subject to entanglement.

From the standpoint of psychic ability, this complicates things and this may be where the skill has so many problems.  Other skills, such as shooting a basketball or playing the piano, are macro skills; that is, they arise from having a body which has been trained by the mind to perform a particular task.  You cannot perform these tasks without the aid of your conventional 5 senses.  By macro, I mean that quantum level events are evened out not only by the sheer numbers involved in the task, but also by the fact that they are bound by the rules of conventional Newtonian physics and therefore have much more rigid boundaries, such as being confined in both time and space.

The evidence for psi fairly clearly demonstrates that it is not operating at the same macro level, but rather it is bound to the rules of quantum mechanics at the expense of classical physics.  To put it another way, psychic ability behaves as if classical physics did not exist.  Specifically, psychic ability can and frequently does operate outside of time and space.  This is how you end up with entanglement because objects can only be separated by space and/or time.  An entangled mind, which is what we have, has access to everywhere and every when and of course, everyone.

However, this is not what our minds are accustomed to experiencing.  The vast majority of our life on earth is spent dealing with reality on the macro, Newtonian level.  We are also wired neurologically to be adapted to this world.  It is easy to see why:  a living creature with too much access to “psychic” style information is not going to live very long.  It will have trouble recognizing predators and dangerous situations and possibly not value its own life.

Psychic ability then, goes against the grain; we are conditioned to put survival first and that means paying attention to the physical form of the world.  Psychic ability is useful only in a limited sense and that’s what we usually see.  Hunches, premonitions, an eerie sense of direction, limited telepathy within close family groups etc.  To go beyond this though is to move into a space where our brain wiring isn’t fully functional.  We are far better wired to use our five senses than our sixth.  We are ill equipped to sort out the timeless, space-less reality that we actually live in.  In order to function in that space, we have to make up symbols in our minds that match our physical reality even though they have no meaning in that context.

In other words, we have a reality that we experience that has both time and space, and when we use our psychic ability we are looking at that same reality but without time and space.  We know that we are wired to use our five senses to experience our physical reality, but psychic ability attempts to duplicate the sensations of physical reality without actually using those senses.  We are, in effect, using a timeless, space-less reality to mock up a time and space reality in our heads.  In doing so, we will be subject to the distortions of every stray thought that crosses our minds.  Fantasy, fear, wishful thinking and psychic ability all use the same mock up procedure.  We cannot always tell the difference between them.

In addition, there is the added effect of entanglement which can muddy the works by introducing the thoughts and images of others and here’s the hard part:  we have no way of automatically distinguishing these thoughts from our own.  Inexperienced people always assume that all thoughts that occur to them are their own, but we are in fact, more deeply connected than we could possibly imagine and there is no real way to separate them out.  It may indeed be impossible for any person to have their own solitary thoughts.

One more thing.  As I said, a wave function is also described as a probability cloud.  A universe that consists of wave functions is one without determinism, which means that the future does not exist until we get there.  Everything exists as probabilities right up until we experience them, when we choose one of those probabilities.  With precognition, we can’t really say whether we are seeing the future or creating it; there is no way to know.

In conclusion, psychic ability is an interaction with reality on a level that we are not altogether familiar with, and our efforts to understand it are often limited by a lack of understanding about the physical principles governing this ability.  It seems mysterious and magical, but it is actually right in line with quantum physics.  The part that we don’t know about is consciousness and even there, we can easily deduce some of the things we need to know.  From there, we can gain a clearer understanding of the mechanics of psychic ability and perhaps in the process learn something about our universe.

8 comments on “What Makes Psychic Ability So Strange?

  1. Rachel
    June 15, 2011

    Why do we actually need science to understand psychic ability? Most Eastern religions seem to understand all these concepts and have done so for hundreds or even thousands of years, what is it about the Western mind that it needs some logical empirical proof for everything? Perhaps we should admit that it’s a mystery and that no-one understands it, never has and probably never will.

    Adjusting quantum physics to fit psychic phenomena just creates a reality that doesn’t correspond with anyone’s experience or understanding; this soon becomes a method of dismissing experiences that don’t fit with the model.

    I suffer from horrendous bouts of precognition, but the way I receive ‘knowledge’ of future encounters has changed over the years. I have spent years trying to understand this through massive amounts of reading. I have been through the quantum physics route and haven’t got anything useful because science can’t deal with matters involving consciousness. Asking people to believe you through employing scientific proofs also gets you nowhere in the end, even though non-psychics claim they require proof, nothing will actually convince them unless they experience it themselves.

    For me, the experiences of precognition has propelled me into a intellectual quest to understand consciousness and to discover the next step, which is some form of integration. An increase in psychic ability might be the end result of this process, probably a more stable form where you can differentiate the source of much information, but you probably can’t get integration by natural psychic ability alone. If I ever manage to become integrated, I’ll let you know.

    Regarding UFOs, I feel that they are supernatural at best, people experience the phenomena, but there isn’t any ‘proof’ – it’s a mystery!

    • craigweiler
      June 15, 2011

      Hi Rachel,
      The reason for investigating quantum physics is to understand the underlying nature of reality and the role consciousness plays in it. Reality appears to be timeless and spaceless, which is exactly how it feels when we’re totally in a psychic space. From there, precognition is perfectly understandable and explainable. It’s not a superpower, just feature of reality. There is also no reason why your own consciousness cannot access precognition from a variety of methods.

      For me, this exploration has grounded me a great deal and I find that while I don’t have great psychic ability, that which I do have comes with much less effort and integrates more seamlessly into my everyday life.

      • Rachel
        June 17, 2011

        Thanks for the reply.

        Until the physicists admit that consciousness is involved, will we get anywhere? There seems to have been a concerted effort in the past to avoid the problem of consciousness at all costs; whether this is due to cowardice or practicality, I don’t know. From experience I decided to abandon the quantum route because you have books like Biocentrism that seem to make life anti-intuitive.

        The reason for my original reply was to ask whether these things should, in themselves, be understandable and explainable? Are we supposed to accept some things as mysterious? I’ve taken my experiences as evidence that life isn’t what we think it is, so have investigated existing philosophies in order to understand what I am and what I’m supposed to do with it. I seem to be going in slightly decreasing circles, around what I don’t know, but I have learnt not to stick with any philosophy outright – don’t believe, or you’ll get stuck. If you depend on Qantum Physics to provide either a comprehensive explanation for psychic ability or to validate our claims, you might be wasting valuable time.

        I suppose in the end, we investigate until we find the mystery.


  2. insomniac
    June 13, 2011

    Well done Craig. I have no doubt that consciousness and all the related information processing functions including psychic abilities, basic perception and emotions, are firmly rooted in quantum mechanics. You’ve done a good job of presenting a sound argument… but then i don’t need to be convinced. =-)

    There are certainly a lot of “scientists” who are trying to make the same connections. There is really no other theory out there that explains things as accurately(classical physics and the anomalies) as quantum mechanics.

    • craigweiler
      June 13, 2011

      I agree. While most physics leave psychic ability out of the picture, I am seeing a lot of arguments for a reality that supports it, including all the consciousness based ones.

  3. Monica
    June 12, 2011

    This…sounds really plausible, actually. But the big problem I have with it is that it’s, well, *too* big. Think of it like UFOs. Sure, they could be alien spacecraft, but they’re far more likely to be the idiots at the nearby Air Force base who read the map wrong on a test flight. Whatever psychic ability is, it’s more likely to be the simple explanation. That’s just human nature.

    On the other hand, if it DOES turn out to be this, you get to say ‘I told you so’. :p

    • craigweiler
      June 13, 2011

      Hi Monica,
      It takes a lot of explaining, but it’s basically a simple concept. Our true reality is timeless and spaceless and that’s what we perceive with psychic ability. Because we’re using a brain and we’re wired for physical reality, this is difficult for us.

      • Monica
        July 4, 2011

        I’m not a quantum mechanics expert, but you’re talking about the theory that says that we only experience time and space because we’re built as if we were machines to do expressly that, right? That’s what my mom (who actually understands the theory) tells me.

        If so…oh. Right. Got it.

        *looks sheepish* Heh…never mind, then.

        Conveniently distracting smoothie? *holds out glass* :p

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