Because it is sensationalPerhaps the most important reason why extra sensory perception (ESP) is interesting is because it is more than interesting, it is sensational. Whatever interesting conclusions or inputs ESP may bring to other debates and enquiries,
|In "Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern", Dean Radin carries further the usual quantum mumbo-jumbo "it's the observer who creates reality", into Science (!) by testing whether observers thousands of miles apart from a double slit apparatus can influence it (through a web portal). Annoyingly, it does prove that our perception can influence subatomic behaviour, and suddenly physicists are tasked with testing their truly fashionable nonsense in a less than (scientifically) fashionable parapsychology setting.|
(the materialism-idealism debate, the evolutionary need to perceive more than meets the senses, the conditions of possibility of a rigorous extrapolation of quantum physics to mundane affairs), the most important is the revolutionary potential of ESP, in the most immediate dimensions of our individual and social lives. In the first part of my investigation, I will address only the mind-reading and clairvoyance aspects of what is commonly called ESP, because the other aspects, premonition and telekinesis, appear much more exceptionally in daily activities, and for theoretical reasons that will become evident in a second part of this investigation.
ESP changes the way we love. It changes the way we feel.
In a society where ESP would be commonplace, the following would not be stashed in a dusty mental cubby: how many times have I picked the phone to call a loved one, only to realize when moving my hand toward the phone that I had a phone call -- from this loved one (never somebody else)? How many times, when my wife was in distress, did my kid wake up as if a fire had erupted in the place? How many times did I hear a friend say: I was thinking about that!
The big problem is that we are not able to think those events; they disappear from our lives with the same suddenness they appeared. The most profound implications of a shared thought between loved ones remain unthinkable.
It might be argued that some cultures today are attuned to those extrasensory perceptions. Consider those cultures where action at a distance is the basis of many social codes ("magical thinking"). And indeed those of European descent will find in the stories of their grandparents habits and so-called superstitions that remind us that these perceptions may have been part of their own social fabric, in a not so distant past.
But those connections that are experienced as part of a highly ritualized mode of living are degenerate forms of the wild form of ESP that occur in our disillusioned minds. They are corroded by superstition and the resulting social fabric is not as tight, not as homogeneous, as one might expect from a regular actualisation of connections between members of the society. For extrasensory perceptions to weave the social fabric, they must tend to be as strong and intimately meaningful as when they involve two closely related persons. When this happens, a new string of causes and effects is started; the implications are wider than the prayer-like thoughts of magical thinking that we're accustomed to, they have profound practical implications.
After the shared thought happened and made us act with exquisite precision at the same moment, although separated by miles, and not under any specific schedule, I, we, should wonder what life means when we are NOT synchronised.
ESP is normal, whether we realize it or not
The principle of parsimony, if well applied to the case (and not as a naysaying method), suggests that these unexpected and barely thinkable moments must become expectable and thinkable by simply tweaking our understanding, without adding too many new explanatory epicycles.
Logically but breathtakingly, such a simple idea would be that we switch to other synchronies after that, on and on, without realizing it because there is no validation, no "me too!", no Internet functionality to verify this. Or perhaps it's how things must logically be! (But more on that below.)
According to Rupert Sheldrake, in all those normal day-to-day telepathic communications, the person we can relate to the most to is the self we were before: a normal aspect of our inner lives would be to "telepathically" interact with this other self that we were 2 seconds, 15 minutes, days or years ago.
It is coherent and rather simple, but what about those thoughts that don't seem to require, or even welcome, external influences? What about ideas?
Consider the last time you had an idea which a close friend or loved one 'had' at the same time. (If you can.) Who 'had' it? Both of you? It seems, when you have this idea which will soon reveal to be shared, that it was really yours, that you came to it all by yourself. But if you ask the other person, she will respond exactly the same thing! Excluding the hypothesis that we are both deluded, that this idea was neither 'mine' nor 'hers', it appears logical that this idea functions as a binding element per se and that, as such, it serves as a kind of bridge between two distinct times, mine and hers.
Boredom is the sense of time that you have when the only idea you have in mind is time, and the sense you have of it. Perhaps this is the reason why millennia of thinking about time have apparenly produced relatively little, if not massive amounts of boredom. Perhaps things could change if thinkers opened up to "the paranormal"?
Starting, for a change, the investigation from the non-solipsist and "paranormal" moment of a shared thought, the other thoughts (and experiences) seem to be diffuse instances of shared time, where there is not just one other loved one at the end of the ESP line, but many, many, many others (humanity?), that I may not know of (yet).
This is looking like Jung's collective unconscious. To capture this configuration, I'll use this art work that made a tremendous impression in popular culture, Sense8.
In this series, the fact that the telepaths ("sensates") are 8 in number fulfils a dramaturgic purpose. Each of the sensates has some skills that organically constitutes the whole sense8 entity. One of the Sense8 saves his or her life by using the skills of another Sense8 (these people have very busy lives).
A Sense8 spin-off designed to resemble what our lives are really like, call it "Sense8000000", would have encompassed those things that are not normally part of a typical TV blockbuster character: the wanderings of the mind, the "intimate" feelings and thoughts; the normal human condition: life stages, interpersonal conflicts, systemic oppression.
Sheldrake showed convincingly that the more people think about a thing together, the easier it becomes to think it; an exam is more easily and successfully completed if others have completed it minutes or hours before (without cheating!); the same goes for animals who learn new tricks thousands of miles apart from each other.
Those life exams, that are not graded, constitute the basis of a large-scale "me too!" phases of time which escape our awareness but responds to the same rules as the exams and the animals' new tricks. They exist as a collective creation.
While the "me too!" moments are just that, moments, they result from the build up of the personal thoughts and actions of two people, until they appear as those of the two people at the same time. How does this build up happen? We are far from a description of this gradual entanglement of persons. But perhaps what is missing is the basic hypothesis that entanglement is the basis (as in physics), and that we only have to try and understand just what is entangled.