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Metaphysics & Psychology

Psi of Regret: Pitfalls of Prophecy from Paul Muad’Dib to Patanjali

It’s been over twenty years since I last read Dune, but inspired partly by the phenomenal documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, I recently re-read Frank Herbert’s masterpiece and a few of the sequels. Although the latter are uneven, I need hardly say that Dune itself holds up magnificently. It is still the one novel I would put in the hands of a teenager—even more than anything by Tolkien (even though Tolkien’s “literary worth” is probably greater)—because of the priceless seeds the book planted in me when I was the age of its main character, Paul. (For instance, “the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It’s shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn …”—that’s a powerful message every adolescent needs to hear and I am ever thankful I paid attention; and the “litany against fear” was incalculably important to me.)

Although the Dune books are about many things, it is sometimes forgotten (amid praise for Herbert’s world-building and his anticipation of American-Mid-East relations in the 70s and beyond) that they are significantly about seeing the future; the sequels, particularly, are basically an extended thought experiment about the siddhi of precognition and the pitfalls of prophecy. Thus I couldn’t help read them now in the light of my interest in psi research and the nexus of science fiction and the human potential movement being newly examined by writers and scholars like Jeffrey Kripal (whose Mutants and Mystics and Authors of the Impossible I can’t recommend highly enough).

According to Kripal, the notion that humans are on the threshold of the next phase in our evolution and that psychic abilities will be a big part of it is an idea that goes back to Frederic Myers in the late 19th century. Myers likened our nascent psychic powers to the “imaginal characters” or structures present in a caterpillar that hint at its future transformation into an aerial being. This imminent metamorphosis has remained a dominant meme pervading comic books, of course, most famously in the X-men, not to mention sci-fi visionaries from Alfred Bester to Herbert to Philip K. Dick.

But despite the democratizing impulse in modern writers on psi, like Russell Targ and Dean Radin, who emphasize that we all have latent psi abilities that we can develop if we choose, it is important to bear in mind some important social and maybe even evolutionary reasons why certain forms of psi—especially precognition—are not already more widespread than they are, why they may actually not be part of our species’ birthright, and why they may even not be such a great idea in the larger scheme of things. Herbert keyed in on some of these reasons in his novels; the ancient yogis like Patanjali keyed in on others.

Muddying the Waters

A rarely considered pitfall of prescience that Herbert used brilliantly as a plot device in Dune Messiah is that if more than one individual can see the future, it tends to negate both of their abilities. In a conspiracy to assassinate Paul Muad’Dib, the plotters involve in their plans a Guild Steersman, whose spice-induced oracular vision effectively cloaks the whole affair from Paul’s mental futurescape.

The reason for this effect is simple when you think about it: If precognition is not seeing the future as such but seeing some vague and shifting topography of possibilities in a butterfly-effect universe (as Herbert sort of characterizes it), then the possibility and usefulness of foresight become radically limited once it becomes shared by others. A glimpse of the landscape of future possibilities by one freely willed being capable of altering that future must inevitably muddy the temporal waters for other precogs/prophets.

When you start to multiply the number of people with oracular vision (and thus freedom to alter what they see through even minor actions), then the seen, malleable future breaks down rather quickly. Even a few rival seers would tend to negate each others’ powers; if a whole species could exercise prescient abilities, the time stream would become a hopelessly opaque and deceptive mush. In such a state of affairs, there would clearly be diminishing utility in being able to see the future at all. You would be better off blind to all but the present and past, so as not to be distracted by prophetic information that was probably wrong.

Restraining Bolts

There is a paranoid belief that someone or some force is keeping us down psychically, keeping us unaware of our true natures and working to thwart the development of our true ESP capabilities. Remote-viewing inventor Ingo Swann confided to Jacques Vallee in 1979 that “There’s a non-human system that keeps the human race under observation to make sure it doesn’t develop psychically … You become aware of the barriers erected by this system as soon as you try to develop your psychic abilities.” This seems to be a standard Gnostic suspicion, echoed in comic book mythologies: Extraterrestrials or Archons fear our psychic potential and have thus installed some kind of restraining bolt in our minds. The sense of some ancient psychic lock being blown off or removed, opening floodgates of forbidden information, seems like a common sentiment among the psychically awakened—for instance Philip K Dick in his 2-3-74 experience, or the Scientology-steeped remote viewers at SRI (it’s all about “clearing blockages”).

But evolution itself (social if not biological) provides ample reason why such mutations or experiences may not herald some new evolutionary phase in human development and why the forces of psychic inhibition may be far more mundane (and even beneficial) than Swann suspected. Because of the Dune Messiah logic I mentioned, there may be completely natural, homeostatic mechanisms working to limit our cognitive receptivity to future events or possibilities, causing such a sensitivity to atrophy and be selected against in the population. There would be social pressures not to be precognitive, and we might even evolve some kind of biological blinder mechanism to block it out, on the model of Bergson’s reducing valve.

I don’t have any insight into what the biological/genetic basis for precognition or its inhibition might be, but the social mechanisms inhibiting foresight and prophecy are plain enough. Ostracism, persecution, and violence against people accused of witchcraft and sorcery are still endemic in many societies and surely go back to the dawn of history. Witch-killings are still rampant in many parts of the world. A leader of a Papua New Guinea village I visited in the early 1990s had spent time in jail for disemboweling a suspected sorcerer with a machete; it still happens all the time in that country. It doesn’t matter that in most such cases—as in Europe in the Middle Ages or in early America—“witchcraft” was a broad brush with which to tar all kinds of personal enemies and social outcasts, such as the old, the poor, and women. The point was, it was a serious deterrent to deviance of all kinds, including psychic deviance.

Societies provide strict, narrow social channels to a career in prophecy, such as the accepted shamanic paths that exist in traditional cultures, and it’s a dangerous career: You better be damn sure you are perceived as using your powers for healing, not harming. The threat of ostracism and violence must act as a powerful check on “developing your ESP abilities” (i.e., having truck with the spirit world) if you live in a traditional community.

In our enlightened society, psi-inhibition takes less disturbing forms, namely rabid skepticism and materialism and ridicule of the paranormal. But even if it is less violent than traditional social controls, such ridicule is still a very powerful deterrent. Writers encouraging people to develop their remote viewing abilities, like Targ, emphasize that simple “permission” to remote view is a crucial first step. Even those intellectually persuaded of the possibility and eager to learn often have massive unconscious inhibitions that get in the way.

Thus, there is no need to invoke non-human, extraterrestrial, or Archonic interference to explain lack of widespread psi ability: Social expectations that psi not only does not exist but that it is actually ridiculous do a fine job of keeping people from peering into the future.

Prophet Motives

There’s an interesting kicker of course: The more “beyond the pale” psi and prophecy become, the more effective they would be for those able and brave enough to exercise these abilities. Even if the barriers against psi were rooted in our genes, chance and mutation would dictate that enhanced precognitive ability would arise from time to time; although there could be no group, society, let alone species of prescients, there might be a rare individual, a mutant who saw the future and capitalized on it. A prevailing present- and past-mindedness in the masses would create a relatively unmuddied futurescape navigable by a gifted individual able to capitalize on the herd’s future-blindness. Indeed, through this evolutionary logic, those who benefit the most from the social suppression of prophecy would be the prophets themselves.

There are good analogies to this in evolutionary biology, one of them being sociopathy. Because we are socially dependent animals and society is built on trust, humans have evolved to essentially trust each other. It’s a very sound long-term evolutionary strategy, but it also makes us vulnerable to occasional manipulators who are able to cynically capitalize on that trust. Such individuals only arise at relatively low levels in the population, because when there are too many untrustworthy people in a community, people stop trusting, and the community breaks down. But when they arise, they tend to rise to the top. (Research shows many CEOs and politicians are sociopaths, for example.)

Prophecy might work the same way, as a “frequency dependent, socially parasitic strategy” (to quote George Dvorsky in an article on sociopaths). Despite the “democratizing” impulse of contemporary psi teachers and enthusiasts, some of these talents may only work if they are rare and most people don’t practice them or don’t believe in them. There are various ways in which the paranormal erects a barrier between the herd and an elect, and this is one of them—another variant of what I call the “anamorphic wedge” that seems to operate in other domains like UFOs.

I’ve argued previously that there’s a dark elitist undercurrent to sci-fi Gnosticism that can be seen plainly in its most famous manifestation, Scientology: L. Ron Hubbard was the Ayn Rand of psychic human potential, preaching pure selfishness with a sci-fi twist. From what it is possible to glean of its methods, I don’t doubt their efficacy. It was in an out-of-body experience during early Scientology training that Pat Price’s formidable psychic abilities, dormant for a half century of life, awakened: “I was asked to sit down and look at some other guy for period of time and do nothing. After about three minutes I found myself outside of my body, looking at him looking at me. It was very interesting.” (John L. Wilhelm’s excellent 1976 book The Search for Superman is a great resource on Price, Swann, and the SRI work with Uri Geller.)

The superpower benefits that arise through Scientology training may not be accidentally related to the clear and obvious drawbacks of that lifestyle: Namely, intellectual isolation and social ostracism as a result of being, lets face it, kind of an asshole. Scientology training includes exercises (like the one Price mentioned) designed specifically to break down or cleanse the participant of social anxieties and emotions that we possess for a reason, thus turning the “operating Thetan” into an intense, intimidating, “aggressive” savant who may not thrive outside the company of other Scientologists. Real X-men could potentially look a lot like them: out of touch and megalomaniacal, but with some authentic supernormal abilities as a kind of grim consolation prize.

Fear is the mind-killer…

Despite lifelong skepticism, I have become persuaded of the reality of psi in general and of precognition in particular. Once you take even the slightest interest in the subject, fate provides ample confirmation in the form of uncanny premonitions and synchronicities. Having followed J.W. Dunne’s protocol in An Experiment with Time, I have confirmed to my own satisfaction (which seems all anyone can ever hope for in parapsychology) that his thesis is correct: In any given week of faithfully recorded dreams, a consistent minority of dream elements encode future experiences, usually of the subsequent day but occasionally farther out, exactly the same way the majority of dream elements encode recent past experiences—and through exactly the same “art of memory” logic I have described elsewhere. In dreams we are remembering the future as well as the past. Hypnagogic imagery and voices are also a rich source of precognitive material, and plain-old remote viewing of tomorrow’s New York Times can also produce interesting results.

Invariably in my case, these bits of future information are fragmentary and useless from the standpoint of planning or guidance. I’m no prophet—and I’m not sure I’d really want to be. Another “inhibitory” function I’ve discovered in my venturing imperfectly down the psi path is simple existential fear. While omnisicence and expanded consciousness sound totally awesome to my inner 10-year-old, I’ve discovered that my outer 47-year-old is deeply fearful of learning too much about the future. There are too many dark terrors that objectively lie in wait for us all—illness and death of self and loved ones are biggies—and the temptation to dwell unproductively on ominous signs (like a strange cough or unfamiliar pain) is great enough at times without the added burden of trying to decipher scary symbols and portents gained through psi channels. Among the siddhis described by Patanjali is the yogi’s ability to see his/her own death. No thanks.

Because the energy of psychic phenomena is trauma (as Frederic Myers discerned in the 19th century), it makes sense that death and destruction would be dominant themes in our prophecies. And sure enough, the bulk of my precognitive dream material does concern something at least slightly negative, usually just uncomfortable or unpleasant social experiences but also news of crimes, disasters, or death. This focus on the negative gives rise to an ironic and unwholesome logic: The eagerness for psi to work or to confirm your own powers causes one not only to focus on negatives but even at times to hope for them—for example, having a strange dream about a certain celebrity and then eagerly checking some news site to see if they died or have been involved in some scandal. Obviously, “eagerness to find out someone died” is not at all a congenial frame of mind to be in if you aspire to be a spiritual or positive person.

Thus I think there really is some way in which precognition is “toying with dark forces,” although it isn’t anything as grandiose as “opening up doorways to other worlds” or awakening evil or Tricksterish energies (even if those are real too). It’s simply a matter of reinforcing unwholesome aspects of the ego—plain old negativity, which is bad karma (and unhealthy) no matter how you look at it.

I suspect all these factors may have played into ancient teachers’ disinterest in the siddhis and into modern teachers’ reluctance to discuss them. Patanjali warned not to get attached to superpowers in your meditative practice, and he’s not just talking about showing off (as Radin suggests in his book Supernormal). Attachment itself is the root of suffering; attachment to psi may bring its own unique sufferings and doubts that are simply not wholesome to harbor, such as those I’ve mentioned. So, while the 10-year-old me is incredibly glad that the paranormal and supernormal are gaining legitimacy through the work of Kripal, Targ, Radin, and others, I also would hope that we not lose sight of our basic humanity in our quest to become superhuman. Sometimes it’s also awesome to be (merely) normal.

 

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Man is able to induce controlled hallucinations without psychotropic substances

The human brain is so cunningly designed that accidental damage or malfunctions in the neural network can generate large-scale effects that do not harm a person, but, on the contrary, deliver a lot of new sensations. 

We are talking about hallucinations, influences on the sensory system, which stem from the inside of the brain itself. Modern technologies make it possible to purposefully launch such reactions without harm to humans.

The technique of guided hallucinations is based on the Ganzfeld effect, which states that when the brain receives a powerful stimulating signal in only one area, it automatically begins to “think out” signals in other areas. 

For example, if you peer into the darkness and listen to white noise, the brain draws an imaginary picture, although the eyes do not receive a single photon of light. And if you run noise on the screen in absolute silence, the brain will complement them with sound hallucinations.

Hallucinations

One interesting experiment with guided hallucinations was conducted by TV host and inventor Derek Müller, who locked himself in an anechoic and completely darkened chamber for 45 minutes to conduct a sensory deprivation experiment. 

His brain, which at once lost 90% of the signals from the outside world, remained fully functional, and Derek did not go crazy. Moreover, in the absence of external stimuli, he began to feel the subtlest vibrations of his heart and the flow of blood through the veins. 

It was not a hallucination, it was just that the brain switched to processing the signals that remained at its disposal, amplifying them and presenting them in the form of sensations understandable to the mind.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Angels showed the End of the World to a child from Indonesia?

In early October, on many eschatological and conspiracy sites (The End Times Forecaster , 444prophecynews.com), a video was posted by a girl named Jacqueline, who lives in South Africa. The video tells that on September 16, in some altered state of consciousness, similar to a lucid dream, Jacqueline was given a warning: on October 10, 2020, there will be some kind of nightmarish geological catastrophe – either a volcanic eruption, or an earthquake. 

Jacqueline does not specify where the catastrophe will occur, but immediately after the volcanic eruption, she saw President Trump in Washington and the destruction of the Washington Monument with fiery stones falling from the sky. The full text of Jacqueline’s video was posted on the forum and can be viewed at the link, but her revelation itself is not very informative. It is only clear that on October 10 something may bang, and very strongly. Another thing is much more interesting. 

Since Jacqueline was shown truly creepy things, she, like anyone in her place, doubted that all this was true. However, she noticed that in her dream, before the horror broadcast began, she was shown a calendar on which she read the KIMIKO inscription.

“Kimiko” is a popular Japanese female name that literally means “wonderful unusual child”, so Jacqueline decided: if she got it right, then she needed to look for a girl from somewhere in Japan who would kind of hint at her deciphering what was shown in her dream. 

Kimiko was never found, but another girl named Catherine was found. She lives in Indonesia, is in 4th grade and is 9 years old. Jacqueline had her dream on September 16, and on September 18 some angels took this Catherine to heaven in a dream and showed her what would be on Earth in the very near future. 

According to Catherine, everything will begin on October 10, 2020, when some kind of catastrophe occurs – a catastrophe, most likely of a geological nature. Buildings will collapse and coastal cities will suffer from terrible tsunamis. At the same time, a terrible rain will pour, which in some regions will flood buildings up to the fourth floor. Thunder will thunder in the sky, which is 10 or even 20 times stronger than ordinary thunder, and after the thunder, hail will fall the size of a car windshield. But besides the hail, all the planes located there fall from the sky. 

However, the End of the World will not happen as life goes on and Trump wins the US election. After that, Israel will begin to restore the Temple, but they will not have time, since a war will start around. At this moment, the Earth will face unprecedented catastrophes.

A huge new planet will appear in the sky and the atmosphere will take on a reddish tint. It will get hotter. H achnut erupting volcanoes, and terrifying winds will become commonplace. And further, in the region of the Bermuda Triangle, a hole is formed in the lithosphere, and armada of some strange flying machines will appear from there. On TV they will say that these are good aliens. 

In parallel , a total vaccination will take place on Earth, after which people who have received the vaccine will be endowed with some unthinkable ability to communicate with their gadgets – phones will show them everything at the click of a finger and connect to subscribers with the power of thought. But happiness will not last long, because then the skin of the vaccinated will begin to turn green and many will be covered with ulcers. Further, these people mutate into a kind of zombie who will engage in cannibalism and those who have not taken the vaccine will become their preferred food. And for those who will not be eaten by mutants, aliens will chase in their flying cars, kidnap, throw bombs at them and burn them with rays. 

Finally, to top it all off, mutations will affect flora and fauna. So, insects will become gigantic, and algae will begin to crawl ashore and whoever gets into their nets will be devoured. Mutations will affect birds, jellyfish, and the rest of the fauna. Dinosaurs and real fire-breathing dragons will appear, which will fly everywhere and pour fire on everything. 

In general, the girl tells something that is impossible to believe – no reality can stand that. However, the probability that reality is real, according to estimates of the theory of probability, is no more than 50%. That is, we live in the Matrix with a probability of 1/2, although nothing can be proved / disproved somehow. But if we take into account various strange quantum effects and other miracles, then the probability of the Matrix is ​​already seventy percent and 30% remain for a flat / round Earth, for the rest of “natural science”. Therefore, maybe we are now on the eve of the reboot of the Matrix, during which we will begin to load characters from other entertaining games. 

It is possible, of course, that all these stories were invented by her mother, but similar stories are told by other children, and even adults, who were thrown either somewhere into the astral plane, or into the next world, or generally into the deepest warp. Different, unrelated people cannot tell the same tale. Therefore, most likely this is not a fairy tale and there is something in all this. But what – here we do not know, so we just have to wait and see. 

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Clinical death helped the inveterate egoist to change his attitude towards life. He is grateful for this experience

William F. did not live the most righteous life. His selfish, authoritarian behavior caused a lot of suffering to the people around him, especially his wife. And it is not known how his marriage would have ended if one day William had not had an accident.

On that fateful day, November 6, 2019, a man was riding a motorcycle and crashed into a truck as it changed lanes. William tried unsuccessfully to get out from under the heavy truck, as his helmet got stuck under the front axle of the car.

A policeman was the first to come to help, then an ambulance arrived. The motorcyclist was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital. The man in the helicopter told William not to sleep, but he collapsed into unconsciousness.

What William saw in oblivion made a strong impression on him and changed his future life.

xusenru / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

William’s near-death experiences

The next thing I remember happened on a large field. There was a fence about 100 meters away from me. There was a black hole in the fence on the other side of the gate.

I was drawn to the gate. The closer I got, the more love and warmth I felt, the more selfishness and bad feelings went away.

When the gate was about five steps away, and I was about to open it, someone’s hand stopped me, grabbing my forearm. Looking at this man, I noticed a few more.

– You need to stop. I watched you for a long time, son, you made a lot of mistakes. Do you know where you are? The man asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, looking around.
“You are dead,” he said.

I panicked.

“You’re scared,” he remarked.
– No.
“Then [during your life] you were always afraid of it for no reason,” he said softly. I nodded in agreement, and our dialogue continued.
– Do you feel that everything is under your control?
“I don’t know… no.
– You have never controlled anything in your life. It’s an illusion …
– Yes, you’re right, – I nodded again.
– You are given a choice that many do not have. God gives you a choice: come back and correct your mistakes, or you can go through the gate. If you enter this gate, all the regrets of life will torment your soul until you are given another chance. It will feel like eternity.

I still have regrets about my past life, ”he added after a pause. – If you come back and do not start working on yourself to become better, if you do not find happiness in the righteous way, you will always remember and crave the feeling that you are experiencing in this place now, but you will not get here again.
When you return, recover, heart and mind will be restored. You are given something great … But you understand that God already knows your choice.

Then he looked at me and asked:

– What are you going to do?
“I’ll be back,” I replied.

At that moment, the feelings that gripped me were gone, and I let go of the gate.

“See you again very soon,” he said at last.

Then I woke up and saw my mother. I told her that I was back for good and that I would not go anywhere. She had a tired face.

“You’ve been in a lot of pain,” she said.

I said that everything would be all right with me, and told that I saw Him. She clarified who exactly. I replied that I did not know for sure, but they gave me a second chance. Mom laughed and said that probably my grandfather kicked me in the ass to bring me back here.

William’s life has changed

William underwent several operations, but the doctors said that physically he would not be the same. Among other things, the man had to learn to walk again.

About a month after the accident, thoughts of the pain inflicted on his loved ones and loved ones flooded into William, so he focused on correcting the mistakes of the past and changing his future.

Five months later, William was walking without limping. Now she runs for several kilometers, and the only evidence of an accident is scars.

The biggest proof of the reality of what he saw during clinical death is a complete change in himself, says William.

haomao57 / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

“I saw mistakes, especially in my relationship with my wife, and I understand things that I didn’t understand before. It is strange to think that someone was watching my life from a distance and knew about my actions. If I had not changed, I would have yearned for death. “

“I used to have sociopathic tendencies and no empathy. I have never felt guilt or remorse. Now I am selfless and empathetic, I feel the emotions of others, and it is overwhelming. I know how people feel just by looking at them. This is a kind of intuition.

Remorse and guilt help me re-evaluate the past. I also notice that when I do something instinctively, in the old way, I realize it and I can stop. “

“People believe when I share my experience because they see a big change in me.”

Source: NDERF

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