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VARIABLES: an experiment on distance-correlations and bio-information

From: lian sidorov
Date: 2/5/2001
Time: 10:54:54 PM
Remote Name:


Keywords: anomalous cognition, psychokinesis, Qi Gong, non-physical field, ultra low frequency electromagnetic waves, environmental resonance, fading, digitalization, physical versus biological targets, distance-correlation, reciprocal generation of EM/IF signals, mantras, guided imagery

As Beverly Rubik well pointed out in her Esalen presentation [1], the classical paradigm in parapsychological research has always been that the source of these phenomena lies somehow within the paradoxes of quantum mechanics and relativity - hence most theoretical attempts in parapsychology are designed to create bridges between these grand edifices. This approach, however, leaves us blind-sided to the possibility that "anomalous phenomena" may be a direct expression of consciousness and biological organization, rather than a "mechanical glitch".

The last several years have seen an explosion of research in the area of alternative healing - ranging from the effects of guided imagery to Qi Gong to biophotons and magnetic resonance therapy, to mention just a few. Increasingly advanced imaging technology has been successfully used to map physiological correlates associated with such phenomena, and the medical literature is replete with statistically significant studies on these effects.

The question is obvious: why not make use of medical studies and technology in our investigation of Psi processes?

One specific aspect that comes to mind is the distance (in)-dependence of various phenomena - and its direct repercussion on the possible nature of the mediating substrate for the hypothesized mechanism. In other words, if the phenomenon is purely mediated via electromagnetic (EM) signals (i.e. acupuncture, magnetic resonance therapy, etc) then one should expect the effect to be (at least to some degree) inversely correlated with distance. Many alternative healing studies seem to suggest that ULF (ultra low frequency) EM signals form the basis of bio-information both among the cells and systems of an organism and between separate individuals ([1], [2], Arch 177/178/154/176/206/208 and 209). There are also suggestions that environmental, naturally occurring, resonant EM frequencies (see Arch 191) affect an organism's endogenous EM signals (hence bioinformation and states of consciousness), while other models (Rakovic) even go as far as to postulate that ULF ionic currents within a "temporarily displaced, weakly ionized gaseous neural network" surrounding the body are somehow responsible for long-range transpersonal interactions like remote viewing and remote healing (although I have to admit that the latter argument still has me scratching my forehead in spite of having read 5 different articles on the subject).

Are ULF EM signals responsible for PK effects like remote healing? Assuming that remote healing cannot happen without some kind of remote diagnosis, and that such diagnosis then constitutes anomalous cognition, it is interesting to realize that EM shielding by Faraday cages (which is generally known not to affect AC) does not cover ULF waves (see [1]). But is the signal purely mediated by EM energy, or is there an intermediate substrate? Since many studies on psi and alternative healing techniques (Arch 132, 136, 160) show that such effects appear to be more or less distance-independent (not to mention occasionally "retro-causal"), it seems the classical "field strength - distance" correlation would be violated. Indeed, were it any physical field mediating such phenomena, the distance factor would appear to necessarily play a role in the size of the effect. Unless we introduce the concept of a "digitalization" effect, how can we account for the apparent lack of signal fading/distortion exhibited by long-range interactions?

But what could constitute "digitalization"? Non-physical "information" fields like Bohm's quantum potential and Sheldrake's morphogenetic field immediately come to mind. But other than their postulated existence, what can be said about them?

What I would like to propose is the following experiment: let a group of Qi Gong masters attempt to influence a set of simple physical/biological systems (proposed tests include: A. rate of growth of bacterial cultures; B. survival rate of mice innoculated with known pathogens; C. change in rate of radioactive decay; D. distribution of random event generator series; etc). Set up the experiment so that only one subject (practitioner) is tested at a time (with, for example, control and target bacterial cultures observed in a number of increasingly distant labs - say 1km, 10km, 1000km and 10,000km.) The effect of the same session (or series of sessions for biological targets) will then be plotted against distance for each Qi Gong master, and this will be repeated several times for each battery of tests. This is to ensure that the quality of the meditation (same session, same master) is identical for samples situated at various distances, and thus that extraneous sources of variability are minimized. (Note: for part D. of this experiment, the REG array of the Global Consciousness Project could be used, plotting effect size versus distance between the individual REG and the location of the Qi Gong master.)

Question #1: Is there any evidence of inverse correlation between the size of the effect and distance from subject (practitioner)?

Question#2: Is there any correlation between distance and onset of the variation between control and target at the various points? (i.e. is the signal captured earlier at the closer locations?)

Question#3: Is there a difference between the types of distance-effect correlations in biological systems versus physical (non-biological) ones? For example, if we noticed a linear decrease in effect size in radioactive decay rates, but no significant decrease in bacterial growth or mice survival rates, we might hypothesize the existence of an amplifying/transducing intermediate field associated with biological organization - a biological "intelligence" of the target, which is capable of capturing the faint signal sent by the subject and translate it into ULF EM waves or other physiologically-active information.

Question #4: Are entropy-increasing signals (i.e. cell death, tumor growth) more or less likely to be captured/utilized than entropy-decreasing ones? Is there a "teleological filter", or a primitive survival mechanism already at work that allows an organism to select predominantly self-reinforcing signals?

Finally, if evidence of our postulated "transducing" factor is found, how might we envision its relationship with the EM substrate of thought and bioinformation? One possible model is the following:

Let's imagine that we hava a fifth, non-physical field (see Bohm's quantum potential, or Sheldrake's morphogenetic field) and let's call it IF (information field). The information carried by it is, as Bohm describes, encoded in the form of the wave rather that its amplitude, hence it's independent of the field strength (distance independence).

Now, let's imagine this IF as being related to the EM field in the same way electricity and magnetism are mutually dependent: in the same way a magnetic field is created by an electric current moving inside a wire, an IF signal can be created by certain configurations (patterns) of EM waves, and vice-versa (IF signals can perturb and modify the EM-coded bioinformation of a target organism, producing a healing effect or, as the case may be, being registered as EM thought patterns in a telepathy experiment).

Another intriguing possibility is that this hypothesized EM/IF interplay may account for the target identification/specificity that such phenomea display. If one views a target's identity as being encoded by a unique EM signature, then a long-range IF signal might act as a scanner/matched filter that would first need to "resonate" with the target's EM signature before "delivering its message".(Of course, this is all highly speculative and I haven't got a clue as to what would constitute a unique EM signature for a person or location.)

In this scenario, then, the practice of yogic asanas, samadhi, etc. would serve to enhance one's ability to develop and sustain the necessary EM signal to create a coherent (resonant?) IF wave, while normal consciousness would be equivalent to a plurality of weak, non-resonant, mutually destructive IF signals.

Note 1: the issue of resonance in the context of mantras (see Arch 39) is particularly interesting: As Feuerstein explains it, after the practitioner has repeated this "seed sound" for thousands of times, he/she will reach a point where the mere thought of it suddenly gives rise to the same full-blown effect as its intense repetition.

"Twenty-one, 108, or 1008 repetitions are considered auspicious. But for the mantra to unlock its potency (vrya), hundreds of thousands of repetitions may be necessary. Once this has occurred, however, even a single pronunciation of the mantra will make its power available to the mantrin or japin, the reciter of mantras. In practice, after a while, the mantra recites itself spontaneously, and its intrinsic power can be felt as a steady charge of energy present in one's body. This is ajapa-japa, or "unrecited recitation" also known as the hamsa-mantra which is more than the mental "echo" that occurs when we repeat a word over and over again. It is not simply a mental groove caused by verbal repetition but a mind-transforming energetic state of being." (Georg Feuerstein - Arch 39)

Beside the inference of a powerful new attractor basin being created on the brain's functional map, one also might see here the possiblity of naturally occurring, environmental resonances being selected by the brain and then functioning to automatically reinforce the internal (EM) mantric signal (amplification by resonance).

Note 2: If we hypothesize that remote viewing acts via the same (intentionality) mechanism as self-administered guided imagery, it might be worth looking at the enhancing factors associated (empirically) with guided imagery (Arch 151, 153). For example, consistence of symbolism and intense repetition (the latter also an aspect of prayer meditation) have been shown to increase effectiveness in healing. Unless some type of resonance mechanism is postulated, would there be any reason for which symbolism consistence should work better than various symbols carrying the same message?

These are, again, simple suggestions with no higher claims of legitimacy - however the issues of distance/time (in)-dependence and target specificity remain, I believe, some of the most intriguing areas of investigation into the nature of psi phenomena.


[1] "Electromagnetic and other subtle energies in psi research" - Beverly Rubik, talk given at the "Subtle energies and uncharted realms of the mind" Esalen conference, July 2nd to 7th 2000

[2] "Biology and spirituality: the VAS technique" - John Ackerman, from same conference

Lian Sidorov

Last changed: June 07, 2011