JNLRMI Vol. II Nr.2 July 2003
How is information stored and retrieved by consciousness? This simple question contains the essence of all psi paradoxes, from spontaneous events like precognition and telepathy to carefully engineered processes like retro-psychokinesis. As we have noted before, the real challenge of a nonlocal consciousness is not its transparent, transpersonal nature, but the internal structure that allows for local meaning and interactions to emerge. Clearly, we are not aware of the totality of mental processes going on around us - as, at any given moment, we are not conscious of the majority of our own mental contents. And yet, as three decades of remote viewing research has shown, it is possible, under certain conditions, to access specifically targeted information at will, regardless of its spacetime coordinate. What does this tell us about the function of intent in both individual memory recall and transpersonal information access? And what can we infer about the specific terms in which such intent is formulated - about the interface between a culturally designated spacetime framework, personal meaning and the "substrate"
on which this transpersonal information exists, apparently independent of our common-sense notions of past and future? Do such personal and cultural reference frames serve as a global information cataloguing system, helping to evoke specific events by interpersonal association? Do they anchor us like a psychological attractor in a reality in which all "past" and "future" information simply is - in "no-time"? What is the connection between our collective intent, or expectation, and the events we observe? What is the meaning of action and how can we interpret something as inherently paradoxical as retro-causality - the ability to influence an event in the past, as demonstrated by Schmidt's classic RNG retro-pk experiments, and dozens of other studies since then?
In this issue of JNLRMI we will try to address some of these questions, both from an empirical and theoretical perspective. The problem of time and causality in parapsychological phenomena is perhaps the most difficult one to grasp on a conceptual level, and our attempts to approach a resolution of this paradox are bound to miss the mark by various degrees. Faced with direct experience of this reality (see McMoneagle interview) it is impossible not to realize how awkward and often inappropriate our theoretical questions are at the moment. On the other hand, it is only by recognizing the fallacy of our various approaches, by negatively defining the features of this mental map, that we can begin to internalize the nature of the mental territory we are setting out to explore. From this perspective, our current issue is as much a cautionary tale against unwarranted assumptions as a survey of brave new inroads which may one day lead us closer to the truth.
With the July 2003 issue we are also hoping to enter a new phase of our project, steering it toward a more practical, protocol-oriented discussion (see "Thinking Outside the Box in Experimental Parapsychology"). For this purpose, we have inaugurated a strictly experimental section, in which we plan to publish both innovative studies in need of further replication or analysis
(such as Agadjanian's series
of experiments on nonlocal communication between bio-populations) and ideas for future protocols. A collection of landmark experiments, questions and proposals will be developed on our site over the next 6-12 months, to be updated with new ideas published in future issues of JNLRMI. We look forward to everyone's suggestions and participation in this "virtual lab"!