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Who and where is the Self?
A round-table discussion on memory, information 
and the limits of identity


                                                                                               The hard problem of consciousness is no
                                                                                                petty adversary but the abyss staring us
                                                                                                back in the face. The universal record
                                                                                                is an undecidable proposition which 
                                                                                                intent turns into an acute paradox.         

                                                                                                                                              Chris King





In 1964 Dr. Ian Stevenson, chief psychiatrist at the hospital of the University of Virginia, took a step that many regarded as professionally suicidal: he abandoned his practice in order to focus his full attention on the investigation of alleged cases of reincarnation. His decision, in Stevenson's own words, was prompted by his increasing frustration with the current psychiatric dogma, which attributes human personality development to a combination of genetics and pre-/post-natal environmental factors. As he saw it, some of the psychiatric disorders confronting him in his practice simply could not make sense within that framework. With a rare combination of visionary zeal and highly-trained investigative skepticism, he went on to document, analyze and archive over 2,000 cases over the next 4 decades (Stevenson, 1975-1983; Stevenson, 1993; Cranston and Williams,1984; Becker, 1993; Secrest, 1988). In 1977, the prestigious Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases devoted a special issue to his studies. Since then, he has published numerous scientific papers as well as a series of books in which he makes the case for this extraordinary body of evidence in a refreshingly dry, critical and understated tone that has earned him universal professional accolades as well as academic followers - such as Dr. Jim Tucker, assistant professor of psychiatry also at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Their studies focus on young children (primarily for credibility reasons, but also because these memories tend to fade around the age of seven, as the child enters the turbulence of the outside world and starts forming abundant new impressions once in the school environment) and rely on a thorough investigation of subject statements, witnessed behavior, medical and legal documents, verification of names, dates and factual information that the child could not have been exposed to by other means. Particularly strong evidence comes from skills (typically xenoglossia, or the use of unlearned dialects, old or foreign languages); behaviors (phobias, philias); and biological traits (rare birthmarks corresponding to documented cause of death or maiming in the claimed "previous personality"). This pioneering work continues to evolve as innovative investigative methods and theoretical approaches are developed by a new generation of researchers (see Keil J. and Tucker JB, 2000; Tucker JB, 2000; Tucker JB and Keil J, 2001).

Technically coincidental with Stevenson's decision to delve full-time into the study of alleged reincarnation cases, in 1964 Dr. Stanley Krippner joined the staff of the newly-funded Dream Laboratory at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklin. There, in collaboration with Montague Ullman and a small team including Sol Feldstein, Robert Van de Castle and other occasional collaborators, he went on to develop what has become a landmark in experimental parapsychology: a series of studies in dream telepathy, which made use of rank-ordering techniques by independent judges in order to assess whether a sleeping subject could successfully perceive imagery transmitted by a sender.

In the prototypical experiment (see Ullman and Krippner, 1973) the subject slept in an isolated room, while his EEG tracings were monitored by the experimenter in a nearby room. The agent, whose location varied from 98 feet away to a separate building in later experiments, would randomly choose an envelope containing one of a pre-selected group of art-prints, then - once informed by the experimenter that the subject had entered REM sleep - would focus his/her full attention on trying to transmit that image to the subject. After each REM period, the subject would be awakened and allowed to tape-record his dream impressions, then was allowed to go back to sleep. The same target and agent were to be used for the entire night. Once the night's dreams were transcribed, the transcripts were sent with the entire pool of 12 art-prints to a panel of three independent judges, who would rank the dream reports for correspondence against all 12 prints, with number 1 for the best match, down to number 12 for the least degree of correspondence. A similar rank-order matching was performed by the subjects themselves.

Over the course of several years, this protocol was varied to incorporate precognitive function tests, comparisons between the effect of multiple versus single agents and between multiple/single targets for a given night, while other experiments studied the impact of target-enhancing, multi-sensory agent "immersion" (such as a combination of visual, auditory and tactile stimuli) on the success of telepathic transmission. Out of ten formal studies described in "Dream Telepathy", seven yielded statistically significant results.

This type of rank-order judging has also been used in the context of another well-studied paranormal function: remote viewing, defined as "the acquisition and description, by mental means, of information blocked from ordinary perception by distance, shielding or time", has been the subject of the most extensive government-sponsored psi research program to date (see 1; 2; Targ and Katra, 1998; Radin, 1997; McMoneagle, 1997, 2000, 2002). Over 24 years, various intelligence-gathering agencies such as the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Army, the Navy and NASA have contributed about 20 million dolars in funding to test the limits of human remote perception and collect information for their various operations. Typical examples included the nature of foreign military installations, the location and condition of kidnap victims, the description of nuclear facilities or nuclear events, surface and atmospheric characteristics of yet-unvisited planets, etc. The essential feature of all RV protocols is that the viewer and anyone else who may be present during the session is completely blind to the nature of the target - which is typically designated by a nonsensical string of random alpha-numeric characters called the coordinate; under these conditions, trained viewers produced results in which the overall odds against chance were 10^20 to one (Radin 1997, pp. 101). Even though "blueprint accuracy" is a relatively rare event even for the top viewers in the world, the results were judged sufficiently valuable to ensure continued funding from these various agencies over more than two decades (see above references for a full history, or Sidorov 2003 for a discussion of main RV characteristics). After 1995, when the CIA decided to discontinue this program following a Congressional investigation, remote viewing became part of the public domain; while some of the viewers went on to establish formal teaching programs (with varying degrees of respect for the original methodology and protocol rigors), a small number of motivated researchers have continued to develop innovative experimental approaches meant to shed light on the physical mechanisms that are at work behind this phenomenon (see May & al. 1994; McMoneagle 1997, 2000, 2002; Swann 1996; 4)

One of the most remarkable observations made by telepathy and remote viewing researchers, starting with Rene Warcollier at the beginning of last century, is that study participants sometimes seemed to involuntarily tap into each other's subconscious, retrieving data which had nothing to do with the intended target (Warcollier 2001; Warcollier 1927, 1928; Targ & Katra 1998; Swann 1996). For example, in "La telepathie experimentale" (Revue Metapsychique, 1926-1927), Warcollier discusses his series of studies with batteries of senders and recipients, noting that "the most extraordinary observation we have made [under our experimental conditions] is that the percipients have very frequently shared identical spontaneous images (perceived visually or intuitively) whose origin remained unknown."

But such group interference effects are not restricted to anomalous cognition: since 1998 the Princeton-based Global Consciousness Project, headed by Dr. Roger Nelson, has been involved in what is probably the largest, most coordinated and innovative PK study ever conducted: using a synchronized array of over 50 RNGs (random number generators) hosted by labs all over the surface of the globe, the project members have looked for statistical deviations in the generated data stream which can be linked with events of global significance - such as the funeral ceremonies of Princess Diana, New Year's Eve celebrations, World Cup Soccer, or the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (Nelson & al., 2002). While not every one of the 98 predictions made as of January 2002 behaved as expected, the composite probability for the whole array of events was 8.3 x 10^ -8 - a strikingly robust demonstration that the RNG network reacts to major collective experiences (Nelson, 2002).

But what do all these apparently distinct phenomena have in common, beyond the stigma of "subjective states" or "paranormal function" imposed on them by the scientific orthodoxy? Although not evident at first glance, there is a remarkable common feature that emerges from their study, and it is simply this: that in questioning their underlying mechanism, one is forced, sooner or later, to recognize the fluid nature of individual boundaries. If one's personality can be dramatically affected by "memories" which could not have possibly originated in the present life; if a trained person can successfully remote view complex physical targets, the emotions of people present at the site, and past or future events including their cognitive context; if our dream experiences can reflect the contents of another human being's simultaneous circumstances or deliberate intent; and if our minds can collectively create such a powerful constructive interference that distant RNGs are capable of detecting it - then how do we decide where one mind ends and another begins? Is is reasonable to believe that telepathy, remote viewing, pre-cognition, reincarnation memories and similar experiences are based on one consciousness mode (non-local in space and time) while our common, waking mind is the emergent product of brain activity? And if we choose to believe that all consciousness is non-local - that it can survive separation from bodily functions - then what can we conclude about the substrate of our individual memories and the limits of the self? What is the role of the brain, beyond a local motor control unit? Clinical amnesia cases suggest that memories can be intactly stored, but non-retrievable. Could the same be one day extended to a vast range of mental experiences - such as dream material and past life events? If what we are is dictated by our memories, then how do we draw the line between experiences acquired via "normal", sensory means, and those we access mentally, such as reincarnation-type data or the rare but powerful remote viewing bi-location event?

Of course, this is merely a rhetorical question: just as we can temporarily immerse in a book or film to the point of identifying with the character, we can emerge from the typical remote viewing experience unscathed, with as strong a sense of identity as ever. The same goes for the majority of Stevenson's cases, where the child spontaneously and gradually stops talking about his "other life" around the age of six, as he/she begins to interact intensely with the outside world and its demands - to the point that these memories fade into oblivion. But the observation needs to be made that in both cases it is one and the same mechanism which restores one's sense of identity - and that mechanism is focus. It is complete focus on a target which allows the remote viewer to retrieve correct information about it, with nothing but a string of numbers and letters as a coordinate and the joint intent of the tasker to assign that particular coordinate to the given target; it is the collective focus of the sender and percipients which allows group telepathy to work; and it is a powerful emotional experience (which creates its own focal attraction) that presumably results in mind-matter interactions such as the GCP's sharp statistical deviations, or the birth defects described by Stevenson.

There is also, from a theoretical point of view, the question of how exactly information is encoded, or imprinted, into the fabric of reality. Regardless of what we choose to call the collection of memories produced by Stevenson's children, there is no question that, in the cases validated by him and others, there is at least proof of anomalous cognition involved. Yet, as he and others have repeatedly argued (see Becker, 1993), this is no typical psychic ability: these children have not given any indication that they are able to produce extrasensory information about subjects other than the personality they claim to be, or show any other aptitude for psychic functioning. From a remote viewer's perspective, there is a highly significant phenomenological discrepancy between the fragmentary, subtle mental impressions that form the typical RV data and the coherent, controlled retrieval of information that these individuals are capable of - spontaneously or under questioning. A similar chasm separates the experience of conscious or dream telepathy from that demonstrated by Stevenson's cases. If both sets of information (those involved in remote perception and those verified as "reincarnation evidence") require a non-physical substrate as an intermediary storage medium, why are the latter so much more cohesive?

Finally, Stevenson's case for biological "imprinting" of information on the foetus forces us to re-examine the problem of mind-matter interactions in light of their highly charged emotional content. As Stevenson has noted, about 35% of children who allege to remember previous lives present with atypical birthmarks or birth defects which are claimed to correspond to bodily wounds in the previous personality. From the 210 such cases he has investigated, 43 out of the 49 cases in which a post-mortem report was obtained showed a high concordance between wounds and birth defects - typically within a 10 square centimeter radius of the same anatomical location, but often much closer or present at multiple locations, as in the case of bullet entry and exit points (Stevenson,1993). The parapsychology literature is also unanimous in recognizing the importance of emotionally-charged targets in functions like presentiment/precognition (with negative emotions showing by far more prominence to the percipient's mind). Does powerful emotion bind together cognitive representations and automatic reactions (including a possibly archaic psi function) in the same way as the emotional memory shortcut loop studied by neurophysiologists (Chin 1996)? Is this the basis of karmic doctrine, of belief in the persistence of psychic complexes which are fated to seek new physical experiences until gradually dissolved by enlightenment?

Regardless of how we choose to interpret Stevenson's data, his evidence should give fresh impetus to the study of anomalous cognition. While most of the parapsychology literature has tended to focus on subject parameters (psychological profile, brain states, etc) it is our belief that the careful investigation of target characteristics (the type of information that best manifests in psi function, and how this information packet is organized) has just as much to teach us about remote perception. It is our hope that this joint discussion may bring to light some novel perspectives and research possibilities - as well as a deeper understanding of the functional organization of Global Consciousness.





RN: Roger Nelson
SK: Stanley Krippner
JT: Jim Tucker
MG: Mark Germine
CK: Chris King
MP: Matti Pitkanen
GZ: Gerry Zeitlin 

Moderator: Lian Sidorov


Roger Nelson is the director of the Global Consciousness Project ( Until his retirement in 2002, he served as the coordinator of experimental work in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR lab, directed by Robert Jahn in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering/Applied Science, Princeton University.

Stanley Krippner is professor of psychology at Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco and a former director of the Kent State University Child Study Center, Kent OH, and of the Maimonides Medical Center Dream Research Laboratory, Brooklyn NY. He is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Indian Psychology and Revista Argentina de Psicologia Paranormal, and the advisory board for International School for Psychotherapy, Counseling, and Group Leadership (St. Petersburg) and the Czech Unitaria (Prague). He holds faculty appointments at the Universidade Holistica Internacional (Brasilia) and the Instituto de Medicina y Tecnologia Avanzada de la Conducta (Ciudad Juarez).

Jim Tucker is Assistant Professor in the Division of Personality Studies ( ), Department of Psychiatric Medicine of the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). His research on cases suggestive of reincarnation has been published in Psychological Reports, The Journal of Scientific Exploration and The Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality. 

Chris King is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, University of Auckland, NZ. 
Publications of interest include:
King C.C. 2003 Chaos, Quantum-transactions and Consciousness: A Biophysical Model of the Intentional Mind NeuroQuantology 1, 129-148.
King C. C. 2003 Biocosmology WED Open Peer Reviewed Monographs 2 1-42. . See for additional work.

Mark Germine  is a clinical psychiatrist with a post-doctoral clinical neuroscience research fellowship in 1990-1992 at Yale University School of Medicine.  He is associate editor of the journal Dynamical Psychology and a  recipient of the American Psychological Foundation F. J. McGuigan Award for contributions to the understanding of the human mind.  For related publications see and previous issues of JNLRMI 

Matti Pitkanen is on the editorial board of JNLRMI and a former professor in the Department of Physical Sciences, High Energy Physics Division at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Related online papers and books are available at and in previous issues of JNLRMI

Gerry Zeitlin is a graduate of Cornell University (B.E.E. 1960) and the University of Colorado (M.S.E.E. 1969). His work in physics and astronomy is outlined at
He currently runs the Open SETI Initiative .





Dr. Roger Nelson:


1. Could you share with our readers the origins of the Global Consciousness Project? How was the idea initially received by the parapsychology community - was the scientific world ready for it?

RN: Origins go back to philosophical considerations, for example, being impressed by the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin, presented in The Phenomenon of Man and The Future of Man. In the early '90's it became possible to do field work with REGs in group situations, and this led to some prototype, ad hoc experiments with multiple REGs at separated locations: the OJ Simpson trial, the Gaiamind Meditation, the funeral ceremonies for Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. This work developed into the idea of a permanent network of continuously recorded REGs placed around the world in late 1997, and after some months of preparation, the GCP (EGG) network was in place by August 1998.

Most people in parapsychology were interested, and positive but careful; several became participant contributors. The consensus, I think, was that this was a good idea even if far out, but that it had to be done with scientific rigor.


2. What is the rough number and distribution of the GCP random number generators?

RN: There are, as of October 2003, about 60 active eggs in the network. They are distributed as broadly as we can arrange with volunteer hosts, and we have sites from Alaska to Fiji, in both hemispheres, all continents but Antarctica, and in most time zones.


3. What is the most sparsely populated area in which you have located a RNG ? Have you noticed any correlations between a region's population density or its degree of media exposure and the magnitude/temporal onset of the statistical deviation?

RN: I don't know what is the most sparsely populated area -- maybe Alaska? I have not seen evidence of correlations with population density, and we have not looked at questions like the local media exposure on individual eggs, except informally. In the coming year we will develop greater facility to examine questions like that, but they require subsidiary information and measures that have to be developed. We do not assume that the eggs are affected primarily by the local environment, though that remains a research question. The evidence points to nonlocal effects, and toward "relevance" as the more potent manifestation of "distance".


4. Is there any evidence for a "wave of deviations" reflecting spatio-temporally dependent events such as local New Year celebrations? In other words, are local RNGs more likely to be influenced by geographically proximal human reactions (i.e. analyses for 1999 Indian elections, Wien University exams)?

RN: See the previous question. As for New Years, we do signal averaging that simply combines all time zones to yield a result representing, in effect, a single, synchronous celebration. In this case, the data from eggs all over the world are used for each sequential midnight. The strong result is one piece of evidence favoring the notion that the anomalous structuring effect is nonlocal. Yet we have seen some evidence of stronger deviations in geographically local eggs, specifically, in the data from September 11 2001 (but note the relevance conundrum.) We can in principle do an analysis that would test whether the New Year's effect is larger on relatively local eggs. This is one of the areas we will focus on in the next year of comprehensive analytical work.


5. Is there any indication, from your preliminary analysis, that some kind of amplification also occurs at a cognitive level? In other words, have you tried to look for RNG effects in isolated locations or populations without access to current news? Have you any indication that such populations might have been cognitively affected by a global tidal wave of psychological upheaval - the source of which nevertheless remained hidden to these individuals?

RN: While we have not looked for effects on isolated locations as you suggest, there is good evidence in the data that much or most of what happens in the "global consciousness" is unconscious. For example, the huge deviations on September 11th 2001 began some hours before the overt events. I think, by implication, there may indeed be subtle effects of major global upheavals on people who don't know about the primary source.

6. This might be a stretch - but based on Cleve Backster's well-known work with plant "primary perception" (Stone 1994, 1995; Jensen 1997) there is reason to hypothesize that large plant populations might also be capable of an effect on RNGs when exposed to a powerful threat. Have you ever considered placing a number of RNGs in the vicinity of, say, a forest area scheduled for controlled burning? It would probably be important, in such a study, to separate any major human reaction from that of the organisms involved - therefore a controlled fire would be better suited than a wild one, which can evoke large-scale reactions of fear and loss among humans. Along the same line, it might be interesting to test a field RNG's reaction to half of an animal population when the other one is removed and distantly sacrificed - as might happen on laboratory subjects or farm animals diagnosed with a contagious disease. According to a series of preliminary studies published in the July issue of JNL (see Agadjanian, 2003) such split animal populations appear capable of communicating their experience at least to the point of stimulating an increased replication rate in the unexposed group. It might therefore be interesting to note any possible RNG effects from such remote "primary perceptions"... How do you feel about expanding the GCP paradigm beyond the scope of human consciousness?

RN: The experiments you propose are interesting but out of the line of development of the GCP. Someone else could use our technology, but we don't plan to go there. Our mission is to develop and manage a monitor for the globe that might give us insight into subtle manifestations of events that are important to humans. This is a big enough task to preclude excursions into other areas that themselves would require serious and ongoing investment to do properly. As for expanding beyond the scope of human consciousness, it is apparent to me that we have lots to learn before concluding that what we see in the data is in fact due exclusively to humans. My guess is there are other sources than the nominal. In one direction, we have to consider the experimenters; in the other we have to consider the whole universe, animals, trees, and the earth herself.

7. The September 11, 2001 event was one of the most shocking, reverberating tragedies in recent memory - and presumably the one with the greatest cultural resonance since the start of the GCP experiment. Your results demonstrate not only a significant deviation from typical RNG behavior, but, surprisingly, that this pattern began several hours prior to the onset of the events (Nelson, 2002; Radin, 2002) Have you noted this type of "pre-sentient" RNG behavior in any other circumstances - and if so, can you make any observations about the type of event that tends to trigger it - are major catastrophic occurrences more likely to manifest this pattern than positive events? What about unscheduled (i.e. earthquakes, deaths) versus scheduled (large group meditations, New Year Celebrations) events? Does the magnitude (presumably demonstrating the size of the impact on our collective subconscious) correlate with the onset of the deviation?

RN: Good questions, and ones that we do have some preliminary experience with. There is a little evidence that surprise catastrophic events like earthquakes may register a little ahead of the nominal time. I have not seen any similar suggestive evidence in the scheduled events, but the question has not been well-defined. Except for September 11, we have not done thorough assessments, and conclusions are not yet warranted. This topic will be one of several specific areas we will be addressing in the intense analysis program planned for the next year.


8. It is also very interesting to note, in this context, that the data obtained on Monday, September 10, 2001 by a group of trained remote viewers (the Hawaii Remote Viewing Guild) meeting for their weekly class was remarkably congruent with the events that were to take place approximately 7 hours later (see "Migrations into the near future" by Sita Seery in this issue). How do you try to interpret such "intrusions" of future events into our consciousness?

RN: I don't try to interpret these descriptions. I find them interesting, but I would have to be much better educated about the material, the sources and context, before I would feel comfortable attempting any interpretation.



Dr. Stanley Krippner:


9. Dr. Krippner, in your book "Dream Telepathy" you conclude that "an important ingredient in the success of experiments [...] is the use of potent, vivid, emotionally impressive human interest pictures to which both agent and subject can relate". You have also made the observation that certain basic themes (for example eating, drinking, or religious themes) tend to come through more predictibly. Have you been able to further differentiate between various classes of targets - i.e. are archetypal images, or culturally prominent symbols, more readily transmitted?

SK: No. These are great ideas; we did not have the financial resources to do this, but perhaps someone will in the future.

10. Have you noticed any "contaminating" elements (information originating from one participant's personal experience or circumstances, rather than the expected association basin of the designated target) that seem to inadvertently manifest in other participants' dreams?

SK: Yes. We have discussed this "contamination" in our book and articles. It happened early in our studies, but did not happen once we took steps to keep the "sender" from reading extraneous material, etc.

11. In 1971, you attempted an experiment in which the telepathic image was to be transmitted by approximately 2,000 agents simultaneously. The target slide was "The seven spinal chakras" by Scralian and was projected on a wall, before a concert audience, with the words "Try using your ESP to 'send' this picture to Malcolm Bessent. He will try to dream about the picture. Try to 'send it to him. Malcolm Bessent is now at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn". A number of clear correspondences (mean score of 83 out of 100) appeared in Bessent's dream that night, whereas the control subject, whose name and location was not disclosed to the audience, showed a high correspondence score (96 out of 100) for this image two nights later. Overall, however, there was no significant improvement in dream correspondence scores with 2,000 agents as opposed to the typical single one.

How do you interpret these findings in light of the purported field effect observed by the Global Consciousness Project? Do you feel there might be a difference between emotional and symbolic cognitive interactions at the global level - that perhaps a resonant effect, or constructive interference, is only possible for the former? Does your body of research support such a hypothesis - have you noted a difference between the group communication patterns of abstract versus emotional content?

SK: Here you are asking questions on the basis of one study, a study that did not yield overall positive results. So to make a conjecture would not be possible.


12. Another one of your experiments (the "Vaughan Study") showed that using the same target over several nights decreased, rather than increased, the overall correspondence scores. In other words, the amount of time an agent spent "transmitting" the target image did not result in improved performance. In your book, you assign this observation to the gradual loss of interest on the part of the agent, who found herself increasingly bored with the single target.

This is a particularly interesting finding in light of RV performance, because it suggests that the amount of time spent "probing" a target aspect may be less important than the intensity of the focus with which it is probed (assuming that telepathy and remote viewing share a similar mechanism, as suggested by Ingo Swann). Somehow, for both sender (target) and percipient, remote sensing appears to require a critical threshold of intent, which typically seems to undergo a rapid decay rate once generated - hence the need for persistent re-focusing, re-probing and re-cueing...

Have you found that particular agent focusing techniques tended to enhance the probability of successful telepathy? For example, you have noted that a "sensory bombardment" with visual, auditory and tactile stimuli meant to reinforce a particular idea for the agent (such as "Birds" or "Painter") appeared to evoke significant dream correspondences in the subjects. How does that compare with situations in which the agent is simply asked to think of multiple associations for his target - and do these sensory associations tend to appear in the subject's dream more vividly or consistently when there is a real multi-sensory immersion on the part of the agent? To translate this into RV analysis language, do you feel it might be possible to differentiate between valid remote perception and cognitive contamination among multiple viewers on the basis of how complex and multi-faceted a piece of data appears across their reports - or do associated, recalled mental images easily morph into various sensory aspects in your experience?

SK: The pilot study you mention was such a minor attempt that no conclusions can be drawn from it. Your suggestion to compare abstract vs. emotional content is a good one, and if someone would like to do it, I would be delighted. The Maimonides dream transcripts were destroyed (without my permission) and so we can not do it retrospectively. And your other questions can not be answered because there are not enough data available from the work that we did.

I must say that these questions are extremely perceptive. If the dream transcripts had not been destroyed, it would be possible to go back and make a retrospective analysis. All that I have is the record of judgings that were done and the dates on which the experiments took place. This enabled Michael Persinger and me to look for geomagnetic correlates with the studies as a whole and with the subject who spent the most nights in our laboratory. In both analyses we found such correlates at statistically significant levels (and published the results).


Dr. Jim Tucker


13. Dr. Tucker, you have directly investigated a number of cases suggestive of reincarnation. How many points of validated evidence do you typically require to consider a case solved, and what type of evidence do you feel is most persuasive?

JT: While we have criteria for when to register a case, the determination that a case is solved is more subjective. Occasionally, a child’s statements need to be compared to the specifics of the life of more than one deceased individual to see which one is a better match. A case being solved does not mean that we are convinced that it is a case of reincarnation but rather that the child’s reported statements appear to correspond to one particular individual.

As for which evidence is most persuasive, that can certainly vary from case to case, but the rare cases that include written documentation of the child’s statements made before the case was solved I find hard to dismiss, particularly the ones that include very specific details about the previous personality.


14. How is your research approach today different from the methods pioneered by Dr. Stevenson? Which aspects of this phenomenon intrigue you most? What about the theoretical approach - are there any comparative studies attempting to place such cases within a broader class of phenomena? How do you see the future evolution of your field?

JT: The basic approach to investigating the cases is the same-trying to document as accurately as possible what each child said, whether he or she had access to the information through normal means, the details of the previous personality’s life, etc. Beyond that, as we are getting more and more of this data in our computer database, we are now able to look more at features of the cases as a group, so we may be able to get insights that we cannot get from simply looking at individual cases. Nonetheless, the careful study of strong individual cases remains the backbone of the work.

One area that intrigues me is that of cases in the West. We have gotten a number of reports of cases from parents with no previous belief in reincarnation or with a previous distain for the idea, and while the American cases are weaker that the best of the Asian ones, this may be because we haven’t collected enough yet to find the really strong ones. If we could find cases here that were as strong as the best Asian ones, then I think they would have to make an impact on people’s thinking regarding reincarnation.

For now, the predominant question in the work is whether the cases are evidence of reincarnation or at least of the ability of young children to have memories of previous lives, and until we are able to answer that question with reasonable confidence, we will have difficulty moving the field to other areas. People have asked from time to time, “Why collect more cases?” but until we’ve collected enough so that we can say with confidence, “Some young children have memories of previous lives” or “Young children are not capable of remembering previous lives,” then moving on to other issues is difficult. 


15. In a recent JSE paper (Stevenson and Haraldsson, 2003), the authors compare certain features of reincarnation type cases as documented about one generation apart by two different investigators. Remarkable in both series is the mean age when the child first began speaking about his previous life (31 months for IS; 32 months for EH); the mention of the previous personality's name (in 88%, respectively 63% of the children); the percentage of cases in which the child mentioned the mode of death (82% for IS; 83% for EH); the proportion of violent deaths among these (73% for IS and 80% for EH); and the prevalence of unusual behaviors such as phobias related to the previous life (typically mode of death), which occurred in 77% of IS's cases and 42% of EH's cases.

How do these memories typically present, how many specific details tend to be spontaneously described at one time?

JT: The memories present in different ways. Often, the children are very young when they begin making a statement here or there, and the statements gradually form a cohesive story. At times, families have difficulty being certain that a particular statement relates to the previous life that the child has described, and the children often resist questioning. In other situations, however, the children come out with the bulk of the story in one sitting and remain very consistent during any questioning about it.


16. How consistently are the children able to retrieve specific information when prompted to do so? Is there any qualitative difference you have observed between the way they describe current life memories and those of the alleged past personality - such as richness of sensory detail, the speed of information retrieval, logical associations between memories, temporal coherence of the perspective on a given episode, etc? (This would be particularly interesting to compare with the usual mode of information retrieval in remote viewing, where the data most typically manifests as fragmented sensory or conceptual material; and "normal" episodal memories, where one's mental film remains more or less a replay of the events as perceived at the time.) 

JT: Many of the children are not able or at least not willing to answer questions about their memories. They seem to have to be in the right frame of mind to express them, and this is often during relaxed times. Certainly, exceptions exist, and some of the children talk about the past lives on a nearly constant basis. Parents often report that the children are very serious when they discuss their memories--that their manner is very different from when they are fantasizing. The memories often seem rather fragmentary, though some of the fragments, of course, are much bigger than others are. I cannot give a good answer to the question of differences between their descriptions of current life memories and the past life ones except to say that many show an intense emotional attachment to the past life ones. That emotion may be quite intermittent, but the children may cry intensely as they describe missing previous parents or other family members.


17. Recent brain imaging studies into multiple personality syndrome (MPS) have shown that the patterns of hippocampus activation (which are associated with the laying down and retrieval of personal memories) vary markedly between the different personalities. For example, Condie and Tsai found that when a dominant personality was replaced by a weaker alter, hippocampal activity died down only to light up again when the dominant personality returned - as if they both had access to different memory basins. These changes, however, were not observed when simply "play-acting" a personality shift. It is also interesting to note that the consensus explanation for MPS involves a defense mechanism against emotional trauma, which scars or severs natural memory pathways (Carter, 2003).

Has there been any attempt so far to use this type of imaging in order to study children in the act of recollecting past life memories? Especially in cases where there is a strong behavioral or skill-type effect, one might hypothesize that the past-life, adult memories of the previous personality might overwhelm the set of memories formed by the child in this life. Were hippocampal activation patterns to differ in this fashion, we would have not only a further indication that these personality-centered memories are far more complex than mere imagination, but also a proof that they affect the very physical foundation of the brain - which would not be surprising, given Dr. Stevenson's remarkable findings with respect to the high correlations between atypical birthmarks/birth defects and the validated mode of death in the previous personality (Stevenson, 1993). Indeed, the brain and its activity during foetal development may be an important link in understanding the impact of these psychic information clusters on the child's somatic evolution.

JT: No functional imaging studies have been done with these children. Logistical difficulties would have to be overcome-such as having equipment and cases available in the same location, having the children recall the memories on demand, etc-but beyond that, we would not know at this point what to look for. Recent studies in neuropsychology have looked at functional imaging differences when general subjects recall accurate memories vs. false ones, but at this point, tests are not available to assess a particular memory in a particular subject.

I would not expect the patterns in these subjects to be the same as the ones with multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder, as it is now known). Many of the children talk about the past life in the past tense; they do not appear to dissociate and “become” the previous personality.


18. What is the typical age and experience these children seem to recall? Do most of these alleged past life memories center around a particular age or event, or can the children easily move along their previous life time-line and produce information on demand? Have you been able to identify any general patterns - are children most likely to dwell on their routine environment and habits, or on particularly traumatic events, including death, in their previous incarnation? Are there particular types of memories, particular sensory modalities (such as visual, auditory, olfactory, texture) reported more frequently than others? Any particular trends in "archetypal experiences" - ie. are children more likely to evoke the life of a soldier? mother? leader? And has it been your general experience that these individuals are not aware of events which occurred between their purported death and their new life?

JT: The children tend to talk about people and events from the end of the previous life, and 75% of them state the mode of death for the previous personality. Along with that traumatic memory are more mundane ones, as the children recall various everyday details of the previous life. Most of the children do not seem able to easily move along their previous life time-line, and many of those who recall lives as adults appear unable to access early life events at all.

The memories do not appear to involve any particular sensory modalities, but that can be difficult to judge from the children’s statements. The children do not report “archetypal experiences” but rather the details of routine lives.

While most of the children do not say anything about events between lives, a few describe intermission memories. These can involve either memories of events on Earth that occurred after the death, usually near either the home or the place of death of the previous personality and occasionally at least partially verifiable, or ones of another realm with spiritual beings.


19. Have you seen cases in which the child confused events in the lives of past relatives or friends with his own experiences (as the previous personality) - perhaps trying to fit all these memories into a meaningful pattern, as we do in dreams?

JT: By all appearances, the children report memories from the vantage point of only one deceased individual. One possible exception is Stevenson’s case in Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation of Imad Elawar, who vividly described a fatal accident in which the uncle of the man eventually identified as the previous personality died, but that is a very complex case. Otherwise, the details given by the children match the life of the identified previous personalities and not their relatives. The parents sometimes try to fit the various statements of the children into a meaningful pattern (as in the case of Imad Elawar when the parents were judged to have inferred details about the previous life that were not accurate), but when the previous personality is identified, the statements that are correct are correct for that one individual. Some statements are incorrect, of course, just as some of our memories of our own childhoods are incorrect.


20. The question I am working toward is whether such memory complexes might in fact linger in our collective subconscious and be "adopted" by a young child on the basis of some yet-unknown predisposing factors. Both Warcollier and Krippner (Warcollier 2001; Ullman and Krippner, 1973), to mention only two major investigators, have noted that a certain latency between information transmission and reception is rather common in telepathy - ranging from minutes to days or even longer; is it conceivable that such information becomes part of our collective, trans-temporal record and that anyone might be able to tap into it? Is there any persuasive argument you can invoke for interpreting this validation data (otherwise a spectacular body of evidence for nonlocal, trans-temporal information access) as proof for reincarnation, rather than a single-target, recurrent type of anomalous perception? How would you ultimately differentiate between "reincarnation" and remote "tapping" into the collective unconscious?

JT: Well, depending on how you define “single-target, recurrent type of anomalous perception,” you might end up with what amounts to being another term for reincarnation, but many of these cases clearly involve more than just information transmission. The birthmarks, emotions, and behaviors that accompany the memories all suggest an individual consciousness that has continued from a previous life rather than adopted memory complexes that have somehow attached to a young child. A child who cries every day for his previous parents certainly appears to be an individual who is missing his parents from a previous life rather than a child who has unknowingly tapped into the collective unconscious. Likewise, the fact that the memories cluster around items that would have been on the mind of the previous personality at the time of death suggests that the consciousness has somehow continued from the end of that life, as opposed to a super-psi explanation that might be expected to include more varied memories.

Two other arguments against the idea of nonlocal information access: as in the case of crying children, it runs directly opposite to the subjective experiences of the subjects, who believe that they are remembering events that they previously experienced in a prior life, and in addition, almost all of these children show no other paranormal abilities that would predispose them to being able to access such information.


Joint questions


21. A recent series of independent studies has shown that one's focus, or global brain configuration, has an unexpected effect on the firing patterns of sensory processing neurons, starting as early as the bottom of the visual hierarchy (McCrone, 1997). This top-down modulation runs contrary to everything neurophysiologists traditionally believed about the emergence of mental processes - but it is not much of a surprise from the empirical perspective of remote viewing, where the strength and specificity of intent produces data that is highly specific to particular cues (such as visual, auditory, olfactory, emotional, aesthetic impact, etc).

RV analysis presents a particularly fertile area for studying the way in which information is decoded by each viewer. Of course, as in psychoanalysis, symbols are highly individualized and fluctuate with time; the focus also tends to vary, with viewers apparently attracted by different aspects of the target: some viewers tend to produce very detailed technical data while others are more sensitive to landscapes or the emotions and personal rapport of humans detected at the target. Finally, the angle from which a target is "approached" on initial contact, as determined from the post-session analysis of sketches and visual descriptors, seems to vary considerably between individual viewers - with some describing the view from overhead while others approach it from ground level or even the center of the target... This observation, in particular, seems to hide some important clues about the formalism of data encoding and processing in the global information space - perhaps analogous to the sensitivity of specialized neurons to particular lines, angles, directions of movement, etc. (see Diamond & al., 1999)

What, in your opinion, might account for two or more remote viewers seeing the same target from different perspectives, or "picking up" different conceptual aspects?

RN: Seems likely to be much the same as in ordinary perception, where most who study the topic agree that it is constructive. We bring to our view of the world the characteristics of the viewer, biases, experience, motivations, etc. I think we should expect something like that, perhaps even more pervasively, in remote viewing.

SK: Of course two remote viewers could "pick up" different aspects of the target. Just look at the data from mainstream psychology, especially that concerning eyewitness reports of crimes and accidents. People see events through their own lens, and these lens are based on early experience as well as genetic perceptual differences.

GZ: In addressing this question one must keep in mind that the formal RV protocol is based on a model of a viewer fixed in the laboratory and recording incoming impressions, not actually traveling as in the "OOBE" model. Although some RVers occasionally eschew the formal protocol and undertake a "trip" to the target, we need to assume that this question does not allow for that, which would actually create a second and very different question.

Thus when this question refers to 'the angle from which a target is "approached" on initial contact, as determined from the post-session analysis of sketches and visual descriptors', it is already contradicting the protocol assumed to be in operation during the RV session.

It is impossible, however, to draw an image of the target or to describe its appearance without interjecting an apparent visual angle, but one must not impute an actual approach from the data. But a viewing angle does not require an actual approach. One could as well imagine the viewer had used a powerful telescopic capability that could be used from the viewing position. I suppose it would be useful to check whether the recorded viewing angle actually matched what would be seen under those circumstances.

Assuming the answer to that check is "no", then the viewing perspective is just another aspect of the recording, along with the other conceptual aspects picked up. And that simplifies the question.

When something is observed or experienced, a conceptual model of the actual thing that it is, seems to be constructed or encoded by the observer based on the raw sensory data received and the observer's choices in ordering or prioritizing the data. In the RV situation there is no raw sensory data input, but all the other faculties of integrating and modeling, whatever they may be, are there and are used to construct the observer's inner model. We don't know what those faculties are, and we don't know how or of what the model is "constructed". In fact there is a deeper mystery here, because the existence of a model implies that sensory organs etc. are used to view it, and of course this leads to an infinite succession of model making and viewing.

Laughlin, McManus, and d'Aquili in Brain, Symbol, & Experience postulate Conscious Network (always capitalized) as the ultimate experiencer in the brain, sidestepping the infinite regress of models viewed by homunculi. But they haven't actually located Conscious Network. It's just another postulate.

Does the literature on consciousness contain any more satisfactory proposition as to how things are experienced? Lacking that, my answer to the current question would be that we need to have a general explanation for conscious experience of ordinary, local objects and events before we can explain features of the remote viewing process.


MP: That focus would have strong effect on neuronal firing patterns conforms with the hypothesis that time mirror mechanism is a general mechanism of brain functioning. In this approach neural firing is preceded by a process, which is much like a desire communicated from the top of organization downwards and generating lower level desires. This process proceeds downwards along the hierarchy of magnetic bodies down to the level of sensory organs and from there to brain and brain and CNS finally respond to the process by generating neural activity (remember Libet's findings about time delays of consciousness).

That different viewers pick up different conceptual aspects is quite an interesting finding. If the remote viewer is like a single neuron of a higher level collective self, the personal RV profile would be analogous to the specialization of the neuron, and also reflect the "wiring" between the "neurons" of the multi-brained higher level self.


CK: Actually standard tests of perceptual judgment show that active cognition is able to determine the mode of perceptual discrimination when different strategies of visual assessment of the sameness of two stimuli with respect to two differing populations are proposed. 

I have a problem with the preponderance of remote viewing as an idea. I want to explain why it is limited and limiting as a concept. All conscious viewing is essentially remote viewing. Also remote viewing is an attempt to tame and confine the 'otherness' of psychic consciousness.

Firstly remote viewing tends to assume we have a clairvoyant capacity to se other places and know the conditions of those places. However this doesn't in any way address the mystery of intent, the nature of consciousness, or any idea of the after life or disincarnate consciousness. Evidence that there is a mental plane is little help to us unless we can begin to understand the "otherness" - the deep and utterly wild differences this 'abyss' might have. Basically we want remote viewing powers to convince ourselves that life is worth living because it has a supernatural dimension, but we want it to be tame enough that we don't have our own ideas too seriously challenged.

Central to this is the failure of remote viewing to address of itself the paradox of intentionality or how to deal with anticipating reality - not just precognition, but survival through anticipating change in terms of the quantum realm. This is a similar failing to the initial ideas of morphic resonance which were primarily spatial without fully addressing the paradoxes time and intentionality raise about reality. It is only when we begin to consider how present can anticipate future and what kind of universe it is that permits this that we are beginning to face these questions.


22. In his work with plant "primary perception", Cleve Backster has repeatedly noted that his subjects only seemed to respond to authentic, spontaneous emotions: for example, a sincere impulse to burn the plant would evoke a marked electrophysiological response, but only pretending to did not (Stone 1994, 1995; Jensen 1997). Furthermore, when he correlated his out-of-laboratory experiences with the polygraph tracings of the experimental plants or cells, he consistently found the significant deviations to coincide with emotional reactions - whereas neutral conversation and events did not produce any remarkable signatures.

How do you interpret these results, especially in light of the preceding discussion? Why would the same mental image (i.e. burning a leaf) only evoke a response when genuine emotion (such as aggression) accompanied it?

RN: How could it be otherwise? To the extent there is plant perception, or anomalous perception of any kind, it seems sensible to expect it to penetrate facade and deception as easily as it penetrates the barriers of locality and missing physical medium. In other words, if we are talking about a truly "psychic" phenomenon, we must expect it to operate transparently in a transparent world.

SK: I can not comment on this question because I do not consider Backster's work sufficiently well established. The experiments you cite have never been published in a refereed scientific journal.

MP: Authentic emotions are necessary if sharing of mental images is involved.

CK: If you are talking mental action you have to explain why you think an image of burning will be transmitted but lethal intent or the sense of deceit in cheating will not. Isn't the raw emotion simpler, more direct an organismic reality than a complex image of fire?


23. One alternative to the hypothesis of reincarnation would be that past-life memories are simply association basins strengthened by a powerful emotional event - such as when people report that "their life flashed before their eyes" . If there is a non-physical information substrate accounting for anomalous, non-local perception, then one might surmise that a group of trained remote viewers blindly targeting such a case would be able to produce more cohesive data about the "past-life impressions" of a very young child than about his recent memories. Alternatively, blind RV targeting of the previous personality (once a reasonable identification has been made by the field researcher) could give us a clue about which events in his/her life are most salient to remote perception. Comparing these three sets of data (the child's, the viewers' and the objective history of the previous personality) might yield valuable insights into how information is encoded and accessed nonlocally.

How do you feel about such an experiment - do you think there may be anything worth learning from it, and would it be ethical, in your opinion?

SK: The proposed experiment would, indeed, produce valuable information. But it would be expensive. Who would fund it?

JT: To repeat, the past-life memory cases involve a lot more than just information, and any explanation that starts with an information transfer to explain the other features, the birthmarks, emotions, and behaviors, becomes rather convoluted. Having remote viewers attempt to access facts from the previous life might be interesting, but I'm not sure what it would really tell us. Similarly, having mediums try to contact the previous personality could be very interesting, but interpreting the results might be challenging.

GZ: Lian has clarified the first part of this question, up to the word "Alternatively", for me (personal communication).

· The connection of "a powerful emotional event" with the "life flash" experience is a reference to the commonly-reported review experienced at the time of a major life-threatening event or NDE, which are presumed to be powerful emotional events.

· "Case" refers to Ian Stevenson's use of the term, as in "cases suggestive of reincarnation". This does not imply, as I understand it, that the flash life review itself qualifies the case as being suggestive of reincarnation, and in fact I don't believe Lian is suggesting using subjects who have had the life flash experience. The suggestion is simply to remote-view "cases suggestive of reincarnation", and the purpose would be to determine if information could be developed by RV that could be attributed to previous lives.

· I had asked:

Why would the proposition of a non-physical substrate lead one to surmise that RV would produce this particular result, and why is this limited to a case of a very young child? Given that very young children are more likely to have "past-life impressions", I still don't see why data about those past-life impressions should be more cohesive than recent memories if there is a non-physical substrate.

Lian explained that most RV theories invoke something like a pure information substrate, and reincarnation research suggests the same. Thus past-life memories might be susceptible to probing through RV. Since the bulk of past-life memories would have been recorded by the past personality in a mature state of development, these memories might be more cohesive than the present-life memories of a 3-4 year-old child, and in fact might overwhelm them as well. RV of the previous life could perhaps be used to check on these memories. If the match was not good, various other explanations for them could be considered.

As to how I would feel about an experiment along the lines of the first part of this question as clarified, I think that the idea is generally logical, but there must be a well-thought-out experimental design; otherwise the results could be rather chaotic. The design should clearly state the issue that the experiment is intended to elucidate. Presumably the point of the experiment is to remote-view the presumed past life in order to shed light on the hypothesis that the subjects' memories are indeed due to a connection with a past-life personality (via the substrate). Is the relative cohesiveness of two sets of memories (present-life and "past") significant and will the differences in cohesiveness themselves be used to select subjects for the experiment? Will a standard RV judging protocol be used, and is it clear how the results will be statistically evaluated? Will the aforementioned cohesiveness enter into the evaluation in some way? (I would expect not, but this question needs to be asked.)

The alternative proposed experiment is intended to reveal information about the nature and functioning of the "substrate" or other means of accessing nonlocal information. This one is also interesting, but appears to be less amenable to formal design and more of an exploration. Insights gained from this experiment could then lead into a more structured follow-up study to either test the validity of the insights or to develop further detail.

Now as to the ethics - and perhaps this should have been addressed first - I cannot see how these experiments could be considered ethical. Young children are not competent to decide whether or not to enter into such experiments. In matters of health and other vital issues, decisions are expected to be made by the parents. However, these proposed experiments are not vital to the child's well-being, and in fact might well prove to be damaging in some way, such as by revealing information that would actually be hurtful. In this case I cannot support letting the decision as to whether to participate be made by the parents, the child, or by anyone else.

In other words, these experiments are unethical and should not be performed.

MP: The experiment would be very interesting. A skeptic would probably argue that the experiment is quite too complex. Concerning the proposed interpretation of re-incarnation:  normal personal identity could also be seen as being determined by the mental images that I have/share. For instance, the inhabitant of the TGD Universe identifies himself with his physical body during his biological life and with his magnetic body after his biological death. The personal evolution from highly ego-centered consciousness of a teenager could be seen as a process in which the sharing of mental images gradually delocalizes the contents of consciousness and ego centeredness gradually disappears.

CK: The sheaf of incarnation is the unravelling of reincarnation and the afterlife. I am a sheaf of incarnation containing threads of the incarnate in many beings. There is for example no need for me to be reincarnated nor to have past lives to be a living manifestation of another from another time. I may even be born on the epiphany, as I am, and yet not simply a reincarnation of Jesus while at the same time here to unveil the reunion. Furthermore we may each exist at the crest of full organismic consciousness only in the biological frame and still consciousness is eternal from alpha to omega and we are yet witness to the totality in this life.

Again the problem is one of taming the wilderness. 

I'm not remote viewing the Messiah - rather I am viewing reality remotely as I stand here in the living flesh - it's a question of being one with my own cubic centimetre of chance.


24. Although no spontaneous psi abilities are typically associated with children claiming to remember past lives, it is not unreasonable to suspect that they might be more gifted at such functions, should the opportunity present itself. Have there been any formal attempts at testing the anomalous perception scores of such children? (Perhaps a simple field test kit could be included in the general investigation of future cases in order to compare their scores to standard performance...)

SK: I like this suggestion but know of no attempt to discover possible psi capacities of children who claim to recall past lives. The "field test kit" is an intriguing idea. But because I do no work in this field, I can not comment on its feasibility.

JT: No such attempts have been made to my knowledge. At this point, we only have preliminary data about the psychological functioning of the subjects, and we haven't looked at any parapsychological functioning.

CK: The problem with natural psychic consciousness is that it is not recognized 're-cog-nized' in our culture. It is a natural evolutionary endowment of the non-ordinary reality in which consciousness manifests. There is no reason to expect it to be a rare gift in a uniquely talented individual but a hidden repressed aspect of human nature.


25. Jung saw symbols as "the best possible expression for something relatively unfamilar" (Vedfelt 1999, p40). He found that "the earliest dreams of childhood emanate from the very deepest layers of the personality and are so meaningful that they often foretell a person's life"; they are also "often more archetypal and impersonal than those of adults" (ibid., pp. 54)

Do you find that primitive, archetypal imagery is more commonly activated in remote viewing or telepathic transmission of targets which involve major emotional events? And do you feel that such targets tend to be associated with higher success rates in typical anomalous perception trials?

SK: In our experiments, we tried to use what you would call primitive, archetypal imagery. If the transcripts were still available, we could do an analysis of the dream telepathy sessions comparing targets along these dimensions.

MP: Jung's comment about symbols as emanating from the deepest levels of personality and even foretelling a person's life is highly interesting. I would like to relate it to the general TGD-inspired vision about cognitive hierarchies, and about the relationship between information and emotions.

p-Adic physics as physics of cognition means that p-adic space-time sheets represent correlates of cognition and intentionality. Real and p-adic topologies differ in a profound manner from each other: two rational points very near to each other p-adically are usually very far from each other in the real sense. This leads to the view that cognitive growth (proceeding from p-adically short to p-adically long scales) proceeds from long to short real scales. Typical example is a development of a skill from a clumsy movement to a refined pattern of motor activity.

That it is children who can remember from earlier lives and that the memories are archetypal symbols rather than detailed maps, has following interpretation in this picture. When child cognitively grows, her attention turns into details and the memories of earlier life and precognitions of life to come, disappear from the focus. The life as 4-D statue is not seen anymore so clearly. Note that the dominance of theta and delta in the EEG of child and the shift of EEG to higher frequencies during ageing conforms with this view.

Also remote(!) viewing could represent cognitively less detailed perception, kind of "overall viewing", involving long time and spatial scales. On the other hand, emotions represent overall summaries, only the few most significant bits of information, and thus correspond to long scales. That information molecules are also molecules of emotion is not an accident. Therefore the events inducing strong emotions should be the ones which can be remotely experienced.

"Overall view" could mathematically correspond to a statistical description involving concepts like entropy and negentropy. Suppose that a given sensory quale corresponds to a quantum average for the increment of a particular quantum in a sequence of quantum jumps defining the mental image. One can assign to each sensory quale a negentropy defined by the probability distribution of the corresponding quantum number increment. This negentropy or (and) its gradient with respect to subjective time might be identifiable as emotion(s) associated with that particular quale. The sign of this gradient would determine whether emotion is positive or negative.

CK: No - the most active manifestation of the archetypal is right here in the marketplace. It has to be to become manifest in the flesh. In the real world the skeins of karma are entwined with the collapsing wave function of history in a way which brings the supernormal into its fullest play.


26. Jung (see Vedfelt pp. 42) once described a series of dreams containing birth-and-death archetypal imagery written down by an 8-year old child who could not possibly have been exposed to this material - but which Jung interpreted as premonitory/preparatory dreams for her premature death (which occurred three years later).

What, in your opinion, is the likely origin of archetypes and universal symbols? Do you believe they merely reflect a parallel cognitive ontogeny that arises from the earliest life experiences of each individual and finds mental representation at the intersection of many such association basins - or are they somehow hard-wired into our collective unconscious? In other words, do you think some universal symbols (and their meaning) exist independently of, and prior to, an individual's sensory experiences?

SK: I do not believe there are "universal symbols." People forget that symbols are not the same as archetypes. Jung himself wrote that archetypes are expressed in symbols that reflect one's culture; hence there could be different symbols for each culture. As to the origin of archetypes, I believe they are physiological and that the neurosciences offer the best research arena for their study. I do not use the word "collective unconscious," preferring to think of a "pattern that connects" (to use Bateson's term), a pattern evident in the Nelson-Radin data.

MP: Perhaps one could see archetypes as mental images shared by very many selves, perhaps memories shared by many generations of humans (or even something much more general?). The most fundamental archetypes could be shared by different species, and shamanic experience might involve this kind of sharing.

Sharing is not a passive event but affects the mental image since some mental image of the sharer necessarily fuses with the shared mental image. Archetypes would be in some sense universal, objective mental images representing consensus, kind of a stereo vision using the eyes of the entire humanity.

CK: No they are a manifestation of collective aspects of consciousness. Archetypes are cultural cosmology in action.


27. If we do share a Meta-Mind, to use Ingo Swann's terminology, then what do you think lies ahead of us in terms of scientific challenge: beyond the immediate implications for society (increased sensitivity to each other, compassion, a more coherent application of collective intent), what is our next great area of discovery?

RN: Survival of our human environment? We certainly seem to need something like a metamind to get moving on the major problems of population, environmental depredation, social dis-harmony and imbalances, destructive (war) vs constructive intent and actions. A major challenge is for consciousness science to become more useful in social terms.

SK: If something like a "Meta-Mind" exists, the challenge is to research it, and to find the funds to study it. Until the data are available, speculation is not something I would feel comfortable doing.

JT: Some physicists are already discussing the importance of consciousness in the universe, and given the fact that the effects of consciousness may be retroactive in time, I wonder if the Meta-Mind may one day be considered to have been a driving force in the evolution of the universe and of life on Earth so that the evolution would include conscious beings. Future consciousness may have willed conscious beings into existence, so perhaps we will one day judge our Creator to have been, at least in part, ourselves. When a giant figure in physics like John Wheeler designs a thought experiment that shows that a conscious observer on Earth in the present could determine which path a photon from a distant galaxy took millions of years ago, then science may well be moving toward an understanding of the effects of consciousness as our next great area of discovery.

MG: My work has involved the One Mind Model of quantum reality, which somehow seems to be excluded from among the many viable models of quantum reality. My most recent work, along with references to my other work, has been published in Dynamical Psychology (2003), URL:

Essentially, the One Mind model holds reality is knowledge, that the Universe exists purely by virtue of being known, and that we all share this Universal knowledge in an implicit or unconscious sense. Applied to quantum physics, the model predicted that the brains response to a pre-observed stimulus would differ from that of an observed stimulus. Such differences have been found and described (see also Germine, 1998; 2002, cited by Lian Sidorov in his Concluding Remarks).

Henry Stapp summed the One Mind model up well at the Quantum Mind 2003 conference: “Instead of one universe, there is one mind.” Although various other interpretations have been made of my experimental results, that fact is that these interpretations are post-facto, and were not generated by the hypothesis the experiment was designed to test.

The Universe of information is potentially available to the human brain. My experiments show that actualizing an event or bringing into reality is a function of the observing brain, and that, once actualized, the brain responds in a different manner to a stimulus representing the actualized event. The differences in response involve a regular alpha periodic function (8 to 12 Hertz), which seems to be subcortical in origin.

I have proposed that the mechanics of the differing alpha responses in the pre-observed and observed conditions involves cortical inhibition or a subcortical alpha generator, in particular inhibition of perseveration of common tone response in the condition of first observation. Inhibition of perseveration involves the prefrontal cortex, in particular the anterior cingulate, medial prefrontal, and lateral prefrontal cortices (Mesulam, 2002). The inhibition of responses by the prefrontal cortices gives rise to information, according to my current interpretation, on a quantum basis, employing Prigogine’s (1980) quantum entropy operator.

The implications of the idea that all of our individual minds arise from a single, Universal Mind are enormous. It is a shame that one cannot conduct science without one’s results being subject to post-hoc revision of the initial hypothesis. The initial hypothesis of my experiments is the One Mind Model. There is a wealth of information to be gleaned from further advances using this experimental paradigm.


Mesulam, M.M. The Human Frontal Lobes: Transcending the default mode through contingent encoding. In Principles of Frontal Lobe Function. (D.T. Stuss and R.T. Knight, Ed.) New York, USA: Oxford University Press. 2002.

Prigogine, I. From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences. New York, USA: W. H. Freeman and Company. 1980.


GZ: If we share a "Metamind", or "Biomind", meaning a mind external to the brain with access to a great store of consciousness, there is no impact on our path of discovery as long as we don't recognize the fact. That is, it has always been there and obviously there has been no discovery; why should we now expect such?

The point of the question, however, is that some of us perhaps do recognize the fact, based on either the scant data available or on internal awareness of it. For those willing to go with the premise, there are potential discoveries to be made, and ultimately great ones that have revolutionary significance.

I see two major areas.

The first is in learning more about the basis of the "biomind". If it is not in the brain (or other organs such as suggested by Gurdjieff with his "three-brained beings"), then it is certainly not physical at all. So what is the basis?

I am convinced that the basis is intimately connected with what we call quantum processes because only these have aspects of nonlocality, acausality, and even nonreality. These aspects, though not well understood, qualify quantum processes as candidates for support of the biomind, or at least gateways to it. Thus I think that a study of quantum mechanics aimed at elucidating a basis for biomind could bear significant fruit.

The second major area of discovery could come from a study of the features and capabilities of the biomind. In other words, accepting that there may actually be a biomind empowers us to focus on what its features and capabilities might be.

I do not refer simply to a renewal of psychic research (i.e., testing for higher powers, examining "anomalies", etc.). Nelson's Global Consciousness Project is an example of a study of the global features of the biomind, in that it looks for global recognition of events that are unknown to the conventional senses at the time the recognition takes place.

I can think of other avenues of research. One that "comes to mind" is a search for trauma, or let us simply say "effects", stemming from past racial events that are not in the everyday awareness of people. In other words, does the biomind possess racial memory?

Yet another would be the possibility that the biomind is mediating the evolution of society, or even planning events that will shape society. Are there signs, for example, that people or groups position themselves geographically or in other ways to help to bring about group events or to survive or handle them?

Is the human biomind in some way an active part of a larger, planetary biomind? What is the true relationship between humanity and the planet on which it lives? Is the human race really guilty of ruining the ecosystem or is something larger unfolding that has been planned by the planetary biomind?

Is the planetary biomind a part of a still larger mind? How would we know?

Is there a way to consciously and directly converse with the biomind? Can it answer direct questions, once we find out how to present them?

Both the first and second avenues of discovery have the potential of revolutionizing humanity's self-concept and allowing humanity to enter consciously into its larger roles and potentials.

MP: Suppose that it would be possible to prove convincingly that there is a common pool of shared mental images and that the privacy of consciousness and biological death as the end of conscious existence are illusions. At least one might hope that this could transform the society of lonely winners and losers to people fascinated about the possibility of breaking down the barrier of personal consciousness.

Knowing the physical correlates for remote viewing would no doubt lead to a technology of consciousness. Of course, also ethical issues would appear: most of us have painful little secrets of past and might feel the loss of the personal privacy rather humiliating.

CK: Why does the meta-mind relate to the issue of futures as if the one key here? What IS a meta-mind? What IS an incarnation? What IS the bardo? We need to understand how the sheaf of self becomes loosened into the flux of the bardo without trying to cling on to one personality or reincarnate life history. The human brain may be the cosmic sanctuary of consciousness. We may be running the great cosmic race once and for all time from alpha to omega even as we speak as fragile living beings trapped in the mortal coil. We shouldn't assume the luxury of the bardo as an excuse for failing to take responsibility for the pain of the present and the angst of mass extinction.


28. The research described or alluded to in this discussion seems to converge on the possibility of future human exploration which transcends the domain of current human experience. So far, most of our forays into distant mental interactions with living systems (or inert targets such as the GCP array) have focused on a one way communication - specifically, from humans to non-human targets. However, the past three decades of remote viewing research have opened the door on what is by far the more exciting aspect of this communication - that is, the ability of humans to probe distant targets and expand their understanding of the universe into new realms of experience. How difficult will it be to make sense of our perceptions as we move further away from the experiential pool of our species, and how could such a future exploratory program maintain an objective, scientific approach - as opposed to the mystical, quintessentially subjective explorations of the past?

SK: I have never believed that what you call "an objective, scientific approach" is possible in any branch of science. For me, all scientific inquiry is, to some extent, subjective. I would eliminate the word "mystical" because that term is packed with too many connotations. However, the sooner scientists realize that their work is inevitably subjective, the better will be the resulting data and the more sense it will make.

GZ: Indeed there have been remarkable explorations by remote viewers when allowed by their taskers and protocols to view beyond the local pool of experience. And there is a rich literature of reported experiences from down the centuries to the present day. Yet, with all the stories and reports, a cohesive and consistent picture of a larger system in which we might be embedded has yet to emerge.

We do not know if this lack of consistency is due to the vastness of the larger system, large enough to contain all that seems to us inconsistent, or if the experiencers or viewers are somehow creating or dreaming or perhaps simply modifying what they see.

I can see two possible approaches to objective methodologies for developing clearer, coherent and consistent descriptions.

1. Collect a suitably large number of free-form reports. Scan them individually. From each report, extract salient, high-level features of what was described and collect these into a database. These would be features of the environment and of any objects or beings described. Collect these into a database structured so as to facilitate comparisons between corresponding aspects. Review corresponding aspects and assess the distribution of "values" for each aspect. From this, possibly a central range of values can be found with some degree of confidence. 

2. Formulate a set of high-level questions about the realms of experience and what is found in them. Generate a set of tasks relating to each of these questions. Have a team of viewers work those tasks and employ standard methods for combining their reports or extracting the most likely truth from them.

Approach No. 1 has the advantage of making fewer presuppositions and allowing for the many unforeseen possibilities to be experienced and reported. However, the range of reported things may be so broad as to be difficult to organize in any coherent way.

Approach No. 2 is obviously more controlled. Its drawback is that it allows us to impose our common views and ways of thinking, thereby perhaps depriving us from the most interesting information about the realms we seek to explore. Nevertheless, this second approach gives us the chance to formulate questions of very great interest.

A word, however, about the quest for an objective, scientific approach vs. the mystical and subjective exploration. Are we certain the former is the better approach? If our efforts to find coherent and consistent descriptions of the far unknown are confounded by frequent irreducible contradictions, we may have to consider the methods of tribal peoples and their shamans. In the words of Vine Deloria, Jr. (Red Earth, White Lies),

"Tribal elders did not worry if their version of creation was entirely different from the scenario held by a neighboring tribe. People believed that each tribe had its own special relationship with the superior spiritual forces that governed the universe."

There may be a deeper meaning in that statement than would first appear.

My suggestion is that options be kept open in approaching this research.

MP: If I take seriously the idea about p-adic physics as physics of cognition and its basic implication that the space-time correlates of cognitive mental images have literally infinite spatio-temporal size, I am forced to ask whether the recent scientific world view already comes from a universal pool of shared ideas scattered around cosmos.

The same mechanism which makes possible remote viewing in TGD universe also makes possible quantum remote sensing as its techno-version and involving no active human agent: no problems with objectivity here. Quantum remote sensing would apply time mirror mechanism and rely on existing technology (phase conjugate laser beams sent to past and reflected back as ordinary laser beams), and would make possible an active study of remote astrophysical objects. Light velocity would not pose any first principle limitations on communications with distant civilizations.

CK: Please just partake of the divine sacraments of the living biosphere and witness the totality with care and compassion. Evolution didn't provide them for a random twist of fate. They are our completion in the greater biospheric consciousness. They hold the source of the conscious ground beneath the feet of our fantasies of the cosmic. They hold keys to long-term survival. Our consciousness becomes integrated biologically through engaging the fabric of reality from alpha to omega - therein lies the true compassion of the disincarnate soul from everlasting to everlasting. Use the time you have on earth to ensure the living fabric is sustained for the unfolding future. This is not a technological quest nor is it some greener pasture for the abyss of the totality is already within our sentient gaze. We need more to learn how to coexist intuitively, creatively and abundantly over millennia than to conquer new realms of the clairvoyant. These all follow naturally anyway from shedding our prior constructions and finding our original intuitive virtue.


29. As a corrolary to the previous question - do you believe that there is a universal, trans-species "language" which accounts for the apparent form of communication observed by Backster between humans and plants, cells and humans, or plants and animals? Is there a subtle vocabulary which acts as a mediator between participants in dream telepathy or remote viewing experiments? How can a remote viewer effectively probe an inert target? Ultimately the same question extends even to DMILS and PK phenomena - how can a statistical deviation in the direction of intent be "communicated" to the remote living or inert target other than through some type of information-encoding?

If indeed such a universal "language" exists, as Matzke proposes (3; Matzke; Matzke 1994) , what type of formalism should we be looking for?

SK: Again, I can not comment on Backster's work because it has not appeared in scientific journals (with one exception, and that was his first set of experiments). As for a "subtle vocabulary," this possibility is open to serious inquiry. Until such inquiry is done, I could not speculate on the other aspects of this question.

MP: The quantum communication of intent and desire could be relatively simple and be based on direct sharing of mental images: emotions rather than bits would represent. This does not exclude coding but the coding is not involved with classical signal. The communication of say declarative memory would however require classical signalling using codes and highly symbolic representations.

I have a temptation to believe in universal languages. The hierarchy of p-adic time scales coming as half octaves (powers of square roots of two (p=about 2^k, k positive integer) could define a hierarchy of pinary cognitive codes.

a) The duration of cognitive codeword would be given by n-ary p-adic time scale

T_p(n)=p^[(n-1)/2]*T_p, p=about 2^k, k integer, n=1,2,...

The primary p-adic time scale T_p appearing in the above formula is given by

T_p=L_p/c== L(k)/c= 2^[(k-151)/2]*L(151), L(151)=10 nm. 

b) The number of bits of the code word would be given by the largest prime power in the decomposition of the integer k to prime factors. If k is prime, the information content of the codeword is maximal. For instance, for p=M^{127}=2^{127}-1, the number of bits would be 127 and duration T_p(2) would be .1 seconds. Also spatial codes could be imagined with T_p(n) replaced by corresponding p-adic length scale and temporal bit patterns replaced by spatial bit patterns.

The minimal assumption is that this hierarchy defines a set of preferred frequencies used for radio communications. A stronger assumption is that the code words have universal meaning implied by the universal interaction of the temporal field patterns with the receiver organism. The intronic portion of DNA, memes, could play the role of a computer software whereas genes would code for chameleon like hardware built only when needed (chameleon like hardware is probably an essential part of future information technology). Memes could express themselves as temporal field patterns using pinary cognitive codes. The common portion of intronic DNA could make possible interspecies communications, which need not be conscious at the level of organism.

A series of "miracle" frequencies coming as powers of sqrt(2) is predicted, and it would be interesting to check whether the bit patterns realized as electromagnetic field patterns have effects on living matter. Persinger has demonstrated that temporal patterns of magnetic pulses induce various altered states of consciousness. Unfortunately, I do not know the duration of single pulse nor of the possible codeword. There is also evidence that spatially patterned laser beams can induce healing but not even illuminations (the fact that even monochromatic illumination does not induce color sensation suggest that laser light used for healing is "perceived". Spatial counterparts of cognitive codes could be involved here.

GZ: I find it difficult to accept that there would be a universal language, and a vocabulary (set of symbols) as a mediator between remote viewer and target, or between any arbitrary pair of consciousness and target. I think the idea that there would be such an arrangement is an unwarranted projection of our human situation.

After all, how would the symbol system be "taught" to all of nature? If it is pre-encoded into DNA, well, that raises many more questions.

Then how is knowledge "communicated"?

I am not a quantum physicist but I think there is enough of a suggestion from the work of physicists who publish in JNLRMI and others, that consciousness is linked to quantum processes, and that we can look to that structure for insights into how communication takes place.

I might say that when we understand the meaning of quantum entanglement, we will be on the way to understanding universal communication.

Meanwhile, there is a suggestion from "Seth" in Jane Roberts' The World View of Cezanne: A Psychic Interpretation":

In that infinite gallery there exists a unique individual view of the world as seen through the eyes of each person ever graced to follow the paths of physical experience….If there were a sign outside it would read, "The Gallery of the World's Mind."

In my mind I see each quantum event as being a point of consciousness that can potentially observe the whole, and a "person", or a personal life or worldview, as a particular threading of these events.

No language needed here. This is a direct contact via nonlocality.

CK: This is a Chomskian idea of a universal 'grammar' transcended to a cosmic principle. But we don't know there is a grammar as such, more likely a dynamical process at the edge of chaos which happens to evoke semantic language as an offshoot of more general principles. So don't bank on any simple language of inter-species communion. Better just to look into the eyes of the self which we meet in the NDE and recognize the other and the self are one in conscious intentionality.

The way that cannot be told is not the Tao of one or another formalism. We have to have a way of engaging the wilderness of the psyche with no restraints.

30. Do you believe that there are resolution limits of perception or intelligibility between different levels of reality?

SK: Yes. I suspect that resolution limits exist at each level of reality, as you put it, and that there are limits on perception and intelligibility as well. This should reinforce our modesty when dealing with these topics.

My major problem with your questions is that many of them are based on a very small number of data points. As a result you make assumptions that are not necessarily valid. Nevertheless, your questions are thoughtful and deserve serious consideration.

MP: p-Adic number fields R_p define a hierarchy of intelligences labelled by primes and the p-adic length and time scales associated with these primes can be seen as a hierarchy of scales defining a temporal and spatial cognitive and sensory resolution. This hierarchy of preferred p-adic scales might relate directly to the evolution of cognition and special properties of the preferred primes.

Consider first briefly the ideas about how cognition and number theory could relate in TGD universe before going to the argument for how preferred p-adic primes might appear.

a) p-Adic number fields allow also extensions based on algebraic numbers (like n:th roots) and even transcendentals like e. For instance, the minimal extension involving e is p-dimensional containing e, e^1,..,e^p-1 as added "units" analogous to imaginary unit whereas e^p exists as an ordinary p-adic number. There are good reasons to believe that the evolution of cognition means also the increase of the dimension of the extension of p-adic numbers besides the increase of p. Thus the evolution of cognition would mean a gradual "discovery" of more and more complex algebraic and transcendental numbers so that the p-adic space-time sheets correspond to increasingly higher-dimensional extensions. Cognitive world has arbitrary dimension whereas sensory world of real numbers is always 3-dimensional.

b) The recent formulation of TGD is based on the idea of algebraic continuation: real physics and various p-adic physics can be obtained from a rational number based physics by algebraic continuation analogous to a continuation of a real function to the entire complex plane. This principle poses strong conditions on physics itself since physics would be defined for generalized numbers obtained by gluing real and p-adic numbers fields together along rational numbers. One can also say that the physics of cognition becomes part of physics itself.

c) The continuation from rationals to p-adics involves always some resolution scale above which it is possible. For instance, the values of functions sin(pi*x/N) and cos(pi*x/N), N=p^k, do not exist p-adically at x=n in R_p unless one extends R_p itself to contain these irrational numbers. The better the resolution and shorter the corresponding length and time scales, the higher the dimension of the extension of p-adic numbers needed. Thus the evolution of intelligence would be essentially number theoretic shadow for the evolution of the cognitive resolution scale (or vice versa!). The metaphor about evolution of science as the increase of the resolution of microscope fits nicely with this picture.

The preferred primes could appear as follows.

a) The model of cognition leads to the hypothesis that for any prime, the numbers log(q)/pi are rational numbers for any prime q. Restrict the focus on the diagonal case q=p and use the notation

log(p)/pi = p^k * q,

where the rational number q has R_p-norm one (neither numerator nor denominator of q is divisible by p). If k does not vanish, p can be said to be "self-referential" for obvious reasons.

b) The logarithmic waves exp(iKlog(x)), K integer, appear as the basic elements in the formulation of quantum TGD and closely relate to the conformal and Lorentz invariance of quantum TGD. The algebraic continuation of these logarithmic waves to p-adic number field R_p requires that they exist at rational points x, in particular x = p, as elements of extended R_p. Thus exp(iK*log(p)) is the object that should exist in extended R_p. Accepting the above hypothesis, its existence is equivalent with the existence of exp(i*p^k*pi) in R_p.

c) For k>=0, there is no problem but for self-referential primes having k<0 the existence is possible only if e(i*pi/p^|k|), k<0 exists as an element of extended R_p. This requires p^|k|-dimensional extension so that self-referential primes would correspond to especially high levels of cognitive intelligence. This might explain why Mersennes and Gaussian Mersennes are in a preferred role in TGD Universe.


GZ: Have we defined levels of reality? At any rate, given the kind of direct perception implied by my response to the previous question, I would not expect any intrinsic limits on resolution or intelligibility. However, in the context of remote viewing, where layers of information processing (and even symbol interpretation as suggested in the preceding question) must be navigated before impressions are perceived, there may well be limitations.

CK: I don't believe there are 'levels' to reality. It's an example of what Chogyam Trungpa might call 'spiritual materialism'. We use a physic world analogy for something we have difficulty classifying. We sense 'other' states or conditions, so call these 'higher levels'. It might be easier simply to reserve a ticket for chaos in our consciousness and never let go of the centre of the cyclone for all the wild winds blowing past our verandah.

Intent is a fundamental mystery of existential reality. Focused or thrown casually into uncertainty it is not just something to do with remote viewing ... ALL viewing is 'remote viewing' in the dream-time of subjective conscious reality from 'waking life' to the 'real-time movie of dream' and intent is the central character - the effect of the self - villain and hero - god and satan. This is the prisoner's dilemma of evolution and of consciousness.

Start from the paradox of conscious intentionality and the acute instabilities of history it creates. Then try to proceed into how the universe collapses the super-abundance of many worlds into one knife-edge of history and you will begin to see why we have to be able to anticipate reality supernaturally to participate in it. The universal record is an undecidable proposition which intent turns into an acute paradox. We can't understand self or intent without an acute conscious intentional appreciation for taking living advantage of the loophole this paradox creates. The rest is history.

Consciousness is a cosmological manifestation complementary to the physical universe. Yes it could be thought of as a many in one bardo manifesting in incarnate consciousness. Yes we can become trapped in our incarnate consciousness so we can't experience the bardo. We NEED to know the disincarnate so we can become the grateful dead incarnate and do the good thing. Talking in terms of function and structure is a real world analogy but it is valid to pose the cosmic generic nature of consciousness. 

Non-linear and quantum science can encompass heaps of non-mechanistic physical world descriptions which evoke all manner of possibilities. It is a fallacy to think psychic investigation is anti-science or heresy. But the hard problem of consciousness is no petty adversary but the abyss staring us back in the face. Creationism is a flawed extremely mechanistic philosophy which flies in the face of fact. 

The subjective cannot be divided because division is an aspect of the physical. Whether this means there is a 'mind' which is undivided is a koan. Mind itself is a chimera. Yet consciousness and intent are complimentary to the cosmic origin and each of us is a walking incarnation of the big bang. Careful here - we have to do rather more than think to win the jackpot. There is more to intentionality than mere stealth.


Concluding remarks


Emotional content and focused intent. Why are they the key to spontaneous, respectively controlled, remote mental interactions? If there are limits to symbolic communication, is emotion a form of universal currency - a primitive empathic language which allows us to perceive and respond to each other's needs as a mutually interdependent hierarchy of conscious structures? This might account for Backster's findings and the prominence of emotionally-charged events throughout the spectrum of psi functions - the ubiquitous attraction and sensitivity of the Mind to information "clusters" encoding powerful emotional reactions. Children who are psychologically (and sometimes physically) traumatized by the memory of violent injuries they claim to have suffered in a previous life; plants and cells which react to physical threats or excitement; RNGs which demonstrate marked deviations synchronously with mass display of grief or celebration, even anticipating surprise catastrophic events; precognitive and telepathic data making its way into a group remote viewing session, or into thousands of dreams throughout history... These are observations which ought to make us think about the possible organization of information in the universe, and its possible flow paths. It is perhaps too early to talk of parallelisms with the brain's neural loop organization and emotional memory shortcuts - but as Pitkanen has repeatedly stressed throughout his work, nature has a remarkable degree of symmetry built into its blueprints (see Pitkanen 2003a,b and previous issues of JNLRMI).

Somehow, even when talking about a collective unconscious, we have always taken the perspective that our minds are the primary cause, that their convergence creates some kind of universal record. Our selves, we assume, are independent entities under the control of a personal will. That this will remains an impenetrable quantity, impossible to trace back to origins either philosophically or neurophysiologically, does not seem to pose a problem to reductionists: just a few more years, just a few more breakthroughs in brain imaging technology, and we'll "get it". Others, like Susan Blackmore, espouse the Buddhist view that will and the sense of self are artificial constructs emerging from the collective dynamics of "selfish memes" (Blackmore 1996). But what are memes then, and what is their origin? Most importantly, how does focus, this apparent seed of selfhood, emerge from their interactions?

Independent studies (Puthoff and Targ, 1979; Grinberg-Zylberbaum & al., 1994; Yamamoto & al. 1997, 1999; Wackermann & al., 2003) have shown that the brainwave patterns of people engaged in a common experiment from distant locations synchronized when one was exposed to a random stimulus, even though the other participant was unaware of the stimulus periods; Germine's work also showed that the brain's evoked response potential to a random stimulus depended on whether another participant observed that stimulus or not - in a neurophysiological version of Young's double slit experiment (Germine 1998, 2002). Is consciousness the result of a bottom-up process, as our current dogma insists, or does the mind actually modulate brain/body physiology, as an increasing number of parapsychology studies suggest? What would happen to the study of collective consciousness if we turned the problem on its head and started from the universal set of information (to which remote viewers appear to have access at will) - with an eye on what characterizes our routine, spacetime-localized awareness? Would it be reasonable to investigate the possibility that deep symmetries exist between known brain processes and the mechanisms of nonlocal information transfer as Pitkanen proposes (Pitkanen 2003a,b)? Are there any parallels between psychiatric phenomena like depersonalization or multiple personality syndrome and anomalous cognition events associated with remote viewing, out-of-body experiences or reincarnation-type cases? In other words - does our collective mind possess any type of functional structure which may account for the varieties of conscious experience and remote interactions we have discussed so far? Is it more reasonable to theorize that human consciousness evolved from complex chemical reactions to a transcendent perception of space and time, than to expect, on the basis of everything we now know about such experiences, that our diurnal focus on a narrow space-time domain is merely a temporary constraint, much like the single-mindedness required to complete a piece of carving on the facade of a cathedral? If we can routinely split our attention between several tasks, is it totally inconceivable that a greater consciousness can split itself between several billion relatively independent tasks - and in that case, what can we conclude about our "ground state"? Indeed, it may be time to join Dr. Tart's proposal (Tart , 2000) that our ordinary mode of awareness need not necessarily be seen as the only, or the "natural" state of consciousness - and in so re-formulating the challenge of parapsychology, begin at last to take advantage of the neurophysiologist's insights.

We realize that even asking such questions represents the worst kind of heresy in the current scientific climate, but creationism in the traditional sense is not necessarily the only alternative to reductionism. One does not need to posit the intent to create a particular world design - only to realize that individualized, local awareness can evolve from a primary undifferentiated universal consciousness, following a basic set of dynamic laws, as easily as planetary systems and their complex processes are supposed to have evolved from the post-Big Bang inflationary broth. If we are not bothered by the idea of sharing a common material origin, why should the notion of cognitive differentiation - indeed of awareness embedded into every element of reality - be perceived as an intellectual threat?

But opening up to the possibility of a shared Mind is only the beginning of our challenge. The hard questions are merely prefigured on the horizon at this point, foremost among them being "the paradox of conscious intentionality and the acute instabilities of history it creates", to use Chris King's insightful formulation. It is no exaggeration to say that facing this "abysmal" problem holds the key not only to our understanding of reality, but to our future as a species... A long time ago, Descartes uttered his immortal cogito, ergo sum: but if anything is knowable by the right application of focus, then the boundary between what we choose to make conscious and what falls below the limit of attention, forgotten or ignored, becomes critically important - it becomes, in effect, our new skin. In this universe of temporal illusion and non-locality we know to inhabit today, what we are seems to be determined by what we think about. Not only that, but our separation may turn out to be a function of the same random focus: it is anyone's guess how our coherent intent may be able to transform reality.


Lian Sidorov





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