Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


1 Comment

Today’s Top Tweet – Navigating states of consciousness (without pandering to the lowest common denominator)

Ralph Metzner has been around a long time. Seeing his name this morning brought back memories of psych 101 classes, and paying big bucks for those ‘captive audience’ university textbooks!

But seriously. Metzner was one of those names that kept cropping up over the years. So you can expect a certain level of quality in his writing… both style and content.

Today’s tweeted article is written by Metzner. It gives a nice short history of some of the important events in the scientific study of consciousness. Probably not too many of us remember when REM or biofeedback first hit the scene. More recently, we have brain imaging. But still, that data is all correlation… not causality. So when people say they feel a certain way, some researchers project their preexisting biases onto the observed data.

Image via Wikipedia

Mozart via Wikipedia

For example, if subjects say they feel a sense of “oneness” that correlates with an empirical observation, some researchers go on to say that “all religions are the same.” What these lab coats overlook is the possibility that the same external observation could correlate with different internal experiences.

Skrillex via Wikipedia

Skrillex via Wikipedia

By way of analogy, a mp3 player runs on 1.5 volts. Regardless of the tune we listen to, a technician will always be able to measure the same 1.5 volts. So Mozart is the same as Skrillex?

The Metzner piece has other limitations and unexplored ideas that I hesitate to write about. I already tried at the doctoral level, a place where you’d think advanced theory would be welcome. But after getting through the admissions door, I soon realized that one has to pander to the lowest common denominator—otherwise you fail.

I was admitted to the doctoral program hoping to make a contribution to interactions of consciousness not explored by most depth psychologists.¹ This would involve ideas like “karma transfer,” “intercession,” “the taking of another’s sin” and, even more esoteric, “subtle body sex” (something like tantra at a distance).

Again, these ideas apparently went way over the heads of most at the U. Any who had an inkling of what I was talking about were either closeted mystics or just plain secretive (possibly because they used their abilities to aid and abet questionable activities).

So I shelved the idea of writing about interactions of consciousness and settled on synchronicity. Even that was cutting edge for a PhD back in 1992-97.

But today I feel it’s time to pick up the torch. In my opinion, our world is not as simple as many psychologists and psychiatrists tend to see it. And this lack of insight among some “professionals” could do real harm to budding mystics mishandled by, for lack of a better term, bungling idiots.

¹ Here’s the Projected Thesis Outline I sent to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa in the early 1990s. Soon after admission, the topic was narrowed down to something more “manageable.”

https://mclark.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/phd_jung_stamp.pdf (scroll to second last paragraph: “Moreover, to redefine and broaden our understanding…”).

Featured Image -- 26043


Leave a comment

The State of the Science: Parapsychology (Book Review)


Leave a comment

Interesting how many books are available on mysticism, telepathy, etc.


Leave a comment

Transcendent warfare: Human consciousness the key?

Water War by Mark Rain via Flickr

By Steve Hammons (originally posted at Joint Recon Study Group 9/11/2008)

The term “transcendent warfare” was used by a U.S. Navy SEAL officer several years ago to describe the use of leading-edge knowledge and methods that could be helpful in achieving many important objectives.

The SEAL officer, L.R. Bremseth, indicated in a graduate-level research paper for the Marine Corps War College that transcendent warfare includes not only the deployment of certain methods, but also the understanding of underlying concepts.

He noted a significant range of opportunities for the utilization of leading-edge transcendent activities in U.S. national defense efforts.

People sometimes ask, “Is transcendent warfare a way to conduct war more successfully, or is it a way to transcend actual warfare and accomplish objectives in other ways?”

Transcendent warfare may be both … and more.

Transcendent concepts may help average people around the world understand ways to improve their lives and develop constructive solutions to the challenges they may face. In other words, transcendent understanding may enhance human development and change human consciousness.

NATIONAL SECURITY ACTIVITIES

In his paper, Bremseth summarized activities related to facilitating robust psychological and perceptual functioning of U.S. military and intelligence personnel.

He noted that research into human behavior and thinking processes is ever-expanding and that these developments can provide very useful insight and significant assets.

One aspect of transcendent warfare is establishing a perspective from which transcendent concepts can be understood. This is the formation of a certain perspective, viewpoint and understanding.

Another element is translating this understanding into activities can be deployed to accomplish worthwhile missions and tasks.

These may include “hard power” methods as well as “soft power” efforts. They may be applied to special operations missions and humanitarian activities. They may assist “public diplomacy” and constructive psychological operations. They may involve open source intelligence (OSINT) platforms and educational/sociological outreach.

Transcendent concepts and activities can provide additional resources and tools for many kinds of situations … situations that are of importance to us now.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

When we hear a term like transcendent warfare, the ideas of improving the state of the human race and solving the myriad of problems facing humanity might not immediately come to mind.

However, a study of the theories and activities on which the idea of transcendent warfare is based clearly indicates a potential for far-reaching positive changes for the human race and our planet.

Why? At the heart of transcendent concepts is human psychology and human consciousness. Most problems facing the human race are based on these fundamental elements. Many solutions lie in those same basic platforms too.

Enhancing human perception and understanding are keys to the transcendent perspective. Some of the research and activities conducted regarding discoveries in the area of human consciousness clearly indicate great potential for short-term and long-term human development.

How will these discoveries in consciousness and transcendent perspectives help us? It may not be completely clear. Important progress has already been made in integrating some of these leading-edge discoveries into the mass media and our everyday lives.

Social, educational, cultural, spiritual, medical, public safety, governmental, defense and other components of human societies can make greater use of transcendent viewpoints.

As they do, we may see a new paradigm, tipping point or breakthrough in the ways the human race solves problems and makes progress.

About the Author

Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.

 


Leave a comment

Navy research project on intuition aims to optimize discoveries

Image via Tumblr

By Steve Hammons (originally posted 12/11/2014 at Joint Recon Study Group)

Based on other formal research and anecdotal reports over the years, the ONR study, called “Enhancing Intuitive Decision Making Through Implicit Learning,” will attempt to determine how rapid or apparently spontaneous intuitive impressions can be used by military personnel and others.

Often referred to as “gut instincts,” “hunches” and the “sixth sense,” scientific research indicates that these can be legitimate sources of accurate information and understanding. Intuition may be simply acquiring and processing information in different ways, researchers indicate.

Valid impressions can be arrived at via various kinds of information coming to us through normal sensory perception, absorption of past training and experience, our unconscious minds, our bodies and even somewhat mysterious areas of quantum physics, according to some research.

When these potential sources of information and understanding are used (often in combination) military personnel may be better-prepared to quickly  integrate and process information, gain improved “situation awareness” and make rapid, effective decisions, ONR and other researchers point out.

US Navy 110924-N-ZL585-205 Capt. Dan Burque, r...

US Navy 110924-N-ZL585-205 Capt. Dan Burque, research liaison officer from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), helps a student operate an underwate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LARGER IMPLICATIONS

According to a June 2014 article in the Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Army Times and Air Force Times (Gannett Company Military Times publications), “the  new four-year, $3.85 million program to explore the phenomenon is a joint effort among ONR, DSCI Mesh Solutions, Charles River Analytics, Defense Group Inc., Northwestern University, University of California-Los Angeles and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

In a March 2014 media release from the ONR, more details about the new project were explained. “ONR has embarked on a four-year basic research program to enhance intuitive decision making through implicit learning. A team of scientists will study factors such as memory and perception to better understand how decisions are made and whether there are ways to improve premonition through training,” according to the press release which was also posted on the Navy News Service website.

The media release quoted Lt. Cmdr. Brent Olde, ONR Warfighter Performance Department’s division deputy for human and bio-engineered systems: “A seasoned warfighter develops a gut instinct through experience.”

Olde was also quoted as explaining, “If we can characterize this intuitive decision-making process and model it, then the hope is to accelerate the acquisition of these skills through simulation and scenarios; thus, providing our sailors and Marines with years of experience in a matter of days and greatly improving their ability to make split-second decisions.”

Also included in the ONR press release were statements from Dr. Peter Squire, program officer for human performance, training and education in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department.

Squire said, “Ultimately, this is about sailors and Marines being able to harness their gut instincts in situations where they need to act quickly. But first, we have to understand what gives rise to this so-called ‘sixth sense.’ Can we model it? Is there a way to improve it through training?”

The article published in the Military Times also reported additional comments by Squire about stories of troops in combat who took actions based on intuitive-type perceptions: “These are quick decisions made unconsciously. Troops can’t tell you what made them stop or act, but we believe something different in what is usually a regular environment triggered a reaction.”

“At ONR, we push science to support our warfighters, to make sure they are equipped for a fair fight. But this also has implications for society at large,” Squire was quoted as saying.

The Military Times article included the following: “According to Squire, if the researchers understand the process, there may be ways to accelerate it – and possibly spread the powers of intuition throughout military units. The research could have applicability well beyond the military.”

The same article summarized the critical importance of these kinds of perceptions. “Troops often return from patrols with stories of how they survived intact through some hairy situation because they had a premonition something was amiss.”

English: NEW YORK (May 31, 2010) Visitors inte...

NEW YORK (May 31, 2010) Visitors interact with the mobile, dexterous, social (MDS) robot Octavia at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) exhibit during Fleet Week New York 2010. The ONR human robotics interaction research program at the Naval Research Laboratory focuses on the abilities of teams of humans and autonomous systems to communicate clearly, collaborate to solve problems, and interact via modality both locally and remotely. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PREVIOUS RESEARCH

In recent years the U.S. Army has also initiated research into hunches and intuition. Those studies found that two kinds of American troops in combat areas seemed to be better able to detect hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

One type included those troops raised in rural areas in a natural environment and who were involved in hunting and similar activities. They seemed to have better instincts and were possibly more alert about dangers around them. The other category was the Army soldier or Marine who grew up in tough urban settings where they had to be aware of danger from crime and assault.

This type of research is not new. Universities and previous defense-related research going back to the 1970s explored and utilized unconventional, alternative and complementary kinds of perception that humans are believed to possess naturally, and can be enhanced through training.

Probably the most well-known of these efforts is now referred to as Project STAR GATE. That program developed methods to attempt to acquire accurate and reliable information using human consciousness.

Though this research-and-operational program appears to be more forward-leaning in its goals and methods than the new ONR implicit learning project, there seem to be several areas of significant overlap.

Based on the successes of Project STAR GATE, a former Navy SEAL officer developed the concept of “transcendent warfare” that he explored in a graduate-level research paper. The transcendent warfare model involves learning more about new discoveries related to human perception and using that knowledge in appropriately robust ways. The ONR research project also appears to dovetail with transcendent warfare ideas.

The validity of different (though complementary) modes of human perception, and processing those perceptions, appears to be well-established by much previous research.

The new ONR project reportedly attempts to further explore these abilities and add to existing training and education efforts about them.

For more information see:

ONR media releaseNavy News Service article

Article in Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Army Times, Air Force Times

About the Author

Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.


Leave a comment

Paranormal Phenomena – Telepathy

English: Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld ex...

A subject in a Ganzfeld experiment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season is in full swing, and I’ve been busier than usual. So I thought I’d post a link to a recent volunteer Q&A I did at Allexperts.com.

The questioner is asking about telepathy. I thought he or she was quite insightful by trying to probe some possible underlying dynamics.

I can’t reproduce the full Q&A here for copyright reasons. But I am able to link to the page.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Paranormal-Phenomena-3278/2014/12/telepathy-1.htm

—MC


Leave a comment

Elements of prophecy – reflections and new directions

The Sibyl (1891), Paul Ranson via Tumblr

Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Minority Report (2002) is soon to be re-imagined as a TV series by Fox.

In the original Minority Report three clairvoyants called Precogs (precognitives) spend their days in deep meditation, afloat in water. Their job is to predict murders that could take place in the future. Tom Cruise, a good and honest cop, relies on the Precogs to arrest would-be criminals just before they commit a homicide.

Minority Report puts an interesting twist on the idea of precognition because, in real life, individuals claiming to possess this ability are often treated with suspicion, even derision. But the Precogs’ abilities are highly valued and they are given a kind of eerie reverence.

True and False

As the administrator of Earthpages.org, I’ve met many complex and fascinating seekers, on and offline. Some claim that spirit beings appear or speak to them. Others believe they have seen objects, places or souls during their astral travels. Several allegedly read minds; and some say they’ve had a vision of Christ or the Holy Trinity. And like the PreCogs, others claim to foresee the future.

Dealing with alleged psychics and mind-readers is both rewarding and challenging. If psychic abilities are real, it seems there’s no guarantee they’ll be applied ethically. For instance, those who haven’t dealt with personal pain could take a compensatory turn toward self-aggrandizement.¹

Clearly, some folks do take a wrong turn in the spiritual life, and a few might be repeatedly deceived and paranoid. Interior perception is an exacting process and not everyone does it well.

Leading writers on mysticism like Evelyn Underhill say that sincere mystics strive to be humble and analytical in order to avoid deception by the imagination or by negative spiritual influences (traditionally viewed as “demons,” “tramp souls” and “ghosts”).

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym ...

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym of Thomism. Picture by Fra Angelico (c. 1395-1455). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But this is the ideal. In reality, many alleged psychics and prophets seem pretty out to lunch. They speak in such roundabout terms that their predictions could mean a thousand different things. And when flat wrong, some of them just fudge it. False prophecies are quickly swept under the rug or recast as “symbolic” predictions.

Philosophers call this the ad hoc hypothesis or possibly ex post facto reasoning. Rather than openly admitting mistakes (as an honest researcher would) sham mystics do their best to cover them up.

Christian Response

Christian theologians say that genuine prophecy is revealed or infused from a supernatural source. They also tend to believe that God is omnipotent. This means God could use weak and sinful personalities for genuine prophecy, even for a short while. According to this view, one doesn’t have to be a holy guru to be a prophet. For Christians, no one is perfect. And to claim otherwise is misguided.

In Catholicism, personal revelations are called private revelations. Private revelations occurring after the time of Christ are said to add nothing to the faith as defined by the Church. But private revelations declared authentic may have inspirational or cultural value.

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”²

New Directions

Of course, many modern people question the authority of a traditional religious body that, in he past, has proved to be just as susceptible to temptation and error as anyone else. Historically, the Catholic Church has made gruesome mistakes, only to apologize hundreds of years later.

It’s also entirely possible that even the best of prophets distort their revelations through their unique personalities. That is, they interpret according to who they are at a given moment in history. According to the view, much of the Bible is laced with cultural bias and political infighting. That hardly sounds like the “Word” of God.

Guercino, The Persian Sibyl, 1647-48 via Tumblr

So where does this leave us? And by what standard do sincere seekers judge interior perceptions?

I think the answer might be found in a cross fertilization of psychology and spirituality. Einstein once said “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”³  Perhaps we could adapt that to something like, “psychology without spirituality is superficial, spirituality without psychology is questionable.”

Only then can we move forward to a spirituality suitable for the 21st century and beyond.


¹ Many saints say that vanity and jealousy figure prominently in the spiritual life. The more we open to spiritual realities, the more vulnerable we are to temptation and deception.

² Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 67. Catholic theology looks at prophecy in its own unique way. St. Thomas Aquinas is often cited in Catholic discussions about prophecy. But we’d do well to remember that after having a direct encounter with God, toward the end of his life, Aquinas apparently said his writings were like a “house of straw.”

³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Einstein

Copyright © Michael W. Clark 2014