Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Why Do We Have Psychic Powers?

by Michael Grosso:

In the attempt to understand the nature of mind, I’ve traveled all over the map of human experience. Inevitably, I was drawn to the outer limits of mental experience, abnormal and supernormal.  For example, I found all sorts of evidence suggesting the reality of a “next” world. Up until modern scientific times, belief in an afterlife was common and widespread. However, modern science is supposed to have proven the afterlife is a fairy tale.

But that is complete nonsense.  Modern science has never investigated the question because it has focused on physics, chemistry, biology, and other physical sciences. The investigation of psychic powers has been conducted by individuals, groups, and special societies such as the English and American Societies for Psychical Research. A minority of mavericks has always had to battle the physicalist establishment that ignored or dismissed their findings. This unscientific attitude continues to poison the 21sst century, easily proven by reading accounts of anything paranormal in Wikipedia.

Even so, various experiences that people report suggest the reality of an afterlife—haunted houses, apparitions of the dead, deathbed visions, near-death glimpses of the next world, reincarnation memories and bodily marks, and mediums who claim to  transmit information from excarnate minds.  Each type here has variations, for example, one in which an apparition seen in a hotel room is confirmed later as resembling one who occupied and died in that room.  Here the counter-survivalist  might say that dying suddenly in a hotel room left some kind of a psychic trace detected by the rare sensitive but proves nothing about survival.

A case from Michael Tymn’s informative The Searchlight (2018) struck me as a stunning afterlife phenomenon, but let the person who had the experience speak:

A Brush with the Afterlife: Theresa Cheung, a University of Cambridge graduate, claimed she had an encounter with her deceased mother. Cheung, who has a master’s in theology and English, said that while driving towards a junction behind a truck, she indicated to turn left until her late mother’s voice told her to go change to the right lane. She said: “Even though she had died a few years earlier, it was my mother’s voice, and I obeyed instantly. If I had turned left, you wouldn’t be reading this now, because I would have driven into a pile-up that claimed the lives of three people in cars directly behind the lorry. To this day, I can’t explain that voice, other than that it must have been my mother guiding me … It proved to me there is an afterlife.”
(From: Kindred, Alahna. “Life after death: The academics and experts who have proof of the afterlife.” Daily and Sunday Express. 2018. weird/935615/life-after-death-afterlife-what-happens-when-you-die )

To play the devil’s advocate, we could explain this away, if we grant that Theresa Cheung has latent psychic powers.  We may then presume that her powers detected imminent disaster and decide that warning the conscious Cheung is best done by means of a warning from mom.   Her life is saved, and she is quite naturally convinced it was her mom who saved her.  So on this interpretation, our psychic powers may kick in to save our lives but mislead us into believing in an  afterlife.

Before addressing this possible reduction, I want to describe a case I discuss in my book, Experiencing the Next World Now, which in form is like Theresa Cheung’s experience of a dead mom helping to avert a traffic fatality.  I received it from a working nurse.  Driving her car home from work, she stopped for a light at a cross-ways.  When the light turned green she was about to hit the gas pedal when she saw her dead mother standing right in front of the car.  The nurse hit the brake and the instant she did so a truck she didn’t see coming on her left ran the red light and would have killed her if she hadn’t seen the ghost of her mom—which instantly vanished.  Very much like Theresa’s experience, I’m familiar with other cases of this type.  The nurse was convinced her mom had saved her.  So what’s going on?

Well, we could explain survival away by assuming that our higher powers (PK & ESP) work in ways that occasionally help but also deceive us.  They may sometimes aid in our pre-mortem survival, but that’s it; the afterlife part remains an illusion.  But that inference seems arbitrary, possible but by no means compelling. After all, why do we have these inexplicable powers?  They don’t seem to be in any way reliable as far as applied to the business of living.  In fact, they’re known for a sad thing called “decline effect.” Worse, as often noted, they seem actively evasive.  Psychic experiences are unpredictable, unreliable, often misleading and perhaps systematically evasive.  Why then do we have them?

Maybe we have them not to serve the needs of embodied life but to serve as the ontological basis of our disembodied afterlife.  In the afterlife, we rely entirely on our mind’s paranormal capacities; in a postmortem world, we would  perceive and act solely by means of our minds. So in that case the hypothesis of an afterlife explains why we have supernormal abilities.  At the same time, our demonstrable supernormal abilities, largely useless in this life, at the very least open a theoretical gate to the afterlife.  It is often argued that our psychic powers serve to explain away cases of apparent survival.  What I’m suggesting is that the survival hypothesis explains why we have psychic powers in the first place.  Various lines of data point to a metaphysics of transcendent mind.


1 comment:

nick herbert said...

Mike --

Your model of the afterlife, in which Mind rules over Matter, a mirror image of Earthly life, suggests to me that you are familiar with Emmanual Swedenborg's remarkable "Heaven, its Wonders, and Hell". Have you written about Swedenborg's Vision in any of your blog posts?

Nick Herbert

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