Sunday, May 24, 2009

Faith In Psi

Can parapsychology help people understand their own spontaneous psychic perceptions?

When people experience a synchronicity, they often think it is a sign telling them something. A Spiritualist might say it is due to the influence of spirit guides. Gary Schwartz might say it is evidence of a Guiding Organizing and Designing (G.O.D.) force in the universe. I think most parapsychologists would say that it is due to unconscious psi.

If the parapsychologist is right and it is unconscious psi, should it still be interpreted as a sign? Here's an example to illustrate the question: At one time I was unhappy with my job, and during that time, for some unknown reason I decided to go somewhere that was very uncharacteristic of me to go. While I was there, I met someone I knew and that meeting led to a job offer allowing me to leave the job I was unhappy with.

The Spiritualist or Gary Schwartz might say in that situation I should take the new job because there is a benevolent intelligence leading me into the coincidence

Assuming this situation is not just a coincidence due to chance, what does parapsychology say about it? Can a person rely on their unconscious psi to work for their highest good? How far can they trust it? Would it definitely be in their long term interest to change jobs or might it solve a short term problem but in hindsight turn out to be a bad decision after all? Will a foolish person use unconscious psi for their short term benefit without regard to the long term consequences? If someone had self destructive tendencies could their unconscious psi act to their detriment rather than for their benefit?

I suspect many parapsychologists assume psi is good. If a synchronicity occurs, don't they assume they used psi unconsciously for their own benefit? But isn't that just like believing benevolent spirit guides or a G.O.D. force set up the synchronicity? Don't parapsychologists have faith in psi the same way many religious people have faith in a higher power? It seems that parapsychologists have "faith" not in spirits but in psi. It is a sort of awe of the paranormal as opposed to the supernatural.

However, the Spiritualist might attribute negative consequences of a paranormal event to undeveloped spirits leading them astray. Parapsychologists often attribute poltergeist phenomena to unconscious psi, so they must believe that sometimes unconscious psi can be due a result of mental dysfunction and is not necessarily a product of "higher intuition". But I am not aware that parapsychologists have any lore to warn them when to be wary of unconscious psi in the form of synchronicities, gut feelings, or premonitions.

It seems to me that this is one of the areas parapsychology might make a significant contribution. If they can understand how unconscious psi might be used for good or ill, that might help the average person decide what to do when faced with a "sign from God". It would be an important application of the science in the every day life of the individual. It would demonstrate parapsychology's superiority over the Spiritualist or G.O.D. world view.

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