ESP and the Coming Crisis in Boundaries
Henry Reed, Ph.D.
Transcript of a talk given to Parastudy, Philadelphia, PA
For a cassette recording of the live talk, see hermeshomepress
Things are changing. There’s a lot of tension in the air because we aren’t sure which of our assumptions will be violated next. Natural disasters, crime and violence, economic collapse, medical calamity quickly come to mind as potential invaders of our pursuit of happiness.
Crisis and misfortune are becoming so commonplace that we are beginning to respond to them differently. If you can’t get rid of them, make them work for you seems to be the philosophy. There are so many books out there on the theme of "Turn adversity to your advantage. Make it an opportunity to develop new talents, new perspectives, a new sense of self."
There is a crisis developing that has tremendous implications for the sense of self. It is a crisis in boundaries. The implications for who we are reach back to the beginning of recorded history. To the garden of Eden when we first donned the fig leaf and became individuals. Individuality, that hallmark of modern civilization is about the change. What it means to be an individual, even your ability to remain an individual person and not just a part of a larger whole over which you have no control, is coming into question with this coming crisis in boundaries. We can already see the early warning signs.
The atomic bomb was one of the first clues as to what was coming. It was a tremendous jolt to everybody's awareness but people’s awareness tuned to only the most obvious and violent aspect. We could blow up the planet. But atomic energy had other sinister implications. Assaults on boundaries.
The easiest one to understand was radioactivity. Radiation can penetrate objects. Only the thickest of lead shielding could stop it. Maybe there would be some other form of radiation that not even lead could stop. Although reseach into atomic physics would discover other realities perhaps even more threatening to our boundaries than radiation, for the time being, its contamination was what we could appreciate.
Contamination is an assault on purity. Something has come into where it doesn’t belong. A boundary violation. The next strong example of this theme was in ecology. The condition of the planet was becoming fouled. Whereas we used to think that we could bury our garbage we realized that wherever we buried it it was still with us on planet earth.
Thinking ecologically really hammered away at some of our notions of boundary. Groundwater is a good example. One nation feels sovereign and has the right to do what it chooses within its borders. Yet what it throws into its water, or what it buries deeply, moves through deep aquifers to appear as contaminants in the water of a nearby nation. The same situation occurs with air quality. There is no separate "there" where we can hide our waste and not have it appear again "here." It calls into question the meaning of national boundaries.
º AIDS and the idea that it can spread by other means. No immunity.
º The crime problem. We can’t keep them behind bars to protect ourselves.
º National boundaries became further muddled with the economic world market.
º Computers marked another step toward the dissolution of boundaries.
º Cellular telephones and wireless communication
With the splitting of the atom we gained more than atomic energy. We gained a radical view of reality. There really was no atom to split. Although most people are familiar with the notion of atomic energy, they view it as something that they obtain from atoms. The truth is that there really is no atom per se to split! That the atom was a convenient way of thinking about matter. Atomic energy spelled the end of the world of things. It was a revolultion in awareness that has still not sunk in, perhaps because it has had no practical implication. There was the tables, chairs, etc., and there was this space in between. If you really got down there with the microscope you would find these atoms and then the scientists figured out how to split those atoms in half and when the did, all this energy came out. Actually, that was more symbolic than real.
Splitting the atom is like they opened up our understanding and all this psychic energy came out - a whole revolution came out! Pandora's box was opened up from discovering that, yes, they do act like they are things - but in fact they are wave forms. They're patterns of vibrations. There aren't really things.
But for all intents and purposes, we can continue to think in terms of things and so on, and as long as we're taking physics or as long as we're not too close to an atom bomb then we really don't have to worry about it. But there was a seed that was planted. Gradually and gradually the kind of discovery that they were making in physics was starting to spread out into other fields and into other fields of life. Until now when we talk about some new paradigm, some call it a consciousness paradigm.
That we express the idea that somehow the underlying basic reality, the hardcore reality is consciousness not things; consciousness gives rise to things. Some theorists are talking about that we live in a virtual reality. That is that the brain is interpreting the mind and projecting a world out there and that the computerized - like the computer games where you put on the helmets and all of a sudden you're taken into a holographic room and can interact and so on for three or four bucks and have a good time. This is actually a mechanical model of the kind of world we live in all the time. That we're projecting a world in which we imagine that we're walking around in a world of things but in fact we ourselves are energy and patterns of energy that have condensed, for certain purposes, in bodies as a feeler we use to work in the world - but that we are not bounded things. Some call this the quantum self. Now these changes are happening in a number of different ways.
One thing you hear about is with the advent of computers and credit cards that people's financial data is starting to be part of a whole electronic network that people are no longer having any financial secrets. Secrets, of course, is one of the major concepts that set risk and is the defining notion between the bounded self - where you have your mind inside your skull and you can hide things in there - and the unbounded self, quantum self, or the vibratory self, well maybe there are no secrets. We'd be a society that works on the premise of there being no secrets. Another aspect:
Think of cellular telephones. Beepers. This means there's no hiding from the boss, or your family. You get away and they can see you. Always in contact. So in some sense a psychic aspect is being generated technologically. But there's another aspect to it, too.
We think of our telephone conversations as private. We do not allow wire-tapping. You think about that. That's based on a premise that the telephone conversation comes down this wire and the conversation only exists on this wire. So you have to tap into the wire in order to eavesdrop on it. So you can have a private conversation. They're moving away from the wires and the cellular broadcast kind of conversation. When you talk to somebody on the telephone, your conversation is everywhere! There is no boundaries. There is no sheath protecting your conversation. So that the form of communication is shifting from a bounded channel to a vibratory channel.
One of the things that's going on in our culture - - the culture itself is going through a transition. You might say, we generally talk about the paradigm shift - that there is a change in consciousness, a change in the way of thinking about things. Many different ways in which our kind of thinking - the kinds of worlds we're moving into. Whether it's technologically or philosophically, socially is moving away from boundaries and moving more and more toward interconnectedness. Some have said that if you wanted to put a name on what the new paradigm is - the new consciousness - Marilyn Fergason, who is the editor of the Brain-Mind Bulletin, publishing all the new findings in psychology and brain science, philosophy for a number of years, she's nominated that the new paradigm could be labeled from separateness to interconnectedness.
Into this developing and escalating crisis in boundaries, wouldn’t ESP simply be the last straw? There’s a lot of evidence for the existence of ESP, and most people claim on surveys that they have had some form of psychic experience. Yet our scientists haven’t given the go ahead to society to accept ESP as a reality. Can you imagine the consequences when it happens?
Secrets. What would happen to spying an industrial espionage?
You wouldn’t be able to tell lies anymore.
The IRS would know when you were cheating.
Students would know what questions would be on their exams, and they could read teachers mind for the answers.
Congresspersons would not be able to hide their crimes and picadillos.
Police could justify getting search warrants on the basis of a hunch.
Criminals would claim that they were acting out psychically transmitted impulses from others. That’s already happening, as being a victim has already becme a defense against being convicted of murder. A mass murderer could add to the basis of temporary insandity the defense that they were acting out other people’s unexpressed hostility.
Jurors wouldn’t have to hear testimony because they could read the minds of the accused and know if they were innocent.
There are so many different ways in which the basic fundamental premises in which society operates would have to be thought through - totally anew; if, as a society, we were to accept that ESP is real.
Our society and the way we come to think about ourselves is as a unit, as if we had a boundary, our mind was inside of our skull and that was as big as our mind was that we talk about, for example, even in new age groups when we want to protect ourselves what we do? We surround ourselves with light. When you surround yourself with light it's saying "Well, I'm only really about this big," so I can start about right here and surround myself. But really if you think about where really do your boundaries end? Where do you need to start putting the light? Realize that maybe we're a lot bigger than this? The fact of telepathy really starts undercutting the whole notion of a bounded self. This is something that is very hard for us to get used to.
Everything is interconnected. We like that kind of thinking but at the same time it's kind of troublesome because lots of times we want some kind of safe little pocket where you can dump stuff and not have to worry. But the idea that there is some kind of a pocket with boundaries around it just doesn't work. Everything is interconnected. It seems like it's getting to be more and more that some action we take someplace is going to affect somebody somewhere else. Which, of course, is the same kind of thinking when you start admitting to the possibility of telepathy, that maybe your thoughts are affecting my thoughts affecting somebody else's thoughts, who knows? What's the limit? How does it work? Is there any bounds on this?
Could people compete as well if they felt the other person’s feelings? Could criminals harm others if they felt their pain?
get themselves in a cooperate kind of a relationship where they are coordinating their behaviors and coordinating their activities and intentions, it's more likely that their thoughts and feelings are going to be coordinated too.
This psychic connection is an expression of the relationship. This is something we will be exploring as a natural aspect or extension of what's going on between people.
Feminist movement. Beyond equal rights for women, there has also been a lot of women who have been studying philosophy, science, history, technology and asking the question: Is the way we think about things been biased by the fact that most of our thinkers - our official thinkers - all happen to be men? If the official philosophers and scientists were women it might have been different.
A bunch of women philosophers got together and they're thinking "Well, I wonder if the basis of science needs to be prediction and control as by a detached objective observer." They're all sitting around and they say, "that sounds kind of like my husband." And maybe there's another approach to science! Maybe the universe is alive and maybe we can't separate ourselves from it." Well, one of the ladies says, "Hey, you know, in science...they discovered the indeterminate principle. Maybe you heard about that. You can't separate the observer from the observed. When you go in to look at something, you're sending light particles in to look at those atoms, electrons, those are itself the light particles - they bounce around and interact, interfere. Every time you get a look you affect it. There is no separation between the observer and the observed." So the ladies think, "Hey, we're on solid ground here. Let's think a little bit more. Okay. Well, maybe if you can't separate the observer and the observed, then every time you look at something, you're looking at it from a particular point of view, that sounds like a certain kind of subjectivity. You can't get away from subjectivity. Okay. If you can't get away from subjectivity, you can't get away or separate yourself from what you're observing - so then maybe predicting and controlling it maybe isn't so much the ideal or standard. The standard may be having the dialogue, having a relationship with the nature that you want to come to understand. Maybe that would be more of the ideal and develop some kind of a harmony where everything gets to sort of get along in a better kind of way. Well, that starts making some sense." Women who have, because of their child-rearing duties and being often a second class role where relationships are much more important to them, they can appreciate that this is an important kind of insight. The men who are trying to climb to the top - each person for himself - and cooperation is less of an ideal but instead there's an inherent separation and competition and model. We have a lot of rethinking about things. It has originally been called feminist thinking, but later that gender term is going to drop away and it's going be called relational thinking. It's already in physics. You have field thinking. Field theory as opposed to objects. This is all going to be coming together. Then as it's starting to come together, our little selves who were so used to thinking about having boundaries around us and being able to keep secrets and being able to have free will in our own way and be separate, etc., is going to have to be thinking in terms of self and relation. What does it mean to be defined by my relationships as opposed to being defined by my boundaries. How I stick out. How I'm unique. How I'm different or what have you. In that kind of a context, then, the telepathy won't seem so different, so strange, it's not going to seem so anomalous, so out of the ordinary and we're going to have a context - a way of understanding it - that will help us work with it in a way in which it already operates. CONTINUED...