The Daily Psychic

Some time back, in preparation for a new debunking TV show, the writer Richard Dawkins had a discussion with an invited guest, the scientist Rupert Sheldrake.

Sheldrake had sent beforehand a number of research papers showing that psychic events, or extra-sensory perception, were a normal part of everyday life and a standard, if unexplained, faculty of the mamallian brain.  In fact animals rely on this ability daily, and as they don’t know enough to dismiss it out of hand they act on it with full confidence.  This explains why a cat is suddenly very hard to find before a carefully disguised visit to the vet, and why dogs pace up and down in front of the door from the moment the owner decides to return home, and also show distress when disaster befalls an owner, regardless of the distance involved in either case.

tesla intuitionAnyway, the sticking point came when Dawkins admitted he’d dismissed the idea without bothering to read the carefully assembled research, which caused a heated argument between the two men.  “What I don’t like about you is you’re prepared to believe anything!”, Dawkins exclaimed, then falling back on the deliberately confusing canard, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”  But Sheldrake was having none of it, and neatly snipped Dawkins’ linguistic mobius strip by explaining that because psychic events were part of practically every person’s experience they were not extraordinary, but ordinary.  Since Dawkins’ assertion required that everyone was deluded – an outlandish claim indeed – where was his extraordinary evidence?

Sheldrake declined to appear on the show since, contrary to assurances from a producer’s assistant, his scientific research was strictly disallowed.  But psychic events are indeed a part of everyday life, and one good example is a dream I had three nights ago.

In the dream, I was fiddling with our central heating unit which was emitting blue flames when my daughter – who in real life was away at the time, and with whom I had not spoken for a week – asked me if someone was in the shower upstairs.  Actually, we don’t have a shower upstairs, but somehow we did in the dream.  Of course not, I reassured her, as it was just the two of us in the house.  She became agitated and said, “but dad, the door is shut, and the shower’s on full.”

I went upstairs and that was indeed the case.  Opening the door I first noticed the shower glass, and reaching towards it was startled by what looked like a fuzzy black silhouette of a man flitting eerily from the right side of the room to the left.  Full of protective paternal instinct I hurled myself at the black shape with a blood curdling yell.  Having shouted out loud I woke myself up with a start, the eery noise of my own half paralysed voice lingering in my ears, and with a disturbed feeling which took a while to shake off.

Last night my daughter came around and since the dream was the most exciting thing that had happened in the days she’d been away – apart from my friend’s incredible art show! – I began to relate it in detail.  But as I did so a change came over her face.  She told me to stop talking; I was scaring her.

Apparently three days prior she’d been watching a particularly frightening American Horror TV programme ..in which the villain was a menacing shadow in the shower.  I’ve never heard of it – but then I don’t own a TV.

And my friend’s art show at the Mall Galleries near Trafalgar Square, did very well indeed! But I’m sure you sensed that.

Marrakesh_Market

Marrakesh Market, by Patrick Gibbs

 

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created www.scienceandreligion.com about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
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19 Responses to The Daily Psychic

  1. susan grace says:

    I can recite a litany of similar dreams which then coincided with actual events that followed. For me it represents a notion that we are all part of one big super consciousness which is the ground and source of our being, and from time to time we get messages from this wider energy field that enter into our individual energy field. I think Dawkins does a great disservice and has a mental block to things he can’t touch with his senses. Can we touch intelligence? No, but we see its effects in our own being and around our world, just as we can see the effects of electricity and radio waves. We know that intelligence exists and begets intelligence in the appearance of our progeny. Our progeny do not appear out of nowhere, as if an alien dropped them on the face of the planet. Yet, our brightest minds would have us believe that this universe came out of nothing. But nothing ever comes from nothing. Why are some scientists like Dawkins so entrenched into dismissing an intelligent source behind this play of life, or that consciousness (something we can’t see or touch) is the primary mover? Why not keep an open mind? It doesn’t mean he has to embrace religion or its messiahs; but instead of ridiculing the religious minded and declaring a godless, creator-less universe, at least keep an open mind until proved otherwise. That is all that is asked. Strange too that after a long trend of materialistic, scientific views holding sway, that religious zeal continues on the rise unabated. No amount of atheism has squashed the religious impulse. Why is that? Could it be that some part of us, a spark within, seeks to know its maker, a divine sun, so to speak. Out of this deep, entrenched desire to know our source, we have created religious institutions as an outlet, however flawed, to explore this yearning. Instead, religion is dismissed as a folly and puerile endeavor, not worthy of any respect from those in the intellectual ranks. The idea that there is a super-intelligent creative source is laughed at, because there is no empirical proof. Yet, every day science brings to the fore more astonishing discoveries, such as 96% of the universe is un-seeable, and admits this dark energy exists because although it can not be seen, its effects can be detected. I can’t believe that this spark of consciousness which I call “I” is snuffed out once my mortal body crumbles to dust. An energy/consciousness that inhabits my mortal body will return to energy/consciousness according to the scientific law that energy can not be destroyed, it can only change form. The challenge for our time is to discover that original source of energy/consciousness out of which billions upon billions of galaxies and stars are born, as well billions of sentient beings. I use billions loosely because the real numbers are too staggering to realize. The key to unlock the mystery of consciousness is in the brain., an evolving organ whose mysteries and abilities continue to be unfold.
    My take is that Dawkins is a boring thinker. Ho hum.
    Now here is a thinker… philosopher Pandit Gopi Krishna of Kashmir wrote:
    “It is unfortunate that a fact, observed and understood more than three thousand years ago, should be lost on those savants who reject consciousness as a subject beyond the scope of science. The position has been anticipated by the enlightened and the answer provided. “How can we know the Knower, how can we hear the Hearer, how can we see the Seer, how can we smell the Smeller . . .” sang the Upanishads, at least a thousand years before the birth of Christ. In fact, how can we apprehend and study the intangible principle which, acting as the observing mirror in us, reflects the visible universe with all its numberless constituents, perceptible to our senses or conceived by our intellect? To hold that a marvelous stuff, like mind, is purely the product of neuronal activity in the brain, is to stick to an absurdity which has perhaps no parallel. As Plotinus put it, it is a fallacy to suppose that awareness can be born out of insentience”

    • This must be the first comment which is longer than the article itself! love it! and of course, we all knew that would happen!

      • susan grace says:

        Ha ha, I was on a roll. You haven’t heard from me in awhile so I gave you all I got, for the moment! Cheers!

  2. I’m inclined toward the skeptical, except at the frequent moments at various times of day when I think fleetingly of calling my wife at work and then the phone rings.

    • Case closed then! I have the same experience with the lady who cuts my hair. I turned up unexpectedly yesterday and she looked shocked, saying that morning she expected me to turn up. It doesn’t happen with other customers, according to her. I could always ask her to make a mark on her wrist next time, to prove it, but I believe her! And in any case, even with proof, it makes little difference to the skeptic…

      Sheldrake has shown that animals respond to their owners deciding to return home, by setting up CCTV inside houses, and texting owners at random times to return home. The dog begins pacing up and down at about the moment the owner decides to go home. A scientist accused Sheldrake of making this up, so Sheldrake proposed that the scientist, who had a dog, try it himself. He reluctantly did so, only to see the same effect which he declared impossible repeated several times, much to his annoyance.

      Cats show the same effect but not as often. It’s not that they’re less sensitive, Sheldrake proposes – just that they perhaps don’t care! The statistical effect is far greater than random, and is stronger between emotionally connected people.

      In fact an excellent book was written around the turn of the 20th centruy called “How Animals Talk”. In it, a wildlife expert – someone who spent his whole life in the wild – observes how animals communicate at a distance. The phenomenon is so well documented, in humans and animals, that you need to consciously decide to disbelieve it in order to get around the annoying weight of evidence, which is what frustrated Sheldrake. Dawkins is always banging on about evidence! Follow the evidence! Except if it contradicts your previous beliefs. This is what Shapiro found and related in his heavily researched “Evolution: A View from the 21st Century” and which, he says, is holding biology back – probably, I’d say, somewhere in the age of the penny farthing!

      There are mechanisms we don’t yet understand – wouldn’t it be a shame if we actually did know everything!

      • I will take note of our dog’s behavior when my wife comes home at odd times. Don’t give up on the skeptics.

      • Naturally not – there’s hardly much point preaching to the choir! As a fair test, perhaps get your wife to text you when she’s decided to come home. That should be a simulated semi-double blind peer-reviewed placebo trial because as far as I know, dogs can’t read texts..

  3. Kate says:

    Psychic events do seem to be an integral aspect of everyday life, as your strange dream and synchronicity with your daughter’s experience aptly illustrates.

    I’d probably define dreams as condensed, multi-layered bundles of meaning that arise from the part of our minds that is (mercifully) still connected to nature. A sense of valid meaning always lingers for me somehow, even after an outlandishly weird or superficially trivial dream. A kind of respectful mediation between brain hemispheres seems to be in order when trying to unravel a dream’s meaning and I have often found this to be a very useful exercise, in that a dream’s ‘purpose’ can be ultimately balancing on some level, even when its form is apparently negative or nightmarish.

    I like the way you describe Rupert Sheldrake neatly snipping Dawkin’s linguistic mobius strip! : ) Perhaps Sheldrake’s core hypotheses will be acceded to by the scientific mainstream fairly soon, if only because his soundly-reasoned arguments, backed up by meticulous experimental work, are starting to make the orthodox scientific ‘priesthood’ look mildly ridiculous.

    Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard also proposes a conscious connection between Mind and matter in his recent book ‘Brain Wars’, through ideas based on Bohr and Heisenberg’s that the observer collapses the potential of the wave to a single actuality. He, like Sheldrake, draws from plentiful experimental evidence for the existence of a conscious dimension, effectively firing a broadside into the standard model. One wonders for how much longer a standard model shot through with holes can stay afloat.

    • susan grace says:

      Great comment from Kate! Keen intelligence balanced with an intuitive sense. Wonderful!

      • Kate says:

        You are very kind Susan. I enjoyed your comment too – great stuff. You were on a roll indeed!

  4. Well written, indeed!

    Something is definitely askew considering no matter which direction we turn, our material-centric life is falling to pieces. This is hard to explain in itself, but also, the closer we look at matter, the more convoluted and harder to grasp it becomes, and since everything is made of this stuff, including all of us, it kind of leaves us in a fix!

  5. Kate says:

    Thank you!

    Well, maybe all we can safely say is that SOMETHING seems to be hatching in terms of our attempts to understand of how the universe really works! Trusting that some kind of natural, evolutionary process is going on while our material-centric life disintegrates painfully around our ears might seem like a naive approach …. but it’s the one I choose to hold on to. Something like it seems to work for the baby chick breaking out of its shell anyway, apparently.
    Who knows, we might even end up growing metaphorical wings ; )

  6. It’s amazing what you feel you can detect about a person from written words alone. Maybe reaching out with the mind in that way exercises something akin to that which the silence in a temple does, some faculty modern life with its demand for deadlines, certainties, facts, doesn’t place so much value on – the ability of the mind to expand in the silence just to see how that feels, what it can grasp; part imagination, part intuition, part wonder.

  7. Kate says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly Iain and it’s a rare pleasure in this hard-edged world to have one’s hippy spiritual tendencies validated ; )

  8. Lawrence Johnson says:

    Im sure Dawkins would suggest it was just coincidence. This certainly is a strange, mystical world we live in. We all love scientific discovery and being able to explain the unexplainable, but my feeling is we are really at the tip of the iceberg. This lack of undertanding keeps our small planet and large universe very interesting. Love love,

  9. Yes, a mystical world indeed! Interestingly, it seems like the word “coincidence” has been rather bent to the mentality of whoever uses it, since its original meaning describes only “the state or fact of occupying the same position or area of space” with no reference either to random chance or design.

    If two events are so precisely aligned as to pass through the same place at one moment, to me it seems like some very finely tuned laws must be afoot – unless one doesn’t believe in laws! In which case, everything – wars, accidents, genetics, evolution, genius and insanity – must remain in the realm of chance and not worth investigating, which seems very defeatist and unscientific.

    A traffic accident is really no such thing, from a distance even though many factors might be out of our control and make us feel like a victim by random fate. Surely the existence of those causes – a deteriorating road, a sleepy, overworked or easily distracted driver, an unexpected snowstorm, badly tightened bolt – all are causes and part of a law-bound sequence in which we, for definite reasons of our own, consciously decided to participate further upstream.

    There’s a very interesting book written by widows and relatives of 9/11 victims in which those who perished had, over the course of that Summer [during which leases on the massively loss-making ($26m per year), asbestos-filled (and therefore impossible to demolish legally) buildings were hastily purchased, the buildings themselves wired for demolition, insured for collossal sums, laws changed to give shoot-down orders solely to Rumsfeld (who convenienty vanished on the fateful morning - no coincidence) and plans for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq drawn up] reveived memorable warnings of death in dreams and other premonitions. Seen in that light, the messages recorded by their loved ones were no accident, and in any case had never occurred before.

    On that same topic, I heard from a colleague of the late writer amd mystic Pandit Gopi Krishna that while visiting the WTC together in the early 1980’s and crossing the courtyard between WTC1 and WTC2, the Pandit froze stock still, staring around him with a look of absolute horror.

    His alarmed colleague, hosting what was to be a pleasant visit to New York, asked what the matter was, but the Pandit would not speak of it and became so disturbed by any further reference to the episode that the matter was eventually dropped.

    Ironically in a completely intuitive world, accidents might be much less frequent if every mind, alert to intuitive warnings and impressions, searched for a cause behind them instead of dismissing them all as random and outside of the law.

  10. nuffzed says:

    A enjoyed this comprehensive piece..thank you.
    The most difficult obstacle to overcome is of course, Cognitive Dissonance (comforter blanket of those have ‘Willful Blindness!’.

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