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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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The Precognitive Faculty: Memories of the Future

Paul Kiritsis - Friday, April 26, 2013

The belief in prophetic omens is as rife as it ever was. If anecdotal accounts and folkloristic tradition are to be believed, seers and prophets have been descrying the future from the time humans developed tribal consciousness to differentiate and protect themselves from the hostile environment. While more cultivated in intuitive persons and less in the extroverted and practical, the precognitive faculty has informed religious belief in the most ambivalent and paradoxical manner. Providing a forewarning about misfortunes and serendipities enabled the respective individual or group receiving the prophecy to act constructively and either inhibit the evolution of the former or expedite the fruition of the latter. Though nonsensical when scrutinized by contemporary reason, precognition did in effect bring form and structure to an ancient cosmos whose mercurial shape-shifting from delicate summers and elemental doldrums to dark-prone winters and lethal tempests did little in endearing itself to the tribal sense of harmony. There’s no doubt that our ancient ancestors conducted their lives in accordance to an inexorable kismet (fate); they would have heeded to supernatural portents and extrapolations in structuring mundane day-to-day activities, religious rituals and festivities, and extracurricular pastimes. This demonstrated a conditioned belief that the determinative laws governing microcosm and macrocosm weren’t rigid or unyielding, and further still, that foreknowledge of an event coupled with active intervention was enough to skew the projected outcome.

Philosophical disputes involving fate, free will, and every possible alternative wedged between the two have been filled up pages and pages of innumerable tablets and text books from the time that our ancient ancestors pioneered the written word. Whatever one chooses to believe about the mechanics of the universe, we cannot deny that any theoretical instance of predetermination comes coupled with an intervention paradox. What’s that supposed to mean? Well, let’s look at the whole conundrum from the perspective of time travel. Suppose you regressed through time to a period when your great-grandmother was still a juvenile and slaughter her in cold blood. Save for making a notorious name for yourself, you would have also negated the possibility of your own becoming and being. Common sense tells us that this is absurd, an outright violation of physical laws. If this were actually possible there would be a great many people dropping dead every second from interdimensional murders perpetrated by enraged descendants that have somehow discovered a way back into the past from the future. The worldly population would be a lot smaller than what it is today, that’s for sure! Foremost of the implications here is that while passive observation of events situated outside the present moment may be possible, active participation in past and future events is indefinitely impossible.

The other obvious problem with predetermination is how does one intervene to alter an event that has already happened? How’s that supposed to work? Say I dream that I was going to be in a distressing and potentially fatal car accident involving a red Honda. The very next day I end up stranded in a remote area in South Morang with no way of getting home to Preston other than to hitch a ride with somebody else. A friend of a friend travelling towards the same area as I is kind enough to offer me a lift. I agree at first, until I’ve ascertained that the mode of travel is in fact a red Honda. An internal struggle between rational and superstitious subpersonalities ensues that ends with victory for the intuitively wired latter. I then verbalize this change of mind, feigning severe illness or a remembered non-existent rendezvous in a suburb located in the opposite direction as my reason for rejection. If I found out later that the car in question had been collected by semi-trailer somewhere between South Morang and Preston, would I then not be entitled to the deterministic belief that I had somehow trumped my fate?

How might awareness of a future event actually encumber or alter the field dynamics of quantum interconnectedness in the universe so that the event is allowed to materialize in some refracted form or averted altogether? At this moment the only logical explanation is that extrasensory information filtering into the personal unconscious becomes contaminated with narcissistic fantasies and creative embellishments unique to the observer of dream imagery. Though we don’t like to admit as such, every self-conscious personality is underpinned by a degree of self-centredness, an unconscious striving to be the centre of one’s own world. We cannot escape these psychosocial wirings of our mental egos. They are even duplicated in dream consciousness through a melodramatisation of impressions casting the observer-receiver in the role of protagonist. Thus from what has come to light, only one or two images on a metaphysical train of ideas are real in any objective sense; the rest are all fantastical untruths constructed by a mental ego craving to be the centre of all attention! For many a metaphysical position adopting a crossbreed of real and fantasy images may be a little hard to swallow, however it’s the only one that explains the phenomenon without inviting associative paradoxes of space-time.     

Perhaps it’s best to illustrate this point with an example from my own repository of prophetic dreams. The most potent in the last year or so involved a visit to a doctor’s consulting rooms where something emotionally disturbing unravelled. “You’re dying,” I remember the elderly doctor blurting out quite matter-of-factly from behind his wooden desk. “You’ve got till next Tuesday, Wednesday at most.” Hearing the proposed date of my own death and realizing the futility of trying to transcend my own fate stirred such inner turmoil that I was jolted from my sleep. It was Saturday 25th August. By the following Wednesday I had forgotten about the dream and went about my usual business. That day I pondered some fascinating esoteric material that I am currently studying under the aegis of Exeter University in the United Kingdom. I even brought up a picture of staff members and students taken during an October 2011conference on the sumptuous grassy-green grounds of the university to aid my intellectual musings. I don’t know what possessed me to retrieve and stare at an electronic photo that I hadn’t seen for at least a year; whatever the reason I suddenly found myself feeling a sentimental sense of kinship with its smiling subjects. Leading the academic charge was Professor Nicholas Goodricke-Clarke, the Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism. About a week later I received the lamentable news that the latter passed after a brief illness on Wednesday 29th August, a day designated by my inner unconscious process as a date of death.  

Carriers of precognitive content can be distinguished from ordinary parallel dreams where the unconscious psyche is just letting off steam and decluttering from a day’s worth of impressions in manifold ways. Their primary characteristic happens to be ‘preternatural clarity’, a term used by metaphysical thinkers to describe amplification of the reality tone. To be sure, they differ from all other unconscious content in that visual and auditory impressions are vivid, surreal, and imbued with a telepathic quality, containing interactive elements that are not native to the perceptive mechanisms of the receiver and have come from elsewhere. Most individuals who experience them by the tens and hundreds will know if a dream or a particular dream segment is precognitive or not. Speaking with an eye for the whole in mind, most are of a personal nature and speak about the immediate future of the individual yet it is not at all uncommon to experience ‘collective’ metaphysical visions of a more explosive nature like wars, famines, natural disasters, and so forth. If a girl snuggled in her bed in Switzerland begins dreaming of a giant volcano spewing forth tributaries of lava and shooting pumice miles into the atmosphere and then wakes to the news that a volcanic island identical in physiognomy has erupted in the middle of the Pacific somewhere, we would say that the vision was of the ‘collective’ variety. On the whole ‘personal’ and ‘imminent’ visions are much more frequently reported that ‘collective’ and ‘chronologically distant’ ones due to materialize at an advanced point in linear time.

The best evidence in support of retrocausality through precognition comes from controlled experiments conducted in laboratory settings. In 1989, a meta-analysis published by paranormal investigators Charles Honorton and Dianne Ferrari critically examined 309 studies involving forced-choice precognition tests conducted between 1935 and 1987 on a total of fifty thousand random participants by sixty-two different scientists. That’s an astounding five million trials all up! What they found was unparalleled and critical for any dialectical position regarding the precognitive faculty as something more than a human fabrication.  The combined investigations yielded a statistical significance of thirty percent with a one to 1025 or 0.0975 percent chance that coincidence had anything to do with the descriptions offered by subjects of future events. The role that chance played in these experiments could be compared to busting open a packet of M & M’s and having seventy of the one hundred and five candy-coated pieces of milk chocolate land on the M side up, or to having seventy fans distributed around that house and having a breeze entering from the kitchen window rotate the set of propellers at precisely the same speed. With this in mind, it’s probably safe to conclude that chance had nothing to do with it. Likewise we might also conclude, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the human mind or an aspect of has a way of acquiring information about future states by hovering over an ambient multidimensional spiderweb of nonlocal correlations (to borrow a term from quantum physics) and seeing its prospective position in the holographic ordering or alternatively estimating it from the current sum of psychical data at its disposal. We don’t quite know how it happens at this point but we do know that the information is there and that it’s readily available.             

I happily class myself as an individual who often receives authentic psychic impressions through visionary dreams before the former achieve phenomenal expression. The three most prominent of the last six months are described in minute detail below. On the morning of Friday 19th January, I dreamt I was giving a seminar about a completed writing project that contains both non-fictional and fictional components with the latter beautifully illustrated by my cousin Chris. I reach into a side pocket of my earth-coloured leather bag to retrieve the canvases and realize that they’ve been stolen. The thief must have no doubt ambled into the amphitheatre before the inauguration of the presentation and snatched them when my cousin and I weren’t looking. There’s no need to search for a suspect; my clairvoyant powers are as strong and sharp as a polished diamond so I know who’s done it. In fact the perpetrator is in the audience, watching on attentively as my hand embarks on a hopeless quest. I can see him from the corner of my eye but I don’t dare verbalize any premature thoughts; the lack of substantiating evidence would make any imminent accusation on my part seem like a cheap personal attempt at retribution for a perceived wrong against my character or name. Instead, I pivot to face my cousin and say, ‘We can’t display the canvases for the people. They’ve been stolen.” Before Chris opens his mouth to speak I remember that the set of images in question are saved on a USB stick tucked safely inside the front pocket of my jeans. With one fluid motion I retrieve the gadget and proceed to wave it up in the air for my cousin to see. “Don’t worry we’ve still got the scans. We may have lost the originals but we can still show the scans!” The heartfelt concern etched all over my cousin’s face gradually eases into a sheepish smile.

I awake feeling rather disorientated and unsettled. A genuine hunch arising from the pit of my stomach alerts me to the reality that this is not just a commonplace dream involving the diurnal processing of information or emancipating a build-up of psychic steam. Primal indicators of its central importance are preternatural clarity and sharpness, both of which play a substantial role in singling it out from a chain of nocturnal visions and imbuing it with a rare, memorable quality. Shortly after finishing my morning breakfast I log onto my laptop, eager to start my morning ritual of reading and answering business and personal e-mails. Amongst the usual cluster is an important notification from my former service provider informing me of web account suspension due to the detection of malicious spyware. Even before reading the first line I know that the presentiments of doom felt upon awakening would soon be vindicated. After a few seconds the muddy confusion of having received such a message moulds itself into a specific impression; a hacker had somehow found a way into my website and implanted dangerous data and codes therein. Subsequent events showed that I was right. After perusing the system files my web technicians regretfully informed me that whoever had gone in had “made minced meat of the master files” and consequently inflicted irreversible damage to the Wordpress file supporting my work. Nonetheless, an electronic backup of some 200,000 plus words worth of work presented on the ill-fated website minimalized the damage and within a week or so I was back online with a brand new website and host.

Only a few weeks afterward I have another dream of preternatural quality involving a middle-aged man I did not recognize but perceived as a threat. The setting was a dimly lit carpark out in the middle of nowhere. I’m unsure as to when the individual dream narrative actually begins, but it appears that one minute I’m walking to my car at a leisurely pace and unperturbed manner and the next I’m being pursued by a snarling psychopath with a hypodermic syringe. Every so often I’ll glance behind my shoulder to see if the distance between us has increased, decreased, or remained constant. To my detriment it appears that  he’s gaining on me, and fast; it’ll be only a matter of time before he yanks me by the shoulder, wrestles me to the ground, and then tries to thrust the dangerous implement into my back, I tell myself. I try to keep my worst fear–the scenario of one-on-one combat–at bay; I try to banish it to the furthest edges of the conscious universe so that it can’t keep flashing up in my mind’s eye, but it’s useless. A voice inside me suddenly reverberates: “This is what it’s like to be a prisoner of your own doubts and phobias, Paul. For how long do you think you can keep on running? For how long, huh?” In speaking the superconscious voice awakens me to possibilities I had not seriously considered as viable options of escape. I decide to stop and face my psychopathic fears but the loud thud of the footfalls behind me is an indication that the fears have already caught up to me. I yelp out in surprise and pain as the needlepoint jabs into my left rotator cuff, just a few inches below the supraspinatus muscle. “No don’t!” I exclaim, stopping dead in my tracks and contemporaneously reaching over my shoulder with my left arm to wrench the syringe out. Once I’ve tossed it aside my eyes dart to and fro, probing for the sneering psychopath who was behind me only seconds ago. Mysteriously, he’s vanished into thin air. Two days after this disturbing nocturnal encounter I suffered a rotator cuff injury localized to the region inches below the left supraspinatus muscle that drastically limited my range of arm and shoulder motion. In the abovementioned cases we might say that the waking experience was a diurnal refraction of metaphysical dream consciousness.

The third and final precognitive experience occurred quite recently, on the 17th April 2013 in fact. After a protracted period wrestling with heavy weights in the gymnasium after lunch, I decided that it would be best to take a short nap before resuming academic study in the late afternoon. I wandered into my room, sprawled myself out on my queen-size bed with a thick woollen blanket, and started taking long, deep breaths. Soon I was vacillating between sleeping and waking, in an intermediary state of consciousness known as hypnagogia, and would have probably penetrated though the psychic membrane into the womb of consciousness had it not been for a cacophonous bang that came from nowhere and startled me right awake. I just lay there for a few seconds, pondering a sound with determinative qualities not unlike an electrical zap. With graveyard silence being the chief characteristic of the somnolent room, the odds that the sound might have come from without was slim to none. It was, to all intents and purposes, an internal phenomenon. The event was so perplexing that all drowsiness receded into the backdrop and I scrambled off the bed, eager to investigate. I fumbled for the light switch along the lamp beside my bed and eventually succeeded in turning it on, only to have the light burn out instantaneously. The surge noise originating from the fixed device was one and the same with the internal one heard in the hypnagogic state. In this instance, we have a precognitive impression coming from a hypnagogic instead of a dream state where the time elapsed between two phenomena perceived to be causally linked is fairly marginal (i.e. no longer than about a minute or so).

All three metaphysical occurrences described are conscious regurgitations of future images that are detected; then stitched into a fantastical train of irrational and sometimes partly rational narrative; and finally projected into dream consciousness by the personal unconscious. As intimated earlier, the unconscious is not really a fan of replicating a train of future events in its entirety. It much prefers to reduce the train of images to the sum of its parts, pluck out one or two for mental representation, and then reinsert them into a melodramatic contiguity containing a succession of real and imagined content that flashes before the dreamer’s field of presentation during periods of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. For those unfamiliar to the types of dreams that one may experience, it just so happens that customary parallel dreams whereby memory trains of visual and auditory impressions are refracted into irrational beams of unified conscious experience during REM sleep are inverted forms of precognitive ones, with the waking experience standing in as the cause and the associational dream component the effect.

These pass unnoticed by the majority of the population because they do not violate our lopsided and prejudiced perception of how the synergistic aspect of human consciousness is supposed to operate. Knowing that something happens and for what reason it happens naturally makes one more open to the experience of it. This fact goes far in illuminating why people will distinguish, report, and discuss a parallel dream experience to the exclusion of all other unconscious phenomena. Precognition, on the other hand, suggests a displacement transcending the general consensus on the dynamics of time, its relation to space, and its manner of operation, something that observers with an eye for conventional law cannot get their head around and might purposively reject as an objective truth. It’s much easier not to see something when the realms of convention decree that they should not, could not exist. Somewhat ironic is how a mere phenomenal displacement in time can force a nest of cracks to appear at the conceptual crux of linear time, a spectacle able to awaken one from their collective slumber and shatter the illusion of freedom. In the last few thousand years social and cultural conditioning has practically infiltrated the very marrow of our bones; it’s in our DNA even!

In hindsight, it seems that precognitive faculty of the mind poses some serious conceptual problems for linear time. If time is indeed a linear mechanism confining everything in it to the forward-moving current from past to present and then future, then how is it that some part of our selves (which sometimes goes by the name of transcendental ego or higher Self) can periodically project itself into some expanded, unified field of consciousness and bring back authentic information of future events? Is there a part of us that stands outside the three-dimensional ‘space-time continuum’ and operates in four or five dimensions? Could it be that the whilst the mental ego birthed by left-brain thinking filters the information universe in accordance to a linear filter because it is itself immersed in downward stream of causality, the transcendental ego or higher Self of right-brain thinking hovers above it and sees that some boulders can create effects like eddies downstream but also powerful vortices upstream. To an entity standing opposite linear time and thus able to see the dynamic of the whole and understand how individual structures might work in relation to it, causality and retrocausality are equally feasible. From this far more complex viewpoint of time as serial and humans as fundamentally multiplex beings, precognition isn’t as mysterious or supernatural as what it first seems, is it?

 

 

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