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Tuesday October 19, 2004: Thoughtcrimes: Part Two

         How wonderful it would be if a spontaneous psychic could be trained, instead of having to learn by trial and error, surrounded by an internal climate of doubt and uncertainty. If one is naturally gifted in music or sports, the rest of the world does not expect a flawless public performance without years of practice and instruction.  Even then, no one raises an eyebrow at the continued need for practice. One's allowed to work over and over on segments where mistakes are made, while the performance is being honed to perfection. And, in the case of sports, the public is even forgiving of mistakes made on the playing field, as long as occasional burst of perfection break through the routine playing.

         On the other hand, someone who first announces a psychic impression is quickly subject to a rigid scientific standard; psychic ability is discredited the minute it fails its first prediction. Previous impressions, if they were correct, might be written off as coincidence, and even 75% accuracy could be no more than unusual luck, compared to the remaining inaccuracies. There has been no school where one could safely explore how to interpret the incoming impressions, learning which impressions to ignore, which to follow.  One learned through trial and error, with heavy consequences for errors.

         In my generation, the psychic was left with limited choices. One could verbally put one's reputation on the line by making insights public. Learning to trust your impressions did strengthen further insights, but you also risked public ridicule if the prediction did not come true. For most spontaneous psychics who wanted to live a normal life in the secular world, it was easier to simply hide that side of your life. With luck, you could set up internal experiments which recorded memories of insights and weighed them against future events, slowly trying to reason out how to separate true visions from imagination.

          I am glad for the current generation. There are more books on the market, more programs on the television, more classes offered in the community, all allowing one to explore the idea of multiple realities. There are characters in movies who are allowed to be fully human, with normal emotional problems being added to the challenges of psychic powers. They offer new options to an upcoming generation, who may not feel the need to hide and repress this part of human potential, as my generation did.

           More exciting for me is to see people in the scientific field (who most commonly have had their own inner experiences) willing to seriously study and explore the possibility of extended awareness, to learn how the brain functions during altered states.  Recently, there's been the PsiberDream Conference, which held several mutual and lucid dreaming contests to improve lucid dreaming recall and scientific understanding of lucid dream states.  I'm not sure we're totally past the possibilities of witch hunts, but these are positive steps forward.

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 at 05:11AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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