Milestone: the Psychology Establishment Acknowledges PSI

Since man has been on earth, there have been reports of paranormal events.  Since the scientific method was established, it has been applied to study telepathy, precognition, remote viewing, psychokinesis, and spiritualism.   On the one hand, evidence for all these phenomena has not been scarce; on the other hand, accepting their reality calls into question the reductionist framework on which modern science rests.  Is there an objective physical reality that unfolds mechanically according to laws that operate at the microscopic level?  (In this case, mind is an epiphenomenon that came into existence as brains evolved.)  Or is mind part of the fabric of reality, as fundamental or perhaps more fundamental than matter, space, and time?

Research in telepathy and other paranormal phenomena has proceeded outside the purview of the scientific establishment.  Researchers have realized the need to integrate a science of mind into the physical and biological sciences, and have adopted increasingly rigorous protocols and bulletproof statistical methodology in order to beat down the walls of censorship and earn a place in the scientific canon.  Finally, this may be happening.

Last month, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association published this review of experiments in many different fields of parapsychology.  The author concludes

The evidence provides cumulative support for the reality of psi, which…is comparable to that for established phenomena in psychology and other disciplines, although there is no consensual understanding of them.

(Daryl Bem prepared the ground for this event 7 years ago.)

If you are interested in reading in more depth about experiments in parapsychology, I recommend Dean Radin’s books and videos. He is both a rigorous scientist and an engaging communicator. You might start with Supernormal or this on Youtube .

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Only employee ownership can save the corporation

The summer of 2018 was a trying one for Google, Tesla, and other members of a celebrated Silicon Valley cohort that was supposed to have re-written all the rules. These companies continue to amaze with what they do well. But their attempts to revolutionize corporate culture—to create what could be called a utopian workplace—have run into certain basic truths they were never going to escape. Like the industrial corporations that preceded them, these newer companies are confronting challenges not just from the marketplace but from within. In order to meet those challenges, they must dig deeper than their predecessors did and move to structurally empower their most valuable resource: their employees. In doing so they should embrace a movement toward a democracy of work.  — Christopher Mackin

This article in the New Republic says you can’t paper over the essential logic of capitalism.  The contradictions won’t be resolved until employees are part-owners in their workplace.

Into these [larger scale businesses] we have brought together larger amounts of capital and larger numbers of workers than existed in cities once thought great. We have been put to it, however, to discover the true principles which should govern their relations. From one point of view, they were partners in a common enterprise. From another they were enemies fighting for the spoils of their common achievement. … I hope the day may come when these great business organizations will truly belong to the men who are giving their lives and their efforts to them, I care not in what capacity. … Then we shall dispose once and for all, of the charge that in industry organizations are autocratic and not democratic. Then we shall have no hired men.  — Owen D. Young, CEO of General Electric (1927)

Flying Soulo

1954

Five-year-old Josh is watching Sunday morning TV while his parents sleep in. “The Fourth R” is “Religion”, and it is also the name of a program designed in a more innocent age to introduce children to religion, or to indoctrinate young minds into a narrow Judeo-Christian perspective on things spiritual, or most likely the producers of this show have experienced no such conflict because they have not in their own investigations ventured beyond the comfortable religious views that are sanctioned in America’s most complacent decade. Kerouac is not yet on the road, and Ginsberg has yet to begin his howl.  A comforting, grandfatherly war hero is in the White House, and all is copacetic.

The well-mannered child waits for Mommy and Daddy to wake up, but not a moment longer. He climbs onto the edge of the bed and “What’s a soul?” he asks.
Daddy is caught off-guard. Home for the weekend from his job as a traveling salesman, he has proudly mentored his precocious son through the wiles of Mr Wizard and the subtleties of fourth-grade mathematics, but he is utterly unprepared for the boy’s interest in metaphysics.

He gently pinches the boy’s arm. “If I pinch you here, that’s not your soul. If I pinch you there, that’s not your soul. It’s part of you, but it’s not anywhere on your body.”
The boy is abashed. He is accustomed to expect lucid explanations from his Dad, and he usually catches on quickly. But this time, he has no idea what Daddy is talking about. He doesn’t want to let on, for fear of appearing slow-witted.

“Oh” says the boy.

Secretly, he wonders, when the boys at the bus stop ask him whether he believes in Guard, what is he expected to say? What is the answer that will conceal his ineptitude in this matter and buy some time for him while he figures it out. He imagines a crossing guard who protects all the students by stopping cars in the street. He wants to be a policeman when he grows up, but he knows that the Guard on Sunday morning TV is much bigger than policemen, and he is embarrassed that Nicky Fisher and Robby Rosenthal seem to have some familiarity with this Big Guard that he lacks, and maybe that is why sometimes they don’t invite him over to play Calling All Cars or build a secret clubhouse in the woods on the other side of Stronghurst Avenue.

Already, the boy has amassed some confidence in his ability to figure stuff out, but not much confidence that other kids are going to want to play with him, especially the boys from the other side of 229th Street. He senses that this business of Souls and Guards is too important for him to betray his ignorance, so his plan is to keep his ears open, to try to hear what the other kids say, and use their clues to figure out the right answer.

Josh’s brain is what he has learned to rely upon to get him through the perils of embarrassment and ostracism. His ability to figure things out has won him the praise of his parents and teachers, and a new Erector Set from his Aunt Tillie. There are other aspects of his experience which he doesn’t talk about, and which are already half-walled off as a secret, inner world. His deepest secret has to do with the warm, tingly feeling he gets when he thinks about a blond-haired girl named Michelle who walks with a brace on one leg. He knows that it would be all over for him if boys started whispering that Josh Likes Girls.

A lesser secret has to do with a sense he has had sometimes when he is lying in bed or sitting in the bathroom. This one doesn’t seem perilous, exactly, but he has no language with which to talk about it. “I am Josh” he says to himself, and he just feels like—no, he knows—that that just isn’t true. I am these thoughts. I am the experiences and the experiencer. I am the one watching all this happening. I am the one figuring this stuff out. Josh—Josh, on the other hand, is this body that’s sitting here on the toilet seat. Josh doesn’t seem to be bound so tightly to who the boy is, who “I” is. The boy has this recurring experience, but he does not relate it to the puzzle about the soul, or the part of the body that can’t be pinched. The question of the soul is something he’s just going to have to figure out logically, by thinking. It seems hard, but it can’t be that hard, because grownups seem to know. He’s just afraid that he doesn’t have much time.  He can’t afford to wait until he’s grown up to figure it out.

Toilet-thinker

It may be so

XI

It may be so with us, that in the dark,
When we have done with Time and wander Space,
Some meeting of the blind may strike a spark,
And to Death’s empty mansion give a grace,
It may be, that the loosened soul may find
Some new delight of living without limbs,
Bodiless joy of flesh-untrammelled mind,
Peace like a sky where starlike spirit swims.
It may be, that the million cells of sense,
Loosed from their seventy years adhesion, pass
Each to some joy of changed experience,
Weight in the earth or glory in the grass.
It may be, that we cease; we cannot tell.
Even if we cease, life is a miracle.

— John Masefield

Let me remind you who you really

[Excerpted from the revised and expanded edition of Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, by Rob Brezsny]

You’re an immortal freedom fighter who has adopted the mission to liberate all sentient creatures. You’re a fun-loving messiah who devoutly wants to help all of your fellow messiahs claim the ecstatic awareness that is their birthright.

Try to remember. You’re a vortex of fluid light that has temporarily taken assumed the form of a human being, suffering amnesia about your true origins. And why did you do forget? Because it was the best way to forge the identity that would make you an elemental force in our 14-billion-year campaign to bring heaven down to earth.

You are a mutant deity in disguise — of the same lineage as a Buddha or Christ, and conjured from the same fire. You have been around since the beginning of time and will be here after the end. You’re learning.  You’re getting better at playing the preposterously amusing master game we all dreamed up together before the Big Bang bloomed.

Lately, I must admit, our work has seemed almost comically impossible. Many of us have given in to the temptation to believe that everything is wrong wrong wrong. Ignorance and inertia, partially camouflaged as time-honored morality, seem to surround us. Pessimism is enshrined as a hallmark of worldliness. Compulsive skepticism masquerades as perceptiveness. Mean-spirited irony is chic. Stories about treachery and degradation provoke a visceral thrill in millions of people who think of themselves as reasonable and smart. Beautiful truths are suspect and ugly half-truths are readily believed.

So, at this peculiar turning point in the evolution of our 14-billion-year-old master game, it’s not easy to carry out our mission. We’ve got to be both wrathful insurrectionaries and exuberant lovers of life. We’ve got to cultivate cheerful buoyancy even as we resist the temptation to swallow thousands of delusions that have been carefully crafted and seductively packaged by those messiahs among us who bravely volunteered to play the role of know-it-all deceivers.

We have to learn how to stay in a good yet unruly mood as we overthrow the sour, puckered mass hallucination that is mistakenly referred to as “reality.”

Most importantly, we have to keep our imaginations wild and hungry and free, even as we are ferociously and single-mindedly dedicated to the cause of beauty and truth. We have to be both disciplined and rowdy.

What can we do to help each other in this work?

First, we can create safe houses to shelter everyone who’s devoted to the slow-motion awakening of humanity. These sanctuaries might take the form of temporary autonomous zones like festivals and parties and workshops, where we can ritually explore and potentiate the evolving mysteries of pronoia (the antidote to paranoia). Or they might be more enduring autonomous zones like homes and cafes and businesses where we can get regular practice in freeing ourselves from the slavery of hatred in all of its many guises.

We can conspire together to carry out the agenda that futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard names: to hospice what’s dying and midwife what’s being born. We need the trigger of each other’s rebel glee as we kill off every reflex within us that resonates in harmony with the putrefaction. We need each other’s dauntless cunning as we goad and foment the blooming life forces within us.

Here’s a third way we can collaborate: We can inspire each other to perpetrate healing mischief, friendly shocks, compassionate tricks, irreverent devotion, holy pranks, playful experiments, and crazy wisdom.

What do tricks and mischief and jokes have to do with our quest? Isn’t America in a permanent state of war? Isn’t the global biosphere in freefall collapse? Hasn’t the paranoia about terrorism decimated our civil liberties? Isn’t it our duty to grow more serious and weighty than ever before?

On the contrary: I say this is the perfect moment to take everything less seriously and less personally and less literally.

Permanent war and the loss of civil liberties are immediate dangers. But they are only symptoms of an even larger, long-term threat to the fate of the earth: the genocide of  imagination.

Elsewhere, on pages 184-186 of my book, I have identified pop-nihilist storytellers as the vanguard perpetrators of this genocide of the imagination. But there is another culprit as well: fundamentalism.

The fundamentalist takes everything way too seriously and way too personally and way too literally. He divides the world into two camps, those who agree with him and those who don’t. There is only one right way to interpret the world, and a million wrong ways. Correct belief is the only virtue.

To the fundamentalist, the liberated imagination is a sinful taboo. He not only enslaves his own imagination to his ideology, but wants to enslave our imaginations, too.

And who are the fundamentalists? Let’s not remain under the delusion that they are only the usual suspects — the religious fanatics of Islam and Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism.

There are many other kinds of fundamentalists, and some of them have gotten away with practicing their tragic magic in a stealth mode. Among the most successful are those who believe in what Robert Anton Wilson calls fundamentalist materialism. This is the faith-based dogma that swears physical matter is the only reality and that nothing exists unless it can be detected by our five senses or by technologies that humans have made.

Life has no transcendent meaning or purpose, the fundamentalist materialists proclaim. There is no such thing as a divine intelligence. The universe is a dumb accidental machine that grinds on endlessly out of blind necessity.

I see spread out before me in every direction a staggeringly sublime miracle lovingly crafted by a supernal consciousness that oversees the evolution of 500 billion galaxies, yet is also available as an intimate companion and daily advisor to every one of us. But to the fundamentalist materialists, my perceptions are indisputably wrong and idiotic.

Many other varieties of fundamentalism thrive and propagate. Every ideology, even some of the ones I like, has its share of true believers — fanatics who judge all other ideologies as inferior, flawed, and foolish.

I know astrologers who insist there’s only one way to do astrology right. I know Buddhists who adamantly decree that the inherent nature of life on Earth is suffering. I know progressive activists who sincerely believe that every single Republican is either stupid or evil or both. I know college administrators who would excommunicate any psychology professor who dared to discuss the teachings of Carl Jung, who was in my opinion one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. I know pagans who refuse to consider any other version of Jesus Christ beyond the sick parody the Christian right has fabricated.

None of the true believers like to hear that there are at least three sides to every story. They don’t want to consider the hypothesis that everyone has a piece of the truth.

And here’s the really bad news: We all have our own share of the fundamentalist virus. Each of us is fanatical, rigid, and intolerant about products of the imagination that we don’t like. We wish that certain people would not imagine the things they do, and we allow ourselves to beam hateful, war-like thoughts in their direction.

We even wage war against our own imaginations, commanding ourselves, sometimes half-consciously, to ignore possibilities that don’t fit into our neatly constructed theories. Each of us sets aside certain precious beliefs and symbols that we give ourselves permission to take very seriously and personally and literally.

Our fundamentalism, yours and mine, may not be as dangerous to the collective welfare as, say, the fundamentalism of Islamic terrorists and right-wing Christian politicians. It may not be as destructive as that of the CEOs who worship financial profit as the supreme measure of value, and the scientists who ignore and deny every mystery that can’t be measured, and the journalists, filmmakers, novelists, musicians, and pundits who relentlessly generate rotten visions of the human condition.

But still: We are all infected, you and I. We are fueling the war against the imagination. What’s your version of the virus?

Try to remember. We are reverent insurgents … convulsive beautifiers … rowdy avatars. We have more mojo at our disposal than we realize. But if we hope to navigate our way through this peculiar turning point in the evolution of our 14-billion-year-old master game, we will have to summon previously untapped reserves of that mojo. We will have to keep our imaginations wild and hungry and free, and make sure that all of our fellow messiahs, even those who volunteered to play the roles of ignorant deceivers, have the chance to keep their imaginations wild and hungry and free.

How might we start curing ourselves of the fundamentalist virus and move in the direction of becoming more festive and relentless champions of the liberated imagination?

For starters, we can take everything less seriously and less personally and less literally.

We can laugh at ourselves at least as much as we laugh at other people. We can blaspheme our own gods and burn our own flags and mock our own hypocrisy and satirize our own fads and fixations.

And we can enjoy and share the tonic pleasures of healing mischief, friendly shocks, compassionate tricks, irreverent devotion, holy pranks, playful experiments, and crazy wisdom.

visit Rob Brezsny’s website

 

A Long Legacy

At a time when the American economy was creating wealth prolifically, and all of it was going to a tiny minority who didn’t need it, a populist from Louisiana stood up and told the truth.  Working Americans were being robbed.  The productive economy was being drained not for anything that anyone needed or wanted, but just to feed the desire of accumulation of a few Rockefellers and Morgans and Carnegies.

huey-long-stamp

He was enormously popular.  He was about to run for president, and he was shot and killed, under circumstances that remain murky to this day.

Three decades later, there was a wave of assassinations of American progressives.  JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm, Lennon, JFK Jr, Wellstone — all these men were charismatic progressives.  Less war, more sharing of the wealth.  None of their deaths has been convincingly explained, and for some of them, the stories that came out of official accounts are laughably full of contradictions and impossibilities.

There were countless others, just as visionary, but perhaps perceived as less of a threat, and they found ways to sideline their political careers without murder.  Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Eliot Spitzer, Russ Feingold…

These progressives give us a hint of what American politics would look like if the people’s voice were allowed to carry the day.  We can restore democracy to America.  We will restore democracy to America, and it will change the face of our country and our planet.

Huey Long would have been 125 years old today.

We say to America’s 125 millions, ‘None shall be too big.  None shall be too poor.  None shall work too much.  None shall be idle.’


They can’t shoot us all.