by Patrick Marsolek (12/2009)
Do you believe in psychic phenomena or are you skeptical? Have you had an experience not explainable by materialistic science? If you have and you’re curious about your experiences, you may have already delved into the realm of parapsychology. This field of anomalous leftovers is what the early psychologist and philosopher, William James called the “unclassified residuum,” a field labeled pseudo-science today by some mainstream scientists.
If you explore with an open mind, you will find a large amount of scientifically valid research showing that phenomena like telepathy, remote viewing, distant intention, and gut feelings are real. In terms of this research being accepted by science, the evidence is important but not sufficient. An explanatory framework is required to account for the data and bridge to our existing scientific understanding of reality.
That's what Dean Radin, the author of the book, Entangled Minds has attempted to provide. He has demonstrated how the concept of quantum-entangled minds can be compatible with the concept of quantum-entangled particles, an already established scientific fact. His theory suggests that your mind may be linked with other minds and perhaps other things as well. Information from that connection comes into your conscious awareness through intuitions, gut feelings, or other subtle perceptions. This information is not transmitted by normal means. You are interconnected at a place where consciousness and matter interact.
Physicist Erwin Schrödinger first coined the term Verschrankung in German. Verschrankung is translated into English as entanglement. Some argue that this translation is misleading. It might be better to talk about this concept as a “folding of arms” or an “orderly folding.” Entanglement refers to how pairs of subatomic particles behave as if they are connected, even when separated by a large physical distance. A change in one particle is instantaneously reflected in the other. The change is too fast to be caused by any kind of cause and effect connection that we know.
Entanglement is one phenomena from the realm of quantum physics that New Age thinkers take as confirmation that there is a spiritual or energetic connection between everything. If subatomic particles can become entangled, why not larger bits of matter? Why not people? Maybe entanglement is what causes a person to feel anxiety in his gut and think of his brother, at the exact moment that his brother has an automobile accident.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the trends in quantum physics and parapsychological research and see how these two fields may be pointing towards a partnership and a new theory of reality. Physics has come a long way since Max Planck dubbed packets of light ‘quanta’ around the turn of the last century. Since its inception, quantum physics has moved further out from mainstream science into the realm of extraordinary possibilities, consciousness and belief. There are now scientific conferences which combine quantum mechanics, consciousness, and quantum computing.
Yet skeptics and many scientists argue that quantum entanglement can’t be an explanation for things like intuition and telepathy because these quantum events only occur in simple forms between pairs of subatomic particles in the very small, cold and fast quantum world. They believe there is no evidence of any quantum effect in our every day lives and that there isn’t even any proof that there is a psychic connection between people.
With the push to develop quantum computing, current research is revealing how there might be much more quantum phenomena in our daily world. There are studies showing that quantum effects have been observed in much more humanly accessible environments that are warmer, longer lasting and at much larger scales. In a 2004 article in “New Scientist,” Michael Brooks says: “Physicists now believe that entanglement between particles exists everywhere, all the time, and have recently found shocking evidence that it affects the wider, ‘macroscopic’ world that we inhabit.” Quantum entanglement has been shown in paired neurons, in physical particles that are large - the current record is now up to 108 atoms - and even in super conducting chips. Quantum gravity has even been shown to affect things on a much larger scale.
As quantum physics makes its way more into the mainstream, the assumptions about the nature of reality are being challenged. Consider the five basic assumptions of classical physics:
- Reality - The world is objectively real.
- Locality - Objects can only be influenced through direct contact
- Causality - The arrow of time flows one direction and cause and effect is a fixed sequence.
- Continuity - The fabric of space and time is smooth
- Determinism - Things progress in an orderly, predictable way so we can predict everything if we know all the pieces.
The Quantum world shows us that these assumptions no longer hold true. The reality of the world we observe may not be absolute. With entanglement, we have nonlocality; things can be affected at a distance without any physical or energetic connection. Causality isn’t reliable then either, since the ‘when’ of events may be changeable and may be affected by the observation of it. Continuity isn’t reliable; at quantum levels, space and time don’t appear to be smooth or contiguous. Determinism doesn’t work any more because it relies on the other assumptions. It’s understandable why there is so much resistance to the idea that the reality of the quantum world may be as true of the properties of the physical world we all know. Everything we know to be true may be challenged. Even the physicists don’t know and don’t understand what it all means.
The anomalies of the quantum world are leading us into different understandings. What if our every day, objective reality were entangled? We might be able to experience a connection to others. We might know things without sensing them. Our intentions might interact with matter or with other people. All of these ideas lie within the field of parapsychological research.
Eighty percent of people, skeptics and believers alike, have had some type of gut feeling experience. Yet because of the bias of science towards what is physical and objectively verifiable, these experiences are not considered real and much of mainstream science is not interested in them. Of the approximately 17,500 higher learning institutions worldwide only 30 have faculty who are interested in extended human capacities. None of these learning institutions are in the United States.
There is a whole range of phenomena that is part of human experience that materialistic science cannot account for. Dean Radin has described this as the Noetic Spectrum of human experience. Noetic refers to a form of direct knowing that hasn’t been valued in our materialistic culture.
In this Noetic Spectrum, experiences are graphed from bottom left to upper right in terms of frequency and impact. Almost everyone has had a gut feeling, but very few of us experience mystical union or epiphany. Yet all of these experiences can be transformative and meaningful to people. There is a wealth of scientific research showing that people do feel a connection with others, do know things without sensing them and are even connected to each other without knowing it. Telepathy, for example, has long been studied using the Ganzfeld experiment.
In a typical Ganzfeld experiment, ping-pong balls are placed over the eyes and white noise is played through the head phones of the person who is the receiver. A receptive state is created in which the conscious mind can relax and receive information. A second person in a different room then attempts to send the receiver information by focusing on him and trying to ‘send’ him images. The receiver describes his perceptions. Afterwards, the receiver choses one of four targets, based on his perceptions. Cumulative results from over 3000 sessions in 25 labs has resulted in a 34% success rate, with an expected random chance of success at 25%. The probability of this happening randomly is 29 million trillion to 1.
More recently, researchers have developed studies that focus on unconscious physiological systems to test for telepathy and distant intention. Many body responses have been studied including heart rate variability, sweating, digestion and elimination, emotional arousal, eye dilation, blood pressure and skin resistance. For example, one study looked at EEG correlations from visually evoked responses. One person is in a room watching a TV while connected to EEG equipment. The TV flashes on and off randomly, showing an image of the receiver, another person who is in a different room and is also wired up to EEG equipment. The only directions for the sender are to focus on the receiver when they see his image on the screen.
In repeated trials in different laboratories, it has been shown that there is a statistically significant correlation between the two brains at the moment of stimulation. When the sender sees the image of the receiver on the TV screen, the receiver’s brain responds. In this experiment, both the sender’s and the receiver’s brain activity peaks at about 200 milliseconds after the image flashed on the TV screen. Similar studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging also showed similar results and showed that the same parts of the brain were active. This research confirms some kind of connections between the two people’s brains, although there is no known physical means for this. Interestingly, if one of the subjects falls asleep, the two brains do not show correlation. Sleeping serves as a control showing that intention and attention do play a role.
One element of these experiments that boggles the mind and hints at quantum phenomena is how the receiver’s brain consistently shows a surge in activity and stimulation at around 100 milliseconds before the sender’s brain is stimulated. That’s before the sender sees anything on the TV and has any response in their brain. Somehow, the receiver registers the stimulus before it even happens. This slippage in time has shown up in many of the other studies working with other unconscious body responses. As these experiments show, the continuity and causality that we have come to rely on, may not as reliable as we think.
Similarly with gut feelings and other intuitive experiences, we may perceive something in our physical body shortly before an event actually occurs. Have you ever been driving down a road, had an image of a deer come into your mind, then slowed down just before you actually saw a deer in front of you?
Skeptics of parapsychology often called these kinds of experiences, and all the experiences in the Noetic spectrum, ‘nonsense’ or ‘impossible.’ In a way they are right, they seem to be non-sense based. There is no physical way the receiver in these experiments could sense anything that would stimulate his unconscious. Perceiving something before it happens can’t happen through the senses.
Dean Radin has proposed that this kind of communication is explainable by quantum entanglement. Psychic phenomena may be the human experience of our entangled universe. We know there is quantum entanglement, and have even shown bioentanglement in neurons. We can see that there is sentient bioentanglement in living systems through telepathy and intuition. Could there be a social, worldwide entanglement?
The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) has been studying randomness on a global scale since 1998, using random number generators (RNGs). The idea is to look at randomness, something that is thought to be a constant, unchangeable part of physical reality, and see if it fluctuates in correlation to worldwide events. The GCP has established 65 sites around the world where computers are recording the randomness of electronic noise in resistors and diodes. Every five minutes the data is collected and sent to a central computer in Princeton.
By 2005 a total of 185 events of global interest had been correlated to changes in the measured randomness. Somehow, random noise in our physical reality becomes less random when significant human events, natural disasters, celebrations, outbreaks of war and tragic deaths occur. Some events that did have effects were the deaths of Pope John Paul II and Lady Diana, Y2K, the Aisian tsunami in 2004 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. Natural events that do not effect humanity, don’t affect the entropy being measured. An earthquake that occurs in a remote region or under the ocean, without causing a tsunami, doesn’t have an effect, but an earthquake that causes disaster and human suffering does.
Similar to the EEG study mentioned above, the randomness of the data is affected before the event occurs, sometimes several hours before. In the case of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the change in data peaked around two hours before the first jet crashed and returned to normal some eight hours later. Dean Radin was conducting online intuitive experiments at this time. (These are still running at www.gotpsi.org.) Around the time of 9/11, the success of participants’ intuitive trials dropped significantly for some time before and during the attacks. People seemed to be unconsciously avoiding or suppressing their intuitive impressions around the time of the attacks. Field-consciousness experiments like these suggest that mind-matter interactions are happening on a larger worldwide scale.
Radin proposes that we may be living in a gigantic entangled mind. Of course, believing in this kind of reality is not accepted in many scientific circles because it upsets well established theories of how are universe works. Not only can your intention affect other people or things, but your consciousness may be connected to the physical world. Information may flow both directions through that connection. Read Radin’s book if you would like a more thorough exploration of our entanglement.
To explore this theory we must stretch our beliefs. If you want to stay current with the progress of quantum physics and parapsychological research, you have to practice believing what you thought to be impossible. Take a moment and think about the time shifting that shows up in these experiments. How is it possible? There may not be an explanation for it. To explain, means there is a cause and effect. The quantum reality of these effects may not be causal.
The tools of science have shown us that some of these phenomena and theories are real, yet the tools of science and even the language we use are not inadequate. If your mind feels a bit entangled trying to understand or explain this quantum world, you may be on the right track. Like the scientists at the leading edge of quantum physics, you may want to practice thinking about impossibility. You may want to shift from the “I’ll believe it when I see it” stance to “I’ll see it when I believe it”. On a lighter note, you could listen to the advice of the Red Queen and practice believing these fascinating impossibilities of an entangled world.
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for a half-an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
- Lewis Carroll, through the Looking-Glass.
Patrick Marsolek leads groups and teaches classes in the fields of consciousness exploration, personal development, and healing. As the director of Inner Working Resources, he teaches compassionate communication to businesses, individuals and families, and offers self-empowerment seminars throughout the Northwest. He is a clinical hypnotherapist and the author of Transform Yourself: A Self-hypnosis Manual and A Joyful Intuiton See www.innerworkingsresources.com for more information.