I blame Marie D. Jones for my recent reading binge. Her book, “PSIence” (yes, this should be underlined, but WordPress doesn’t seem to allow it) does a fantastic job of introducing the paranormal enthusiast to the Required Reading List. It was Marie who sounded the call to arms for all of us paranormal investigators to come up with a theory that supported the existence of psi (that collection of ‘impossible’ phenomena within the parameters of classical science). Since then, I have attempted to follow her advice. What I have discovered is truly fascinating. Although currently there is no universally accepted vision/description/hypothesis of reality that encompasses the study of the paranormal, there are some intriguing possibilities. Before I attempt to explain what those theories might be, let me quote James E. Beichler, Ph.D., a physicist and professor who is sympathetic to the quest of the psi researcher:
“All the paranormal researchers recognize the need for a theory of psi, even if it is only a working hypothesis rather than a final theory. In many cases, they have taken their experiments, methods and procedures as far as they can without a theoretical model to help them shape and guide the next phases of their experimental research” (“To Die For,” 192)
What we need is some “working hypothesis” to guide us as we collect EVPs, anomalies in photos and on video, and measure such things as changes in the electromagnetic field and temperature variation. Without a theory as to how all of this information might fit together into a cohesive version of reality, we end up amassing piles of data that lead us in circles. I would like to see us collectively move towards the “why” of what we are witnessing/experiencing instead of discussing the “what” that we think we have captured.
That certainly won’t be easy. There are several theories to consider, and some of those require more work and time to understand than perhaps we are able to dedicate, especially hypotheses of reality that come from quantum mechanics. However, if we do not make the attempt to find that theoretical framework, we will forever be considered on the fringes of science or worse, the fringes of culture itself. There are always true believers who do not feel the need to ask questions, as there will always be hard-headed materialists who think the entire issue is ridiculous, especially the concept of survival of consciousness. On both ends there is ignorance. One need not be a scientist to attempt to dispel one’s own need to believe or need to automatically debunk. All that is required is an open mind, some dedication to reading the available (and excellent) material written by some very brave scientists and laypersons who are not afraid of the consequences of exploring how reality works, above and beyond what classical physics has stated as fact.
The first book I recommend? Marie D. Jones’ “PSIence”; it affords a great introduction to the issues, and points the way for further research. Then, I highly recommend “To Die For,” which I will discuss further in future posts. After that, there are many, many more . . . but we have to start somewhere.
In the meantime . . . I close with a quote by Beichler:
“To solve this impasse, science needs to recognize what is merely physical in this world as opposed to what is both physical and material. Physical and material do not mean the same thing. Everything that is material is physical, but not everything that is physical is material. The material body and the material brain die, but that is no guarantee that the complete physical being of the person ends at death. After accepting this simple truth, science needs to question what kind of physical (non-material) quantities are associated with life and could possibly survive death . . . ” (195)