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Force of Thought

psychokinesis, hallucinations and choice

 

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I.

Psychokinesis - from Greek ψυχή mind and κίνησις movement - is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without physical interaction. Affecting objects with the force of the mind. Throughout history, many have claimed to be so called mediums, practicing psychokinesis. In the picture above, Eusapia Palladino, a once very well known Italian spiritualist and medium, levitates a table in Milan 1892, while researcher Alexander Aksakof monitors for fraud. Palladino was the most famous medium of her time, and renowned scientists from all over the world engaged in monitoring her demonstrations of phenomena, as Palladino herself spoke about her sessions.


Some scientists of the time declared the phenomena legit, but most regarded her as a fraud, as some claimed they caught her cheating. To document the false nature of her levitations of tables, at scientific examinations, scientists tried to trick Palladino by installing lights in specific places they thought would help, holding her and even hiding out of sight, when she conducted her psychokinesis. What she was caught in, is not very well documented, but in photos from her sessions, she is supposedly seen balancing a chair on her head, and during a levitation of a table, her dress is touching one of the legs of the table. 


Writer Joseph McCabe published the book Is spiritualism based on fraud ?, after in 1920 publicly debating spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the matters of spiritualism. The book is a critique of the belief in spiritualism, mediums and of men of science, who believed in it. Especially engineer W. J. Crawford is mentioned. He published entire books consisting of scientific documentations of successful phenomena such as levitations, raps, light experiments, and so on. McCabe writes in a shrill and agitated tone, and is very diligent telling about when the results of Palladino’s séances were ambiguous.

II.

Today advanced technology can read our brain signals and translate them into movement of a bionic arm prosthesis as an example. But the signals stay inside the skull. And it is dark and quiet inside our skulls. Our brain does not see or hear anything. It translates electronic impulses that are only indirectly related to the actual world outside the skull. That means perception of the world is a process of guesswork, where the brain combines the signals it gets, with prior beliefs and expectations about the world. What we perceive is our brain’s best guess of what caused the signals and what is actually out there in the world around us. How we perceive an object is only our brain’s representation of what it actually is. 

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In a lecture, professor Anil Seth demonstrates the point with this model. Patch A and B looks different, but they are in fact the exact same colour. So why do they look different? They do because the brain knows about shadow and chessboards. It is using prior expectations that is build deeply into the circuits of the visual cortex. Anil Seth says, that when perceptual predictions are too strong, the results are very much like hallucinations. A hallucination can be regarded as a uncontrolled perception, while perception can be regarded as controlled hallucination. Anil Seth suggests that we are all hallucinating all the time, but when we agree on what we see, we call it reality.

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Instead of perceptions depending mainly on the signals sent into the brain from the outside world, it depends as much, maybe more, on perceptual predictions flowing in the opposite direction. Your brain gives name and form to the physical objects around us. It is a motion from the brain toward the physical objects around you. We don’t passively perceive the world. We actively generate it. With the force of thought.

III.

Eusapia Palladino might or might not have levitated tables, but without physical interaction, she made grown men of science crawl around on the floor, trying to prove that nothing unnatural happened to objects in the room, while they were in fact the objects themselves. It might not have been actual psychokinesis, but she affected a physical system without physical interaction. By the force of thought she constituted actual physical change in a room without physical interaction. 


With the force of thought, we too can constitute room for possible change. And possibility is a powerful tool. With possibility we can make people visualize futures, they could not before. Possibility gives us a language that allows surpassing of time. It lets us exceed the limits of the present, and generate scenarios of how the things around us will take form. Anil Sth says:


»There are experiences of perceiving the world from a first person point of view. There are experiences of intending to do things and of being the cause of things that happen in the world. And there are experiences of being a continuous and distinctive person over time, built from a rich set of memories and social interactions«.


All of these things can be redefined by the force of thought. We can rearrange our experiences of what we do in the world and how we act over time. By challenging social structures and habits, we can form the experience of being a self and of causing things to happen. With our thoughts and our perception, we generate our surroundings. It starts inside the head. By the force of our thoughts. The ability to influence things is inherent in all of us, and if we choose to perceive an object or an event as open to influence, then that will be our reality. If we understand that a change of thought and a change of perception is a capsule containing actual change for reality, we can make change. Making decisions and reorienting ourselves, is generating change in the world.

 

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