Monday, January 31, 2011

Psychic Perception

Below is an edited version of  a new article on mcmanweb ....

In a poll I conducted here in Aug 2009, nearly one in four (23%) reported they were "borderline or full-on psychic, or at least it seems that way." In contrast, less than one in ten (8%) responded with, "Sorry, I'm totally rational and logical."

I highly doubt that we would find so many with psychic tendencies in the general population. I also suspect most of us keep pretty quiet about this stuff, especially around our psychiatrists. We are talking about a spectrum where intuition overlaps with the paranormal or psychic, which in turn bleeds over into truly irrational thinking - ranging from grandiose and delusional to magical and psychotic.
There is no separation. A hyper-aware brain easily becomes overloaded, to the point that "seems like crazy," with only a slight nudge becomes "genuinely crazy."

Weird stuff happens. Back in the mid-seventies I had a vivid dream about an earthquake. Twenty-four hours later I woke up to the floor shaking beneath me, my first-ever encounter with Richter phenomena. This had to be random chance, I could only think. Odds are, after all, that things will happen that defy all odds - it's one of those paradoxes to the laws of probability. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

The other way of looking at it is that - in order to preserve my sanity - I learned to tune out this sort of thing. Imagine my brain going off every time the earth twitched. I'd be a nervous wreck, especially now that I live in California. In other words, "reality" was my adaptive response to a "hyper-reality" that was too much for me to handle. (Of all things, this is the mirror reverse of the Freudian explanation for "psychosis," which his followers view as a maladaptive "reaction" to reality that is too much to handle.)

Okay, one more weird thing: Back in the late-80s, I joined a "psychic circle." We were asked to face the person next to us and do a "reading." This is stupid, I thought. But if I persisted in my "this is stupid" line of thinking I was only going to prove myself right. I settled down, blotted out all distractions, including "thinking," and went with flow ...

I see you in front of the fireplace, I said to the woman facing me. So far so good, unless of course her house didn't have a fireplace. She motioned me to continue. With your two kids, I added.
I only have one kid, she cut in.

There! Wrong, already! I knew this stuff was bullshit. "Well, I see two," I said anyway. Look, it's not my fault, I wanted to explain. I'm just doing what the lady told me to do - clear your head, no thinking, first thing to pop into your head ...

That week, she discovered she was pregnant.

"We're called nutjobs for recounting these experiences," Liza over at my blog on BipolarConnect commented, "and don't you dare mention them to your psychiatrist unless you want a stay in a psych ward complete with an ECT session or two."

Nevertheless, Liza felt sufficiently safe on BipolarConnect to reveal this:

I was in a small group in my high school English class. The group was discussing the debate we were preparing, and I said, why are we going over this again? We said all this last small-group meeting. Nope. It was the first time we'd met in group. My classmates already thought I was weird, and I'd just confirmed it.

But of all things, Liza went on to say, two of the giants of psychiatry/psychology, Carl Jung and William James, gave such experiences a lot of credence. Jung felt that the human psyche is "by nature religious." In his memoir, he recounted seeing a luminous head, detached from the body, floating from his mother’s room.

Meanwhile, William James, in his classic "The Varieties of Religious Experience," felt that healthy-mindedness had a lot to do with "union with the divine" whereas depression was the sign of a "divided soul" that could be cured by a mystical experience.

None of this, of course, sat well with Freud, who expressed his fear of psychiatry descending into a "black tide of mud of occultism."

These days, science is starting to fill in a lot of the blanks on our behalf. Few investigators are brave enough to risk their careers looking into the paranormal, but research into intuition and creativity - the "soft side" of psychic - is a hot field.

But creativity and intuition (and needless to say, psychic perceptions) are also linked to crazy. It's no accident that some of the top investigators in the field - people such as Nancy Andreasen of the University of Iowa - made their bones researching mental illness.

A psychic reality undoubtedly exists, and the ones with the best insight into this are the people eating out of dumpsters. Our brains tune this stuff out for a reason. I know mine did.


This article is one in four on mcmanweb investigating the connection between creativity, intuition, psychic perception, nonlinear thinking, and crazy, based on blogs originating here and BipolarConnect:

Creativity, Intuition, Non-linear

No comments: