Awareness and Perception
Status of Individual "Realities"
Ingo Swann (02Oct99)
Individual "realities" are easy enough to perceive on their surfaces, so to speak, generally because most people will tell you what they are. But otherwise those "realities" are made up of a number of complex factors.
Thus, any discussion of individual "realities" requires the drawing together of various elements that can, in some general way, be thought of as relevant to the formation of individual realities.
Individual realities are usually seen as meaningful and important by those who hold them. Therefore, the purpose of this essay is NOT in any way to impugn them, but only to point up that they exist, and that they are relevant regarding the status of superpowers at the individual level.
Margins of Awareness
It can be considered that any functional entrance into the superpower faculties involves various kinds of awarenesses, and which, after having become activated, then download into various formats of perception.
With regard to this, it can unequivocally be understood that without awareness of something, perception of it becomes very dubious indeed.
However, common experience confirms that each person has what is today being called their individual "realities." These are obviously erected out of mixtures of direct experience of what one encounters in life and various kinds of information packages one has taken on board, mentally adapted to, or socially conditioned with, etc.
What is not so obvious about individual realities is that their psychodynamic functioning tends to set margins that contribute to two factors.
The margins, in some psychodynamic way, limit the parameters of awareness and perception to those that fit within the margins; and, conversely, the same margins therefore must somehow psychodynamically exclude, or desensitize, possible other awarenesses and perceptions that do not fit.
Thus, it can be thought, on the one hand, that awareness and perception of something makes it possible to acquire, recognize, and realize information about it.
On the other hand, absence of awareness of the something makes perception of it impossible, and, therefore, any information pertinent to the un-perceived, so to speak, cannot be recognized as such.
The Dynamic Relationship of
Awareness, Perception, and Information
In any event, it would seem that awareness, perception, and information somehow go hand in hand, so much so that if one of this trio is deleted, the other two delete also.
This trio is therefore mutually interactive, and so they altogether constitute some kind of SYSTEM.
Most have some idea of what a system is. But what is not generally realized is that an individual biomind is entirely composed of various kinds of interacting systems that are incorporated into the systemic whole of its life form.
It is thus possible to assume, for hypothetical consideration, that awareness, perception, AND information in-take and out-put, are composed of specializing systems within the greater systemic whole of the biomind.
In this particular essay, awareness, perception, and the status of individual realities are discussed within some of their own contexts. But those contexts are also discussed in preparation for the far larger issues of systems which will appear in essays to follow.
The end goal of this essay, however, is to be able to open discussions in this and subsequent essays regarding the ultra-importance of awareness and perception and their absolutely critical relationship to ANY of the superpower functions.
Preliminary Observations Regarding the
Absnce of Awareness Studies With Regard
to the Superpowers
In order to adumbrate, or foreshadow, this critical relationship, it can unequivocally be stated that any activation of the superpowers basically involves activation of KINDS of awareness and perception that are appropriate, not to awareness per se, but specifically to the superpowers.
With regard to this, it can be established that interest in the extensive nature of awareness has never been examined within the contexts of modern psychical and parapsychological research.
Furthermore, although the term "perception" is utilized in parapsychology (extra-sensory perception, for example), the "anatomy" of perception has seldom been considered as having much relevance in those two fields.
An in-depth examination of the hundreds of published documents of psychical and parapsychological research will support the two foregoing observations.
However, it can also be pointed up that interest in the nature of awareness has been almost totally, and very curiously, absent within the larger societal pictures involving the conventional modern sciences, all formats of philosophy and sociology, and the several kinds of psychology.
This is surely indicative of a rather voluminous, and perhaps even a somewhat conspiratorial vacuum of knowledge, a topic that has been discussed in earlier essays.
Indeed, the existence of the vacuum can be interpreted as a general societal affect that "wishes" no intimate and extensive knowledge of awareness to come into general existence.
Paradigms of Thinking and Relevance
As a way of getting into the substantive discussions to follow, I partially quote from the introductory discussions found in two documents authored by Ingemar Nilsson of the University of Utrecht.
These two documents constitute Parts 1 and 2 under the title of "The Paradigm of the Rhinean School," and were sequentially published in the EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY [Vol. l, No. 1 (1975), and Vol. 1, No. 2 (1976).]
"The Rhinean School" of course refers to the founder of modern parapsychology, Dr. J.B. Rhine, and his methods later followed by other parapsychologists.
In his Part 1, Nilsson succinctly describes the on-going paradigm mind-set of philosophers of science as follows:
"Philosophers of science have so far neglected the field of parapsychology. They tend to view it, together with phrenology and psychoanalysis, as a convenient and pedagogical example of a pseudo-science without acceptable methodological foundations.
"In general, philosophers of science are more familiar with the natural sciences than with the behavioral sciences, and parapsychology ranks much lower in the hierarchy of investigatory disciplines."
For clarity here, Nilsson was pointing up that parapsychology did not figure into the mind-set realities shared in general by philosophers of science - or by any philosophers for that matter.
In his Part 2, he describes that:
"A group of researchers share a similar view of their own activity as investigators, and also of the position of their science in the world of sciences. They have a common conception of how their discipline was born, developed, and what it will look like in the future. They also believe in certain rules for carrying out research.
"Basic to the concept of science is the theory of knowledge, an understanding of the foundations of knowledge. However, there are also normative conceptions of what science should be, what theories should look like, or which criteria one has to use in the search for truth.
"The normative part may be called the model of science. It is a value system. Investigators often look at a superior science and obtain their categories and perspective from it. Since the 17th century, most investigators have used physics as a model, as it is supposed to treat the deepest level of reality.
"In parapsychology there have been a lot of theories and concepts modeled on physics . . . [but] the physical-model-thinking in parapsychology has not led to a better understanding of Psi as a psychological process."
For clarity, Nilsson has indicated that scientists and parapsychologists possess thinking-paradigms drawn from a status model thought to have reality-making certainty based in the past, but which would also lead into the future.
It would be quite probable, then, that whatever fitted with the thinking-paradigm would be endorsed, but that what did not fit would be rejected and excluded.
This is almost the same as saying that scientists and parapsychologists are introverted into the knowledge realities that are commensurate with their fixed ideas and mind-sets (i.e., commensurate with the status of their individual realities.)
In other words, reality is what one thinks it is WITHIN the contexts of whatever information one is utilizing to mind-dynamically construct what are but tailored versions of "reality" - which are built out of versions of information - and which information can consist only of available information.
As it would be, then, non-available information cannot be incorporated into the versions of realities - largely because if it IS unavailable there can be no awareness of it.
Reality-Making at the Individual Level
What Ingemar Nilsson pointed up regarding the reality-making processes of scientists and parapsychologists also is relevant to reality-making at the individual level.
And so it would immediately be obvious, in some partial sense at least, that the overall status of ones reality-making frameworks has something to do with how one conceptualizes the superpowers. That, in turn, will have something to do with any potential progress regarding their activation.
The whole of this is a difficult and sometimes volcanic issue to address, largely because most individuals value their realities, whatever they may be.
I therefore hasten to reiterate that the contents of this essay are not meant to challenge or demean anyones existing reality frameworks.
That kind of effort is best left to pismire demagogues and enthusiasts who (as discussed in another essay in this Website) get off on chopping down and trashing the realities of others in order to champion their own.
In any event, it is possible to consider that outside of everyones individual realities there exist great numbers of additive information packages that can be pointed up. And, if seen suitable at the individual level, they might act to expand various margins of awareness and perceptions.
Indeed, there are some good precedents for undertaking this kind of consideration.
For example, in the 6th century BC, the venerable sage Confucius pointed up (in ANALECTS, Vol. 2, Sec. 17) that "Real knowledge is to know the extent of ones ignorance."
At least part of the meaning here is that if real knowledge activates and contributes to empowerment, the extent of ones ignorance could contribute to ones depowerment.
As another example, the somewhat older contemporary of Confucius, the venerable Lao Tsu labored to point up (via the eighty-one chapters of this BOOK OF TAU [TAU TE CHING]) that clear-cut thinking based in the "laws" of real phenomena leads to natural activation of empowerment.
If this would be the case, then non-clear-cut thinking based or trapped in ambiguities would not yield very much regarding empowerment.
Language and Words as Reality-Makers
One of the very subtle factors that seems to have impeded psychical and parapsychological progress is that while the researchers start out examining phenomena, they soon attach a name or term to whatever they think is involved.
This is the "What shall we call it" kind of thing that is functional with regard to whatever is tangible, but it is also adapted as rather standard procedure with regard to phenomena that dont have tangible, physical status.
This procedure is convenient because it gives an IT-thing identity to various of the phenomena as they are perceived by those doing the perceiving.
The researchers can also attach a theory to the phenomena under examination. It is clearly necessary to be able to refer to the intangible phenomena via a specific term or word with respect to exposing the theory to others either in conversation or in written materials.
On average, there doesnt seem to be anything amiss on the surface of this procedure. But two important and entirely subtle factors download from it, both of which thereafter hardly see the light of day.
Those two factors are important because, in combination, they tend to shift awareness and perception AWAY from the phenomena, and redirect attention to the nomenclature words and their definitions. This is significant because any number of words could be assigned to the phenomena.
Thus, the words might differ, but the phenomena would not. However, at the individual and cultural levels, awareness and perception regarding the phenomena can differ because of the words.
The first factor mentioned above is a little difficult to elucidate. But it involves the fact that the nomenclature terms issue forth from within the limits of the particular reality packages of those individuals who engender them. Thus, the sense of the terms originally accords with those particular individual reality packages.
This is apparently okay as far as it goes. But now the sense and meaning of the term somehow needs to be communicated to others - or, more precisely, in-put into the particular reality packages of those others.
At this point, a definition for the term is required so that the sense and meaning can be transferred and shared among the many.
This definition is duly formulated and advanced, and it is thereafter incorporated into, and interpreted within, the particular reality packages of others.
It is somewhere at this point, let us say, that the original phenomena involved can be discussed via the ostensibly shared definitions, and which definitions now give indication of what the original phenomena were thought to consist of by those who originated the term.
But this clearly means that the original phenomena are now being conceptualized and discussed via the definitions offered up to give sharable intellectual substance to the terms or words initiated, in the first place, by this or that researcher or whomever.
This is certainly to say that henceforth any appreciations of the original phenomena are now indirectly being intellectually filtered through the definitions of terms.
If the new term and its definitions catch on, then they are downloaded into broad public usage within which the definitions can easily be mistaken for the original phenomena themselves.
For example, if the term and definitions of TELEPATHY catch on (as they did), then those looking for such phenomena within themselves can easily and only be looking in themselves for what fits the term and its definitions.
This is almost the same as saying that they are looking in their self phenomenology for the definitions as prescribed and set forth by the term telepathy.
A Partial Nomenclature History of
What is Today Being Called "Telepathy"
Our species possesses a long history of individuals somehow being AWARE of others at a distance great enough so as to preclude explanation based in the five physical senses as they are traditionally understood.
During the Renaissance, it was thought (by Paracelsus and others) that this awareness might be roughly explained within the reality-making contexts of "sympathetic vibrations" of living systems acting in some sort of harmony, even at a great distance from each other.
However, influential Post-Renaissance thinkers, tending toward materialistic explanations, did not care for the possible reality of sympathetic vibrations.
The existence of spirit was still real enough, though, as was the concept of the ether (a medium that in the undulatory theory of light permeates all space). So the sympathetic vibration reality-making concept was replaced during the 1700s by the concepts of "etheric intercommunication" and "intercommunication by spirit agency."
Soon after, it seems that the idea of intercommunication led to the concept of "coincidence between two persons thoughts."
This, in turn, led to the concept of "thought reading," a concept that has never ceased to be of interest and concern, most likely because of the horror that one individual could possibly read (i.e., invade) anothers private thoughts.
During the late 1770s, Anton Mesmer (1733-1815) introduced the concepts of "animal magnetism" and of RAPPORT via "magnetic influences" having to do with "empathy." That term was first defined as "the capacity for participating in anothers emotions and feelings."
Somewhat later, the term was slightly redefined so as to include "participating in anothers ideas."
After Mesmer, although the politically sensitive concept of "thought reading" continued as something of interest, it was replaced in more scientific circles by the less politically sensitive idea of "thought transferrence."
Then, after the term PSYCHIC was coined, roughly in 1872, the reality-making concepts of "psychic rapport," "psychic thought reading," "psychic empathy," and "psychic thought transference" made their appearance.
But also during the early 1880s, concepts of physical brain research had begun flooding through the conventional sciences.
It became possible to suppose that since "thoughts" were involved in, for example, "thought transference," then the brain must somehow be involved.
At the same time, the so-called psychical phenomena had acquired a relatively bad odor within proper mainstream scientific circles, which then considered research of psychical phenomena to constitute pseudo-science.
In response to this, and in order to escape the bad odor, the term TELEPATHY was coined shortly after 1882 by the brilliant psychical researcher F.W.H. Myers.
In one of its original definitions, TELEPATHY was considered as "intercommunication between brain and brain, by other means than that of the ordinary sense-channels."
Near the turn of the century, the idea of TELEPATHY was somewhat redefined to fit with the proven, and thus very acceptable, scientific contexts of radio broadcasting - whereby information could be sent by radio waves across distances and be picked up by radio receivers.
The reality of radio broadcasting was suggestive of a theory by which the supposed reality of telepathy might be explained. The brain of a sending individual was broadcasting radio-like waves across distances to be picked up by the brain of a receiving individual.
It soon turned out, however, that brain scientists professed themselves unable to discover telepathic sending and receiving equipment among the gray cells.
And so, by the 1920s, the idea of "mind-to-mind contact" arose, which made it possible to consider TELEPATHY as consisting of some as yet undiscovered component of the ephemeral MIND (as contrasted to the non-ephemeral physical BRAIN).
It is worth mentioning that the original term TELEPATHY was composed of a contraction of EMPATHY to PATHY, and PATHY was then connected to the Greek prefix TELE meaning distance or across distance: i.e., across distance empathy.
Today, most dictionaries define TELEPATHY as "apparent communication from one mind to another otherwise than through the channels of sense."
Thus, the broadly-shared, reality-making assumption became that telepathy somehow required the use of ones mind - although the precise awarenesses, parts, or functions of that ephemeral organ have hereto not been identified.
The Unrealized Nature of the Superpowers
Individual Realities About Them
Anyone who has some kind of interest in the superpowers of the human biomind usually also wonders how they can activate them within self. This prospect accounts for the "how-to" or "how-can-I" questions most frequently asked.
There are any number of possible ways to attempt to provide answers for those rather understandable questions. Some of those ways might yield some results, but most of them dont seem to lead directly into the profound depths of what is involved.
One reason for the failure is that the superpowers can be thought of in this or that way so that terms such as ESP, intuition, telepathy, and etc. can come into existence. One can then think of the superpowers via the supposed realities of those terms and their conceptualizing definitions. And so various idea-realities consistent with those terms and their definitions come into existence at the group and individual levels.
But one larger overriding situation regarding all of this is that those "realities" are rather temporary in the longer run of things.
Indeed, if one reviews history and different cultures, it can be seen that the superpowers have periodically been considered in this or that way, and that different kinds of concepts and ideas have been advanced for them.
After a while, the various reality-making terms come and go, and even the concepts and ideas themselves vanish through the march of time and history.
It thus transpires that if one thinks of the superpowers within the contexts of ones culture and times, then the terms that have arisen therein will give the reality-making impression that one thinks one exactly understands what is being talked about.
Therefore, during the twentieth century one knew what telepathy was simply because the reality-making term TELEPATHY had been engineered into existence. One also understood, roughly at least, what psychokinesis (PK) was.
When the concept arose regarding out-of-body experiencing (OOBE), a "reality" in this regard settled in. When the term "remote-viewing" made its appearance in 1971, it was thereafter thought that one knew what was involved, simply because the term had emerged and later broadly caught on.
When, in 1872, the term "psychic" was engineered into existence and soon caught on like wild-fire, it was generally supposed that everyone knew what it actually meant - i.e., it was supposed that it referred to perceptual abilities that exceeded the limits of the big physical five senses.
The Limited Value
of Reality-Making Terms
Of course, the coming into existence of reality-making terms is necessary in order to have sharable points of reference regarding what is being talked about - or, more precisely, what one thinks is being talked about.
And so the existence of the terms is not an issue here - except to point up that they come and go, become out-dated, while the supposed concepts they represented during their time can prove to have consisted of inadequate or unproven hypotheses.
What is at issue in this regard is that one cannot activate a WORD.
And this will be the case even if it has linguistically and intellectually contributed to conversational or literary reality-making in this or that cultural or historical sense.
It is generally understood that words mean something specific, and unless they do they are otherwise useless.
Thus, the meaning of "reality" depends on what a given society or an individual thinks the meaning is.
The study of meanings is, of course, the central interest of semantics, whose general purpose is "the historical and psychological study and classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development."
The English, term SEMANTIC is taken from the Greek SEMANTIKOS (significant), and SEMAINIEN (to signify, to mean).
But the Greek SEMANTIKOS is said to be akin to the Sanskrit DHYATI, which means not only that "he thinks," but also "he thinks what he does think."
In the semantic sense, then, if meanings of words are clear-cut - such as the meaning of the words APPLE or ORANGE - then most people will understand in unison what is being referred to.
But if the meaning of a word is even somewhat ambiguous, then difficulties can arise.
For example, the term PSYCHIC has never achieved a clear-cut definition that can be subscribed to either with unambiguous certainty, or within the unison of many.
Indeed, to ambiguously define that term as "lying outside of the sphere of physical science or knowledge," or to say it equates to the "paranormal," hardly helps to reduce the ambiguity that semantically encapsulates it.
Yet, most people using it seem to understand what it DOES mean. But this rather seems, at the individual level, to fall into the category of "he thinks what he does think" it means.
This is more or less to say that the meanings of terms that have decidedly ambiguous "definitions" are up for grabs. So anyone reading about or discussing something PSYCHIC can suppose its meaning is within the contexts of their own reality-making mechanisms.
The point of the foregoing observations is not to condemn the conversational and literary processes that utilize words.
Rather, the purpose is to begin pointing up that words, as wonderful as they are, can also psychodynamically erect "reality" thresholds, limits, or barriers regarding meaning and awareness - whether clear-cut, ostensible, ambiguous, or decidedly vague or murky to the Nth degree.
Within the overall contexts of the modern tradition, the idea of "the individual" is very precious. So we think of ourselves as individuals in ways that are both abstract and concrete depending on whatever situation is involved.
But we are not just individuals in the egalitarian sense.
Rather we are individuals that build versions of reality. And because of this we somehow conceptualize our existence and ourselves within the versions of reality we have somehow taken on board, or imbibed, or have been socially programmed with.
Without much doubt, the major sources of the versions of reality are found within the vicissitudes of social conditioning, both large and small, which in itself is a "reality environment" constructed out of various versions of reality-making.
The human individual being born into one or another of the socially conditioned environments is, by educational measures, thereafter programmed to function within it.
And so it can be said that ones "life," in general, is a series of processes involved with negotiating ones way within whatever versions of reality one lives within.
The point of the foregoing is not to moan and groan about the existence of various versions of reality, whether achieved via social conditioning or individual enterprise.
Rather, it is that conditioned and invented versions of reality do exist - and that they DO exist IS not just a version of reality, but a real reality, as it were.
Sociologists and semanticists have long recognized that any given version of conditioned, invented, or achieved "reality" is somehow closely integrated with whatever linguistic programming is being utilized within it.
Linguistic programming consists of words, of course. And as already noted, their meanings can range along a scale beginning with the clear-cut and precise, through the ambiguous, and thence to the utterly foggy or sloppy.
Various semanticists have stated, with some firmness and conviction, that the individual is ALWAYS directly linked by language into socially conditioned realities, and vice versa.
This is to say that the LINKS constitute a paradigm, a socio-dynamic pattern, within which individuals are encompassed into some kind of systemic socio-linguistic collective - even if they do manage to retain this or that conviction regarding the importance of their individuality.
To simplify, the individual shares INTO the societal collective "realities" via language, its words, and the meanings attributed to them.
This is almost the same as saying that language plus its word-meanings constitutes a transistorized reality-making system.
The principle function of this system is to TRANSFER assumed or real realities back and forth between the larger reality conditioning environment and the individuals existing with it.
It is worthwhile noting that information-theory scientists suppose that at least 50 per cent of the English language functions that way. So at least 50 per cent of reality-making consciousness at the individual is more or less trapped in, contained in, or limited to the larger reality conditioning environment.
Words With Specific Meanings
Words With Generalizing Meanings
The foregoing may seem complicated lot to work through.
For clarity, it can be established that certain languages have dozens upon dozens of words that pertain to specific dynamic activities of consciousness and powers of awareness.
A large number of those dynamic activities could be thought of within the contexts of the superpowers of the human biomind.
English is not one of those languages, and neither are most of the modernized European Romance languages, including middle and late Latin.
However, by examining the Russian, Sanskrit, African, and early Hebrew languages, one can begin to uncover a great number of terms having direct relevance to expanded awareness and consciousness.
Those terms would thus have great relevance to the superpowers - but for which there are no real conceptual equivalents in the modern Western languages systems.
One can also examine, for example, what remains of ancient Egyptian, and some of the still extant Siberian, Tibetan, and Amerindian languages, and find dozens of terms that clearly refer to some aspect of the superpowers.
For the most part, there are no specific English equivalents for those other-language terms. And so we have either to directly lift them into English, or recast or approximate their meanings in the light of our few generalizing English terms. Doing so has not always been successful, and often totally misleading.
Another option, of course, and the one most conveniently seized upon, is simply to pay no attention to those other-language meanings altogether.
It is meaningful to consider why certain languages, in their evolution, began to include so many terms relative to the superpowers and to forms of dynamic consciousness itself.
One reason is most probable: the REDUCTION of ambiguity, which obviously has something to do with overall linguistic efficiency, since in any language more clear-cut meanings serve better than a proliferation of ambiguous ones.
As a contrasting example, in English we have the terms PSYCHIC and TELEPATHY. Those terms have never achieved a clear-cut definition.
But they have served quite well as a kind of over-generalizing bag that can get quite bloated with regard to the ambiguous contexts put into it.
Indeed, because of their lack of clear-cut definitions, we can consider that each individual could, if inspired to do so, put their OWN meanings into the psychic bag. And so that bag might take on the implications of a Magritte painting, or the dimensions of an amorphous Salvador Dali extravaganza.
A term that is ambiguously defined might also be thought of as having amorphous status, but ambiguous impact in the reality-making systems of societal conditioning processes. The amorphous ambiguities then download into individuals.
AMORPHOUS means, of course, "having no determinate form; lacking complex bodily organization; lacking division into parts; shapeless; uncrystalized."
In contrast, MORPHOUS means "having a form" that is clear-cut enough to enable recognition as a form.
In an explicit sense, then, any morphological study is undertaken to reduce ambiguities of something so that it can be conceptualized, perceived, identified, and understood in a more clear-cut fashion.
The importance here is that numerous KINDS of telepathy exist. Numerous kinds of so-called "psychic perception" also exist.
But our English definitions of telepathy and psychic are amorphous, or over-generalizing, and hence result in ambiguousness. And that results in sloppy rather than in clear-cut reality-making.
As it is, AMBIGUOUS is derived from a Latin term meaning "to wander about."
In English, its two principal definitions are rendered as:
- "Doubtful or uncertain, especially because of being obscure or indistinct;" and
- "Capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways."
Thus, there is some kind of non-efficient linkage between whatever is amorphous and whatever is ambiguous - i.e., something that is indistinct (ambiguous) can also be thought of as amorphous (not having definite form).
This linkage might constitute an amorphous ambiguousness, or vice versa, or an indistinct amorphous mess, or something along such lines.
In any event, when we think of people using the same words we do, we also tend to assume that all of them are utilizing the same meanings.
As mentioned earlier, this is probably the case where meanings are clear-cut enough AND are shared as clear-cut.
For example, the word apple refers to the physical apple. This is rather clear-cut, and everyone will probably understand as much. "Apple," therefore refers to a nomenclature morphism, or, so to speak, to morphic thinking patterns.
But the word psychic refers to . . . well, what specifically DOES it refer to, other than an over-generalizing, amorphous something or other, and which results in amorphous thinking patterns.
The Real Existence of Morphous and
By virtue of working in the psychical and parapsychological research fields for well over thirty years now, it is this authors direct experience that the research is overly burdened with terms that are not very clear-cut, and most of which rest upon ambiguous and amorphous assumptions or hypotheses.
As Ingemar Nilsson suggested, those terms then flood through the views of parapsychologists who share concepts, and thence download into media usage and public consumption, and so they take on very broadly-shared reality-making substance.
For example, the accepted definitions of TELEPATHY as "mind-to-mind communication" and of PSYCHOKINESIS as mind-over-matter utilize the term MIND.
Most individuals have some kind of idea about what MIND is - but largely because they assume they have one, or because they experience what seems to equate to the generally shared understanding of the word.
Thus, the general concept of mind is broadly sharable on that particular basis.
But if the modern Western definitions of MIND are looked up and studied, then the clear-cut authenticity of the term begins to wobble simply because there are so many definitions of it.
Most relatively competent dictionaries will give at least nine definitions, and some will give fourteen to seventeen. The Oxford dictionary of the English language gives something like seventy or more if important nuances are considered.
It is possible to think that something that has two or three related meanings might yet resemble something with clear-cut, morphous status.
But if definitions proliferate with what amounts to wild abandon, then the proliferation increases not toward clear-cutness but toward amorphous ambiguity.
And indeed, some researchers of the mind have come to two rather remarkable speculations:
- That the mind doesnt actually exist as such;
- That many or most of the attributes assigned to it in theory or hypothesis might better be allocated to some other undiscovered or unacknowledged dynamic system within the overall human make-up.
Two generally ignored tidbits are worth mentioning.
Among all of the definitions of the mind, none encompass the mental nature of either telepathy or psychokinesis, or of any other "psychic" experiencing; and that the original definition of MIND, taken from an early Scandinavian term MYND, referred only to memory, or to recall of memories.
Attempting to Move Beyond Incomplete Realities
About the Superpowers
The general point of all of the foregoing has not been to complain and gnash ones teeth over the real existence of ambiguous stuff regarding the superpowers. Indeed, ambiguous realities always have and probably always will exist.
Rather, the effort of this essay has been to point up that if ideas about the superpowers are encompassed in ambiguities, they are at least equally encompassed within a lack or a vacuum of clear-cut references.
Therefore, with regard to the superpowers, it seems necessary on the one hand to admit that the ambiguities exist, but otherwise to not waste much energy in either complaining about them, or getting deliciously lost in their vague amorphous whatever.
Beyond that, the need is to try to locate some clear-cut references that seem logical enough, and which thereby might arouse some sense of real reality.
The Conventional Question of
Who is "Psychic" and Who Is Not
One of the first issues that might be addressed has to do with the traditional overview regarding who is psychic and who is NOT psychic.
Throughout human history, certain individuals have become identifiable within the greater populations as "naturally gifted" in terms of becoming, for example, a shaman, a seer, a medium, a psychic, an intuitive, and so forth.
It is quite natural that a lot of attention has always been directed, one way or another, toward such gifted types, and this much has always been more or less obvious.
But what is not so obvious is that in turning attention toward the gifted, it is turned away from the general masses who are not considered as gifted.
Because of this, a "basic reality" comes about within which psychic powers are seen as belonging to the smaller percentage of gifted folk, but not to the larger percentage of the un-gifted.
It thus follows that a "reality" has emerged in the modernist West based in the idea that if one is not born a gifted psychic, then one cannot really aspire to become one by increasing ones knowledge or by training or tutoring.
Of course, this modern reality flies in the face of many ancient realities. For example, in India it was held that the Sidhis (a Sanskrit word somewhat akin to the notion of the superpowers) COULD be taught by instructive nurturing.
In any event, there is one approved exception to the modern idea that only the gifted can have the superpowers. This exception has to do with the un-gifted suddenly becoming gifted, either temporarily so or permanently.
Indeed, sometimes people fall on their heads, or receive a blow to them, or undergo some kind of traumatic shock, after which they are suddenly in possession of psychic powers they did not have before.
Additionally, some of the naturally un-gifted undergo unusual mystical experiencing, psychological catharses, or altered states - after which they too find themselves at least somewhat in possession of powers otherwise thought to be available only to the naturally gifted or to those whose heads got knocked about.
And so, the idea that only the born-gifted can have psychic capacities doesnt exactly hold as much water as might otherwise be thought.
It is certainly true that if attention is focused on the Psi gifted, then it appears that they are where the action is.
But if one examines, in depth, what the un-gifted experience along the lines of the gifted, then it can statistically be shown that a quite large percentage of the un-gifted occasionally do experience various types of spontaneous Psi events.
If one incorporates the larger scale of what the un-gifted populations also experience occasionally, then one must at least hypothetically consider that there is some kind of much bigger picture behind the smaller one that is focused on the gifted only.
The Concept of Giftedness
As of this writing, the term GIFTED has been politically incorrect for about twenty years, largely because it is not very egalitarian-confirming. The word is taken to imply that all individuals are not equally gifted, in that it distinguishes between those who are and who are not.
Most dictionaries define the adjective GIFTED as "having great natural ability."
But the adjective is of course taken from the noun GIFT - which, in addition to "something given," is principally defined as "a notable capacity or talent."
Synonyms of GIFT are given as FACULTY, APTITUDE, BENT, TALENT, GENIUS, KNACK.
The verb TO GIFT is defined as "to endow with some power, quality, or attribute," but the verb in this sense is mostly used in British English.
From the foregoing dictionary definitions, it can be seen that a gift is most likely not a thing-in-itself. Rather, the gift is at least somewhat composed of its dynamic synonyms - in that it can logically be supposed that various mixes of faculties, aptitudes, bents, talents, genius, and knacks result in the sum called "gifted" or the state of giftedness.
Indeed, the principal definition of FACULTY is given as "ability, power, as a personal capacity," and "a physical or mental power or function."
Beyond this, some dictionaries note that FACULTY refers to "one of the powers of the mind formerly held by psychologists to form a basis for the explanation of all mental phenomena."
This suggests that the "mind" could actually be a composite of many faculties, each having its own sphere of functioning or operativeness.
In relationship to giftedness, FACULTY "applies to the innate, or sometimes, but less often, acquired ability for a particular accomplishment or function."
In this sense, then, it is possible to consider that giftedness is the sum result of various combinations of innate faculties, aptitudes, bents, talents, genius, and knacks that are in some kind of activated state.
If the combinations of the innate factors are dormant or inactive, then the sum result (giftedness) would not manifest.
But a major question now emerges, and involves a wonderment not regarding in whom the faculties are already active, but in whom are the faculties innate?
Well, the faculties would clearly be innate AND active in naturally gifted psychics.
But the innate factors must also exist within the ostensibly un-gifted - for if they did not then it is almost impossible to see how an inadvertent knock to the head or a transfiguring altered state could activate them.
And indeed, within the populations such factors must innately lurk in them as a whole, for if not, then it is difficult to see how they could occasionally and spontaneously "turn on."
The Gifted/Un-Gifted Paradox
Powers Inherent at the Species Level
To get a better and more encompassing grip on all of this, we have to turn attention to what appears to be innate in our species itself, and which would therefore download into its individual specimens.
This is so easy to do that it is rather surprising that something along such lines has hardly ever been undertaken before.
Let us therefore speculate that our species innately possesses a long sequence of innate factors, or faculties. We can picture this via the simple diagram that follows, in which each zero refers to a given innate faculty.
Our Species Innate
or Indwelling Faculties
There may be hundreds, or even thousands, of such innate faculties. We can hypothesize that most or even all of the innate faculties in some manner do download into each specimen of our species.
But after that, we can suppose that only some of the innate faculties achieve a "turned on" state, and that most of them otherwise remain dormant, inactive, or even blocked by the particular types of social conditioning formats each individual undergoes.
This can be sequentially pictured as follows, where ! equals a turned-on faculty, where * equals a dormant one, and where X equals a socially blocked, forbidden, or desensitized one.
A Speculative Individual Map
of Innate Active and Inactive Faculties
The diagram above is suggestive of fifty innate faculties (although there must be very many more).
Seven of these are active;
Twenty are simply dormant and inactive;
Twenty-three are desensitized or blocked by social programming formats, and which can include ambiguities juxtaposed against what otherwise could broken down into sequences of clear-cut information and knowledge.
As a brief aside, one clue that the diagram above might have real relevance can be distilled from the fact that most people feel they are not living up to their "full potentials."
This appreciation of themselves can only mean they somehow sense that a great number of their potential faculties are not active, or are socially disrupted or blocked.
And indeed, many do blame society or the System, this being a castigation that does have some merit - if two of the basic mechanisms of social programming are understood.
Those two mechanisms consists of methods to condition awareness TOWARD what the society deems necessary and appropriate, and likewise to necessarily condition awareness AWAY from whatever is deemed not appropriate.
For example, if there is a sociological fear that achieved telepaths might be able to invade and "read" the hidden contents of anothers mind, then methods to condition awareness AWAY from real telepathic realities would need to be evolved and implemented.
A Brief Consideration of
the Nature of Awareness
One of the central problems regarding any potential activation of the superpowers (or indeed any powers at all) is that they tend to be thought of as things - such as the IT-things called telepathy, intuition, clairvoyance, remote viewing, precognition, retrocognition, and etc.
However, none of these can manifest (or exist) unless awarenesses and perceptions appropriate to them FIRST become activated.
Indeed, if one cannot be aware of whatever, then it is unlikely that one has any chance at all of perceiving it.
Most dictionaries define AWARE as "watchful" and as "having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge." It is the mixture of those three states or qualities that is thought to equate to AWARENESS.
Furthermore, realization, perception, and knowledge are not factors that one is born with, and indeed it is rather broadly understood and accepted that that they can be ACQUIRED, developed, enhanced, and modulated in various kinds of ways and formats.
The synonyms associated with AWARENESS help give some added dimensions to the term: cognizant of, conscious of, sensitive to, alive to, awake to.
The foregoing synonyms, and even the meaning of awareness itself, are somewhat ambiguous unless one important word is incorporated: awareness OF.
It is possible that a general state or condition of awareness might exist.
But in essence, awareness requires something to be aware of, and without that something then awareness per se doesnt quite make sense.
The more correct formulas are awareness of, perception of, realization of, or knowledge of something or other.
It can hypothetically be thought that awareness exists principally in direct relationship TO or OF something. IF awareness of the something is actually achieved, then it simultaneously seems to download into perception of whatever that something consists of.
The perception itself then has the possibility for converting into DEVELOPED cognizance, realization, and/or knowledge in accord with the condition of ones other awareness faculties.
It is certainly quite safe to surmise that if one is not aware of something, then that something remains invisible and cannot be perceived.
It is also somewhat safe to suppose (even if only for hypothetical consideration) that dormant or inactive awareness faculties temporarily turn on when un-gifted individuals suddenly experience some kind of superpower episode.
It is thus possible to think that awareness is not just awareness per se, but awareness with relationship to or of some particular category that can be dealt with as perceptual or cognitive information IF awareness faculties specific to the category are turned on.
Seen in this light, gifted shamans, psychics, intuitives, and etc., would be demonstrating not just the inexplicable giftedness per se, but a fuller spectrum of awareness faculties in some kind of turned on state.
In other words, they would be aware of awareness categories that the un-gifted are not aware of, and thus cannot perceive or cognize.
For comparison between the so-called gifted and the so-called un-gifted, the following diagram can be considered.
Again, the zeros equate to different specializing awareness faculties, the ! equates to their turned on state, * equates to the innate but dormant and inactive state, while X equates to blocking or desensitizing because of social conditioning.
A Suggested Spectrum of
Un-gifted spectrum: 00000000000000000000000000000000000000
Gifted spectrum: 0000000000000000000000000000000000000
An individual might be categorized with regard to the un-gifted spectrum in which most of the awareness categories are turned off, or are inactive, or have been socially desensitized.
But if that same individual chances to undergo some kind of altered state, then more of the awareness faculties might temporarily or permanently turn on or become active.
The two observations above can be restated in a different way.
AWARENESS is not just one thing in itself, but could consist of numerous awareness faculties specifically linked to, and each of which specialize in, different categories of information.
If the sum of the numerous faculties is inactive or turned off, then the sum of the individuals possible awareness thresholds will be deficient relative to the fuller innate spectrum of possible awarenesses.
On the other hand, if the sum of the numerous faculties is active and turned on, then the sum of the individuals possible awareness thresholds will be more efficient relative to the fuller innate spectrum of possible awarenesses.
In any event, if one has somewhat followed ones way through the different lines of hypothetical thought that have wobbled throughout this essay, it might now be seen that they more or less converge onto the concepts and the phenomena of awareness and perception.
Those two concepts are clearly important with regard not only to any potential activation of the superpowers, but with regard to all things one is or is not aware of.
The idea that separate and specific kinds of awareness exist is not new. Indeed, commentary on varieties of possible awarenesses is found in many ancient Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Amerindian formats.
One of the most remarkable things about awareness-cum-perceptual faculties overall is that they can be more and more activated by nurturing and training. But they can also be decreased or desensitizing by any number of environmental conditions and societal artifices.
Additionally, it would be clear that the threshold, or make-break point, between awareness increase and awareness decrease can become confused and suspended within ambiguous and amorphous contexts.
Status of Individual "Realities"
The suggestion that the individual, as a downloaded component of our species, carries vast numbers of awareness faculties may at first seem off the wall.
But there are certain clues regarding this, most of which came to light decades ago in anthropological research and also when "civilized" Western linguists began to compile language dictionaries of so-called "uncivilized" ethnic-aboriginal peoples.
Anthropology, of course, is (or was, anyway) "the scientific study of man in relation to distribution, origin, classification, and relationship of races, physical character, environmental, moral, and social relations and culture."
With regard to the examinations of the pre-modern Eskimo peoples, who lived in the northern lands of snow, it was soon uncovered that their traditions and language incorporated seventeen or more separate and distinct words that referred to different kinds of snow.
With regard to the ancient Arab peoples, it was found that their traditions and languages contained more than twenty-eight terms which referred to different kinds of camels.
To modern English-speaking individuals who usually dont have to identify seventeen different kinds of snow for purposes of survival, snow is simply snow - whether wet, dirty, inconvenient, or dry.
A camel, of course, is a camel, whether it has one or two humps, the purposes of which are not understood at all by the camel illiterate.
Word Learning vs Awareness Recognition
Words and their definitions are ACQUIRED from sources outside of the individuals who learn them, and of course the whole of this learning involves activation of innate intellectual processes.
Thus, the Eskimo peoples could teach the seventeen words for snow. But those who learned the seventeen words had also to learn to become aware of and recognize in fact each of the seventeen kinds.
It is difficult to consider this kind of learning as only an intellectual process governed from outside sources the word-teaching represented. Indeed, intellectual processes must be supported and take on factual, experiential reality via awareness process that lead, for lack of better English terms, to meaning-recognition.
Further, it is broadly understood that intellectual learning processes generally work by categorizing in-take of information in ways that equate to some kind of sequencing or sorting.
Another way of putting this is that one does not learn very well if the in-take of information remains in a sort of amorphous, helter-skelter mish-mash.
Thus, in order to result in LEARNING, any in-take of information must follow some kind of natural indwelling organizing principles.
Such organizing principles could be thought of as basically inherent in our species.
As such, the organizing principles would be universal to the species, and would be automatically downloaded into each genetic individual in much the same way that each is born already possessing language-organizing and memory-organizing frameworks.
If the foregoing would be the case, then it must follow that those organizing frameworks must have some direct relationship to what we call "awareness-of."
It must then also follow that IF awareness-of remains in a sort of amorphous, helter-skelter condition, then it would not only be useless but also conflictive to the organizing principles of language, memory, and etc.
Thus, if awareness is to be of useful service and function, then whatever the phenomena of awareness actually consist of must also indwell at the species level along the lines of some kind of natural organizing principles.
The Approximate Nature of
The most basic definition of TO ORGANIZE is "to arrange or form into a coherent unity or functioning whole."
Implicit, but not clearly indicated in the definition, is the idea of parts, pieces, or segments, etc., that either need to be or can be formed into the coherent unity or functioning whole.
It is thus possible to immediately espy the fact that whatever is or remains ambiguous or amorphous probably cannot undergo formation into either a coherent unity or a functioning whole.
To organize parts or pieces of something into a functioning whole equates to the two well-understood, and clear-cut, principle definitions of SYSTEM:
- "A regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole;"
- "A group of interacting bodies [or phenomena] under the influence of related forces."
In relationship to those two definitions, individuals might have their personal realities, but even so they probably have (in the plural) sets and sequences of innate, but inactive awarenesses and faculties.
That this is so can become more clear if one attempts to consider that an individual has one faculty only.
This consideration is, of course, ridiculous in the extreme, in that everyone has a quite large spectrum of faculties visible, and probably has an even large spectrum of faculties invisible because they are inactive or blocked.
Since it is equally obvious that each kind of faculty is assisted and supported by different and specific kinds of awarenesses, it is then to be wondered WHY awareness is formally defined only in a generalizing, per se, simplified, and ambiguous sense.
If spectrums of active and inactive faculties exist in each individual, then it really should be assumed that spectrums of active and inactive awareness "units" also exist in sequential ways that accord with each of the specializing faculties.
The term SPECTRUM refers, of course, to:
- "An array of the components separated and arranged in the order of some varying characteristic;"
- "A continuous sequence or range."
It is via these well-accepted definitions that it becomes possible to consider the real existence of arrays of awareness which assist and support arrays of faculties, and which in turn download into arrays of perceptions.
So whatever each of the superpowers might be called in terms of words and assumed definitions definitely recedes into negligible importance.
The only real thing that matters is what one can be, or become, aware OF.
In any event, sequential arrays or multiple ranges of anything clearly are systemic in nature. They are systems, i.e., regularly interacting or interdependent groups of items, parts, arrays, or phenomena forming a unified whole.
For the purposes of this essay, whether the parts, arrays, faculties, awarenesses are active, inactive, or desensitized now remains the only real point of interest regarding the superpowers.
At this point, something now depends on how an individual understands or doesnt understand the nature of systems, and the nature of systemic phenomena.
Therefore, discussions regarding the nature of systems will subsequently be added into this Website, thereby bringing to a close this already over-long essay.
Even so, those having an interest in doing so might patiently work at making lists of what they can be aware of. However, such lists might be undertaken and held privately, largely because some items appearing therein might be disturbing to the status of other individual realities.