The Paranormal: Bridging the Gap between Science and Religion?
Wim Rietdijk, D.Sci.
|In case the Universe would not have any convincing, dignified and sublime answer to tragedy, we humans could not really respect it.|
This does not seem a very plausible hypothesis to me...
Modern quantum mechanics found that nonlocal coherence exists in nature: in the paradox of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen it became clear that what I do in A, can have definite repercussions for what happens far from me in B, without even signals with the velocity of light being fast enough to timely inform the B environment of my intervention in A. Some relationships indeed transcend space-time distances in a "paranormal" way.
1. This page will contain hypotheses and some arguments seeming logical to the author, and a few of his personal intuitions and experiences too. Among the arguments:
a) Also in view of our second motto, it is an implausible hypothesis that only in the small domains man has direct experience with - such as atoms, trees and cars - natural law would make things happen "in a scientific way", that is, coherently: not chaotically and by pure chance. In that case, such law would correspond to "halved rationality", the relevant coherence not extending to the evolution of the universe, of man and of processes defining human destiny.
Most scientists inconsistently assume that natural law does not govern processes in the macro sphere, so as to make them just as coherent and "well-considered" as an atom or a bacterium.
b) Some will object: "Natural laws do not even 'conceive' bacteria, these just happened to emanate from them by coincidence, or by trial and error." My answer: "What is plausible in considering elementary particles and processes as logical consequences of the character of natural laws, whereas bacteria, evolution, man and his qualities would be 'coincidences' ?" Why such "clift" ? Why what could be a coincidence should be a coincidence? In my view, our second motto causes the coincidence hypothesis - coherent laws governing atoms, chaos governing evolutions - much less plausible.
2. Religious people will say that the Bible's Genesis and the theory of biological evolution need not be mutually contradictory. I agree. But then, my question is: "Why merely apply such 'parallelism' to Genesis and evolution?" Why not more generally conceive core ideas from the Bible to actually represent the human-related gist of natural processes that obey consistent and coherent natural laws on the macro level (such as evolution does in the "Genesis conception", which posits direction and purpose in it)?
Some vital points are relevant here:
a) Traditional ways of thinking will have it that scientific and religious truth are fundamentally non-overlapping. Why assume such "complication"?
b) In physics, all equations of motion can be derived from one "master law", viz. the Principle of Least Action. Also, the conservations in time of physical observables such as energy, (angular) momentum, electric charge etc. all follow from the Noether Principle. More generally, natural laws appear to be integrated hierarchically: many laws that, considered superficially, seem to operate independently of each other, actually follow from master laws or general principles.
c) We also see such kind of hierarchical principle operate in the psycho-physical functioning of man. For if we consider man to result from evolution as a product of nature, obeying its laws, we have to admit that the mutual cooperation between an individual's psyche - consciousness, will, choices,... - and the chemical, physical and biological laws governing his body, again is one of hierarchy. Viz. our psyche coordinates or integrates on a "macro-level" what the electric currents, hormones and chemical reactions do on a more "primitive" or local scale.
d) Now my hypothesis is that we may see something similar on the level (scale) of the universe as a whole, too: The many laws and processes are coordinated or integrated in a way that allows coherent action, the "pursuit of goals", without a strictly scientific or "rationalistic" order of things is violated anyhow. The macro process in the universe as a whole would be similar to the functioning of man, whose natural functioning also not merely results in coordinated action but even in consciousness and planning of the realization of purposes. Well, we can conclude that such hypothetical "Mind of the universe" need not violate any natural law or rational-scientific view on the world any more than the existence of our own conscious psyche does. In actual fact, hypothesizing in the above way that some "God" integrates natural law is especially consistent with our two motto's and with b) above. Of course, we did not prove anything but that such hypothetical situation is not less scientific than its opposite, and morally more satisfactory.
3. It is certainly true that many "believers" - in religion or in the paranormal - have been counterproductive from a rational-argument point of view as to convincing the scientifically-minded. They were so by
a) Asserting that the scientific way of establishing truth should not "monopolize" finding it, and not seldom denouncing ratio-empiricism and "Cartesian Western science" at all;
b) Suggesting that physics, biology and other positive sciences are "on another level" than religion and "occult" or paranormal phenomena;
c) Demonstrating in practice that they are credulous, viz. by far too easily accepting "demonstrations" of paranormal phenomena that afterwards appeared to be fraudulent.
On the other hand, various "non-believers" emanate to be suffering from a remarkable syndrome: the idea of "I myself define my life and destiny, by my faculties and free will, and I vigorouly reject the idea of 'deep forces and coherences' being there too, on which you suppose me to be co-dependent". I can only wonder about the extreme naivety of such idea: apart from free will being rather problematic from the scientific point of view, it requires much repression for not seeing that in questions such as which mate, job, and successes in the financial or other domains will be yours, and as to your, your mate's and your children's health, intelligence, possible accidents and so on, you are extremely dependent on factors beyond your power. We only have the "choice" of these things either being defined by true arbitrariness of others' "free will", chance meetings and caprices of fate, or by deep coherence of natural laws still hidden or "paranormal" to us. My preferred solution is the latter, the former alternative causing a blend of deep anxiety and intense contempt in me: contempt for a universe not taking care of me, or even for much farther evolved, more sensitive and more vulnerable individuals...
4. Considering that internationally only about twenty scientists practice parapsychological research on a full-time basis, there are rather many publications in the Journals which show statistically significant positive results in the domains of telepathy, clairvoyance or psychokinesis. E.g., see
1) Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 115, No. 1, pp. 4-27 (1994), the papers by D.J. Bem, C. Honorton and R. Hyman;
2) Foundations of Physics, Vol 19, No. 12, pp. 1499-1514 (Dec. 1989), the paper by D.L. Radin and R.D. Nelson. Among the results: positive effects are no function of experimental quality, and fraud as an explanation hypothesis of significantly positive results would have required collusion among 68 independent investigators (most are "part-timers", compare the number of 20 above);
3) Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 345-367 (1997), the article by R.G. Jahn et al. This describes a 12-year research of more than 1000 experimental series with about 100 subjects. The average absolute deviation was only 1 in 10,000 per bit processed but in view of the size of the experiment this resulted in the chance hypothesis to have a probability of 1 in 3 trillion.
One may object that experiments failing in producing significantly positive results simply are seldom published. However, various experiments that actually produce them, should be compensated by so many others that it is simply impossible that so few researchers could ever have carried them out. In view of current perfection as regards experimental methods, only the hypothesis of fraud remains to uphold scepticism.
Another point telling for the reality of various paranormal phenomena is out-of-the-body experiences (obe's). I assume that the reader knows what is meant by them. A striking feature of obe's is that a small minority of the relevant people appeared to be in a position to describe various events that happened during their obe which they could not have known without having been indeed out of their bodies, rather than "dreaming because of lack of oxygen", as some people maintain.
Personally, I became convinced of the reality of paranormal phenomena by a number of precognive or warning dreams I had, and for which "pure coincidence" is not a plausible explanation to me.
5. According to modern parapsychology, striking coincidences constitute the core phenomenon of paranormal phenomena, of which telepathy, clairvoyance in space and time, and psychokinesis (PK) are merely special cases. Now I feel several pieces of the puzzle of life fit in if we combine some results of modern physics and parapsychology:
a) Rational coherence of phenomena by natural laws would no longer exclude the macro sphere, as already suggested by our second motto; i.e., some nonlocal pattern formation appears in nature, and its laws also sometimes have a direct relevance to what is important to man and his consciouness; the latter itself is a "dimension of nature";
b) By such very fact, the possibility that a moral order exists in the world is no longer in contradiction with science;
c) Many striking coincidences - both in the personal lives of many and in some parapsychological experiments - would no longer be irrational in principle because of their analogy with the phenomenon of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen.
In Chapter 10 of The Scientifization of Culture (SoC) we try to shed more light on how the paranormal works, from the physical and the psychological point of view. That is, we show close relationships of on the one side explainable physical specimens of nonlocality and on the other side paranormal nonlocal coincidences with psychological aspects.
Generally speaking, we can surmise that the paranormal is an aspect of the universe and its laws, that - if actually existing - would allow a much higher degree of coherence and rational functioning of it than in the case of natural laws merely governing local interactions and relationships. God is deeply integrated Natural Laws that cause evolution and fate as such to obey subtle coherence. (Think of Einstein's "Subtle is the Lord.")
6. Hypothesizing further, my intuition suggests to me that the philosopher's stone is realizing that the "soundness, quality and inner purity" of our psyche constitute the most important thing in our life, and that they are also a deep underlying causal factor in what happens to us, within the scope of "macro coherence".
The above, if correct, would mean that not only Genesis can be "translated into natural processes", viz. a coherently directed biological evolution, but that "the Kingdom of God" can be so too. Natural laws may be so much integrated, subtle and coherent that "chance" does only exist as far as we cannot see through all causal and "orchestrating" connections. That is, some occurences seem to happen "by coincidence" because we only see the limited local causes leading to them, not deeper nonlocal hidden variables that appear to exist in physics too. (Again see SoC, Chapter 10.)
The above hypotheses amount to the idea that both the core of religion and the paranormal reflect that natural law, rather than being less deterministic - more fuzzy and "loose" - than 19th-century physicists thought, is far more refined in effecting coherence, also on a nonlocal scale, and leaves no room for pure coincidence, not even as regards the outcome of macro processes.
7. As for my part, the meaning of life does only make sense as far as it implies that a direction or orchestration of the universe and our destiny exists - implemented by laws which in principle are accessible to science - to which justice, the vindication of the righteous, and ultimate happiness are inherent, and therefore some form of an afterlife too. More research into out-of-the-body and near-death experiences is very relevant here.
I never understood how "subjective" constructions of life's meaning could ever make sense. More generally: the meaning of life, the theses of religion, the elevated and the moral quality of an individual, just as a possible survival after death, are either irrefutable and in principle objectively measurable facts (phenomena) like the conservation of energy, or sheer nonsense.
Also, I cannot imagine how life could make sense anyhow without the existence of an afterlife in any form. For, in such case, the eventual vindication of good over evil would be impossible in the sense that justice would often come too late for those in the grave... Also, our inner attitude - pure, "holy", wicked,... - would more often than not go with us into the grave without having been in a position to effect what it deserves.
Remind that the existence of rationally functioning macro-coherence in the universe and our lives is both even more in the spirit of science and rationalism than their absence, and one of some absolutely indispensible conditions for the world to deserve any respect.
In all: subtle macro-coherences have been experimentally established in the case of the paradox of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen. Now my hypothesis is that more generally the laws of the universe are far more subtle, "macro-orchestrating" (intelligent) and coherent than we thought hitherto, up to and including their implying a moral order which has an answer to those "calling from the depth".
8. Personally, I experienced a number of striking coincidences and meaningful dreams that are partly in agreement with the first paragraph of 6. above. I found that in rather many cases the paranormal is stimulated by two mutually rather different inner attitudes:
a) One in which I succeed in maintaining an attitude which has indeed the atmosphere of "the kingdom of God", at least during a few hours or days. Not merely were striking coincidences fostered by the relevant state of mind, but also a tendency to the appearance of positive occurences used to manifest itself.
b) An emotional defence against - or vigorously fending off - what you experience as chutzpahs of unfriendly life; it then has the appearance to me that in some subtle way circumstances will improve, after such psychic state continued for one or more days.
On the other hand, attitudes contrasting with those two - e.g., one of investing much energy in limited worldly matters or, even worse, in what can be seen as "inductors of the unsympathetic" - tend to foster unfavourable "consequences".
I simply write down what made the impression on me that some deeper coherence was at the background of it. In SoC, Chapter 10, I try to explain the above within a scientific scope, with which physics and psychology are called in to produce some understanding - an Aha-Erlebnis - as to the relevant phenomena.
9. There is one more phenomenon suggesting the idea that paranormal communication between human minds is a realistic phenomenon. Viz. that, at several instances, mutual "infection" as regards beliefs and preferences among men appears to be so radical, and so drastically "represses" nonconforming ideas - keeps them from manifesting themselves -, that the conviction forces itself upon me that "non-paranormal" explanations are inadequate.
E.g., what to think of practically none among the well-known authors of Antiquity objecting to slavery? And what of the persecution of witches proceeding for a long time before some very isolated opponents spoke up? What about German socialists, who in 1914 suddenly joined the Kaiser in voting for the war credits, after having been massively "infected" by the war hysteria? What to say of current collective nonsense such as incoherent poems and paintings and the collective delusion in law enforcement that "privacy" should restrict finding criminals, virtually without anyone among the speech-making community objecting?
In all these cases, some "collective mind" - think of C.G. Jung's collective unconscious - seems to some degree forcing individuals into line. Or, say, a majority of 90 percent exerts a "telepathic pressure" on the minority of dissidents which, as a result, almost shrinks out of existence... In all, conformism seems inexplicably massive to me, too massive for our being in a position to explain it without telepathic influences.
The above also suggests that paranormal influences from the collective may sometimes harm people, e.g., among those resisting to being brought into line, to being conformed, by "telepathy". In a world in which most evil occurs veiledly, one can certainly expect that indeed some kind of voodoo exists if the paranormal does so at all. Mishaps and setbacks seeming "coincidence" would be the form in which such voodoo disguises itself. I am convinced of having experienced this personally; it is discussed in Chapter 10 of SoC.
Probably, paranormal faculties are in principle like others: (subtly and for the most part unobservedly) they function positively in our struggle of life. This hypothesis would already imply that "voodoo" is by no means more important than paranoral influences - from sympathetic directions - that help us, like the actions of our "normal" faculties. This is also discussed in SoC.
Many people rightly ask themselves: "If there are any logic and justice in life, how could we then explain the massive suffering inflicted on many innocent, such as children?"
A very tentative and partial answer might amount to that, mankind somehow being a "collective organism" (having a collective unconscious), individual experiences often refer to learning and evolution processes of the human race or groups as a whole, rather than being strictly individual as to their impact and meaning.
10. Though an optimist as regards the direction and speed of socio-cultural evolution, I experience many among my fellow-men not merely as uncongenial, but even as threatening. Inter alia, most adherents of the ideas criticized in this site basically belong to such category. The most important thing I expect from anyone I trust is his/her emanating that he/she wants to be a seriously enlightened party in the historic struggle for progress, in that of good against evil and for reason and rational values making possible that man takes his destiny in his own hands.
From this you will understand that I feel to be in a world that is inimical to a considerable degree, and - like many others, but with an above-average intensity - need an inner basis, or psychological "mechanisms", of defence.
Now this could be "worldly" successes - intellectual performance, money, publicity, promotion,... -, but something within me subtly warns: all of this (though indeed producing well-being) does not constitute a sufficient inner basis, or "defence mechanism", in this indeed so highly inimical world. They help, but are neither an essential answer to moral, intellectual and emotional enemies who constitute a majority of for the most part conformists, nor to the jungle society still is in various respects (mostly by the above-mentioned anti-enlightened people's doing).
My intuition and experience teached me - in a period of many years - that at least one dimension of religion indeed reflects downright scientific facts. Viz. that the state of mind that in the Bible is described as "the Kingdom of God" has a very important - and as yet scientifically unclear - meaning with respect to not merely our subjective well-being, but even as to what comes to us from the outside as happy or unhappy experiences. The gist is that certain states of mind cannot only be the result of special experiences, but also the cause of them, via "paranormal" coincidence too.
I strongly suspect the development of the relevant purity and "holyness" of mind to be an important ongoing evolutionary process. They are not in themselves of a paranormal nature, but related and stimulative to our (primitive) paranormal capacities that are also in evolutionary development. In some people the attitude in question can more easily be "produced" than in others.
For myself, the best and most sustainable form of "psychic defence", which also integrates the two inner attitudes described under 8. a) and b), can be formulated as follows:
1) Let the intense and dramatic things of life make their full impression on you, such as tragedy and the struggle between good and evil;
2) Realize that your participation in this world also answers to its calling on your best and most serious engagement in the struggle for evolution and progress in the impressive Universe we live in;
3) Your answer should be the attitude indicated above by "the Kingdom of God". It amounts to cultivating in your psyche the highest quality and sublimity, in addition to inner soundness and strength. According to my experience, positive developments not seldom are stimulated by this, which can be described as a hypothetically scientific "translation" of the Biblical words: "First seek the Kingdom of God and its justice, and all these [worldly] things will be added to you";
4) Point 3) can best be complemented by the understanding that in this stage of bio-social evolution various essential situations and mentalities are so faulty, unjust, irrational and/or unsound and wicked that in essence you should turn away from them, rather investing your best energy in the Kingdom in question. This is a concrete-realistic version of detachment, the disengagement from the mundane that the Bible also recommends. Also experience something like: "By this pure spirit I drive away evil forces from my bowels". In this sense, our "spiritual method" relates to the instinctual level too. (Such coordination of our more elevated and instinctive faculties in fighting on the vital level also causes such method to be better sustainable: by its being more natural.) One could also say that the positive mind in question contributes to our defence against those underhand, disguised, negative forces and mentalities that are often most threatening in life, and which often cannot adequately be fought by rational means. (Think of Churchill's words: "Open tyranny is more bearable than quasi-liberal hypocrisy.")
Partly summarizing: Cultivate the best quality and sublimity in your mind, turning to the positive in solidarizing with the forces of evolution, and in militant detachment turn away from this morally and materially inadequate here-and-now, with which you don't want to compromise too much. Feel as if exchanging knowing glances with the utmost sublime. In the worst case realize: "Indeed I am suffering, but my psyche is sound and on its best possible way".
Particularly important: Strive after, "attract", your goals and happiness from an optimally sympathetic and high-quality "spiritual complex" and avoid directing your longings to or via any antipathetic context or complex of associations. Fend such ambiances energetically off. It is my experience that positive, fruitful intuitions and dreams appeared in me more often as I succeeded in implementing this two-point "program".
In all, we should neither dogmatically believe in everything the Bible says (in many places it is a cruel book), nor accept it as the ultimate "word of God". But possibly it contains important "paranormal-visionary" insights that are of a great value. Parapsychology and particularly the study of the "psychokinesis" - i.e., influencing one's environment via one's inner state - at stake here, could be a step in translating essential theses of the Bible into scientific knowledge.
11. Another vital point relative to making our "paranormal faculties" productive can be described as follows. I once read: "The truly successful people are those not wasting energy in dead-end situations". There is much truth in this, but often the problem is that:
a) Much of our striving and emotions can be strongly "fixed" on such "dead-end situation" (e.g., a desired man or woman, a career, money, status,...); such a situation can be rather much beyond our conscious will and be "instinctive";
b) It does not seldom happen that all ways to some goal that are within our sight seem to be of a dead-end nature; e.g., think of much more people wanting to make a splendid career or a very attractive mate than there are available.
Now my advice here is that the unproductively "bound" energy in question - that may conduce to much worrying or even neurotic symptoms - should be detached as much as possible from the relevant object(s) of striving and be "transferred" to a deep and pure half-conscious level. Associate it with the general aspirations, tragedies and triumphs of man, and with sound, substantial progress in particular. Feel yourself and such energy to be a vital force of the highest quality in man marching on in evolution, as representing the most pure and typically human on a super-individual level, and exchange knowing glances with the vital and sacred Principles at the basis of life, consciousness and the universe. Then your strivings "get wings", possibly in a rather literal sense, because, via their detachment, super-individuality and more fundamental, sublime nature, they get more - possibly paranormal - degrees of freedom in breaking new grounds out of the dead ends.
This might be a meaningful version of the idea of "sublimation", realistically effective on our assuming the existence of the paranormal level and faculties that one now uses as a significant answer to a challenge of evolution.
Also experience the above as functioning healingly on man's dearest essence, on his wounds and tragedies, as an instrument of the Great Unknown. Do so in "mercurial pulses" rather than emphatically, in order not to exhaust your energy. Feel as if your unassailable all-embracing highest-quality integrative pulses directly, "diametrically", address the essence of matters and problems. This might amount to applying your paranormal faculties.
12. An important aspect of our also paranormally "contributing to evolution" has to be added. It refers to the relation between good and evil, and to my personal experience:
I not seldom got the impression that something important is not satisfied if I content myself with simply being happy with pleasant things and success. If I still do or try so, something happens to remind me: "You neglect your principal task in life, which is working on the evolution of your psyche, morally, as to inner level and strength; therefore, we confront you with a new challenge". I positively feel that the most important fault in my life has been that I caused it to be not seldom necessary that the course of events reminded me of this. I tend to give priority to happiness and success over "the Kingdom of God", too little experiencing them as ultimately secondary, as results of something more fundamental.
Somehow, it has the appearance that we should be dignified, loving, strong and elevated representatives of "holyness" in our limited environment and circumstances and that, to some degree, evil is given leeway to challenge us by unhappiness as far as we forsake such assignment. This certainly is only part of the truth, but it probably is important. For the rest, note that also in the evolution of our race, challenges played a vital part...
Particularly important in connection with our task of being an instrument of High Quality and the "Unus mundus" ["one (coherent) world"] is that we feel deeply associated with them, as it were exchanging "mercurial" knowing glances that are invulnerable to evil. It may be helpful in making us more susceptible to the right intuitions, inspirations and occurrences... Also, such attitude could be the best possible "mechanism of defence" against the threatening sides of this world.
Both my intuition and experience in many situations converge to the following conclusion as to the best inner attitude for practicing the paranormal faculties we probably possess - for subtly co-determining the course of events:
Experience your strivings and general energy on the most detached, unspecified and elevated way. Do not (too intensely) aspire to concrete things, but at a general improvement of the situation, allowing your hypothetical paranormal faculty the utmost as to degrees of freedom. Feel in the way of: "Now I am working on the most essential developments, in the spirit of the most fundamental and comprehensive laws and principles governing Nature and our destinies. In a way, I represent the sacred and the 'Unus mundus', in co-moving the world in an unassailable, all-embracing way, partly 'outflanking' resistance. I am an integrating part of the deep Forces that got the universe going". Feel self-confidence and strength from the notion of being part of the hidden variable that coordinates and orchestrates the processes as far as they are left "uncertain" by local causal laws, both in physics and in shaping human destiny. Feel strong, safe and self-confident in applying the core of your energy to what is essential, acting within the scope of the master laws and values that in the last resort govern the universe.
Ultimately, the vital points of an optimum inner attitude for being in the best possible position with respect to "the struggle for life" on the integrative - that is, the nonlocal, paranormally pattern-forming - level of natural laws are these:
1) Feel yourself strongly in harmony with what you feel to be an utmost sympathetic, "sacred" complex of psychic forces. Joining with what we observed in 11., detach those of your important strivings that may be difficult to fulfil or seem to be "hiddenly counteracted", and transfer them in a less "specified" form to a deep, pre-conscious level allied with such complex, where they have more degrees of freedom because of both their detachment and their generalization. Also, those among your strivings not coming up to your own standards of quality and soundness, can be corrected within this scope of harmony, detachment and purification.
2) Complementarily, dissociate yourself from even faintly negative atmospheres, and also militantly fend off possible objects of your strivings and other "attracting" emotions that you feel to be associated with an antipathetic complex. Do so in order that negative paranormal forces will not get any (indirect) grip on you and your faculties on the integrative level, via such "inductors". Also realize that the mere circumstance that this, and point 1) above, help, is indicative of the "unfriendly and unsound" atmosphere in "the local group-mind complex". (This was already clear from other pages of this site; "transferring one's strivings into safety from it" is a kind of necessity for a good man's inner and integrative health.)
3) Experience points 1) and 2) in such way that you feel to work and militate as an instrument of the essence of the relevant sympathetic complex that turns against the essence of the negative one - not on details but as regards comprehensive inner attitudes and values. Use for this all spare energy you do not need for "the lesser things". More generally, invest an optimum of "free energy" in what you deem to be the core developments and problems of (your) existence.
4) Points 1) to 3), and in particular the transference of 1), often also help against "unspecified" anxiety. The latter will be caused by our experiencing our strivings to be confronted with more or less unconscious antipathetic forces, of a normal or a paranormal nature. By our "transferring" the strivings, those forces lose grip, the confrontation lessening.
5) Most important of all, experience your subtlest energy working "intangibly" from an inviolable "sacred spark" in the depths of your being; working at the same time on your problems and self-development, evolution and progress in general, and fighting evil and the antipathetic "under the surface". In doing so, experience the deepest Principles of the world (master laws, "God",...) to be on your side, communicating to you: "We neither play dice, nor can we be outwitted". Experience all of this as your ultimate foundation, potence and "defence mechanism". (I have the impression that, especially in fighting "intangible" anxieties - compare 4) above - in the solar plexus, it helps to imagine "the spark intervening there".)
Concluding remark: Some may find a difference of climate between the spirit of this page and that of most other pages on this site. This is an error: both stem from taking reason, coherence, good, evil and human quality unconditionally serious, which is not done by most people now.
Additional hypothetical Ideas
(1) Some striking coincidences are so much striking (or even imply a message or meaning) that they might contain more than coincidences in the conventional sense.
I once read as an explanation that in such cases we see associations on a super-individual level, in some collective unconscious or "supermind". The (two) sources of "meeting causal chains" embodying the coincidence could cooperate by telepathy, psychokinesis or other paranormal phenomena.
Actually, however, most parapsychologists conversely tend to consider striking coincidences themselves as the basic paranormal phenomenon. Telepathy, clairvoyance and psychokinesis would be mere special manifestations of them, or function within their scope. Still, the latter model too assumes mankind to be an "organism" to some degree, in which nonlocal or super-individual correspondence or intelligence anyhow appears.
From both conceptions and from the psychological point of view we can imagine that association complexes to some extent have a super-individual scope too.
At the same time the above suggests a significant bio-psychological and cultural function of the paranormal as regards human (collective) self-preservation, cooperation and communication on a deep level. However, we should also realize that super-individual associations around God(s), kings, traditions, rituals, countries, prestigeous people etc. can be expected to "draw people into the habits of the status quo" and conform them even with paranormal means...
Furthermore, note that the use of "inductors" - watches, photographs,... - by clairvoyants, too, strongly suggests the appearance of super-individual associations. [Compare this point (1) with 5. above.]
(2) After reading (1), and joining with 8. and 10. above, we may reformulate the integrative "method" of seeking the "Kingdom of God" and of fending off negative influences. Then, such method could amount to associating one's psyche, actions, strivings, emotions and problems as much as possible with the utmost positive super-individual complex and atmosphere one can imagine, and fending off their association with the antipathetic.
Combining seeking the positive complex and fending off its opposite is served by subtly "transferring" the relevant strivings, passions etc. to a deeper, half-conscious level where "tainting" influences and negative inductors cannot easily reach them. Within this scope, experience "knowing glances" exchanged with the sublime. Also see the chutzpahs of this imperfect world as an exposure of evil that fortifies you.
If point (1) makes sense, the above method will tend to associatively attract experiences ("coincidences") that join with the positive complex. For associations transcending the individual psyche also appear in the form of positive or negative "coincidences" (or longer-term developments). Further, the above "transference", especially that of otherwise frustrated energy, could imply its investment in super-individual integrative processes. (For example, think of mutual cooperation on a collective-unconscious level.) This is more fruitful and reduces or obviates frustration and defeatism.
Realize that the above association method in some way relates to "seeking the kingdom of God" (and prayer) as evolution theory does to Genesis. Also, we remind of Einstein who commented on an idea of Paul Kammerer containing that events, just as masses, could attract each other: "original and by no means absurd". (See Arthur Koestler: The Roots of Coincidence, 1972, p. 87.)
Remark: As to the "fending-off part" of the above method note that it is especially important to nonconformists not harmonizing with the public climate. But for others too it is not superfluous to realize the dangerously immoral (associatively contaminating) level of the latter and of inductors and complexes "sympathetically" associated with it...
Further, if it would be true that also super-individual (integrative) forces and associations contribute to conforming individuals, it is not far-fetched to assume that they may also act "voodoo-like" on dissidents, and by influencing actual events more generally. (Compare our page on Paradigms as Association Complexes, and Powerful Instruments of Establishments)
Parapsychology discovered that especially passions (strong emotions and strivings) may be linked with paranormal phenomena. This should warn us to associatively "protect" our sexual, financial and other emotions and strivings against "the others" or negative complexes. Many already do so instinctively (inter alia, by seeking privacy as to sex).
(3) Integrating oneself with a positive complex as indicated above, and expecting happiness and safety in particular from such "source", logically can diminish feelings of dependence and anxiety - the main sources of intimidation, power abuse and manipulation in history. Such dependence and anxiety, in turn, tend to frustrate paranormal (as well as other) faculties, according to experimental parapsychological research. This once more emphasizes the importance of associating oneself with the "Kingdom-of-God-complex".
Note some (moderate) relationship of the importance of seeking good "associations" to Seneca's Agunt volontem fata, nolentem trahunt ("Destiny leads those who accept it, and drags those who refuse it.")
Super-individual association complexes may have played a part in the generation of Christianity, and have done so with respect to other socio-cultural developments as well. On the other hand, religion and ideological movements may also function as partly paranormal (super-individual) association complexes that play a part in integrating groups.
The relevant "organic" and rather integrated functioning of mankind as a whole may contribute to the phenomenon that some "mental inertia" seems to be inherent to social change. Viz., such changes will not be isolated phenomena but imply corresponding adjustments of whole complexes. In this organic context also think of: "Great events will cast their shadows before".
(4) Finally, on the essential riddle of religion: Why "God", or the Soul of the universe, does not prevent the terrifying mass of suffering, also experienced by the best among His creatures? The answer may be: because such Soul is in the same evolution process as the universe He integrates, and is still "preliminary", "unfinished"...
Once it was asked to Einstein: "What if, contrary to your conviction, nature would appear not to function according to simple, coherent laws?" His answer: "Then I would no longer be interested in it". Similarly, one might ask me: "What if no coherent, just and meaningful moral order would underly the world?" Then, my answer would be like Einstein's...
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