THE COSMIC MIND
A recent definition of telepathy describes it in these terms: "If one individual has access to information not available to another, then under certain circumstances and with known sensory channels rigidly controlled, the second individual can demonstrate knowledge of this information at a higher level than that compatible with the alternative explanation of chance guessing" (Andrew Dravniek, researcher in the field of thought transference).
There are thousands of records of what seems to be communication of this kind between two people who already have strong emotional bonds. The evidence is largely anecdotal and deals usually with knowledge of crises affecting one member of a pair - husband/wife, parent/child, brother/sister, twin siblings - that is communicated at the time of the occurrence to the other member, somewhere else.
Rapport is said to be the most effective between identical twins, who suffer the same diseases at the same times and seem to lead very similar lives even when separated at birth. These accounts are interesting but almost impossible to asses in retrospect and offer no real clues as to the nature and origin of telepathy.
The most painstaking attempt to deliberately keep knowledge of a given fact from an individual, to see if he could guess the target correctly was the work done by now the famous Rhine and his associates at Duke University. They took the public feeling that there was an area of human experience in which people seem to know, by "hunch" or "intuition", about things that are out of direct reach of eye or ear, and examined it under laboratory conditions, in which the odds of knowing by pure coincidence could be computed.
This work began in the early 1930s, when Rhine first used the term extrasensory perception, or ESP, to describe the process and began a lengthy series of tests on card guessing with the Zener pack (which consists of twenty-five cards carrying five symbols: square, circle, cross, star and wavy lines).
Fast forward to the present day when, after increasingly cutting-edge research across the globe, visible proof of the transmission of an impulse from one mind to another, across hundreds of miles, had been obtained.
Interesting observations have been made regarding dramatic changes in the brain patterns of the sender as well as the receiver. For instance, when receiving an image of something such as a cigarette box, the activity in the brain was localized in the occipital region, associated with sight, and when the message consisted of a series of noises being heard by the sender, activity took place in the receiver's temporal area which is normally involved with sound.
It seems certain that both telepathy and psychokinesis occur under certain psychological conditions and that these are marked by the production of brain waves of a particular frecquency. In telepathy it is the alpha pattern, between 8 and 12 cycles/second.
Subjects that score well in laboratory tests all say that they adopt a certain state of mind, which is described as "concentrating my attention on a single point of nothingness. I think about nothing at all, just looking at a fixed point and emptying the mind entirely, if this is possible." Another calls the telepathic state "concentrated passivity" while yet another sees it as "relaxed attentiveness".
The psychologist William James resolved this paradoxical state by recognizing two types of attention. One is the active type, which requires effort such as that shown "by one whom we might suppose at a dinner party resolutely listening to a neighbour giving him insipid and unwelcome advice in a low voice, while all around the guests were loudly laughing and talking about exciting and interesting things". This kind of attention involves conflict and is quite distinct from the passive type in which one responds almost instinctively to an exciting sense impression. As an example of this, could be the state someone who wakes up suddenly in the night thinking that something must have disturbed him and sits up watching, listening and waiting for whatever it was to happen again.
The production of telepathic or psychokinetic phenomena is still rare enough as to be considered abnormal, and it seems that in many subjects the fear of being able to do this type of thing produces a state of conflict that actively prevents them from doing it again. Many successful performers, whose livelihood or prestige depends on producing the phenomena, resolve the conflict by dissociation.
They enter a trance-like state in which their conscious minds can disclaim all responsibility for the events. For some, dissociation is simple but others appear to go through tremendous battles in the process. The expenditure of nervous energy seems greatest when there are strangers present and the fear of failure, and therefore, the degree of inner conflict are also high.
This "effortless attention" is very characteristic of the psychological state that goes with alpha rhythms. It used to be believed that alpha was continuous as long as the eyes were closed and that it would automatically stop when they opened; but with practice one can keep the alpha rhythm going with wide-open eyes by avoiding any kind of analytical or calculating thought. This means avoiding sensory activity and probably explains why many psychic subjects prefer to work in the dark or dim lighting and all of them insist on quiet.
NO NEWS... LIKE BAD NEWS!
Also, another interesting aspect emerging from the Russian research known as the "Popov Group" - a panel of scientists known collectively and officially as "The Bio Information Section of the A.S.POPOV All-Union Scientific and Technical Society of Radio Technology and Electrical Communications"- shows that the most effective telepathic messages involves trauma and crisis and that no news travels so well or so quickly as...BAD NEWS!
Biologically, this makes sense. There is no urgency attached to pleasure and well-being; these are states that can be communicated in the usual leisurely way by normal channels such as greeting cards, but if alarm signals are going to serve any useful function they must travel by the fastest possible telegraphic or telepathic route.
In 1960, a French magazine splashed the news that the USNavy was using telepathy to solve the old problem of communication between a submarine under water and its base on the shore.They reported that the atomic submarine Nautilus was in telepathic contact with trained receivers on the shore and that ESP had become a new secret weapon. The American authorities were quick to deny the reports, but the Russians were equally quick to point out that they had been using the system for years.
The Soviet method involved rabbits instead of radio. They took newly born rabbits down in a submarine and kept the mother ashore in a laboratory with electrodes implanted deep into her brain. At intervals, the underwater rabbits were killed one by one, and at that precise time that each of her offspring died there were sharp electrical responses in the brain waves of the mother.
Apart from influencing brain waves, telepathic contact also seems to have an influence on blood pressure. Research conducted by Douglas Dean, an electrochemist at the Newark College of Engineering as well as experiments of Russian scientists found that individuals in apparently telepathic contact have a quicker heartbeat, greater cardiac noises and, in some cases, perfect synchronization in pulse between sender and receiver.
It has been suggested that telepathy could be enhanced by electromagnetic fields. One study shows that an increase in electrical activity and, therefore, a decrease in skin resistance takes place at the moment of telepathic contact. Most indications point to the fact that physical relaxation and therefore a decrease in muscle tone and skin reaction is essential.
Oxygen deprivation experienced at high altitude is also thought of inducing alpha states. Could it be purely coincidental that so many of the transcendental techniques have been perfected by people living at great heights in the Himalayas?
Telepathic communication would lend strong support to C.G.JUNG's notion of a collective unconscious, in which all experience is shared. Even Freud believed that telephaty took place most easily in psychoanalytic situations, in which the unconscious was being exposed to scrutiny. His essay on PSYCHOANALYSIS AND TELEPATHY was not published until after his death, but toward the end he wrote: "If I had my life to live again, I should devote myself to psychical research rather than to psychoanalysis"
It looks as if telepathy is regularly received by the unconscious and only occasionally breaks through to conscious levels. There seems to be a barrier that prevents it from surfacing in our conscious minds and to overcome this blockage we must find a way around it.
It is entirely possible that many of our everyday thoughts are telepathic, or at least partly telepathic in origin and that we pass these off as our own simply because they have become mixed with much that is genuinely ours, in crossing the threshold between unconscious and full consciousness.
Sir Alister Hardy, once Professor of Zoology at Oxford, had disturbed his more orthodox colleagues with the notion that telepathy may be the clue to a fundamental biological principle that has played a major part in the evolution of living organisms.
He argued that: "Perhaps our idea on evolution may be altered if something akin to telepathy... was found to be a factor in moulding the patterns of behaviour among members of a species. If there was such a non-conscious group behaviour plan, distributed betwen, and linking, the individuals of the race,... it might operate through organic selection to modify the course of evolution"( see A.HARDY, "Biology and ESP" article in Science and ESP, London:Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.)