Dale E. Graff


Resistances to Psi
Parapsychology is the science that examines phenomena such as extra-sensory perception (ESP), telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, and precognition.  It also explores psychokinesis and distant healing, interactions that seem to be mediated by mental intention alone.  These phenomena are referred to as “psi” -- the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet (Y), meaning “unknown.”  This neutral label helps minimize judgments about explanatory mechanism and cultural biases that might be associated with some of the older terms.

Many people report unexpected or spontaneous psi experiences that prove to be valid.  They may experience them as strong intuitive hunches, dreams about a future event, vivid daydreams, or certain feelings.  Parapsychological research, which began in the US with Dr. John B. Rhine’s ESP laboratory at Duke University in the 1930’s, continues to accumulate a consistent statistical data base that supports the existence of psi.  The results show what many people already suspect: success in psi depends primarily on motivation and need.  Other influences on psi success are the testing environment and style of the researchers (something like the gardener’s “green thumb” effect).  Prior spontaneous psi experiences help, but are not necessary for achieving good results in an experimental situation.  Research has shown that psi experiences are potentially available to anyone, and can be improved through practice.  Psi is like any talent; some people are better than others are.  Psi is a natural phenomenon, like electromagnetic waves or gravity.

If many people experience psi spontaneously, and if parapsychological research supports the existence of psi, then why do many people strongly resist or even deny the reality of psi?  A thorough examination of this question would take us deep into cultural and psychological avenues ? only a few can be examined here.

I. No Scientific Theory or Proof.  Theory is not a prerequisite of any phenomena’s existence.  Many scientific discoveries have preceded theory; theory is based on observation, measurement and deduction.  Sufficient statistical evidence exists to argue in favor of psi’s existence.  Absolute proof, as for any psychological, social, or medical area, is difficult due to compounding variables and the illusive human element.

II. Too Unreliable or Unpredictable.  This statement is true for many spontaneous experiences, or for individuals who are not consistent in applying methods that help uncover psi.  However, researchers have found that focused intent and goal setting, maintaining a mental state open to inner perceptions, along with practice, can lead to reliable results.

III. Troublesome Image.  Psi is sometimes judged on the basis of styles or proclamations of those who claim to be psychic.  Some of these individuals link psi with cultural or subjective belief systems that may be incompatible with current understandings.  These individuals may or may not have credible psi abilities.  Their viewpoints or interpretations may cause many to reject psi if no attempt is made to test their claims and to sort fact from subjectivity.

Some people do make unsubstantiated claims for psi, or are not sufficiently critical in evaluating personal experiences (chance occurrences do happen).  Their interpretations need to be carefully evaluated.

Some extreme critics take advantage of this troublesome image by purposefully lumping psi with topics that have nothing to do with psi phenomena.  Many even attempt to ridicule those who are open to exploring psi, by associating them with “irrational” or “superstitious” elements.  Aboriginal people often linked psi occurrences with superstitions, as they did for other natural forces in nature.  While psi may be considered as non-rational -- i.e., its origin is in the intuitive aspect of our nature -- it is certainly not “irrational.”  Psi phenomena, as for any sensory ability, are suspected by researchers to have had a role in our evolution as a species.  Psi may still serve in our evolution as a species in a subtle way.

IV. Fear.  Some people fear psi because they believe that psi, once activated, is not controllable and has no limits.  Research clearly shows this is not an issue of concern.  Psi data, even for individuals with high ESP talent, have plenty of “noise” and is not producible every time when desired.  We all seem to have a subconscious “censor” that does not let psi get out of hand.  This may be a necessary feature to prevent ego inflation, a situation that may occur if an individual is not balanced in life-style approach.  There is certainly no evidence to suggest that those who open up psi abilities can “access all secrets.”  At a subconscious level, we all seem to have respect for the boundaries, and privacy, of others.  Psi data is usually not accurate enough to stand alone and can hardly be seen as posing a threat to anyone’s privacy.  No one needs to be concerned about someone having “psi control” over others.  Free will is alive and well.

Certain secrets, however, could be accessed if they are not in the best interest of others or society in general (for example, psychically describing a criminal, locating a hidden murder victim or missing person).

Some people fear psi because they believe it would weaken or destroy their concepts of reality and would be a throwback to a superstitious world-view.  The basic principle of science is to withhold judgment, to explore, to see what’s there.  If psi is true, as experiments and personal experiences demonstrate, then room must be made for a wider view of reality.  The holographic nature of light might give hints on how psi may function and how our brain/mind may interact with deeper levels of the subconscious.

Some people have a strong affiliation with belief systems that choose to interpret psi-like phenomena from a fear perspective.   This sentiment is sometimes projected onto others who are open to psi phenomena, or is associated with some non-physical negative concept.  Such biases are difficult to overcome.  Research findings can help mitigate these in-grown fears for those willing to explore.

Psi phenomena touch deep roots in all of us.  We can choose to react from fear of from a perspective of curiosity, to see what is there.  Spontaneous cases show us that psi phenomena can occur to anyone regardless of age or cultural background.  Research confirms psi’s universal availability.  We may not understand psi’s mechanism any more that we really understand gravity.  Lack of understanding is no barrier to experiencing psi.  When we approach psi with an open mind, we can experience psi for ourselves.  Why not explore psi; why not expand our horizons?  Why not be open to an aspect of ourselves that can help us live our lives more efficiently?

If you would like further information about PSI - SEMINARS - INITIATIVES, please email Dale E. Graff.

This page last updated 30 July 2009