Jul 20 2011

How Easy Is It To Read Minds or Control Others?

Clairvoyance is not another of many mind tricks, but is rather the ability to see that which is unseen, and is a more technical term than used by those who call themselves mind readers, or who otherwise claim to have the ability of mind reading. The word literally means “clear vision” and denotes the capacity to perceive or understand that which is not accessible to the “regular” senses. This could be  hidden object, an occluded fact, or various other potential realities; however, in popular usage, clairvoyance usually connotes such mind tricks as the ability to see into the interior lives of other people, pick up on their emotions and thoughts, or even gather insight into the person’s past or future. Rarely does it infer the use of mind control or to actually influence others through telepathic or extrasensory means.

Reading minds according to mind readers who claim the ability to do so is not as simple as listening in on a conversation. Thoughts and feelings may come to mind readers in a variety of ways, expressed symbolically, or as an intense emotion, or as a general feeling – not necessarily embodied in clear words and concepts. Some clairvoyants claim that everyone receives these messages, but that their particular gift is the ability to recognize and interpret them with clarity. Also, there is a hierarchy of information gathering that begins with gathering the hidden knowledge that subsides in the body:  movements, facial expressions, the cast of light in the countenance, and general body language. While skeptics claim that all mind tricks can be narrowed down to such interpretive skills, and that clairvoyance is merely a form of mind control for the gullible and the credulous, true clairvoyants accept these skills as the first stage of a deeper connection that culminates in reading the actual thoughts of others.

Thoughts themselves might be considered as the data in/data out that moves through the processing software of the mind, and should not be confused with the mind itself. We experience them as something akin to running streams of words – some half-rendered, others complete and rational, that come and go, often unbidden, sometimes carrying varying states of emotion or loaded with other associations. Thoughts seem to be directly connected to the physicality of the brain, the network of neurons that constantly fire, setting off millions of chemical processes, but they can also be of a spiritual nature interpenetrating the brain, causing the physical reactions. Reading another person’s thoughts may have something to do with the energy that connects all people. It stands to reason, therefore, that if those who have exercised their clairvoyant skills to mastery can pick up on thoughts, they might also be able to send their own telepathically can practice a sort of mind control over unsuspecting victims.

This is likely a vain concern. We process so many thoughts and feelings that it would take a massive amount of energy for any clairvoyant or sorcerer to direct so many thoughts into another person’s psyche so as to be able to control them, that the psychic would likely empty himself of his own identity, and therefore be incapable of actually controlling anyone. So the notion quickly becomes absurd.

Jul 13 2011

The Mind Body Connection

Since the time of the philosopher Descartes, Western culture has suffered an unfortunate separation in its understanding of how the body relates to the mind. The two are seen as being at odds with each other. In some of the worse scenarios, mind itself is what is of value, or is representative of the true self, and the body is denigrated into the vessel through which your mind operates. Mind and body thus divided results in the idea that what one does with one’s body is of no significant consequence or value. The body, and therefore nature itself, is therefore open to exploitation and possible misuse.

An assumption that is made often in the West is that the mind somehow subsides in or animates the body. Mind is viewed as the core force, that aspect of the human person that really matters. Your number one enemy according to this idea is your body, which seems to contain its own set of desires that work contrary to the purer intents and purposes of your mind. Severe asceticism and the denial of help to those who suffer bodily is one of the end results at the rational far end of this philosophical dichotomy. If someone’s body doesn’t really matter, is it really evil if he starves?

In order to stave off bad attitudes and practices, there are those through history who have proposed that the mind is not all that matters, being carried about by an otherwise corrupt and worthless body, but mind and body both matter and are of value. How? At this point, all logic becomes as choppy as the rapids on a dangerous river. A few have offered that the two aspects are indeed separate, but that body and mind somehow interpenetrate each other. How this is so is a bit harder to explain, however. Your mind may be literally in your heart, but if your heart fails and is replaced with a new heart, has thing somehow changed the reality of your mind and who you are? Some would say yes, but most scientists would say hogwash.

The rationalistic approach assumes that the mind and the experience of consciousness is just a fluke of evolution, a subjective interpretation of natural chemical processes in the body. Mind in this view isn’t elevated above the body, but both mind and body are brought down to the same level – the former viewed as the biological manifestation of experiences that are conducted in the processes of the latter. If both mind and body are viewed as being basically the same thing – physical organs working together in the comprised living organism of the human animal – then both lose value beyond immediate experience and usefulness.

Another ancient view from the east proposes that both mind and body compose the reality that is the human soul. The notion that mind and body both exist in a paradoxical and mysterious unity was once the accepted assumption in many parts of the world. Both your mind and your body have significant value because both comprise the unity of the self.

Jul 6 2011

Bilocation, Astral Projection and Subjective Experience

It is widely claimed that the human person is composed of two bodies, one of which is the thick shell of the other: the physical body, and the spirit body. The spirit body is invisible and ethereal, made of a substance not perceptible to matter or to the senses, and interpenetrates the physical body in a unity of matter and spirit. It is sometimes thought that in dreams the subconscious mind can project the spirit body into other realms or universes of existence, or other physical locations.

The idea that the spirit body can leave the physical body and either penetrate other worlds of existence, or travel to other physical locations, is called astral projection. Some think of it as the experience of mind separating from the parameters of its bodily existence, usually linked by a long umbilical thread that keeps body and mind connected. The unconscious mind, it is thought by others, is familiar with the spirit body, and the body already roams spiritual realms through lucid dreaming.

Bilocation is another experience altogether, one of mind over matter. There are variations of thought about what occurs during bilocation, but the most common notion is that the physical body itself inhabits two separate spaces, often great distances apart, at the same time. There are reported events of people, often mystics or regarded as saints, being at two places at once. This is also thought to be an innate quality of the unconscious mind, perhaps suppressed into the subconscious mind through conventional concepts of logic, order and reality.

Skeptics claim that both astral travel and bilocation is bunk. The experience of mind over matter could be attributed to desires of the subconscious mind, operating in the same manner as do dreams that actually only take place in the mind, perhaps symbolic of repressed feelings of entrapment brought on by general malaise or difficult circumstances – the common desire to be somewhere else other than where one is. The unconscious mind might also play a role in originating such an experience as the desire to connect with other people in other places, as well.

Others who are usually associated with fundamentalist western religious sects – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – are more likely to interpret experiences of astral mind travel or mind over matter via bilocation as having a demonic origin, malevolent forces playing upon the frailties of the subconscious mind by convincing the practitioner that their spirit bodies are traveling elsewhere when in fact they are not.

The noted psychiatrist, Carl Jung, however claimed that the experiences of the astral body were archetypical symbols in the collective unconscious mind of man’s search for a soul. He did not view the subject as purely subjective and experienced only in the individual mind, but like an astral plane considered the collective unconscious to be an objective reality that manifest mind over matter and bridged actual distances. Whatever the case may be, the phenomena are real to the participants, and open to various modes of interpretation.