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Previous: 27.5 Timing issues Up: 27. Consciousness Next: 28. Spiritual Growth

27.6 Parapsychology

Within our theistic framework, all physical processes are the successive products of prior spiritual and psychical processes. Just from the direction of this causation, we might expect very many parapsychological phenomena to occur and even many events that appear to be miraculous. However, unambiguously parapsychological results appear to be rare, and successful parapsychological experiments seem to be getting rarer. Why is this?

The main reason is that, despite causation proceeding from the mental to the physical, it is certainly not the case that thereby we ‘create our own reality’ (as many have speculated and believed). Rather, there is a physical level of fixed and actual events that act to select, constrain, and retain our mental and spiritual processes, as I have argued. Therefore, in normal life, there are few parapsychological phenomena and even fewer events which could be considered miraculous. Instead of our minds creating our reality, it is clear that it is our external reality which is essential in constraining our minds to operate only within the boundaries of our own bodies. According to theistic science, our spiritual life is only possible if we have a spiritual container (soul) for the spiritual life we receive from God. Our spirituality is not automatically spread out across the whole universe, or across all times, or at ‘all frequencies’. It is closely connected to the functions we perform with our bodies in the world.

The main times that parapsychological events seem to occur is in periods of strong feelings and emotions such as stress from grief, exuberance, accident, injury, or sickness. Brain death also produces such occurrences, called near-death experiences. In these and in other cases, there seems to be a spontaneous spilling over from the normal containers of mental and spiritual life. Then the reasons listed in Section 25.4 no longer apply so strictly, and our consciousness can extend to people, events, and or actions outside the limits of our skin.27.5Such cases of strong feelings and emotions tend to be spontaneous and difficult to reproduce in laboratory settings. In fact, the sheer numbers of spontaneous cases showing external connections of consciousness are overwhelming whenever these are diligently investigated. They used to be collected more reliably in the early days of psychical research. Now, with more public skepticism, many people keep their experiences to themselves. Near-death experiences appear to be more acceptable currently, though perhaps not in all scientific circles.

We should also consider the possibility advocated by Swedenborg (1947), that miracles and other effectuating events are deliberately kept from our view so as not to force rational thought to conclusions it cannot assimilate. This would be quite possible even in our ‘scientific era’, since such things are under the management of God. Miracles may still occur in interior degrees, out of view, but ‘external miracles’ might perhaps only now occur when they can be interpreted in many ways. It seems to be the story of parapsychology: quests for definitive and forceful demonstrations make the phenomena retreat. Instead we may be supposed to freely and rationally understand the operations of God, spirituality and mentality in the world. I therefore leave open the question of whether reliable parapsychological experiments will ever become commonplace.


Previous: 27.5 Timing issues Up: 27. Consciousness Next: 28. Spiritual Growth

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