Outlook for Communication
A striking characteristic of all of the means of obtaining information from metaphysical sources that we have examined—inductive insight, clairvoyance, religious revelation, and intuition in general—is that, as we now know them, they are wholly unpredictable and not subject to our control. The question naturally arises: Is this necessarily true, or is the present situation merely a reflection of our almost total lack of knowledge as to the inherent nature and properties of the inter-sector communication phenomenon? This is a question that has a profound significance for the future of the human race. Unfortunately, it is also a question which, as matters now stand, we cannot answer. The new information developed in the preceding pages does, however, clarify the nature of this problem to a considerable degree, and it suggests some lines of inquiry which, if they are followed up diligently and systematically, may ultimately produce some kind of an understanding of the situation.
The most important discovery in this area made in the course of this present investigation is that all of the hitherto unexplained and somewhat mysterious processes by which information is obtained in a non-physical manner are manifestations of the same thing: communication between Sector 3 units through Sector 3 channels. In studying these various phenomena, therefore, we are no longer in the position of viewing a number of separate and presumably unrelated things. We now realize that we are viewing the same thing from a number of different angles. Such a finding is a great help to any investigation, but it is of particular importance in the study of elusive phenomena such as those that we are now considering, inasmuch as whatever is known, or can be learned, about any one of them can now be taken as applicable, in some sense, to the general process. The total amount of reliable information that is available is still small, to be sure, but it represents a big advance over the very meager amount of knowledge that we possess concerning any of the individual phenomena.
All this suggests that conditions are now ripe for a thorough and systematic study of these related phenomena aimed at gaining an understanding of the general process of non-physical communication. If we can attain such an understanding, we can then turn around and apply it to improving the effectiveness and usefulness of each of the individual applications of this communication process. Such an investigation is far beyond the scope of this present work, but since we have here developed the basic information that opens up an avenue of approach to this hitherto recalcitrant problem, or group of problems, it seems appropriate not only to point out the opportunity that is afforded by the new information now available, but also to discuss the existing situation briefly and to indicate some of the specific lines of inquiry that could profitably be followed.
The most general form of this inter-sector communication, commonly called intuition, and defined as “the direct apprehension of knowledge without conscious reasoning or immediate sense perception,” is one about which practically nothing, aside from its existence, is currently known. There are even those who deny that it does exist, in the sense of this definition. For instance, the empiricists, who regard the observed physical universe as the whole of existence, must necessarily reject it. But the extreme weakness of the arguments that these objectors are able to muster in support of their position is eloquent testimony to the reality of the process. About all that they are able to suggest is that intuition must be the result of some unknown, abnormally rapid or subconscious thought process. As pointed out in Chapter 24, however, reason—directed thinking—is not a source of information; it is a tool for dealing with information obtained from some source. This means that the basic question is: What is the source of the intuitive information?
In the preceding pages, we have examined this issue and have found that the information comes from a metaphysical source. The empiricists and materialists deny the existence of anything metaphysical, but they are unable to suggest any alternative. The only source of information that they recognize is experience, and the clearest and most definite instances of intuitive understanding occur in such areas as moral values, which the empiricists themselves admit cannot be derived from experience. Those of this school of thought, who face the issue squarely, recognize that their denial of the existence of intuition or any other non-experiential source of information forces them to deny the existence of moral values. But this is a denial of the observable reality. Both intuition and moral values do exist, and our findings now disclose that intuition is merely one of a number of manifestations of the general phenomenon of communication with Sector 3. It is certainly one of the aspects of the communication situation that should have careful and painstaking study. Just how the problem can best be approached is not clear as matters now stand, but some ideas as to the direction of investigative efforts can probably be developed from consideration of the information that is available with respect to the other communication phenomena that we have identified as different aspects of the same thing.
The characteristics of scientific insight were discussed in Chapter 9, and no more needs to be said here, other than to emphasize some of the principal points that were brought out in the earlier discussion: first, that such insight comes only when the general level of knowledge is high enough so that it is feasible to go the rest of the way to an understanding of the point at issue by means of an “inductive leap”; second, that the insight comes only to those who are adequately prepared to receive it; and third, that it comes mainly, perhaps always, to individuals who are deeply immersed in the subject matter, and have given it both extensive and intensive study.
Revelation is practically identical with scientific insight except that it deals with religious information rather than scientific information. These two processes operate in the same manner as ordinary intuition, but they are actually of a somewhat different character. Ordinary intuition draws upon a basic supply of information which, under existing conditions, appears to be readily accessible to most individuals, and can be obtained with little or no effort. Revelation and scientific insight, on the other hand, deal with more advanced and less easily comprehended truths that are not yet part of the general understanding, and consequently are available only to unusually well-prepared individuals who are also intensely motivated.
The possible avenues of approach that can be followed in a systematic study are more clearly indicated here than in the case of ordinary intuition, as we do have some information as to who has (reportedly) received communications of the revelation or insight variety, and as to what conditions prevailed at the time. We note, for example, that a period of uninterrupted contemplation preceded many of the reported religious revelations. Most of the founders of the great religions are reported to have cut themselves off from normal human activities repeatedly, or for extensive periods, so that they could devote themselves completely to thinking about religious matters. The story of the Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, is well known; how he left his high position and his family and wandered about for seven years, pondering over the mysteries of existence, until a revelation finally came to him. The experience of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is almost identical. Moses received his enlightenment during the forty days that he spent alone on Mount Sinai. Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, founder of the religion now practiced by the Parsees, is said to have gained his insight while living as a hermit. Mohammed’s revelation came to him in a cave on Mount Hira, after repeated sojourns in the hills around Mecca, where he could be alone with his thoughts.
Both religious contemplation and intense scientific concentration are relatively calm and tranquil activities, characterized primarily by channeling the maximum amount of thought into the one area in which new insight is sought, to the exclusion, so far as possible, of all extraneous matters. The absent-mindedness of scientific investigators is proverbial, and it is standard practice, particularly in the Orient, for the seeker after religious truth to isolate himself, not only from the affairs of the world but also from his own personal desires. This might well suggest the conclusion that calm and peaceful concentration on the subject at hand is one of the requirements for successful Sector 3 communication. But the next type of communication that we will consider introduces a new factor. Most of the instances of spontaneous telepathic communication that are sufficiently well authenticated to entitle them to consideration in the present connection took place under conditions of extreme emotional stress.
It is possible that this predominance of highly emotional cases in the records is the result of a selection process. Experiences that seem to be well outside the limits of plausible explanation as mere coincidences are not at all uncommon. But most of these receive little attention. They are not even mentioned to anyone, or even remembered for any extended period, to say nothing of being recorded in any way. Records of any kind—even recollections—are therefore confined to the more spectacular instances. The seeming preponderance of highly emotional situations is thus misleading. Nevertheless, the frequent occurrence of telepathic transmission under stress (even after discounting the number of reported instances drastically to eliminate those that are most questionable) seems to rule out calm and peaceful contemplation as a prerequisite for the Sector 3 type of communication.
It will be necessary, however, to examine the possibility that the transmitter and the receiver of the telepathic message are subject to different considerations. In the communication processes previously discussed—intuition, scientific insight, and revelation—we have been dealing only with receivers, and our finding that quiet concentration is conducive to success in achieving communication applies specifically to reception, and not necessarily to transmission. Experience with the reception of telepathic messages does not contradict this finding, as it is ordinarily the transmitter of the message who is under emotional stress, not the receiver. At this point, then, our tentative conclusion is that the circumstances that we have previously found to be favorable for the reception of communications of an intuitive nature apply to the reception of all communications from Sector 3, but that some special mental or emotional state, the nature of which is not yet clear, is a requirement for successful transmission of a message through Sector 3 channels.
At first glance, the second part of this conclusion would seem to be contradicted by the fact that there is another form of Sector 3 communication which can take place under a great variety of circumstances in which the transmitter may be anywhere from perfectly calm to highly emotional. This is the religious activity known as prayer. In secular life, a prayer is a petition or earnest request. Religious prayers extend over a considerably wider range of attitudes and subject matter, but for purposes of the present discussion, their essential characteristic is that they are attempts to communicate with the existence or existences in the metaphysical region. This is an activity of vast proportions, carried on by hundreds of millions of people, in all parts of the earth, and over the entire span of recorded history.
A more extended consideration of this activity indicates that there are some significant differences between prayer and the forms of non-physical communication previously examined that should be taken into account in arriving at our conclusions. One point is that, while telepathy attempts to communicate with another human being, and intuition receives information from Sector 3, prayer attempts to transmit a message to Sector 3. We may logically conclude, then, that prayer has the advantage of dealing with a vastly more sensitive receiver which (or who) is capable of receiving communications from less efficient transmitters. Thus the previous conclusion that the transmitter must be in some special mental or emotional state in order to be successful in sending his message does not have to be discarded; it merely needs to be modified to apply only to communication between human individuals. We will take another look at this conclusion later in this chapter.
It should also be noted that, while we know that prayers are being offered under conditions in which the supplicants’ attitudes range all the way from casual to highly motivated, we have little or no evidence as to what effect, if any, these attitudes may have had on the success of the attempts to communicate. Indeed, we have very little reliable information about the results of prayer, and it may very well be that the casual and perfunctory prayers, and perhaps the ritualistic prayers, are wholly ineffective. From a scientific standpoint, this and other uncertain aspects of prayer would seem to be subjects that call for a thorough and searching examination. As expressed by L. D. Weatherhead, “We have a lot of research to do into the laws which govern intercession.”402
Religious authorities have generally been opposed to anything of this kind, ostensibly on the ground that raising questions about, or attempting to analyze, such intimately religious matters verges on sacrilege. We may surmise, however, that this opposition is also motivated by fear that one of the major questions that would be addressed in such an investigation is whether communication of this nature is possible at all. Obviously, the ecclesiastics must maintain with all of the positiveness at their command—dogmatically, if one wishes to use that term—that such a question cannot be entertained even for a moment, since religious doctrine in its entirety is based on the premise that such communication does take place. This objection should not apply in the same degree to the investigation that is now being suggested in this work, inasmuch as the findings upon which the study would be based—those described in this volume and its predecessors—definitely confirm the existence of communication with the metaphysical region, and hence the question to which the religious authorities are the most sensitive would not come up at all.
This being true, it would seem that science and religion have every reason to make this a common cause and to join forces for a thorough inquiry into the details of the process. Obviously, if anything can be discovered that leads to more effective and efficient communication by the prayer route, the primary benefit accrues to religion; if anything can be discovered that improves the process of gaining scientific insight, the primary benefit accrues to science. But the findings of this work indicate that these two processes are essentially nothing more than different manifestations of the same thing. This, in turn, makes it altogether likely that any significant discovery in either area will be applicable to both.
Of course, such cooperation will be impossible if those on the religious side insist that all of their doctrines are infallible and not subject to question. For example, it will be necessary, before any appraisal of the relative effectiveness of different procedures can be undertaken, to come to some conclusion as to what kinds of petitions are admissible. It will be particularly essential to examine the question as to whether it is in order to request that one or more of the governing laws or principles of the universe be set aside in a particular circumstance. This is another sensitive point, to be sure, since most religions have utilized what they classify as miracles for the purpose of bolstering the case for their particular doctrines, and they have encouraged their adherents to ask the Ruling Powers for concessions which, in effect, call for miracles or their equivalent. No doubt some of the ecclesiastics will be adamant in opposition to any inquiry into this situation, but it would seem that, by this time, a substantial segment of the religious community should be willing to participate in an exploration of this kind, particularly since the findings of the present investigation are not adverse to certain classes of miracles.
Whether they call for miracles or not, there can be little doubt but that a substantial proportion of the petitions currently being addressed to the Deity are improper. Requests for special or preferential treatment, for example, probably outnumber all others, but such requests are not at all consistent with the ethical code. Harlow Shapley was correct, even if somewhat harsh, in calling them “greedy supplications for special favors.”403 The pleas for “mercy” that are encouraged by most religious leaders belong in the same class; they ask that the petitioner be exempted from whatever penalties may be assessed against others. This is the biological code, the “me first” doctrine, and it is directly opposed to the Golden Rule, the essence of which is that we should ask no more for ourselves than that which is given to others.
Although the present investigation has not gone into these matters extensively enough to justify any firm conclusions, the preliminary survey seems to indicate that, if it is to be effective, prayer must be concerned with matters that involve human actions, not physical events. In familiar language, this means that one should pray only for wisdom or for moral courage, either for himself or on behalf of others. Whether or not this tentative conclusion is correct is a question of major significance to the human race, and an exhaustive study of the subject is certainly justified, with the cooperation of religious organizations if possible, but without it if necessary.
A comprehensive study should ultimately result in delimiting the range of subjects with respect to which prayer is appropriate, and this will enable some studies of the relative effectiveness of different procedures. Few observers are likely to believe that such a study would find the prayer wheels of Tibet very effective, yet the truth is that many modern procedures, not only in prayer but also in other attempts at metaphysical communication, are equally as perfunctory as these wheels. The efficacy of group prayer, for instance, is open to serious question, in view of the highly individualistic character of inter-sector communication in general. Of course, it is quite possible that group activities of this nature have a meaning in, and a value to, institutionalized religion that is separate and apart from the communication that is the ostensible purpose, but some inquiry into this situation ought to be in order. The efforts that are currently being made to apply group techniques to the discovery of new solutions for scientific, economic, and other problems seem to have a somewhat similar rationale, and could well be studied in the same connection.
The only one of the inter-sector communication processes thus far discussed that has been subjected to any kind of a systematic study is telepathy, which, with the related process, clairvoyance, the direct perception of information, is currently being investigated under the general name of extrasensory perception, or ESP. Clairvoyance is essentially equivalent to intuition, the only difference being in the nature of the information that is sought. An individual’s conclusion with respect to the morality of a proposed action would be ascribed to his intuitive understanding of right and wrong, whereas his correct perception of the nature of a hidden object in an experimental situation would be ascribed to clairvoyance.
The results obtained to date from the ESP experiments have been meager. As indicated in the discussion of the subject in the earlier pages, it would be correct to say that certain aspects of these experiments have demonstrated the reality of the ESP phenomena, but knowledge has not advanced much beyond this point. This lack of progress can be attributed to a number of causes. Some of these, such as the insistence on coupling psychokinesis (PK) with ESP, thus saddling ESP with all of the shortcomings of the PK hypothesis, can be laid at the door of the experimenters themselves. Others, such as the exaggerated degree of skepticism with which the results of the experiments are received, and the general lack of support of ESP research, are chargeable to the scientific community as a whole. It is apparent, however, from the findings of this work, that more meaningful results cannot be expected until the investigators have a better understanding of how to proceed. Clearly, some further information of a basic nature is required before ESP experiments can be so planned and executed that they will give conclusive answers to the questions that are being investigated.
One of the most important issues, we find, is the matter of motivation. What we may call routine communication with Sector 3, intuitive access to simple information, has the benefit of a high-powered transmitter, and most individuals have no difficulty receiving the messages in the ordinary course of life. Reception of complex and specialized information (revelation and scientific insight) is much more difficult. Examination of the various methods of inter-sector communication from the standpoint of the characteristics that they have in common indicates that, in all instances, the individual who receives one of these extraordinary communications is a person who is specifically qualified in the field of knowledge that is involved, and who is able, because of a strong motivation, to exclude other matters and devote practically his entire attention to the one subject under consideration. The essential requirement seems to be an intense interest in the success of the undertaking coupled with the absence of competing thought processes.
Insight or revelation is not in itself a thought process, in the ordinary sense of the term. On the contrary, it is the total lack of resemblance to the ordinary processes of thought that gives rise to such expressions as “flashes of insight,” and causes those who comment on these metaphysical modes of communication to use adjectives such as incomprehensible, miraculous, etc. But the message cannot be consciously perceived by the recipient unless it is converted into a thought process of some kind. Aside from the possibility discussed in Chapter 11, nothing is yet known about how such a conversion is accomplished, but evidently the probability of success is enhanced if the mind is cleared of extraneous matters and the entire thought mechanism is held in readiness to receive the message.
Our findings further indicate that transmission of a Sector 3 message is a much more difficult operation than reception of a message, and an individual must be in a special mental or emotional state of a nature not yet understood in order to transmit such a message to another human being (telepathy). Whether the same degree of preparedness is required in order to transmit a message to Sector 3 (prayer or the equivalent) is not clear, because of the lack of reliable knowledge as to the results of prayer. It may reasonably be assumed, however, that prayer is the inverse of intuition. The intuitive process pairs a high-powered transmitter with a relatively inefficient receiver. Prayer reverses this combination, and pairs a relatively inefficient transmitter with a very sensitive receiver. On this basis, we could expect that it is equally as effective as intuition.
If the foregoing conclusions with respect to motivation are correct, they have some significant implications in connection with the efforts that are now being made to study telepathy and other ESP phenomena experimentally. They strongly suggest that the principal obstacle standing in the way of obtaining more satisfactory results is the lack of adequate motivation on the part of the subjects participating in the experiments. Investigators working in the field have already recognized that motivation is an important factor. J. B. Rhine, for instance, says that:
In order to produce a suitable test situation for psi, an order of interest must be sustained sufficiently high to compete successfully with the many other interests arising out of the subject’s own personality and the test surroundings.404
The findings of this present investigation suggest that the “order of interest” envisioned by Rhine is not anywhere near high enough to set the stage for efficient and effective communication. The indications are that “competition” with other interests cannot be tolerated at all; that the would-be receiver of the message must not only give the matter his full and undivided attention, but must be intensely motivated as well. The problem of how to provide sufficient motivation may be a difficult one, particularly since it is questionable whether any collateral motive, such as the expectation of a substantial financial reward, will suffice. If such a reward would provide adequate motivation, gambling houses would have to go out of business. It is altogether possible, in the light of the findings of our preliminary investigation, that nothing less than an intense desire to accomplish the objective for its own sake is adequate.
As pointed out in Chapter 9, gambling, to the extent that chance, rather than skill, determines the outcome, is an exercise in ESP. The gambler is trying to anticipate what the next roll of the dice, deal of the card, or turn of the wheel will reveal. This is exactly the same thing that the subjects in certain types of ESP experiments are trying to do. The person who “breaks the bank” at a gambling establishment, or who is prevented from so doing only by arbitrary betting limits or restrictions, is accomplishing the same results as the ESP “stars” mentioned by John Mann in the statement quoted in Chapter 8, the individuals whose extraordinary performance in the ESP tests is the principal empirical support for the reality of the ESP phenomena. It was noted in the earlier discussion that the general conclusions which can be drawn about the existence and characteristics of ESP from gambling games are identical with those reached by way of specific ESP experiments, as would be expected where the basic process is the same. But the conditions surrounding the attempts to foretell the coming events are quite different in the two cases, and it is these differences that are responsible for the more erratic performances of the gamblers.
One significant point is that most gamblers are not trying to anticipate what is going to happen. They are simply placing their bets and hoping that fortune will favor them. These individuals are not exercising their ESP ability, if they have any. Only those who, consciously or unconsciously, bet on intuition or hunches can be compared to the participant in the regular ESP experiments. Furthermore, since the primary objective in gambling is monetary gain, the direct incentive to foretell future events, which appears to be a requirement for success in clairvoyance, is largely accidental. The person who has an extraordinary “run of luck” cannot repeat his performance at the next gambling session because the financial gains that he made on the previous occasion are now uppermost in his mind, and he cannot approach the situation with the same attitude that brought his earlier success.
The star performer in the ESP experiments is also limited in the extent to which he can repeat his earlier successes, but not to the same degree as the gambler. He can usually maintain a reasonable standard of accomplishment over a considerable period of time. In view of the differences in the experimental conditions, this difference in the results is understandable. The ESP subject is specifically aiming at ESP performance. He knows what he is trying to do. In his case, the ESP objective is not subject to being relegated to a secondary role, as it is in gambling. But even though he may initially have the intense desire to produce positive results that seems to be a prerequisite for success, it is not possible to maintain that high level of motivation indefinitely after the existence of ESP has been demonstrated to his own satisfaction, and no one knows how to proceed any farther. Sooner or later his interest wanes, and with it goes his ESP capacity.
Most of the experimental work thus far undertaken has involved a rather close collaboration between the investigators and the subjects, and it is doubtful if adequate motivation on the part of the subjects has ever been attained unless the investigators were equally motivated by a strong desire to produce something of a positive nature. Much of the criticism of the ESP experiments has centered on the fact that the positive results come only from the investigators who are personally convinced of the reality of ESP and want to find evidence to support that belief, while the results of experiments carried out by skeptics are uniformly negative. Our findings with respect to motivation now indicate that this is just what should be expected. ESP reception by skeptics, or even by impartial subjects, is impossible. The subjects must be strongly motivated in order to succeed, and such motivation is practically impossible if the investigator in charge of the experiment is a skeptic. On the other hand, the present tendency for the investigators to be biased in favor of positive results is scientifically undesirable. Some redesign of the experiments that will introduce an emotional separation between the investigators and the subjects is therefore very much in order.
Inasmuch as it appears that the requirements for a transmitter of telepathic messages are very much more stringent than those of a receiver, the problem of providing qualified transmitters for experimentation is critical. Indeed, the likelihood that any of the persons utilized for transmission purposes in the ESP experiments to date were adequately qualified and sufficiently motivated for the task is so remote that it is probable that telepathy has never actually been examined experimentally. Telepathy is difficult to distinguish from clairvoyance, and it has already been suggested by some observers that all of the current ESP experiments are dealing with clairvoyance, even where telepathy is the ostensible subject of the investigation. Our findings support this conclusion.
The difficulty in differentiating between telepathy and clairvoyance in the experimental situations has led to the further suggestion that telepathy may not exist at all, and that the ESP phenomena are wholly due to clairvoyance. Here, however, we cannot concur. Once it has been demonstrated that Sector 3 communication is a reality, the basic objections that have hitherto been raised to the acceptance of the validity of reports of spontaneous telepathic occurrences are invalidated, and the existence of the telepathic process must therefore be recognized. These spontaneous incidents always involve an extraordinary degree of motivation on the part of the individual who must be regarded as the transmitter of the message and no conscious effort by the receiver. This kind of a situation has not thus far been duplicated in the experiments intended to be telepathic.
Some extensive study of spontaneous telepathy, together with revelation, extraordinary scientific insight, and any other identifiable extemporaneous intuitive processes ought to be carried out in order to determine the mental and emotional states of the participants, as well as the kind and degree of motivation that is involved. What little attention has been paid to the spontaneous occurrences thus far has been mainly directed toward establishing the reality of the several phenomena in question, but the events in which communication actually did take place, according to our present understanding, are undoubtedly the best sources of information as to the conditions under which transmission and reception of Sector 3 messages is possible. This information as to the necessary conditions for communication must be available before appropriate experiments to enlarge the existing knowledge of the inter-sector communication processes can be effectively designed and conducted, because these are the conditions that must be duplicated in order to obtain reproducible experimental results.
As noted in Chapter 8, much of the criticism of the ESP investigations has centered on the lack of reproducibility of the results, but as matters now stand, no one knows what the conditions relevant to the ESP phenomena actually are, and all of the talk about reproducibility is meaningless. The prevailing inability to reproduce the relevant conditions which surround an ESP experiment applies with equal force when an individual attempts to repeat his own work. The glee with which the critics seize upon the very common decrease in ESP abilities after early success as evidence against the validity of the earlier results is therefore entirely unwarranted. Hansel’s caustic comment, “In other words, experimenters fail to confirm their own results,”405 is definitely out of order, since neither Hansel nor the experimenters know how any specific experiment could be duplicated. Neither knows how to set up the equivalent of the non-physical conditions of the original work. Rhine attributes the apparent loss of ESP capacity in repeated experiments to a waning of the initial enthusiasm with which the subjects approached the tests. As previously mentioned, this may well be one of the factors, but it is probably not the full explanation. We simply do not know enough about the phenomenon to arrive at firm conclusions. All of this definitely underlines the desirability of some extensive research into the conditions under which ESP and the related phenomena make their appearance.
It should be recognized that this lack of basic information is not peculiar to ESP. We are equally deficient in our knowledge of the conditions surrounding all other forms of communication with Sector 3 or through Sector 3 channels. Scientific insight, for instance, is no more reproducible than ESP. We can set up a duplicate of all of the identifiable conditions under which an important scientific idea appeared in a “flash of insight,” but this will not bring us another important scientific idea. It will not even assure us of the production of an inconsequential new idea. A. C. Benjamin makes this comment concerning our utter inability to create a situation that can be counted on to serve this purpose:
We can say, simply, that unless the scientist has a firm foundation of extensive factual knowledge, unless he has an overpowering drive, unless he indulges in occasional relaxation, unless he understands something of the logic of explanation, he cannot hope for results. But if he satisfies all of these conditions, he may still not succeed if he lacks the mysterious spark. This is the bitter conclusion to which we are driven.406
In this connection, it is interesting to note that every argument that is raised against the reality of ESP could be used with equal force against the reality of scientific insight or against the existence of any kind of intuition. As phenomena, the spontaneous instances of ESP are almost identical with the “sudden flashes of illumination” reported by scientific investigators. The process by which these new scientific ideas are produced is equally as inexplicable, on the basis of the laws of physical science, as ESP. It is “miraculous,” “incomprehensible,” and so on, according to the authors quoted in Chapter 9. Of course, these negative arguments that are applied to ESP are not advanced against the reality of scientific insight, because new ideas definitely do appear, and their sudden appearance just as definitely cannot be explained by any known physical process. In this case, the conclusion is that the phenomenon exists but is inexplicable, whereas in the case of ESP, the conclusion reached by so many critics, on the basis of exactly the same kind of evidence, is that since the phenomenon is inexplicable it does not exist.
A more consistent and logical attitude toward the ESP investigations is long past due. In a sense, it can be said that ESP is the basic phenomenon of which scientific insight, religious revelation, etc., are special cases. Whatever information can be developed about ESP will therefore have an important bearing on any studies that are made in these other areas. There is a great deal waiting to be discovered, and a thorough exploitation of all of the possible lines of investigation that have now been opened up has a very good chance of being highly productive.
In concluding this discussion of the outlook for improving inter-sector communication, it should be mentioned that there is one more phenomenon that seems to belong in this category, but has some characteristics that are, at least superficially, quite different from any of the other inter-sector communication phenomena that we have considered. This is the case of the “prodigies,” individuals whose abilities in certain fields, mainly mathematics or mathematical games such as chess, is so extraordinary that it defies explanation. Here the clairvoyance phenomenon, which is so elusive in ordinary experience, may be operating on a wholesale scale.