Science proves “psychic” abilities are real – but are they worth the price? (1 / 3)

A recent scientific study has given scientific credibility for the first time to the notion that healers have psychic abilities.  This includes the ability to see auras (clairvoyance) and the ability to feel the another person’s feelings (clairsentience).

This really is revolutionary and will change what some skeptics think about healers. But this news comes at a terrible cost.

You see, psychic abilities have been shown to be a form of synesthesia.  Syne-what you say?  Synesthesia is a fascinating neurological condition.  People with synesthesia (called synesthetes) have a cross-wiring in their brain.  This might enable them for instance to “see” sounds or smells, to “hear” colors and to “feel” other people’s feelings.

People with synesthesia see the world in a different way. Often they go insane. But with time and treatment they learn to use their gift to see the world differently. Many of the world’s greatest artists have been synesthetes. These includes painters David Hockney and Wassily Kandinsky, musicians like Billy Joel, and great inventors such as Nikola Tesla.

According to the University of Granada study, published in the prestigious journal Consciousness and Cognition, healers can in fact see auras because of their emotional synesthesia. Here is a summary of their findings about one of the famous healers in the study:

Many people attribute “paranormal powers” to El Santón, such as his ability to see the aura of people “but, in fact, it is a clear case of synesthesia”, the researchers explain.

El Santón presents face-color synesthesia (the brain region responsible for face recognition is associated with the color-processing region); touch-mirror synesthesia (when the synesthete observes a person who is being touched or is experiencing pain, s/he experiences the same); high empathy (the ability to feel what other person is feeling), and schizotypy (certain personality traits in healthy people involving slight paranoia and delusions).

“These capacities give synesthetes the ability to make people feel understood, and provide them with special emotion and pain reading skills”, the researchers explain.

Source: PsyPost

But there’s a terrible catch

The above research sounds great – a scientific explanation for many psychic abilities. Our skeptical mates wont laugh at us again.  But at what price?

You see, synesthesia is a neurological disorder. As wonderful as it can be (e.g. for the artists I mentioned above), you wouldn’t really wish it on anyone. People who acquire synesthesia through trauma often go insane because they cannot handle or control their gifts. (Now that I think about it, many people with a psychic or kundulini awakening have the exact same adjustment problems as acquired synesthetes.)

How do you become synesthetic / psychic?

The main causes of synesthesia are genetics and trauma. Some people are born synesthetes, others become synesthetic after experiencing head trauma.  Many other things can cause synesthesia if they can alter neural pathways (the connections between parts of the brain to each other and to the outside world).  Examples include deep meditation and mind-altering drugs.

Not suprisingly, the way to becoming psychic seems the same as the way to become synesthetic.  Some people are born psychic, usually because they have psychic relatives (i.e. it’s genetic). Some people have a sudden awakening after some trauma or near-death experience (trauma is a cause). Finally, deep meditation, mind-altering drugs and certain spiritual practices can “awaken” psychic abilities.  These spiritual practices do relate to changing beliefs (altering neural pathways).

In short, I am 100% convinced that some (not all) psychic abilities and synesthesia are one and the same thing, and that some (not all) psychic development courses are creating a mild form of acquired synesthesia.  Why do I believe this? Well for one thing, the link between trauma and psychic abilities is actually well established.

The best example I can think of comes from my former healing teacher (VS), who was quite open about her childhood trauma caused by having a mother with multiple personalities. As my teacher said, “I learned to be psychic to protect myself, I needed to know who my mother was going to be when she came home so I knew whether to hide.” (it would be funny if it weren’t so sad.)   That’s one good anecdote but I’ve heard the same basic story from countless people including my wife. (Read about her story here.)

I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that there is a link between trauma and acquired psychic abilities.  This raises all sorts of difficult questions like, “is it worth the price?”  And what about intuition development courses – can they ever work without causing the necessary trauma?

Is it safe to study intuitive / healing courses?

In part 2 of this article, I will examine the implications of this research for people who undertaking psychic development or healing workshops.  I’ll be examining important questions such as:

  • Does developing your psychic potential damage your brain?
  • Is there a way to enhance your intuition without this psychic damage?
  • Can RPT heal the damage caused by “psychic development,” let alone synesthesia?
  • How is RPT mastery different to being psychic?

Your comments and questions please

I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this article.

Do you think that psychic abilities and neurological damage are one and the same? If being psychic meant acquiring synesthesia, do you still want to be psychic?

I’d love to hear from you.

Warmest wishes;

Simon

97 Comments
May 6, 2012 in Logic and skeptical thinking, RPT theory and teachings, Spiritual ideas and theory
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97 Responses

  1. No purported psychic who took James Randi’s million dollar challenge ever won the prize. Randi finally ended his challenge after 30 long years due to his age and health.

    If the Amazing Randi and his team of research scientists weren’t able to prove the paranormal and psi phenomena, then the paranormal and psi do not exist. End of story.

    [Reply]

    Simon Rose Reply:

    hi Navit, I appreciate your admiration for Randi. However there’s a major logical fallacy and I should bring it to your attention. You probably think of yourself as a skeptic and critical thinker. That’s great, but in that case you just can’t get away with such sloppy thinking.

    First, let me say that Randi did some great work exposing frauds like Uri Geller, etc. And he should be admired for that.

    Now to the obvious error, you said “If Amazing Randi … weren’t able to prove.” That’s just bizarre. It assumes that (1) Randi wanted or tried to prove PSI, or even that he tried. That’s not even how science or hypothesis testing works. Maybe some Science 101 would help you. This isn’t patronizing, it’s something that’s going to seriously help you as a thinker.
    It’s important because you reach a false conclusion “then the paranomal and psi do not exist” because of a logical fallacy. It might be that your conclusion is correct (I kind of agree with it), but it doesn’t follow your premise. That’s why you need to be more careful with your thinking.

    Science works by disproving hypotheses. Randi disproved a lot of fake psychics. With 100% success I might add. He never proved anything because that would be outside the format of his challenge. At best he could “fail to disprove” something. That’s not semantics, it makes a HUGE practical difference.

    Consider for example, Randi and his producers spent a lot of time deciding who to appear on his Million Dollar challenge. The whole format of the show was to feature Randi disproving frauds. (It would look awful for him if he failed to disprove.) Now imagine a hypothetical: there’s a real psychic who can prove it. Do you think the producers would allow that person on the show if they weren’t 100% sure that Randi could debunk her? Of course not!

    Do I think there are real psychics? I don’t know. I’m a skeptic. I’ve seen shit I can’t explain, but nothing proven in lab experiments. I fully agree with Carl Sagan’s approach: the easiest person to fool is yourself. So let’s err on the side of saying I don’t believe in any psychic phenomena even though I’m very “intuitive.”

    I highly recommend the podcast “Skeptics Guide to the Universe.” I learned a lot about critical thinking skills there. I think you’d enjoy it. They just published a book (same name I assume) which goes through all the local fallacies etc. I recommend it to you and anyone else wanting to brush up on their gray matter

    [Reply]

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