Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Money for nothing (sort of)

I meditate about an hour a day. Sometimes during a meditation I get a flash of information, seemingly out of the blue. Last Friday morning I got a flash that a large sum of money was going to appear in my bank account. This money would appear unexpectedly, anonymously, and it would be large enough to make me do a double-take. I figured this money for nothing scenario was a nice fantasy, but I didn't make much of it otherwise.

Friday evening I checked my bank account (online), not expecting to see anything unusual, but I was still curious given my morning information flash. When I saw the amount in my checking account I practically fell off my chair. The modest amount I keep in the account had increased very substantially. Funds had been wired into my account a few minutes before I checked it, and because it was still a pending transaction there wasn't any information on who had sent it.

So I did indeed anonymously and unexpectedly receive a very large sum of money. As it turns out, I later discovered that this was a payment on a grant I had received last year. But it showed up this past Friday without any advance warning, and since I had received the first payment over a year ago, I had long forgotten that I was supposed to get a second payment.

Where did this information come from? It might have been sparked by an unconscious memory or concern, wondering if or when the next grant payment would arrive. That's possible, but in all past instances I've received an email or letter or phone call announcing that the payment was on its way. I've never had money just mysteriously show up. So perhaps I was responding to a precognitive hit on my startled future reaction, upon checking my account.

Whatever the explanation may be, I find it's worth paying attention to flashes of insight, because regardless of how surprising or bizarre the information may be, they often contain a kernal of truth.


anonymous said...

What type of meditation do you do?

Dean Radin said...

I do Mindfulness meditation, although it's probably an idiosyncratic form that's been influenced by a dozen other techniques I've practiced over the years.

anonymous said...

Here is a method I use for inducing psychic perceptions.


It is based on the observations that 1) theta brain waves have been reported to correlate with psychic experiences, 2) theta waves occur in the hypnogogic state, 3) visualization exercises induce theta waves, and 4) visualization and other relaxation exercises can induce the hypnogogic state, 5) it is easy for a person to recognize when they are in the hypnogogic state so they don't need expensive equipment to know when they are producing theta waves.

The web page is oriented for mediumship but I've also used the method successfully for remote viewing and have had precognitive perceptions using it.

Tor said...

Interesting Dean.

I had a somewhat similar experience about a year ago, but unfortunately no money were involved :)

I was in the middle of my qigong practice when I suddenly got a very strong feeling that one of my friends was I grave danger. I'm used to getting disturbing thoughts when practicing, and I try not to get "caught" by them as best I can. But this time it was especially strong and hard to ignore. It stayed with me almost the whole 40 minutes until I finished my training.

The day after I talked with my friend. He told me he had been caught by an undercurrent when diving the day before, and had been dragged fast vertically. At the time he seriously thought he was going to die.
I asked him when this happened and it coincided with the time of my qigong practice.

This may have been just a coincidence. I knew he was going dive that day, but not when during the day. He is an experienced diver and dives quite much. I have practiced qigong on a daily basis for about 7 years now and the intensity of the uneasiness (regarding another person) I felt that day have never occurred before or after.

And it sure didn't feel like a coincidence.

Ronnie said...

Very interesting. It seems that meditation is one of the best way to develop psi abilities, as I've read many similar stories involving not just precognition, but telepathic communication, OBEs, PK, possibly mediumship if I can recall certain stories correctly, and etc. I've always enjoyed the concept of meditation, but I never really have much time for it.

Caecilius said...

Hahaha, I just put my Dire Straits CDs on the computer after they were sitting in my closet for the past 5 years.

But in any case, I think limited perception of future events is reasonable. In fact, I have a hard time realising why precognition is even controversial. To inaccurately paraphrase Sheldrake, it's fascinating that millions of UNobserved universes today can pass as perfectly normal, modern scientific thinking, but the idea of precognition is apparently voodoo science.

I am wondering, Dean, if you have any ideas about where precognition research can go from here? Your (and Bierman's) experiments actually managed to break into the mainstream, if for a brief moment. Could this be the type of research that finally makes the topic less taboo?

Dean Radin said...

where precognition research can go from here ... Could this be the type of research that finally makes the topic less taboo

From a fundamental physics point of view precognition is not very remarkable. For most other areas of science, which do not deal with slippery concepts like time, it is. Some philosophers regard the very concept of precognition as logically incoherent. So regardless of the strength of empirical evidence, the road to broad, mainstream acceptance is going to take a while. Perhaps the road to acceptance within subdisciplines in physics will be faster, as evidenced by the AAAS symposium on retrocausation that I participated in a few years ago.

What I've been working on with the presentiment design is to study what it is that presentiment "sees." Do we see the probable future in the present, assuming that "the future" is a present-time superposition of possibilities, or do we see the actual future regardless of that future's a priori probability. The former is more comfortable from a free-will perspective because it opens the possibility that we can select the future we want, the latter is a bit easier to understand because it doesn't require the abstract concept of superposed potential futures.

The most recent experiment I conducted (not published yet) suggests that we see the actual future, independent of its prior probability.

Roulette said...

For future reference, might I suggest that you examine this portion of your experience more closely ... "I figured this money for nothing scenario was a nice fantasy, but I didn't make much of it otherwise."

I'm very curious to see the results of the presentiment study you mentioned. I suspect how we feed that information forward (see the portion of the story I pointed out) has something to do with the selecting process you mentioned.

Tor said...

Dean, haven't your previous work suggested the probable future scenario? How does this relate to the new deterministic results you mentioned?

I find it hard to accept the deterministic conclusion. But I also suspect our notion of time is a far way from being accurate. And if in some sense there are connections through time, backward and forward (as both physics and psi studies now suggests), then I don't even know how to understand the concept of determinism in such a universe. It makes my head spin.

jonnyramen said...

The most recent experiment I conducted (not published yet) suggests that we see the actual future, independent of its prior probability.

What would happen if the presentiment data were used to determine the future events?

E.g.: suppose we train a neural net to recognize the EEG patterns associated with the different outcomes in your experiments with the positive/negative images.

In a second phase, that pattern classifier is used to actively switch the displayed image: i.e. a positive image is about to be shown, EEG data shows the usual presentiment pattern associated with the positive image, so the system changes it to a negative image instead.

Any measurable presentiments in such a setup will necessarily be "wrong", so what would happen? Would they simply stop, as a "minimally wrong" solution?

Dean Radin said...

your previous work suggested the probable future scenario?

Yes. This new study provides just one more datapoint on what is undoubtedly a very complex question. Given the outcome I would speculate that the questions we've been asking have more complicated answers than our experimental designs have posed to date. We need to try many more experiments, and many different kinds of design, to begin to gain any confidence about what is going on here.

What would happen if the presentiment data were used to determine the future events?

This is the so-called bilking experiment. If the presentiment effect were robust enough to reliably detect it on a trial-by-trial basis, we could test this causal paradox idea. But it isn't that robust; we see the presentiment effect as a statistical average across many trials. That's not good enough to do a clear bilking experiment.

K.L.Wright said...

Your experience comes as no surprise to me, as I've been experiencing varifiable precognition in dreamstates for quite a number of years now. While I can still sense a measure of discomfort when dreams recorded in my journal become actual, I'm more accepting of it as time(?) goes on. I do note that the information is not always of great significance, sometimes being quite casual items of attention, but the overall phenomenon is quite striking, demonstrating to me the truth of Einstein's assertion about the illusion of "past, present and future" It seems I'm becoming comfortable with the notion of retrocausation and much more skeptical of logic systems deployed in any bid at explanation. Do you believe it is possible (in any practical sense) to create a viable experimental protocol which will validate retrocausation and confine the concepts of "past", "present" and "future" to, well, the "past"?

K.L.Wright said...

I am only recently finding a degree of comfort with my own precognitive experiences (primarily dreams), though they still have the power to startle and disquiet me. In my readings I note that, as you point out, physicists have no quarrel with the concept, and Einstein famously called past, present and future a persistant illusion.Yet, through the years, I have been bothered by the fact that there seems to be no functional, plain-english definition of "time". Can you offer one? Also, having read J.W.Dunne's "An Experiment With Time", I suspect that nearly all of us can experience precognition or presentiment, though not to the same extent or conscious recall. Do you think it possible to devise an experiment which can demonstrate this ability in a way which might cause widespread reconsideration of the illusions of "past,present and future"?

J.Fincannon said...

How can you determine whether the effect you are describing is 1) precognition (seeing the future as you propose) versus 2) actualizing the future (via psychokinesis/
retropsychokinesis which means you might have influenced the people to perform the sequence of actions either in real-time and your meditation was simply the alarm that your subconscious mind's work was finished or maybe it wasn't in realtime and was retroactive meaning the meditation adjusted the past to achieve a certain outcome) versus 3) reading the minds of people involved in the money payment?

Pramod said...

I recently saw the talk by Dan Dennett on TED talks, I was left a little puzzled as I always believed in the theories of precognition, can you point to some deficits in his approach.

Dave Gould said...

These 'psychic' messages are subtle enough to have avoided scientific mainstream acceptance. It's therefore not surprising that we would be able to perceive them only after clearing our mind/body of self-generated noise through meditation.

It might be worthwhile to try and measure what state of mind someone is in when they have presentience vs when they don't.

Topher Cooper said...

The simple fact is that if we view our different classifications of psi phenomena as fundamentally different kinds of psi or as fundamentally entirely different phenomena then we always have trouble distinguishing them from each other at our current level of knowledge.

Although it may be useful to take this "different kinds" viewpoint in theoretical discussions (there are, clearly different implications for precognition, for example, than for clairvoyance) it is best to think of these divisions when discussing experiments as differences in the conditions under which the underlying phenomenon or phenomena is/are observed. Arguing about which "actually occurred" then becomes moot -- this was a "clairvoyance situation" and therefore a potential "clairvoyance event", whatever the underlying phenomenology might be.

The only distinction that I think we have a significant potential line of demarcation is between ESP and PK (despite DAT theories). Not because of a difference of form, but because of strong indications of differences in the PK vs ESP conducive conditions. Most strongly, are indications that PK is most likely to occur with the agent in an "aroused, unfocused" state of mind while ESP is most likely to occur with the percipient in a "relaxed/unaroused" state.

White Russian said...

How do you think this plays along with the whole idea from, say, "The Secret." That if you want something all you have to do is put it in your mind and the universe will give.

I almost feel that such thoughts leave out an important factor: work. You worked hard to get the grant. It didn't just come to you out of the blue, did it?

I would love to hear your opinion on it.


Dean Radin said...

It is difficult to unambiguously distinguish among various forms of perceptual psi effects. But between perceptual and PK effects it is easier. E.g., in the presentiment studies I check to see whether the targets are presented in alignment with chance expectation both in terms of frequency and sequence. Usually they are compatible with chance, so overall there's no evidence that PK has been used to influence which targets are appearing, and yet you still see a significant presentiment effect. This provides evidence for the presence of perceptual psi without PK.

However, on occasion (rarely) a participant will get a highly distorted target sequence (like many more erotic targets than expected by chance), but no evidence for presentiment. In these cases we have evidence for PK but not perceptual psi.

Overall I'd say that the evidence for perceptual psi is much better than PK, at least within this type of experiment. That said, there are disagreements among my colleagues about whose perceptual psi we're talking about. Is it from the study participants or from the investigators? Or perhaps both?

Dean Radin said...

How do you think this plays along with the whole idea from, say, "The Secret." That if you want something all you have to do is put it in your mind and the universe will give.

If it was that simple we'd have destroyed ourselves by now. Movies like "Forbidden Planet," and many similar stories, are cautionary tales about what happens if our desires manifest in an uncontrolled fashion.

However, I do think that persistent, highly focused intention does push the world around in ways that we don't understand yet (from a scientific point of view). I've seen it happen often enough in life and lab.

This reminds me of the saying, "Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it." That doesn't mean don't wish. It means be mindful of your thoughts, intentions, desires, etc.

Topher Cooper said...

But between perceptual and PK effects it is easier. E.g., in the presentiment studies...

I agree that this argues against PK here somewhat but I don't think that it is anything like absolute. If there is one thing we know about psi it is that it manifests subtly. As Dean said their could be experimenter effects pushing things to look like PK. Additionally retrocausal PK on the participants own previous brain state is a possible mechanism for precognition. If psi rebalancing ideas are correct (though personally I find them a bit conceptually iffy) then the statistics Dean used could have corrected themselves automatically.

Bruno said...

I think that was no more than your instinct/subconscient telling you something you already know but can't remember in your conscient mind. Or it might have been plain coincidence. How many times did you have similar insights and nothing actually happened? :)

Its like dreaming of winning millions in the lottery, almost everyone dreams about it from time to time and I'm sure someday it will be coincidence that the winner dreamt about it on a night near the winning and think it was some kind of insight...

ArrowCatcher said...

It might be worthwhile to try and measure what state of mind someone is in when they have presentience vs when they don't.

I think I've had some presentient experiences, but they were almost all mixed in with my every day waking activities. I've often wondered what percentage of urges and drives could possibly stem from a psi connection. Maybe the process could even be optimized? Most research is geared toward specifics, and I guess that's necessary. But the more vague type incidental experiences would seem very hard to quantify and describe. Much presentience could simply be within one's everyday working consciousness, and we'd never know it.

When I was chief engineer of KWSS 94.5 Gilroy-San Jose, I was doing my normal workday routines and got the urge to go through the whole facility, studio and transmitter, and earthquake proof it. So I went around with my Makita power screwdriver and bolted cabinets to the walls. I strapped all the computer monitors in the studios to their overbridges, etc., etc. Then at the Loma Prieta transmitter site I bolted all the racks together. This was only a few hours work, but as a long time Californian I'd never given thought to earthquakes - things just shake around a little, and then it's a big deal in the next morning's paper. So what.

Then about 4 months later there was the Loma Prieta earthquake. The corporate people called me that evening from Ohio and said they had a team ready to fly out and restore their valuable media property. I told the corporate engineer that this was unnecessary and that there was zero damage. We'd be back on the air in an hour when the studio power returned. Our Loma Prieta mate KBAY suffered 6-figure damage and was off the air for several days.

I told the boss that I had earthquake proofed the facility. I got 100,000 points for this and a huge raise. They bubbled all over at how I was the company's best engineer, etc., etc.

This seemed to be a presentiment based on the fact that I never cared about earthquakes nor had ever hardened a broadcast facility. But whatever it was, I can say for sure that presentiment may pay big! That was the highlight of my career with Nationwide Communications, Inc., and it was $$$ in my pocket.

In this case, there was no specific image or time involved. No event prediction. Etc. I just suddenly had to earthquake proof the place for no apparent reason at all. Except for the water heater, I'd never earthquake proofed my own house, so it was not something I usually do.

Dean Radin said...

... no more than your instinct/subconscient telling you something you already know ... plain coincidence.

Yes, it could be this. But I never had this particular set of thoughts before, i.e. a large sum of money appearing in my bank account, anonymously. That's quite different from ideas about winning the lottery, which feel like fantasy, and are completely different than flashes of insight that appear in meditations.

John Streiff said...

Interesting stuff. I am currently working on a new model relating to the brain/mind duality problem. The model is quite promising, based on existing empirical data from parapsychology and perception research.

The only issue lies in the areas of precognition and presentiment. It appears that some asynchronous or non-linear aspect must be introduced into the model to preserve integrity with other data and still account for precognition and presentiment e.g.

Carlos Lisboa said...

I have experienced precognition for three times in my life (I am 46). In every one of the three situations the feeling was that I was experiencing a normal emotion (joy or surprise) related in each case to a very specific event. Being a very real and normal emotion, I only realised that it was a precognition because in all three situations the events were public and scheduled to happen in the following days.
In the second and third situations I had the oppurtunity to tell to other people what I foresaw, before the events actually happened, so I have witnesses of two of my precognition experiences.
I am a mechanical engineer and am a successful consultant in my field of work (energy in buildings). I have the feeling that during my life I must have had other precognitions/intuitions that I did not recognize as so because the situations were not so clearly scheluded in the calendar.
I am pleased to know that these issues are being studied seriously and not just ignored because they dont fit in the idea we normaly have of reality. I am sure that reality and men are very much diferent from the image most of the people have.

the observer effect said...

I have had precognitive experiences since I was a child -- not during meditation; but as I am daydreaming, drifting off to sleep, or waking up. These precognitions are very detailed, like a preview of a movie that later runs in reality.

Sadly, with one notable exception, mine are not about getting unexpected money. They are usually about mundane things -- i.e., a solicitor coming to the door; a bagger at the grocery store dropping a bottle of wine; a story in the newspaper about a complete stranger. The details (faces, clothing, wine label, the name of a stranger and nature of news story, for instance) are specific and then occur as previewed later that day or the next. Though there seems no personal relevance attached to most of these out-of-time snapshots (aside from freaking out some of my friends), it seems that I am an aforehand witness to a pre-established future, one independent of a priori probability and out of anyone's control.

But -- and it's a big "but" -- I also sucessfully practice intention through visualization. I started that five years ago, after being diagnosed with a medical condition that supposedly required immediate surgery (when checked a few weeks later, the condition had "miraculously" disappeared). Since then, I have used visualization on several occasions to "create" events, some against probability and/or seemingly outside the realm of my immediate influence, mentally or otherwise. The tangible results of this practice (which seemingly involves choice) would lead me to believe that the future is a superposition of possibilities that we may influence via strong emotion, intention, and belief.

So, on one hand, there are events which do not particularly interest me which seem preordained; on the other hand, there are events which are important to me which seem (almost infinitely) malleable. As a rational, science-oriented person, I am at a loss to explain the difference.

Maybe what we perceive as choice really isn't? Or, maybe, the either/or -- actuality versus probability -- depends on the observer and what is being observed?

I look forward to your next paper.

Bruno said...

What you had was no more than a preview of possible occurrences.

Let me explain, some people like me view the world in a multi-universe point of view. Like in the movie "Next", we can preview several possible occurrences of what can happen next. Visualize different approaches and different consequences then pick the one that suits us best.

This is an ability many success people have. To predict behavior and events before they actually happen.

Now you'd say "but you're talking about the obvious expectable events not something totally unrelated and random". No.

Part of visualizing possible occurrences includes things that never happened and are likely never to happen but can happen. For example the bank being robbed while we are there or just walking on the street. A cow falling from the sky on top of a car... or you slipping in a banana on the street. The more focused you are in the alternate realities, the more situations you can see at the same time. They can be totally unrelated with anything else.

Sometimes it is coincidence, other times is predictability. Imagine you go play to the casino and put 1 chip on one number and that number comes... it does happen eventually. It can happen the first time or not but for 1 in 37 people it happens the first time they do it.

Meaning, just like you thought about money showing in your account, you also think about a lot of other things that DO NOT happen. Imagine last year you thought about money in your account and didn't happen, would you remember it? No. So what I think is that people have a placebo effect about these occurrences because they seem to be more than a coincidence as we tend to forget all the other times we thought something and didn't happen.
Then it looks like something out of ordinary but it isn't... pure religious faith in the paranormal. :P

Years ago I had such experience as I knew things about my girlfriend that I could never know and every proof pointed in contrary but I still had that strange feeling which I thought it was stupid as everything was alright.
Then I found out I was right. It was by then that I decided to understand how these "feelings" work because I don't believe in psychics. I am good reading people and have excellent logic abilities still that does not make me psychic. Until know I was always able to figure out how things happen.

So guys if you are certain there is a rock, you will find a rock even if there isn't any. =)
The problem is that it just looks like a rock but really isn't. :P

Tor said...

I was happy to see today that our national broadcasting channel here in Norway showed the Horizon program you participated in Dean. It is not often I see precognition presented is such a friendly way by a science program. One should almost think that the whole topic had become mainstream.
That is a good sign!