Psychokinesis: Mind and matter
The fact that Alexis Didier can describe the painting hanging in a stranger’s living room or that Joe McMoneagle can produce an engineer’s drawing of a prototype tank he had not known existed are “irrational” facts that “insult,” as Jung puts it, our habitual certainties. Instances of remote viewing are hard enough to grasp, but psychokinesis (PK) presents us with an even greater challenge. Uri Geller’s bent spoons, Victorian tables leaping and humming: these are the things that make us almost ashamed not to side with the skeptics. What happened when that rose chafer tapped on the window of Jung’s offi ce? Had the patient’s “psyche cast a spell on it”?1 It is harder to think that the rose chafer “bewitched her psyche,” for that would have required the beetle to have played a role in initiating the dream of the golden scarab that the patient had had the night before. Jung advises us not to worry about causes. There are none we can demonstrate or believe in. It is simply an acausal but meaningful coincidence. Yet psychokinesis happens, and there seems to be some invisible cause. Between 1850 and 1930 quite a few “physical mediums” plied a trade that seemed to make violins fl oat about the room and play themselves and disembodied hands and arms materialize. Psyche was involved in these goings-on, but not necessarily “will.” Philosopher Stephen Braude’s (1986) survey of the fi eld reveals that the agent’s intention was only doubtfully related to PK events. Most poltergeist cases seem to have involved only random “fl ailings” by objects in the psychic’s vicinity. Although mediums usually had some sense for when they were in the right state of consciousness to expect something, they often “had no idea, conscious or unconscious, of what phenomena were to occur.” Still, undoubtedly “in some cases the ostensible agent seemed either to know which phenomena were to occur, or at least consciously intended certain phenomena to occur” (Braude 1986: 228). When anthropologist Edith Turner saw a “spirit tooth” leave the back of an affl icted Ndembu woman, in the form of “a large gray blob about six inches across, opaque and something between solid and smoke” (E. Turner 1998: 83), some sort of event had been intended. Singleton, the shaman, had been pressing on the woman’s back with his thumbs, and Turner had intended it, too, right along with the entire community. At the climax of the ceremony, she had suddenly felt powerless to help and then, in her confusion, she “learned how to clap.” She
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immediately became one with the group. Remarkably, however, she had no sense of cause and effect:
The time sense was not that of cause and effect; these things come as wholes. Either I was in the group or I wasn’t. Such differences from Western ways of thinking are themselves interesting. I feel that my own experience of tension and its release was probably necessary for me to have partaken in the good outcome, just as Singleton and Fideli had previously come out with their “words” as well. How it was that the release happened to everyone simultaneously, including the patient, I do not know. That is how it was.