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    Thread: Am I a psychic or a bullshitter?

    1. #101
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      I find that people have wrongfully dichotomized psi phenomena. People believe if it's not all real, it must all be false, or worse they believe the psychics are either really psychic or knowingly scamming others. They leave little room to the possibility that people are fooling themselves, and less room to the possibility that subtle reality can exist in a subjective fashion.

      I believe you have also fallen into this dichotomy regarding the nature of truth. I believe truth is impossible to grasp, and alongside it falsehood. I believe that at the heart of my existence, I must choose. I must choose if I want life to be meaningful, for example. This meaning is not imposed upon me. This belief does not make me greedy. In fact, I'd say clinging to truth is greedy. Being attached to any one possibility to such a degree that you must disregard anything contrary to it, that is greed.

      Part of my training as a psychic involves grounding. One grounds themselves firmly between Earth and Heaven. If one chooses to disregard earth in favor of heaven, or disregard heaven in favor of earth, then they are not truly grounded, they are polarized. In the same way, I do not believe I must choose between what is likely and by doing so, disregard what is possible; or choose what is possible and in doing so, disregard what is likely.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    2. #102
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      Quoting out of order....

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I'm not ruling out the possibility that tarot is a psychological phenomenon wherein one can gain insight on themselves and their lives using the cards as a vehicle.
      I'm ruling it out. The psychological explanation is insufficient to account for what the Tarot actually does, in my experience.

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      the mechanism works, why it works is secondary.
      I think that's a halfway true and useful thought, like the famous Crowley quote that its similar to. But if you don't understand how the mechanism works, to some extent you don't understand what its doing, and you misinterpret what its telling you. I don't know how it works either, but I see the myopia that people have in relation to psychic impressions because they understand neither how it works or why that's important.

      I'm not saying that we must understand it before we can do anything with it - we have to start somewhere after all. And complete understanding may not even be possible, ever. But developing some kind of an understanding is crucial if we want to get very far with it. And we depend on working hypotheses that other people spent a lot of time developing, just to attain what we have so far.

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      The banana, after all, isn't really yellow at all, is it? We simply see yellow light reflected from it.
      Minor side point....As I've pointed out elsewhere, the light isn't yellow either: color is not a property of light. The 'yellowness' is something else that's roughly assigned to a band of light, everything is a 'false color' map.

      The light isn't exactly reflected either, its absorbed and re-emitted by several different interrelated mechanisms, so in some sense the object is at least as yellow as the light is. That's of even lesser importance. Point is that there is an objective reality having to do with yellowness. Of course its a matter of communication, since we can't communicate without agreeing on what the words mean. But its not merely a matter of communication either, its a matter of understanding, and you can't understand what color is if you're thinking that true is false and no distinctions are meaningful. Obviously nobody rejects all distinctions as meaningless. But a lot of people selectively reject distinctions that they find inconvenient to the fictions they're trying to maintain, while pretending that they're rejecting distinctions as a matter of principle.

      I'm not really disagreeing with you, just adding some other perspective.
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    3. #103
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I find that people have wrongfully dichotomized psi phenomena. People believe if it's not all real, it must all be false, or worse they believe the psychics are either really psychic or knowingly scamming others. They leave little room to the possibility that people are fooling themselves, and less room to the possibility that subtle reality can exist in a subjective fashion.

      I believe you have also fallen into this dichotomy regarding the nature of truth.
      I agree with you about the wrongful dichotomization. I also agree completely that a person doesn't have to choose between two complementary and superficially contradictory realities, that its essential to leave things open and a bit undefined. All I'm saying is that the openness can't be total, that distinctions must be made also, even if they're unavoidably provisional and incomplete.

      I'm not sure if its more or TimB that you're saying has fallen into the dichotomy, or both of us. If its me, then I'd say that we both understand the importance of forming definite thoughts about things, and the importance of not too much forming definite thoughts about things, and that we draw the line in a slightly different place. Of course we can't draw it in the same place, since we are not the same.

      Probably I've also got less tolerance than you for people who do willfully fool other people. And there is a lot of that going on, I know I'm not projecting all that. I also think the distinction between fooling oneself and knowingly fooling someone else is less than is sometimes assumed. If you resolutely avoid being truthful with yourself, you wind up fooling other people also, and you're responsible for that. If you keep the awareness of your dishonesty pushed into the subconscious realm, that's largely a matter of how you're modelling your behavior to yourself, and not so much a matter of what your behavior actually is.

      I don't presume to know what people are capable of though. We're all cursed, and look like we're being obstinate when we're really just limited by what we are, myself as no exception.

    4. #104
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      I look at it like journalism. The type of journalist I would like to be is one that understands they do not have the whole story, but strives to aim as close to objectivity as possible for the sake of journalistic integrity. Another type of journalism is where they believe their opinion is the whole story, and make no effort to look deeper. A third type of journalist is one who knows they do not have the full story, objectivity is impossible, and so rather than continuing to look deeper in an aim for objectivity they simply revel in their subjectivity.

      Much of what we choose to believe in follows the same pattern. We can either believe that what we believe is true, or that it's not true but it's good enough, or that it's not true but it's also not good enough. I like to think I belong to the third distinction, known as the classical skeptic. While distinctions are helpful when navigating conceptual reality, one does not have to disregard the indistinguishable experiential reality simply because they've utilized the tool of classification. One does not have to confuse their classification of their environment with their environment itself. One has the option of reminding themselves that all they have is an opinion, and if they choose to remind themselves of that, they are not then forced to say there is no such thing as truth so why bother looking for it. They still yet have the option of believing there may be truth, and they may choose to strive for that truth. But it's a pursuit without a destination. That is true skepticism.

      That is why I explore both sides of tarot, the opinion that there is a fortean phenomenon taking place as well as the opinion that it's psychological trick to access the unconscious. Because I don't know which one is true and at this point I think making a decision either way would be arbitrary. Besides, material perception and spiritual perception actually complement each other fantastically, when you allow them to.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 04-02-2013 at 06:59 AM.

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    5. #105
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      You could try looking up studies on the Extended Mind if you want research that opens up some interesting possibilities. As it stands, I still don't see the practical differences regarding how the mechanism of tarot operates. As I have dulled myself explaining to you, the mechanism works, why it works is secondary.
      I'll try to explain myself once more, then:

      This is a semantic issue. If you claim to be a 'psychic', rather than a 'magician' or a 'cold reader' then you explicitly claim that you have access to extra-sensory information or supernatural information, AS PER THE DEFINITION OF 'psychic'.

      As such, the 'how' isn't of secondary importance. It is most definitely of primary importance if you're claiming to be a 'psychic' who, again, per dictionary definition, claims to have access to supernatural/extra-sensory information, which is supposed to be accurate, to boot...

      It's like saying 'I am telepathic and can read people's minds'. It implies extra-sensory information (implies? it is defined by the notion that no physical interaction or sensory information is in any way part of the equation) - if you were merely reading their expressions and prosody and what not, or hell, even if you were just guessing, then why call it telepathy? Why not simply call it as it is: reading expressions and/or guessing?

      And so, like the tarot reading, or whatever 'psi phenomenon' you like, IF THE PSI-DIMENSION IS NOT IMPORTANT, THEN WHY CALL IT PSI? Why not simply 'cold reading with cards'? Or whatever. Why attach the magic word 'psychic' if it isn't important? Or even worse: why attach the word or implication if you can't even show that the claim that it is actual psi or fortrean or whatever the hell you want to call it, is in any way credible?

      And frankly, if you choose not to have an open mind regarding psi phenomena, that's not my responsibility.
      Then convince me already... Show me your data. You're pretty sure of yourself, so I'm guessing you have plenty of unbiased, properly controlled experimental evidence...?
      Last edited by TimB; 04-02-2013 at 11:32 AM.

    6. #106
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      I already told you to look up research regarding the extended mind, and that is as far as I'm going to go. Because I don't care what you believe. It's not my responsibility. You can look it up yourself if you find the subject interesting. I have done more than enough research to know psi is possible, and in fact if you had done the research I had done you'd probably be convinced of it. But that's not just research studies, it's also training. Here's the difference, though, the key element that changes everything for me. I refuse to buy into my own bullshit. I refuse to be delusional. I know only that I don't know. So I advertise myself as a psychic, and you claim that implies I believe that I have access to extra-sensory information. I think I probably do have access to extra-sensory information. I can't place a bet on it, though, because it's subtle perception. My decisions tend to agree with more solidly proven ideas. If someone believes it's important to distinguish between the two and to use exclusively intuition and be a real psychic, or exclusively non-verbal clues, or psychological projection, etc, and be a scammer, then they're fucked to begin with. Does the real psychic become more credible? Should they play roulette according to the psychic's whim? That's just as foolish as playing roulette according to a mentalist's whim. Destiny is not written in stone, one can only take a gander at possibilities.

      So why isn't it enough that I am training my psychic abilities, communicating with non-corporeal entities, engaging in my subtle body and accessing my intuition? Why must, on top of that, I believe that I am psychic, too? Why must, on top of that, I restrict myself only to those abilities and rule out other possibilities? Why must I choose a side of the fence? I don't even understand why your opinion on psychics is that they have to possess extra-sensory perception just because it's in the dictionary. If people wish to take that connotation, they can, but it doesn't mean anything. A total "fake" is just as capable of genuinely helping people as a real intuitive, and a real intuitive is just as capable of scamming people as a "fake." Your judgment remains irrelevant.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    7. #107
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I already told you to look up research regarding the extended mind, and that is as far as I'm going to go. Because I don't care what you believe. It's not my responsibility. You can look it up yourself if you find the subject interesting. I have done more than enough research to know psi is possible, and in fact if you had done the research I had done you'd probably be convinced of it. But that's not just research studies, it's also training.
      Thing is, I have done the research. Trouble is, the more rigorous, non-biased and controlled the experiments seem to become so as to isolate the psi-phenomenon, the less of an effect any psi phenomenon seems to have, into the realm of non-existence. That's somewhat dubious to me.

      Here's the difference, though, the key element that changes everything for me. I refuse to buy into my own bullshit. I refuse to be delusional. I know only that I don't know.
      Well, good.

      So I advertise myself as a psychic, and you claim that implies I believe that I have access to extra-sensory information.
      I don't... The dictionary does. And so when you claim you're a psychic, you do too, in turn. Why advertise yourself as a person with hearing when you're deaf?

      I think I probably do have access to extra-sensory information. I can't place a bet on it, though, because it's subtle perception. My decisions tend to agree with more solidly proven ideas. If someone believes it's important to distinguish between the two and to use exclusively intuition and be a real psychic, or exclusively non-verbal clues, or psychological projection, etc, and be a scammer, then they're fucked to begin with. Does the real psychic become more credible? Should they play roulette according to the psychic's whim? That's just as foolish as playing roulette according to a mentalist's whim. Destiny is not written in stone, one can only take a gander at possibilities.
      Roulette would certainly make things more interesting .

      And still you fail to see my point. Whether or not someone is skilled at getting information is irrelevant when the functional claim of 'being a psychic' lies precisely in the distinction between that 'psychic' vs non-psychic dimension.

      So why isn't it enough that I am training my psychic abilities, communicating with non-corporeal entities, engaging in my subtle body and accessing my intuition? Why must, on top of that, I believe that I am psychic, too? Why must, on top of that, I restrict myself only to those abilities and rule out other possibilities? Why must I choose a side of the fence? I don't even understand why your opinion on psychics is that they have to possess extra-sensory perception just because it's in the dictionary.
      "I can see!" "No you can't, you're blind!" "I don't understand why your opinion on seeing-people is that they have to possess the sense of sight just because it's defined as such..."

      "I am a psychic!" "Reallly? What have you done to ascertain whether or not you really are in contact with supernatural/extra-sensory things, then?" "I don't understand why your opinion on psychics is that they have to possess extra-sensory perception just because it's in the dictionary."

      Really? How is this so hard for you? You claim to be able to do something. That something is defined by the fact that it's supposed to be done through extra-sensory stuff rather than the normal senses. And then you turn around and say that the thing that defines it isn't important?

      If people wish to take that connotation, they can, but it doesn't mean anything. A total "fake" is just as capable of genuinely helping people as a real intuitive, and a real intuitive is just as capable of scamming people as a "fake." Your judgment remains irrelevant.
      I KNOW that fakes can be just as good as the 'real thing'. In fact: I haven't even seen any evidence that 'the real thing' even exists to begin with. So I'm with you on that. HOWEVER, the fact that this whole issue is irrelevant is still non-sense. If you claim to be able to do things through a certain means, then to evaluate that truth-claim, we will have to see whether it is actually done through those means. If you say you can do X because you're a psychic, then regardless of whether you can do X well, if you're not actually a psychic, then that truth-claim is invalid because half of it is untrue. It would then be better to merely say 'I can do X'. Done. Clear. The only thing to be worried about, then, is whether you actually can do X well.

      A blind person with guide-dog can still move around the world as well as they do, that still doesn't make them capable of seeing. And so as soon as they start claiming to be able to sight, when they're not, that's either delusional or just plain lying. The first option is sad. The other is bad conduct.
      Last edited by TimB; 04-03-2013 at 05:35 AM.

    8. #108
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      TimB:

      Here's how I imagine things from your perspective....Original Poster started a thread with "Am I a Psychic or A Bullshitter?", which looks like an invitation to a reasoned argument. He states that he wished to challenge both believers and unbelievers. You, as is common for unbelievers, think that reasoned arguments must be backed up by facts, which amounts to scientific evidence. But when you challenge to Original Poster to provide evidence, he blows it off by saying he doesn't care what you believe. Well, if he doesn't care to engage with what unbelievers think, why did he ask in the first place?

      Here's part of how I imagine it must look from his perspective: You accused him of making an "I'm not listening, lalala" argument. Yet you almost totally ignored his and other people's attempts to explain that impressions drawn from sensory and extra-sensory information can't be easily separated. This isn't actually very hard to understand, and to the extent that it wasn't described adequately someone could easily explain it better if you were to pursue the matter. But you didn't display any curiosity in relation to what was said, you just reiterated your assertion in classic "I'm not listening, lalala" fashion. Why should anyone bother to engage with that? Its pointless. You're not making an argument against psychic phenomena, you're arguing against your straw-man idea of what real psychic phenomena might be, without listening to what people who experience psychic phenomena say it actually is for them.

      Its true in my view that if professional psychics can do what they claim, they should be able to describe some kind of objective evidence for what they're doing, and should have some kind of discernment between sensory and extra-sensory impressions. If they can't, they're over-selling themselves. But Original Poster never made those kinds of claims for himself. You seem to have hung that on him, treating him as a stand-in for 1-900 clowns despite what he said from the outset.

      Perhaps half of the skeptics who come to this site ignore the most reasonable arguments in any thread and fixate their attention on the weakest arguments from the least scientific posters. This suggests to me that they're not really interested in anything, they're mostly just trolling. The other half make honest arguments and listen to the responses, and leave knowing more than they knew when they came in.

      If you're for real, and not just trolling, don't focus on what you think are the weakest aspects of other people's arguments. If both sides do that, everybody just talks past each other and nobody learns anything. Of course there will always be weak arguments. Focus on the strongest arguments, and on the strongest elements of the weak arguments. If you're serious, that's where the meat is.

    9. #109
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      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      TimB:

      Here's how I imagine things from your perspective....Original Poster started a thread with "Am I a Psychic or A Bullshitter?", which looks like an invitation to a reasoned argument. He states that he wished to challenge both believers and unbelievers. You, as is common for unbelievers, think that reasoned arguments must be backed up by facts, which amounts to scientific evidence. But when you challenge to Original Poster to provide evidence, he blows it off by saying he doesn't care what you believe. Well, if he doesn't care to engage with what unbelievers think, why did he ask in the first place?
      Your guess is as good as mine...

      Here's part of how I imagine it must look from his perspective: You accused him of making an "I'm not listening, lalala" argument. Yet you almost totally ignored his and other people's attempts to explain that impressions drawn from sensory and extra-sensory information can't be easily separated.
      Only that's not actually what was being said. It was said that the method through which something worked was irrelevant with regards to psychic phenomena, when the entire definition of psychic is that it is exactly the method through which it works that makes it psychic to begin with.

      In fact: I know that it will require highly methodical and controlled procedures to ensure that sensory information is ruled out, and the alleged extra-sensory information is isolated. Hence my question to the OP: if he wants to know if he's engaging in active psychic phenomena, or whether he's deluding himself and/or others with regards to the nature of these things, what has he done to see whether the information that he's getting is actually psychic, rather than just good, if not unintentional, magician-ship?

      This isn't actually very hard to understand, and to the extent that it wasn't described adequately someone could easily explain it better if you were to pursue the matter. But you didn't display any curiosity in relation to what was said, you just reiterated your assertion in classic "I'm not listening, lalala" fashion. Why should anyone bother to engage with that? Its pointless. You're not making an argument against psychic phenomena, you're arguing against your straw-man idea of what real psychic phenomena might be, without listening to what people who experience psychic phenomena say it actually is for them.
      Straw-man? I'm using the definition of what 'psychic' means. What defines a psychic, if not for the extra-sensory or supernatural element? If it were merely parlour tricks, then why call it a psi phenomenon to begin with? Why not simply 'cold reading', or 'guessing'? Hell, I've asked him this several times already: if he argues that the actual method is not important, then what makes a psychic, psychic? What would his re-definition of 'psychic' be, if the actual psychic element is out of the picture?

      I'm sensitive and empathic when I talk to people; I'm able to make meaningful observations; I can give practical advice that might make people be better off than they were before... So am I to be considered a psychic, then?

      In other words: by what measures can we evaluate whether someone is an actual psychic, rather than a bullshitter?

      Its true in my view that if professional psychics can do what they claim, they should be able to describe some kind of objective evidence for what they're doing, and should have some kind of discernment between sensory and extra-sensory impressions. If they can't, they're over-selling themselves. But Original Poster never made those kinds of claims for himself. You seem to have hung that on him, treating him as a stand-in for 1-900 clowns despite what he said from the outset.
      How have I, in any way, hung it on him? He asked whether he was a psychic or a bullshitter. I could've just said 'you are a bullshitter'. No rhythm, no rhyme, and nothing useful either. Not for me, not for him, not for anyone. That would have been treating him as a clown. Instead, I asked him in as clear a way I can if he himself had conducted any kind of evaluation at all in order to ascertain 1) whether the information he was getting was accurate, specific and in any way useful, and 2) whether he had tried to isolate the sensory information from extra-sensory. I gave him a set of basic question he could ask himself in order to answer his own question. What better answer could there possibly be?

      And yet, instead of having gotten an answer to these basic questions, or even a discussion of any kind, all I've gotten is a roundabout conversation on whether or not the definition of 'psychic' should contain any psychic elements.

      Perhaps half of the skeptics who come to this site ignore the most reasonable arguments in any thread and fixate their attention on the weakest arguments from the least scientific posters. This suggests to me that they're not really interested in anything, they're mostly just trolling. The other half make honest arguments and listen to the responses, and leave knowing more than they knew when they came in.
      And yet, could I not make the same arguments as OP? Instead of coming here and honestly discussing his findings in his 'psychic training', perhaps even discussing some proposal on how he would test for his psychic abilities, how to isolate the sensory and extra-sensory, anything, even an acknowledgement that I asked these questions, what have I gotten? All I know is that OP doesn't think psychics have to be psychic in order to be psychic.. Wha??

      If you're for real, and not just trolling,
      Me? Trolling? You should look up my first post here on DV... I was referring people to some psychic training site so they could train their 'telekinesis'... Believe you me, I've been there...

      don't focus on what you think are the weakest aspects of other people's arguments. If both sides do that, everybody just talks past each other and nobody learns anything. Of course there will always be weak arguments. Focus on the strongest arguments, and on the strongest elements of the weak arguments. If you're serious, that's where the meat is.
      So give me the strongest he has made...
      Last edited by TimB; 04-03-2013 at 12:13 PM.

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      I wasn't necessarily trying to challenge non-believers by convincing them that psychic phenomenon exist the way that they think it does. As long as they continue to have a narrow view of what psychics are, which I disagree with, and cannot open their minds to the nuances, then I don't really have a response. And when psi phenomena is isolated and experimented with, the subjects still end up scoring hundreds or even thousands of times better than chance. So I don't really know what you mean.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I wasn't necessarily trying to challenge non-believers by convincing them that psychic phenomenon exist the way that they think it does.
      That much is clear.

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      So I have a question for the psychics on DV....
      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I'm asking people who actually believe they are psychic or at least that psychics exist....Thank you for the opinion, I hope everyone with the same opinion will allow you to speak for them.
      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      The question was meant to challenge both believers and ardent disbelievers.
      So you meant for ardent disbelievers to be challenged, but hoped they'd keep their thoughts to themselves??

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      when psi phenomena is isolated and experimented with, the subjects still end up scoring hundreds or even thousands of times better than chance. So I don't really know what you mean.
      Those experiments, if successful, are not easy to do, and are not the same kind of activity that you described in your original post, where all manner of subjective impressions are mixed.

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      Quote Originally Posted by TimB View Post
      So give me the strongest he has made...
      Trying to separate sensory from extra-sensory information involves an assumption about the nature of what's going on, that it can be decomposed into those two categories. Even the idea of 'information', such as would be received in a signal, reflects a certain way of looking at things.

      As an example to illustrate, a few years ago I dreamed of standing and watching a derailing train. At about that same time, a train was derailing on the line that my sister commutes on and killed several people. Suppose that I were to attempt to discern what sensory or extra-sensory information I received about the train wreck that resulted in the dream. Maybe I overheard a news program in an adjoining apartment? Maybe I was seeing the event clairvoyantly?

      I hadn't seen a train for a long time, so the most recent sense impression that was connected to the dream was a train-car sized shipping container with two people trapped in it that I'd seen on a TV drama the previous night. The real-life accident was caused by a guy parking his vehicle on the tracks, so perhaps he had seen the same show as me, and that in combination with some other subtle trigger common to both of us had made us both think of a train wreck. Then I dreamed it while he acted it out.

      Or consider this more exotic theory: We live in a Copenhagen-like multiverse, and by having the dream and thinking about it, I put myself in a reality where the accident happened.

      Note that if this second theory is correct, there is no sensory or extra-sensory mechanism that relays information about the accident. And its not even mutually exclusive with the first theory, in which there is no sensory information concurrently connecting my dream to the accident either. So if I were to try to set up an experiment to test where the information in the dream was coming from, there would be a false premise built into the experiment and the results would not be telling me what I think they were telling me. The experiment would also be likely to preclude the phenomena entirely, rather than telling me more about it, because by trying to control the conditions surrounding the phenomena I would be unwittingly eliminate the conditions that allow it to happen.

      Such difficulties can of course be tackled, and there are different ways of tackling them. One way is to avoid the thicket of competing causal models by not worrying about forming any. In this approach, a person just does things that seem to produce the desired results, without attempting to make judgments about how it works. This process does still involve a kind of judgment about the nature and desirability of the process, but it doesn't rest on the same kinds of assumptions. You can think of it as a working hypothesis for a long term experiment. Rather than trying to figure out what is going on by intellectually parsing the outcomes of a series of short experiments, the person is making their whole life into an experiment. They choose a mindset and will follow it where it leads. A difficulty of course is that the mindset itself may deprive them of the mental tools they need to evaluate its outcome. But all possible choices involve that kind of difficulty.

      In my case, the approach I took was to have hundreds of other experiences like the first train wreck dream, from which I have been able to eliminate some hypotheses and form some others that are better, though still inadequate. I'm still an awful long way off from understanding very much though, and have remarkably little control over my own learning process, for better or for worse.

      My understanding of Original Poster is that he rejects some of the assumptions that go into the definition of the word 'psychic'. He rejects them not strictly in the sense that he believes they are wrong, but also in the sense that he declines to attempt to form a judgment about their rightness or wrongness. This seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable position. All manner of words have assumptions built into them. In the context of trying to understand psychic phenomena, we must go outside of the consensus use of those words. Our culture does not understand psychic phenomena, and the definitions of those words reflect that lack of understanding. All a person can do is try to be clear about how one's use of the words differs from other common uses of the words. Its unreasonable to disallow use of words in a way that is outside the consensus definitions, unless our goal is to be stuck in all the same conceptual paradoxes that religious dogmatists and their opponents have been going around and around in for centuries.

      I'll grant you that not everything Original Poster says entirely makes sense, even to himself. I've ripped on him as much as you have, even in this thread. So his mind isn't a seamless, perfectly functioning omniscient ocean of understanding, possessing the subtlety to accommodate all facets of human experience without contradiction. I trust that his awesome ego won't be offended by this suggestion.

      Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut instead of butting in. There's no denying this sort of discussion is time consuming. But I thought there might be potential for progress in this thread that wasn't being fulfilled the way it was going, so I've taken a crack at trying to push it into a slightly more productive dynamic.

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      Maybe I should spin off another thread, but I just ran across a gem on page 3, which I will except from...

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      I know quite a few enlightened people, probably over a hundred. Thanks to the internet we can find each other!
      Meanwhile I don't know anyone who can find their spiritual ass with both hands, myself included. I need to try a different search engine.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      There is no self beyond the ego. Just vast emptiness that is one with everything that arises in it.
      I realize that the words you're using here are inadequate for what you're trying to say, that "emptiness" is not what you really mean. At the same time, I don't think that this insight, or experience, or supreme reality that transcends all insight and experience, or whatever you want to say about it, is what you think it is either. I think that its a type of ideological thought that describes itself in a soundless, image-less, profound way that makes it seem like it transcends thought. Being conscious of it is wonderfully valuable, and in some regards I have no doubt that you are more conscious of it than I am. But from the context of what I'm aware of, I'm pretty sure that its both more and less than it seems to be.

      To me the idea of enlightenment, and the way it is used, is so presumptuous that I find it offensive.

      Of course there's generally no way that I can say that without offending the other person also, and generally I can't reasonably hope to convince them of anything. At best they might regard my view as blind or otherwise ill-informed. I guess this is one reason I find the collection of thoughts surrounding 'enlightenment' offensive. So much of what I am and what I love is left out, and its left out so uncompromisingly because of the presumption that everything is included. No place for my voice, any more than there would be in a Christian church.

      I knew a man who was at least as 'deep' and intelligent as you, and he couldn't see anything amiss with Adi Da. Yet you can smell the rat in Adi Da from a mile away. It seems that everybody has an Adi Da that they don't want to see through come hell or high water.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      There are two ways of looking at how to read somebody's mind. One way (the relative symbolic way) is to project your ego into the other person's heart. That is why you are seeing out of your eyes and have access to your memories, because your ego is in this body. But you can project the ego to anywhere, just like a dream.
      If you can do this you should be able to read my mind, I am open to that. But how you experience my thoughts is strongly qualified by who you are, even when you are me. What I'm trying to say isn't what it seems like I'm trying to say.

    14. #114
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      As long as they continue to have a narrow view of what psychics are, which I disagree with, and cannot open their minds to the nuances, then I don't really have a response.
      OK, so I'll ask again... How do you define a psychic, then? What makes a psychic psychic if not for the psychic elements? What are the criteria that will make you go 'alright! I have high confidence this is a psychic, rather than a good magician or trickster'? If any? And which people would then be included by that definition, if you happen to ignore the method by which these phenomena arise? Will that make magicians psychic? Emphatic people with reasonable conversation skills giving out Barnum statements? etc. etc. If you want to talk nuanced, give me your nuances already...

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      Trying to separate sensory from extra-sensory information involves an assumption about the nature of what's going on, that it can be decomposed into those two categories. Even the idea of 'information', such as would be received in a signal, reflects a certain way of looking at things.
      Yep, and that is exactly 'my problem' with this discussion, isn't it? If information is gathered by the recognized physical senses or in perfectly ordinary means, then it wouldn't be in any way extra-ordinary in the sense that any cool and awesome 'psychic phenomena' would then per definition be merely good showmanship or magicianship or just ordinary psychology, rather than being actual extra-sensory or super-natural. And so when people advertise themselves as being 'psychic', especially when the established definition is that it does involve extra-ordinary stuff, that automatically implies that said people have some extra-ordinary stuff going on, which they will have to account for.

      As for the information-issue, I don't really see the problem there. Every bit of information we get through any and every other sense is signal processing as well, so why would extra-sensory information be any different (indeed: how could it be any different with the brain being a processing medium)?

      As an example to illustrate, a few years ago I dreamed of standing and watching a derailing train. At about that same time, a train was derailing on the line that my sister commutes on and killed several people. Suppose that I were to attempt to discern what sensory or extra-sensory information I received about the train wreck that resulted in the dream. Maybe I overheard a news program in an adjoining apartment? Maybe I was seeing the event clairvoyantly?

      I hadn't seen a train for a long time, so the most recent sense impression that was connected to the dream was a train-car sized shipping container with two people trapped in it that I'd seen on a TV drama the previous night. The real-life accident was caused by a guy parking his vehicle on the tracks, so perhaps he had seen the same show as me, and that in combination with some other subtle trigger common to both of us had made us both think of a train wreck. Then I dreamed it while he acted it out.
      Or, what about mere coincidence? It *could* just be coincidence - YouTube

      Or consider this more exotic theory: We live in a Copenhagen-like multiverse, and by having the dream and thinking about it, I put myself in a reality where the accident happened.
      Which sounds really cool (hell, I enjoyed the hell out of Bioshock Infinite), but is effectively rendered moot when contrasted with the vast, vast amount of science literature on dreams, where upon investigation, it would conflict with the already established theories of dreams with causal experimental evidence, when there is no evidence whatsoever that the multiverse-hypothesis is in any way more credible than any other science fiction topic one might dream up. You could just as well say that an invisible fairy came in and accidentally sprinkled train-accident-topic sleep dust into your brain, or whatever topic one happened to dream about.

      Note that if this second theory is correct, there is no sensory or extra-sensory mechanism that relays information about the accident. And its not even mutually exclusive with the first theory, in which there is no sensory information concurrently connecting my dream to the accident either. So if I were to try to set up an experiment to test where the information in the dream was coming from, there would be a false premise built into the experiment and the results would not be telling me what I think they were telling me. The experiment would also be likely to preclude the phenomena entirely, rather than telling me more about it, because by trying to control the conditions surrounding the phenomena I would be unwittingly eliminate the conditions that allow it to happen.

      Such difficulties can of course be tackled, and there are different ways of tackling them. One way is to avoid the thicket of competing causal models by not worrying about forming any. In this approach, a person just does things that seem to produce the desired results, without attempting to make judgments about how it works.
      Which wouldn't really give you any useful information regarding our hypothesis, would it? All you'd find out is 'if I eat strawberries, then I will most likely dream of pink bubblegum elephants' or whatever, and is therefore irrelevant when considering our hypothesis or implication-of-terms precisely about the method, i.e. that we're somehow shifting through the multiverse when dreaming, or whether one especially malicious fairy is stalking you every night.

      If we're merely observing, without contrasting parameters about formulated models, then we aren't doing experiments or science - we'd merely be writing a diary. At some point, hypotheses have to enter the equation for it to be science, and parameters which follow from those hypotheses have to be checked in order for it to be science (and in any way credible).

      This process does still involve a kind of judgment about the nature and desirability of the process, but it doesn't rest on the same kinds of assumptions. You can think of it as a working hypothesis for a long term experiment. Rather than trying to figure out what is going on by intellectually parsing the outcomes of a series of short experiments, the person is making their whole life into an experiment. They choose a mindset and will follow it where it leads. A difficulty of course is that the mindset itself may deprive them of the mental tools they need to evaluate its outcome. But all possible choices involve that kind of difficulty.
      Only a life of experimenting without a solid experimental method isn't a life of experimenting. Even observational experiments have some kind of causal parameter(s) they want to test or cross-reference for to check whether their hypotheses is true. If you do not have these, then all you're really doing is merely observing, and that wouldn't give you any information on what is actually happening behind-the-scenes.

      Which, in turn, wouldn't give you any right to claim things regarding the method.

      Imagine we have a term called 'multiverse-shifting' that describes a non-standard approach to what others might call 'dreaming', in the same way 'psychic' could be seen as the non-standard interpretation to what others may call 'psychological reading tricks'.

      If a person, then, uses the non-standard interpretation of 'multiverse-shifting', rather than 'dreaming', there is an implicit notion that the multiverse-shifting is the actual mechanism by which dreaming works. However, because said person hasn't really done any parameter-checking for causal effects, or whether or not they're actually multiverse-shifting rather than just dreaming it up in the regular sense of the word in the first place, do they have any right to claim that they are, in fact, multiverse-shifting?

      In my case, the approach I took was to have hundreds of other experiences like the first train wreck dream, from which I have been able to eliminate some hypotheses and form some others that are better, though still inadequate. I'm still an awful long way off from understanding very much though, and have remarkably little control over my own learning process, for better or for worse.
      I reckon you've taken into account the controlled vs observation experiments issue, which are preferable and more reliable, number of test subjects, outside verification and peer review, objective measures rather than subjective measures, how it fits into the already established scientific literature, eliminating biases, etc., when considering the validity of your hypotheses?

      My understanding of Original Poster is that he rejects some of the assumptions that go into the definition of the word 'psychic'.
      Which he still hasn't elaborated on, which therefore makes any further fruitful conversation impossible. A definition of terms is necessary when you want to discuss said terms.

      He rejects them not strictly in the sense that he believes they are wrong, but also in the sense that he declines to attempt to form a judgment about their rightness or wrongness. This seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable position.
      Of course it is perfectly reasonable. To turn around and say that he is a psychic without giving any further explanation as to what that even means, however, is not.

      Imagine I were to reject the common notion of medical doctorship, in the sense not only that I believe that they're right or wrong, but in the sense that I decline to attempt to form a judgment about their rightness or wrongness as well.. And I market myself as a medical doctor! Would you want to get treated by me?

      All manner of words have assumptions built into them. In the context of trying to understand psychic phenomena, we must go outside of the consensus use of those words. Our culture does not understand psychic phenomena, and the definitions of those words reflect that lack of understanding. All a person can do is try to be clear about how one's use of the words differs from other common uses of the words. Its unreasonable to disallow use of words in a way that is outside the consensus definitions, unless our goal is to be stuck in all the same conceptual paradoxes that religious dogmatists and their opponents have been going around and around in for centuries.
      Which is what I've been trying OP to do. What does he mean when he says 'psychic', what does he include in that term, and what would that imply when deciding whether or not one person or another should be admitted under that umbrella-term? Especially regarding the method-aspect of it. If the working-method didn't matter, would a magician be a psychic? Would a an emphatic person good at Barnum statements be? Would I be? etc. etc. repeat ad nauseam.
      Last edited by TimB; 04-05-2013 at 11:53 AM.

    15. #115
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      This is a difficult question to answer because even if someone were to provide some good, hard evidence that they're psychic, it still may be a trick. Doubt remains necessary even when dealing with the most convincing psychics. And perhaps, as Man of Shred mentioned earlier, they may actually be channeling non-corporeal entities but those entities do not have my best interest at heart, anyways. In that regard, it's really the quality of the advice that matters. If the reading syncs up and appears relevant, then I will respect the opinion more than if the information appears random and arbitrary. Extra-sensory perception is not necessarily required for a good reading, either. Like I said, I'm open to the possibility that tarot is based on psychological projection. But even if it is, the readings can still be extremely helpful and relevant. So my answer remains the same as it has this entire time you've engaged me. It doesn't matter what I think an authentic psychic is because an authentic psychic's opinion is still just an opinion and they don't really deserve more credence than a "non-psychic."

      Why am I not allowed to simply remain open but doubtful?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Tim,

      Revisiting my train derailment dream as an example again....I think about my dreams immediately upon waking, and if I don't remember them then, I will not remember them later. And I have dreamed of a train derailment once in my life, which was on the same morning that a train derailment occurred. Now there are many possible explanations and fallacies that we haven't discussed. But does "mere coincidence" seem very plausible statistically? Conservatively, the odds against that are at least several thousand to one, which is still quite possible if it had happened just once. But I told you that I subsequently had hundreds of such experiences, in which case if they are "mere coincidences" those probabilities multiply. After just a few dozen the odds against them all being mere coincidences is already higher than the number of atoms in the visible universe. So your "mere coincidence" suggestion doesn't make any sense in the context of what I was talking about. It misses my point though, I was not trying to convince you that dream premonitions are real. I was trying to use the 'many worlds' hypothesis as an example of a hypothesis that can't be tested under the assumption that the dream can be analyzed in terms of information received in sensory or extra-sensory signals, because its not that kind of thing. Your strawberries example is irrelevant too, because the cause and effect order is backwards from what I was describing. I tried to describe my anecdote as simply as possible, to avoid confusing the point I was trying to make. With hindsight it might have been clearer though if I had mentioned that the train derailment dream proceeded the event by a couple of hours. The other hundreds of cases I mentioned all preceded the event by a few hours like that also.

      I'm employed as a scientist, and I know how the process works in terms of publishing, peer review, etc. You've throwing around these kinds of words, but it doesn't seem like you're understanding anything that I've been saying. Science is essentially just studying stuff to try to understand it, and the way that you do that is determined to a very large extent by the nature of what you're studying. For instance, if you're an astronomer you usually can't "test the hypothesis" in the same kind of way that you would if you were a biochemist doing clinical trials to test a drug. Yet an awful lot is understood about the internal dynamics of stars, for instance, even without being able to do controlled experiments. And for the most part, peer review is just politics having to do with funding. Sometimes problems with ideas or tests get identified that way, and sometimes useful suggestions get made. But getting something published, or having a result duplicated by another researcher, useful as that may be, is not what turns a hypothesis into knowledge for an individual researcher. A typical scientist understands and uses many facts which nobody has published because there has been no professional advantage to publishing them.

      In all discussions there is misunderstanding. In this discussion, there appears to be no communication at all. Why should I or Original Poster try harder to explain our thoughts when judging from your responses you are making pronouncements about what we have already said without apparently having understood any of it? Original Poster has actually written pages and pages about his thoughts about how psychism works in other threads, but it doesn't make sense for him to do that here when he has gotten nowhere with what he has said to you in this thread. Yes you have gotten nowhere either, but its not a symmetric situation. You're lecturing us about science as if we don't know what that is, when from appearances I've done and understand far more science than you have by any definition. You're lecturing us about the possible nature of psychic phenomena that you apparently have no experience with. Maybe this isn't your fault. But all the same its a waste of time for us.

      No need to bother with a point by point response, unless you have something new to say I'm done here.

      [Possible clarification: The detail about whether or not the dream might have been a coincidence wasn't a very important detail. My intent had been to just address that one as an example, of how you're striking a rational and objective posture while saying something that doesn't actually fit what the other person was talking about. Then I meant to just say a few quick things about science, because it would take me all evening to go through and respond to every point in detail. They're all the same though in the sense that they all misunderstand what I was trying to say. And with retrospect maybe its all moot if it wasn't clear that I was talking about non-causal phenomena. That misunderstanding would be my fault.]
      Last edited by shadowofwind; 04-06-2013 at 01:37 AM.

    17. #117
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      This is a difficult question to answer because even if someone were to provide some good, hard evidence that they're psychic, it still may be a trick. Doubt remains necessary even when dealing with the most convincing psychics. And perhaps, as Man of Shred mentioned earlier, they may actually be channeling non-corporeal entities but those entities do not have my best interest at heart, anyways. In that regard, it's really the quality of the advice that matters. If the reading syncs up and appears relevant, then I will respect the opinion more than if the information appears random and arbitrary. Extra-sensory perception is not necessarily required for a good reading, either. Like I said, I'm open to the possibility that tarot is based on psychological projection. But even if it is, the readings can still be extremely helpful and relevant. So my answer remains the same as it has this entire time you've engaged me. It doesn't matter what I think an authentic psychic is because an authentic psychic's opinion is still just an opinion and they don't really deserve more credence than a "non-psychic."

      Why am I not allowed to simply remain open but doubtful?
      Of course good quality advice is always nice, but how does that have any relevance to the truth-claim of someone being a psychic, or stuff having psychic elements?

      So, sure, you can be open but doubtful. I'm all for openness and doubt. But if you expect people to discuss 'am I a psychic or a bullshitter', how in the hell are we supposed to do that if we don't even have a definition by which we can ascertain whether someone is a psychic or not apart from 'as long as they give good quality advice.'

      If that's your only criterion, my grandma is a psychic, I'm a psychic, my aunt's a psychic... Mostly everyone I know has been a psychic at some point in their lives.

      And sure, by that definition, you are a psychic as well.

      [/thread]

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      Tim,

      Revisiting my train derailment dream as an example again....I think about my dreams immediately upon waking, and if I don't remember them then, I will not remember them later. And I have dreamed of a train derailment once in my life, which was on the same morning that a train derailment occurred. Now there are many possible explanations and fallacies that we haven't discussed. But does "mere coincidence" seem very plausible statistically? Conservatively, the odds against that are at least several thousand to one, which is still quite possible if it had happened just once. But I told you that I subsequently had hundreds of such experiences, in which case if they are "mere coincidences" those probabilities multiply.

      After just a few dozen the odds against them all being mere coincidences is already higher than the number of atoms in the visible universe. So your "mere coincidence" suggestion doesn't make any sense in the context of what I was talking about. It misses my point though, I was not trying to convince you that dream premonitions are real. I was trying to use the 'many worlds' hypothesis as an example of a hypothesis that can't be tested under the assumption that the dream can be analyzed in terms of information received in sensory or extra-sensory signals, because its not that kind of thing. Your strawberries example is irrelevant too, because the cause and effect order is backwards from what I was describing. I tried to describe my anecdote as simply as possible, to avoid confusing the point I was trying to make. With hindsight it might have been clearer though if I had mentioned that the train derailment dream proceeded the event by a couple of hours. The other hundreds of cases I mentioned all preceded the event by a few hours like that also.
      In that case, I'm waiting with baited breath and anticipation to see these views pop up as an accepted scientific consensus who knows when...

      I'm employed as a scientist, and I know how the process works in terms of publishing, peer review, etc. You've throwing around these kinds of words, but it doesn't seem like you're understanding anything that I've been saying. Science is essentially just studying stuff to try to understand it, and the way that you do that is determined to a very large extent by the nature of what you're studying. For instance, if you're an astronomer you usually can't "test the hypothesis" in the same kind of way that you would if you were a biochemist doing clinical trials to test a drug. Yet an awful lot is understood about the internal dynamics of stars, for instance, even without being able to do controlled experiments. And for the most part, peer review is just politics having to do with funding. Sometimes problems with ideas or tests get identified that way, and sometimes useful suggestions get made. But getting something published, or having a result duplicated by another researcher, useful as that may be, is not what turns a hypothesis into knowledge for an individual researcher. A typical scientist understands and uses many facts which nobody has published because there has been no professional advantage to publishing them.
      Then I'll just assume your seniority in the application of science, and I'll just have to wait and see whether all this stuff gets accepted in scientific consensus someway down the line..

      Until then, at the very least don't blame me for not accepting it hook, line and sinker, in favor of the more established theories...

      In all discussions there is misunderstanding. In this discussion, there appears to be no communication at all. Why should I or Original Poster try harder to explain our thoughts when judging from your responses you are making pronouncements about what we have already said without apparently having understood any of it? Original Poster has actually written pages and pages about his thoughts about how psychism works in other threads, but it doesn't make sense for him to do that here when he has gotten nowhere with what he has said to you in this thread. Yes you have gotten nowhere either, but its not a symmetric situation. You're lecturing us about science as if we don't know what that is, when from appearances I've done and understand far more science than you have by any definition. You're lecturing us about the possible nature of psychic phenomena that you apparently have no experience with. Maybe this isn't your fault. But all the same its a waste of time for us.
      It does certainly seem like it, yes...

      No need to bother with a point by point response, unless you have something new to say I'm done here.
      Well, then it does appear as though we're done here...

      [Possible clarification: The detail about whether or not the dream might have been a coincidence wasn't a very important detail. My intent had been to just address that one as an example, of how you're striking a rational and objective posture while saying something that doesn't actually fit what the other person was talking about. Then I meant to just say a few quick things about science, because it would take me all evening to go through and respond to every point in detail. They're all the same though in the sense that they all misunderstand what I was trying to say. And with retrospect maybe its all moot if it wasn't clear that I was talking about non-causal phenomena. That misunderstanding would be my fault.]
      Communication is a two-way thing. If there was any misunderstanding, I undoubtedly had a hand in it as well.

    18. #118
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      The point of this thread was to ask people what they think qualifies a psychic since I didn't know. According to you, it appears a psychic must have extra sensory perception. I'm not sure if I do or not, but you seem to think that I must believe that I do, therefore according to your definition of a psychic, I'm a bullshitter, and that's fine. The thread's not over but your participation seems to be.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      The thread's not over
      Ever the optimist!

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      ITT: OP delivers.

      This may or may not have been a thoroughly enjoyable distraction. Can't say I know for sure.

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      I just came here for a no charge psychic reading...


      " I couldn't stand her at first, But then I loved her so bad It Hurt "

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