A highly illustrated, animated book and web service to learn, explore and to scrutinize your own anomalous experiences
In the first part of this proposal “Motivation” I take a moment to tell why I am interested in studying and practicing the topic of ESP and talking about it. My motivation will be my driving force throughout this project. Especially in moments when I feel down or discouraged it is this flame inside me that keeps me going. Words alone will never do right to what I feel but hopefully I can communicate enough of that energy in my text.
You might very well have had times that when the phone rang you were pretty sure who was calling, without looking at the display nor having any prior knowledge of this person calling you. If you are like me and you began to pay attention to these moments in your life you might too have realized other anomalies such as knowing something you could not have known. Or you got all of a sudden a great idea to a problem or another valuable insight.
At least I got this and I could use a few of these anomalies to my benefit in my professional as well as private life. But I never felt I had control over them nor did I know why or how or when this would happen. For a long time, I had the idea it must be a combination of the brain and something else that is facilitating these events. A series of events resulted in me participating in a 5-day workshop on Controlled Remote Viewing (reference). I can guarantee you I did not want to go but as I had declined so many times all sorts of invitations by a good friend of mine I could not anymore say no to this one, the pressure was too high.
This workshop was a big turning point in my life. Through quite a few strict steps I was taught to blindly access information across space and time. The experience left me with more questions than before but I had experienced myself something that I could not explain away as luck. This process gave me some structure, a grip on something very elusive that has many words for it and one of those is Extrasensory perception (ESP). I began to practice and develop my own methods, methods that suited my character and life style. There were some very concrete results that others started to notice such as a better mood, a better health, more creative, more productive and even small lottery winnings.
My research journey
ESP is a disputed and divisive area in modern science. When you do a search on the internet the division becomes instantly clear. Sites such as HowStuffWorks, the number 1 popular science website (“Top 15 Most Popular Science Websites | April 2016,” n.d.), has a long article dedicated on what is wrong with the study of ESP and some of the arguments are valid. But articles like these select a subset of the data rather than honestly looking at all the available data. Phrases such as “To many parapsychologists and ESP believers…” (“The ESP Debate – How ESP Works | HowStuffWorks,” n.d.) steers one into thinking that it is a form of belief, bordering on religion or zeal.
On the other hand, organisations such as the Society of Scientific Exploration, the Society for Psychical Research or The Institute of Noetic Sciences have all large collections of research papers and they are not the only institutes where research on ESP can be found. About 20 universities in mainly the Western world offer ESP or parapsychology programs (“University Education in Parapsychology – The Parapsychological Association,” n.d.). The institutions present research that investigates the many aspects of ESP and some are very critical towards the results. There is a lot of disagreement among the involved scientists and I actually think it is a good thing for now: we still know too little to be sure.
In my <a href=”https://archive.jeroencarelse.com/research”>research</a> into ESP I encountered either a strong belief, or equally strong disbelief, in the ability of humans to utilise something that falls outside of the scope of the known 5 senses: hearing, sight, smell, taste and feeling. The high quality of the research does little to persuade those who do not belief in any form of the influence of mind over matter. But I do see how personal ESP experiences change people and I see how reading about alone it has little impact.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence in the form of myth from most if not all religious traditions. Those stories tell that people can experience more than our current understanding of the laws (theories) of physics allow for (reference). Also in the pharmaceutical sector the placebo effect, about 30% of the people show signs of positive change in their medical condition (reference) based on their belief (reference), is a known fact and not disputed. People talking to their deceased loved ones helps people to overcome trauma and sadness according to studies conducted by Julie Beischel (reference). People who meditate often seem to be more prone to anomalous experiences but also their brain itself undergoes changes (reference). People who practice endurance sports like running or swimming can get “in the flow” and experience a surge in energy and relief of pain and tiredness.
The list and quantity (reference) of these experiences is seemingly endless and we cannot say that this is all nonsense nor irrelevant to human life and well being. Something is happening but we have not yet the right tools, methods and above all many people do not have the right attitude to investigate this. Maybe we never find out what is really going on, maybe we will.
In my most skeptical scenario we humans have the ability to put ourselves in a delusional state of mind. But even this is fantastic to study as this so called delusion seems to cure people from physical illness (reference). This delusion seems to positively help people with mental issues, or worsen it. This delusion seems to give people who actively sport an edge and people in need for creative solutions a sudden insight. It might give answers to why savants have their abilities.
A bold step forward
But the problem for me remained as it had become increasingly time consuming and demanding to figure out what data was complete, correct and which interpretations were most accurate. All I wanted was an understanding of whether or not the synchronicities and possible premonitions and other were amusing results of my brain’s activity or something else. And what was this else and could I get better control over it also when I was alone without a workshop facilitator or other people?
I have watched and listened to more hours than I dare to admit to, to lectures by researchers and to videos of people sharing their personal experiences. I heard more explanations, theories and models then I can remember. Much of what I heard made my toes curl and my ears twist as it was too outrageous, too unbelievable and presented in ways it hurt my aesthetic mind.
In 2015 I was invited by The Nordic Council of Ministers in Estonia to give a workshop and lecture on education and creativity (link to Eha’s page). The appreciation and outcome was so overwhelmingly positive that it gave me a big confidence boost: my approach makes sense to people. Later that same year I gave a workshop at the Estonian Art Academy on ESP and creativity that it hit me: when people experience correct information coming in from outside of the 5 senses, then I can race through the theory and we can start to use it and validate our findings.
A concrete proposal
I wanted to do more of these hands-on experiments as the results were very impressive. A few months later during an email exchange with biologist and author Rupert Shelldrake it was obvious it was difficult for even known people as himself to gather enough people to participate in really fun and useful experiments on for example telepathy. So that left me with the question that if he could not find easily people for experiments then how would I manage to get people?
My background and experience is in creating products and services for companies, teaching university students to use data for new products or services and doing freelance design stuff. I have no interest in proving or disproving ESP but if you can use it then why not use it? What if I can combine my teaching and workshop experiences with my understanding of the research in the field of ESP and with my desire to draw, animate and write?
What if I can lay out the huge amount of research in an easy to digest manner and present the many possible “whys and hows” in various ways? What if the audience can see real examples of experiments and then get the guidance to do something similar either alone or in small or larger groups? What if this is hands-on, Do-It-Yourself and fun? What if you in the meantime learn to analyze and be very critical about the results? What if your confidence in your own abilities grow, you learn to trust more in your intuition and see the world through a more creative eye?
The product has 3 main areas and first I describe what the content includes but is not limited too.
- What is science
- What is scientific research
- How to understand results
- The problem with results
- what has been studied
- Categorize the studies
- The types of experiments are there
- The kinds of experiences have there been
- DIY experiments
- The purpose of doing an experiment
- The kinds or experiments you can do
- Examples of illusions
- Experiments with our 5 senses
- Experiments with matter
- Experiments alone and in groups
- Use this to improve your creative processes
- Use this to improve your attitude in life
- Using your skills
- Why it doesn’t work or not always work
- Humans as pattern seekers
- Confirmation bias and other trickery
- Where belief is useful and were not
- Group think and group-power
- What is data
- Does data matter
- How to work and not work with data
- What it means to me
The 3 biggest obstacles for me in the quest of understanding and using ESP and PK have been but there are many more (appendix):
- The long, dense and complex text based research materials
- The price of hand-on learning through classes or workshops
- Validating other people’s and my experiences
The work that I deliver deals effectively with among others these 3 hindrances. I have an hybrid approach where each format excels in utilising it’s own intrinsic quality, I call it the Goldilocks hybrid
The book not too thick and not too thin. It has many illustrations and infographics. The sections can easily be found by flipping through the book as there is a colour coding applied. Text is in simple wording and if the words are complex they are explained. Short-links and QR codes are used to connect to the website and animated explanations. The book is in a print-on-demand which reduces the costs and allow for updates and corrections and is instantly available for a global audience.
A website is build in WordPress with which I have experience already. It is a website with animations, infographics, illustrations, embedded or linked videos and deeper explanations.
The book and website is set up to be used as a self-exploration and as teaching material. It is hands-on and shows clearly the steps to follow.
Creative people and people with no stake in proofing or disproving whether or not ESP and PK is real are my target group. There is no real categorisation possible as one can find these open minded people in all industries and segments of society. As this book and site already starts with the acceptance of ESP and PK being a reality I assume open minded people and people who seek confirmation will be attracted to the idea of getting a guided explorations in their hands.
My wish and hope is that this reaches also schools and families. Closely knitted groups, close relationships and trust and authority seem all to contribute to an ESP and PK experience. Good teachers can be excellent facilitators as well as parents, but, teaching very well turn out to go the other way round from student to teacher and from child to parent.
Even if people consider this a joke, thus also for the less open minded then, the value of experiencing something and realising that something out of the ordinary has happened can have a life-long effect. I have no intention to convince people, it will be the experience itself that convinces people, or not.
My audience is attracted by the DIY aspect, the ease of understanding and the funny and sometimes light hearted and skeptical approach I have. The emphasis is on seeing that because something cannot be repeated by everyone at will it still can be real, if rare and elusive.
Last but not least, I consider the KONE Foundation as an important part of my audience. I hope and shall work hard that it does pay off to invest in unknown people who come with a bold and controversial idea. This could pave the way for other people like me who live on the cross-sections of disciplines and do not belong to any of those.
There are little or no upfront material or tooling costs involved as I got already all the tools and have all the skills. What does takes time and does costs money are
- the research
- the writing
- the design
- the illustrating
- the animating
- the website making
- the preparing of book for online publication
- administration and some little travel
I am hoping to get this grant to work for 12 months on only this project. From experience I know this is not going to be a linear process. My expectation is that the first 3 months will be primarily about gathering and analysing the research material. During this period I definitely will being to design, sketch, animate and test how research can be translated into visuals.
Then 6 months I presume is needed to give shape to the book and website. To get a good order and structure but also to keep the book and site synchronised and consistent.
The last 3 months is primarily about checking, improving and incorporating feedback. I hope I can include the KONE Foundation in this process as for me you are a big part of who I consider the customer.
Now what is the real world? Some people have the theory that the real world is material or physical and say it is made out of a kind of stuff. Other people have the theory that the real world is spiritual or mental. But I want you to point out that both those theories of the world are concepts. they are structures of words. And the real world is not an idea, it is not words. Reality is…
– Alan Watts <a href=”http://bit.ly/alan-watts-real-world”>youtube clip</a>
Beaulie-Prévost, D., & Zadra, A. (2007). Absorption, psychological boundaries and attitude towards dreams as correlates of dream recall: two decades of research seen through a meta-analysis. <em>Journal of Sleep Research</em>, <em>16</em>(1), 51–59.
Braude, S. E. (1987). How to dismiss evidence without really trying.pdf. <em>Behavioral and Brain Sciences</em>, <em>10</em>(4), 573–574. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X0005456X
Carter, C. (2010). “Heads I Lose, Tails You Win”, Or, How Richard Wiseman Nullifies Positive Results, and What to Do about It: A Response to Wiseman’s (2010) Critique of Parapsychology. <em>Journal of the Society for Psychical Research</em>, <em>74</em>, 156–167.
Houtkooper, J. M. (2002). Arguing for an observational theory of paranormal phenomena. <em>Journal of Scientific Exploration</em>, <em>16</em>(2), 171–185.
Storm, L., & Ertel, S. (2001). Does psi exist? Comments on Milton and Wiseman’s (1999) meta-analysis of Ganzfield research. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/127/3/424/
The ESP Debate – How ESP Works | HowStuffWorks. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2016, from http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/esp5.htm
Top 15 Most Popular Science Websites | April 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2016, from http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/science-websites
University Education in Parapsychology – The Parapsychological Association. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2016, from http://www.parapsych.org/section/34/university_education_in.aspx