No. 104: Mar-Apr 1996
The eclectic nature of anomaly research occasionally uncovers connections between diverse areas of research. We recount one such instance here.
On one hand is the neurological research of M.A. Persinger, at the Laurentian University, inquiring into the claimed effects of minute electromagnetic signals, such as those observed in the geomagnetic field, upon human consciousness and perception. On the other hand, we have R.G. Jahn's work in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which looks into the anomalous information transfer between humans and the environment, as claimed to be seen in psychokinesis and remote viewing experiments. The research goals and methodologies differ, and the resulting reports couched in different terminologies, but the similarities are what is really important. Both scientists are exploring unconventional information pathways connecting the human brain (consciousness) and the environment. The pathways are open in both directions.
First, we quote the summary from a recent Persinger paper. The jargon may be technical, but one can readily visualize the human brain immersed in a sea of signals -- nominally electromagnetic but possibly of other sorts.
"Contemporary neuroscience suggests the existence of fundamental algorithms by which all sensory transduction is translated into an intrinsic, brain-specific code. Direct stimulation of these codes within the human temporal or limbic cortices by applied electromagnetic patterns may require energy levels which are within the range of both geomagnetic activity and contemporary communication networks. A process which is coupled to the narrow band of brain temperature could allow all normal human brains to be affected by a subharmonic whose frequency range at about 10 Hz would only vary by 0.1 Hz." (Ref. 1)
Second, Jahn sees a remarkably similar information channel, but of a cryptic nature, connecting humans to the environment in PEAR's psychokinesis and remoteviewing experiments. In describing his model of this information channel, Jahn writes:
"Like physical light (energy) and elementary particles (mass), consciousness (information) enjoys a wave/ particle duality that allows it to circumvent and penetrate barriers and to resonate with other consciousnesses and with appropriate aspects of the environment. Thereby it can both acquire and insert information, both objective and subjective, from and to its resonant partners." (Ref. 2)
The immense body of empirical data amassed by Jahn's PEAR laboratory certainly suggests the existence of an allpervading information-transfer medium that is independent of space and time.
Persinger relies upon a different corpus of research: neurological experiments as well as scores of his own studies of the effects of the geomagnetic environment upon human perception and consciousness.
Both Jahn and Persinger write of information flow. The ideas of brain matrices and resonances are not too dissimilar. Persinger relies upon the electromagnetic medium; Jahn's is not specified.
Jahn and Persinger are visionary regarding their research. It is perhaps well to reproduce Persinger's warning:
"Within the last two decades, a potential has emerged which was improbable but which is now marginally feasible. This potential is the technical capability to influence directly the major portion of the approximately six billion brains of the human species without mediation through classical sensory modalities by generating neural information within a physical medium within which all member of the species are immersed." (Ref. 1)
Can Orwell's Big Brother be far away? Some writers, such as J. Vallee, suggest that we are already being manipulated via some unrecognized information channel.
Surely all readers of SF will understand that Science and Nature do not yet publish the types of research just described.
Ref. 1. Persinger, M.A.; "On the Possibility of Directly Accessing Every Human Brain by Electromagnetic Induction of Fundamental Algorithms," Perceptual and Motor Skills, 80:791, 1995. Ref. 2. Jahn, Robert G.; "'Out of This Aboriginal Sensible Muchness': Consciousness, Information, and Human Health," American Society for Psychical Research, Journal, 89:301, 1995.