Thursday, September 20, 2007
Time Reversal and Reincarnation
One of the things I most love are scientific papers which appear to prove the existence of supernatural powers.
One I read recently was called "Time-reversed human experience: Experimental evidence and implications" by Dean Radin of the Boundary Institute, Los Altos, California. It’s about precognition.
There are a number of experiments in there which make fascinating reading. My favourite is an experiment into so-called “presentiment”, that is precognition of a future feeling.
The experiment went like this. A computer generates random images. Some of these images are of a violent, sexual or emotionally charged nature. The participants in the experiment are wired up in such a way that the experimenters can tell when the person is affected by the pictures. Violent or sexually charged pictures cause a severe reaction in the measure of the so-called “autonomic nervous system”.
The non-charged pictures include pastoral scenes and pictures of household objects and cause no reaction.
The participants press a button, and after a six second delay the picture flashes up on the screen and remains there for another three seconds.
So this is the thing. During that six second delay, if the picture that is going to be flashed up is one that will cause a reaction, a higher than average percentage of the participants show a reaction in anticipation, before the picture comes on their screen.
In other words, this shows that people often know what’s coming before it comes. We quite naturally, as a matter of course it seems, can see into the future.
I love that. I love it when hard empirical evidence shows us that the universe is far more mysterious and strange than the one suggested by the theologians of materialist science who currently preside over the scientific establishment.
I read about the work of another scientist recently who has been looking into evidence of reincarnation. The scientist was Ian Stevenson, M.D. Professor of Research Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, who died in February this year.
Unfortunately, unlike the precognition experiment above, reincarnation cannot be tested in the laboratory. Dr. Stevenson was more of a detective than a normal scientist.
He would hear of a case where a young child - typically between the ages of two and seven - claimed to have had a previous life. After that he would interview the child, and then attempt to verify the child’s story.
Sometimes some of the children told remarkable tales about people and events which they couldn’t have got by any other means than by reincarnation.
His most famous book is Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, published in 1966.
In a typical case, a boy in Beirut claimed that he had been a mechanic in his previous life who had died in a car accident. Witnesses say the boy provided the name of the driver, the location of the crash, the names of the mechanic's sisters and parents, cousins and friends, all of which turned out to match the life of a man who had died some years before.
Of course, none of this constitutes proof, and Dr Stevenson was too cautious to claim that his investigations were any more than “suggestive” of reincarnation.
On the other hand, almost nothing in science is based upon absolute proof. For instance, there is no “proof” that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. There is, however, overwhelming statistical evidence that it does.
As to what conclusions you might draw from his work, Dr. Stevenson has his own views on the subject.
"I think a rational person, if he wants, can believe in reincarnation on the basis of evidence."
But there are a couple of questions which follow on from this: if it is true that we are indeed reincarnated beings why do we generally forget about it; and why it is that Dr. Stevenson’s cases were all young children? Aren’t older people capable of remembering their past lives?
I’m not sure what the answer to this might be.
Perhaps we are more psychically in tune when we are younger, and that’s why some children but not many adults can remember their previous lives.
As to why we forget: I think that’s obvious.
Forgetfulness might be a survival technique. After all, who wants to remember their own death?