What “extrasensory perception” really means

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The term extrasensory perception or ESP is an unfortunate choice of words because it implies that man has an additional or sixth sense. It’s not true. All human beings have only five physical senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

What people normally call the sixth sense, or extra-sensory perception, refers to spiritual sight. It is a perception that goes beyond the physical senses. But because mainstream Western science does not believe in the existence of “mind,” ESP is routinely and easily dismissed.

People who exhibit extra-sensory perception abilities are commonly referred to as “psychics”. Unfortunately, this term, especially in the Philippines, has become associated with divination. A psychic, by common understanding, is one who can predict the future. This is not necessarily true. Many types of psychic powers do not involve seeing the future.

In fact, divination or precognition is just one of over 35 psychic powers or abilities that I have listed in my book. The term “psychic” is therefore a misunderstood and misused word. Etymologically, it comes from the Greek word “psyche”, which means “spirit” or “soul”. So, literally everyone is psychic.

But because this word is usually associated with the occult and the mystical, some serious writers and researchers refuse to use it. Dutch parapsychologist Professor Wilhelm Carl Tenhaeff of Utrecht University prefers to use the term he coined, “paragnost”, to refer to a medium. The word means a person who knows things beyond ordinary knowledge. But since this word has not caught up with general usage, we had better use the more familiar terms.

Although Dr. JB Rhine of Duke University in North Carolina was not the first to use the term extra sensory perception, it has become closely associated with him as he was the first scientist to thoroughly study the nature of ESP under scientifically controlled laboratory conditions for approximately 30 years.

Other reputable serious researchers in this field include Dr. Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff of the Standard Research Institute (now called SRI International) in Menlo Park, California, Dr. William James of the American Society for Psychical Research, Dr. Robert Jahn and Psychologist Brenda J. Dunne from Princeton University and Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama from Japan.

The academic or scientific discipline that studies ESP, psychic powers, and related areas such as paranormal phenomena is called parapsychology, which literally means “beside”, “beyond” or “after” psychology.

This controversial discipline was admitted as a member of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1969, mainly thanks to the strong advocacy of anthropologist Margaret Mead (known for her book “Growing up in New Guinea”).

The Philippines does not have a university subject or degree in parapsychology, which is a shame, because this country, in my opinion, is a virtual laboratory of paranormal and psychic phenomena.

Many unusual and strange events were experienced and reported by our people before the Spaniards came to the country.

There is a strong bias in the scientific and academic communities against the study of psychic and paranormal phenomena. It’s rather unfortunate, but we have to live with it until more enlightened or progressive scientists, researchers and scholars emerge.

Some authors prefer to call intuition the knowledge that comes from sources beyond the senses. It is defined as “knowing something directly or instantaneously without ratiocination or going through a logical or analytical process”. You just know, but you don’t know where knowledge comes from.

An example of intuition is the case of a man who was rushing to the office. But before getting out of the garage, he thought to check behind the car and found his 2-year-old neighbor sleeping there. If he had backed off without checking, he would certainly have killed the child.

Or take the case of this American mother who was preparing lunch at home when she felt a sudden pain in her chest and thought of her son, who was a soldier fighting in Vietnam. The next day, she learned that her son had been shot in the chest at the exact moment she felt the pain.

For me, intuition is the same thing as extrasensory perception or ESP.

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