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"It seems to be a function of psi. But how does it work? Are we really supposed to believe there is a guardian angel who assists us in such trivial tasks as looking up an excerpt in a book?" - Michael Prescott
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We are the book. It's only an illusion that we are separate from the book. When you look at something outside yourself you are part of whatever you are looking at. Our separation is an illusion.

Just like waking up at a certain time even though you forgot to set the clock. You and the clock are one. Or looking at the clock at a certain time and seeing a certain set of numbers over and over again. You are the clock.

"If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected."
http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

One would wonder if the unconscious mind actually has the extremely fine and accurate control of the finger, hand and arm musculature, through the autonomic nervous system, that would be required to deftly pick the exact right page. This feat would be using the same mechanism that presumably operates with dowsing and with the use of a pendant pendulum over the body in spiritual healing.

The George hypothesis involves the sort of Akashic Records cosmic library of information, and the ability of the unconscious mind to access it, that is invoked by the super psi advocates as an explanation for mediumship. Would this validate super psi as the leading explanation?

An alternate hypothesis would be that this was an example of a sort of synchronistic relationship sometimes existing between our thoughts and desires, and outer reality, that goes beyond cause and effect. Causally unrelated events happening together in a meaningful manner to the experiencer as an indication of a deeper pattern to existence. In other words, perhaps there always existed (in 3D space-time) a relationship between your motivated action one day in flipping open the book, and the location in the book of the quotation. The essence of the relationship between the two is the meaning in the mind(s) of the experiencer(s). A famous example is when Jung had a synchronistic confluence of events with one of his patients, where she dreamed of a golden scarab. During the subsequent psychotherapy session with her, a real golden scarab hit up against his window. This insect was very rare at that location.

Other possible explanations (other than the George hypothesis) that come to mind:

- Coincidence (very unlikely as you mention)
- Desire by the soul or other beings to remind the person of the mysteries of spiritual existence
- Precognition (in the case of the quotation in the Charleton Heston book, the precognition would be in thinking of the particular passage that would in the future be flipped to). One problem with this kind of explanation would be that free will would seem to be abrogated.

"One would wonder if the unconscious mind actually has the extremely fine and accurate control of the finger, hand and arm musculature ..."

I would assume it does, if only because many tasks that require great dexterity can be performed unconsciously or at least without conscious thought - e.g., touch typing, playing a musical instrument, juggling, certain sports activities. In fact, if we start thinking consciously about our performance in these cases, we are likely to screw up. Perhaps when people say they are in "the zone" of effortless, flawless action, they are really letting George do it while their conscious mind stands aside.

"Would this validate super psi as the leading explanation?"

I wouldn't say so, because George requires direction. The most compelling mediumistic communications indicate that the communicator has a strong personal motive of his own. This is especially clear in cases of drop-in communicators. Also, George is dogged and helpful, but not very clever; creating a detailed persona, including mannerisms and original thoughts, would be beyond him. When he tries to create a persona (in other words, when he confabulates in order to please the authority figure requesting his help), the result is typically unconvincing, even absurd. See my March 26 comments on the "Book Notes" thread for details.

I would assume it does, if only because many tasks that require great dexterity can be performed unconsciously or at least without conscious thought - e.g., touch typing, playing a musical instrument, juggling, certain sports activities.

Good point, except that these examples are the result of learning manual skills over long and arduous hours, days and months of training. In the "George hypothesis" no training was involved to ingrain a sort of muscle memory.

I don't think it's George, I think it's Uncle pSimon.

Yes, I see your point, doubter. Of course, my hand is itself part of the information matrix, so perhaps George can make it do what he needs it to do, if he can access (and perhaps even rewrite) the source code.

Arthur J. Ellison went so far as to embrace monistic idealism, holding that my hand and the book are only thought-forms. Even if we don't want to follow him that far, it would seem that George has, or can have, some direct control over very subtle bodily systems - e.g., the manifestation of stigmata, or the ability of some gurus to control their pulse and respiration and to go without food for long periods.

The book and newspaper tests carried out on Mrs. Leonard are possibly another example of the ability of a mind (discarnate or otherwise) to access pure information at its source.

Perhaps the George hypothesis could explain some or many cases of synchronicity. I thought the following one to be particularly interesting, from http://dark-side-of-the-rainbow.com/synchronicity.html :

To cite an example of synchronicity from my own experience (using a true story), I recall an incident of waking up one morning to the sound of a thunderstorm. This storm was a ways off in the distance, and only the occasional rumble of thunder was audible from where I was situated.

I was lying there thinking up ideas for my website, and one of the ideas I was contemplating that morning was the concept of synchronicity. At the very moment the phrase "meaningful coincidence" entered my mind, a particularly loud clap of thunder disrupted my train of thought. ....seeing as a somewhat meaningful coincidence had just occured, at the very moment I was contemplating meaningful coincidences, I decided to test my meaningful coincidence to see if it was "just a coincidence". I waited until I thought the storm had passed, and then once again whispered the phrase "meaningful coincidence". At that very instant, another huge clap of thunder suddenly shattered the early morning silence of my room. At this point, I realized that as I lay contemplating synchronicity, I was in fact moving into the realm of synchronicity...

The person tried this two more times, the last after waiting an especially long period to make sure the storm had passed, each time to have a tremendous thunderclap simultaneous with his saying the words.

I suppose George could have picked up the interest of this person in the subject of synchronicity, used precognition to sense the upcoming thunderclaps, and then subconsciously triggered the writer to exclaim "meaningful coincidence" at precisely the right moments. I sort of prefer the notion of there being a deep interconnectedness to nature and human thoughts and meanings, that sometimes emerges and reveals itself in such a manner.

Doubter: "Good point, except that these examples are the result of learning manual skills over long and arduous hours, days and months of training. In the "George hypothesis" no training was involved to ingrain a sort of muscle memory."

It depends on what you take the function of the arduous training to be. Perhaps it's just to "convince" ourselves--i.e., the conscious part of our minds--that we reallyare capable of these complex motor-skills. This would explain why, as a relatively unskilled athlete, even I could occasionally get "in the zone" and perform way above my level of training. Ideally, more training would have convinced me that being in the zone wasn't such a fluke. But I took myself to be unathletic and so wouldn't allow the training to unleash my innate (Georgian) ability.

I have often wondered how much of our "learning" is actually un-learning. Consider the famous false-belief paradigm in cognitive psychology. In one version, a child is told a story about two people, Anne and Sally. Anne places a toy in a box while the Sally watches. But then Sally leaves the room and Anne moves it from the box to behind the couch. The child is asked where Sally will look for it when she returns.

It is not until age 4 that children start regularly giving the "correct" answer. Most autistic children never do. The standard hypothesis is that children don't develop a "theory-of-mind" until around that age, at which point the gain the concept of false belief--that people have beliefs based on the information they individually acquire through their senses, and that their information can be wrong.

An alternative hypothesis based on the transmission/filter model of the mind is that newly embodied souls must un-learn that everyone is innately psychic--that embodied people will act as if what they know is generally limited by what they can prove with their senses.

This model could explain why savant syndrome predominates in people on the autistic spectrum. We all "know" that it takes years and years of practice to play Bach or Beethoven proficiently--and then only a handful of the especially gifted will ever play with expertise. Which is precisely why George complies. Apparently, some autistics never got the memo and severe mental retardation can actually enhance certain kinds of cognitive functions. This is more consistent with the transmission/filter model than it is with the production one.

PS If I recall correctly, on a recent skeptico interview with Mario Beauregard, he indicated that he was going to look into savant syndrome for similar lines of evidence.

Michael, I think your psi model is fundamentally correct, because the evidence suggests that psi phenomena are closely related to the unconscious. For example, studies have shown that the trains have had an accident there were fewer passengers than expected, as if some people have had an unconscious feeling of not mounted on the train and that unconsciously led them not to ride in the train.

Moreover psi mechanism may be another way: if the universe has a holographic structure, then every part of the universe contains all the information about the universe. We are a part of the universe, then we contain all the information of the universe so that veiled. Thus, the information on the page of the book is already in us, is just select it through all the information available and that have effects on behavior.

I like the idea that George hasn't been culturally conditioned to "know" what is possible or not. He simply does whatever he is told to do.

On the plus side, George then represents the full range of human potential.

On the minus side, George does not seem to readily accept failure as an option. So, if he can not achieve his mission in an objective sense he will do so in a subjective sense - e.g. if asked to contact a spirit he will find the spirit. However, if he can't connect with the spirit, he will create it. If George has become conditioned to accept the reality of UFOs and aliens, he starts seeing them, etc.

I am thinking that the understanding of George's methods and tendencies could be helpful in refining paranormal research. One way might be inserting carefully crafted instructions to mediums, for example, that if the spirit cannot be found objectively, to then stop and report this information back. Of course we would be assuming that George is capable of discerning imagination from reality, but it might be worth a try.

George meaning Earth Worker conveys the image of a sort of stolid unimaginative farmhand or beast of burden and I suggest Michael by a curious coincidence the esoteric mystical take on who or what George is corresponds to precisely that description. In Sufism or Esoteric Christianity for instance George's often styled a donkey.

In Taoism an ox.

Amongst the lovers of Sophia such as Socrates and Plato a horse.

In Hinduism an elephant.

In other words George is supposedly the body viewed as an animal or more accurately a whole zoo or even ecosystem of highly adapted animals possessed of their own particular forms of genius but with a natural tendency to cooperate for the mutual benefit of all the parts which gradually becomes disrupted by society's insistence on convincing the narrational mind or ego to view itself not at best as a helpful adviser or consiglieri intended to act as a cultural interface but as the entire organism itself.

This's supposedly why things like yoga and tai chi arose to simultaneously rewaken the body and its subcomponents to their true nature/purpose as well as to reacquaint the mind/ego to its true status as being of crucial but ultimately far more limited importance which's also supposedly why so much store's placed in so many mystical systems on observing bodily and mental stillness since this's supposedly the best way to witness and verify if there's any evidence for any of this scenario being even remotely true.

The curse and blessing of the body's supposedly its incredible responsiveness to suggestion via the mind hence the great importance placed in traditional societies on storytellers such as poets as shapers of society for good or bad as well as the importance placed on the power of stories in all mystical traditions.

This's supposedly the mechanism behind the nocebo or pointing the bone type effects in say voodoo or the placebo effect.

This's also supposedly the reason why the placebo effect works even when patients're openly told they're receiving a sugar pill because the body's being told a story via the mind concerning the possibility of being healed even when you take inert substances.

But supposedly the story doesn't even have to be delivered via your own mind because so long as some other mind's reception of the story's resulted in its own body's awareness of it then even as that other body's remotely praying for your well being your body will sense this and respond by attempting to join in with the healing story.

Thanks to observing how our hands can grab objects in midair before our minds've even had a chance to notice the objects've been dislodged Modern psychology's coined the phrase the zombie to describe the body's apparent capacity to behave as if it has independent intelligence.

But according to various mystical systems the body isn't so much a zombie as a sleeping prince or princess which can be gradually or abruptly reawoken and one sign of it's stirring is the manifestation of strange phenomena like library angels.

A sign it's becoming even more awake's supposedly the spontaneous manifestation of psychic powers though this's also supposedly the stage where the narrator or ego makes a particular effort to reassert itself. This's also the stage when the narrators/egos of others may also start manifesting either to put a stop to things developing any further aka the poison apple manoeuver or to harness such capacities to agendas of their own aka stealing the lamp.

In fact that's supposedly what the genie really is the infinite possibilities which gradually become available to the body when the narrational mind or ego finally abandons all hope fear or doubt and gradually quietens down in submission to the plenuum of silence.

And Michael there's you thinking all this time you were just some writer but all along you've been a creator and destroyer of worlds.

Here are some more thoughts on good old George -

Since we are told that the afterlife is one of thoughts becoming realities, could George be the primary functioning personality entity "over there"? After all, that (thought = reality) seems to be what George does best.

What does George's existence and abilities say about the nature of reality itself? It seems to support my long held notion that reality is far more arbitrary, far moremaleable and much more the result of conditioning, both conscious and subconscious, than most people are willing to accept.

Nah - George is the crease in the spine from when you looked up the quote last time.

Good theory, except I'd never looked up the quote before. I'd read it in passing, but I hadn't marked the page or cracked the spine at that location.

Michael, Just wondering do you have Charlton Heston's autobiography out of interest or are you in agreement with his politics, like for example him being pro gun and an NRA speaker?

This is off topic, but it caught my eye and so I thought I would share it here:


http://voices.yahoo.com/the-importance-dreaming-12071450.html?cat=5

Contrary to reductionist/materialist doctrine, I believe there are forces and 'substances' that are beyond our current ability to measure and quantify. Our five senses simply can't tune in to them.

So here's my theory about George. He/it subtly forced the two sections of opposing pages together, leaving Michael with no choice but to open In the Arena to the 'correct' page.

But that doesn't answer the Big Question - "why"?

"do you have Charlton Heston's autobiography out of interest or are you in agreement with his politics ...?"

Mainly out of interest in his movie career, but I don't have any big problem with his political stands. Reasonable restrictions on gun ownership (e.g., no machine guns) are fine with me, but I don't want us ever to to be in a position where only the government is armed.

Actually the book is pretty light on politics, and makes it clear that Heston was a Democrat for most of his life. He also played a role in the civil rights battles of the 1960s and was so worried about overpopulation that he spearheaded a movie about it, "Soylent Green." So he's not as easy to pigeonhole as one might think.

Michael - Okay fair enough was just wondering. I watched a Michael Moore documentary on guns and mass shootings in America, and was pretty shocked how the NRA have (at that point) rallys after every mass shooting. It was pretty disturbing to watch, to me anyway.
I'm from the UK so obviously we don't have guns but I don't really understand why any society would need guns of any kind. Only our government and army have guns and things seem to be relatively okay, that's my perspective anyway!

I wouldn't trust Michael Moore as far as I can throw him (and he weighs a lot). Numerous factual errors have been found in his films, and many of those errors are clearly deliberate.

Some fact-checking here:
http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/bowling.htm

Longer fact-checking thing here: http://www.hardylaw.net/Truth_About_Bowling.html

I don't think it's true that the NRA holds, or ever held, rallies after mass shootings. The Denver convention had been scheduled for years and was not held in response to Columbine. Moore's editing of the event is deceptive (see links).

"I'm from the UK so obviously we don't have guns but I don't really understand why any society would need guns of any kind."

Hey, if our ancestors hadn't had guns, we'd still be a colonial outpost run by you guys! ;-)

Michael - As much as I like Michael Moore's work I can 100% believe he misleads or makes errors, I'll have to check to see if all the error corrections are true though, I had a look at murder rates and South Africa comes in at numero 14:
http://www.businessinsider.com/1homicidal-countries-2011-11?op=1

Haha that's true, I think guns were more appropriate back then! I just don't think they are now, the amount of mass shootings not to mentioned shootings that go unreported are worrying, especially for a westernized country like America.

You're right about South Africa, but its homicide rate is still many times higher than that of the US. In fact, the US doesn't even make the list of the top 20 that you linked to. (Moore apparently claimed the US was #1.)

In any case, gun control increasingly is a moot point. For better or worse, 3D printing technology will soon allow anyone to assemble a gun in his own home, This is going to create a whole new set of problems. All that will be needed is access to a 3D printer and an underground website that offers the necessary templates. Such sites are already springing up. Take a look:

http://tinyurl.com/c7kub29

What's worse is that templates for bombs and other scary stuff will doubtless also be available.

The times, they are a-changing. (Maybe not for the better.)

Woman smells God during NDE, writes book:

“I saw an immense brightness. A brightness I could feel, touch, taste, hear, smell that infused me.” Not like I had five senses but more like I had 500 senses,” Crystal McVea, author of a new e-book, “Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again,” told Fox host Gretchen Carlson.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/woman-claims-she-smelled-god-during-near-death-221225824.html

South Africa's murder is indeed higher then the USA's but those countries aren't really comparable. America is a developed country whereas South Africa is not.
I couldn't find anything about general homicides, but the USA has a much higher gun related murder rate then other developed countries:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/14/chart-the-u-s-has-far-more-gun-related-killings-than-any-other-developed-country/
However to be fair, I found something that had a list of countries who allow firearms and some had low murder rates, so to say controlling guns would solve the problem would be simplifying things! I do thing it would help, but it would be pretty difficult to implement...
This 3D printing things sounds quite worrying, do you think something should be done about it?

It's worrying, but I don't think anything *can* be done about it, just as nothing can really be done about illegal downloading of movies and music. Right now 3D printers are very expensive and still fairly rudimentary, but within ten years they will be affordable and reliable. There will be many benefits but also some hazards. Just like anything else, I guess.

Many of these political arguments are grounded in out-of-date assumptions. Gun control, which assumes people cannot fabricate their own guns, is one example. Another is the effort to outlaw abortion. Pro-life proponents seem oblivious to the fact that the abortion pill is now readily available. If the government can't stop the distribution of massive amounts of cocaine and heroine, how can it stop a pill? Abortion is here to stay.

Another outdated assumption is that a country can raise its taxes as high as it wants and increase revenue. In a global economy where money is easily transferable, this no longer works, as France is discovering. Rich people just move their assets offshore. Amusingly, one of France's top government officials was recently caught moving his money to the Caymans to escape the punitive tax rates that his own administration was imposing!

The chattering class is always fighting the last war - digging trenches to stop Panzers. The world is changing fast, and much of what we argue about is already irrelevant.

Yeah that's a fair point, I guess governments should monitor it the best they can and deal with bad websites as well as they can. The internet is too big it'd just be like chasing a moving target! I still believe there is no need for guns, but I am aware that many people don't agree with me, and implementing meaningful gun control in your country would very difficult, the best we can hope for is getting rid of guns with high firing rates, large magazines etc.

Agreed with you about abortion, even though I think it should be avoided when possible. I also think your comment is part of the reason why drugs should be made legal or be at least decriminalized, but that's another debate...

Even though I am a leftie 75% is way too high, the 50% we have here is much more reasonable. If you want to stop people from moving their money elsewhere coming up with new laws will do nothing as somebody will always find a way around it. A more effective way is to make it public, when Jimmy Carr (a British comedian) and Starbucks were 'outed' by the press and shown to be paying low taxes, there was a pretty big public outcry and both were pressured into paying tax that they should have been paying anyway.


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