Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Side-Conversation with Larry Dossey

This will be a shorter-than-usual posting. The Reason?: Larry and I had a shorter-than-usual conversation crammed in during a less-than-stellar convention talk.

What stimulated this is the following: I knew that Larry was risking exploring all aspects of reality that his studies of alternative [often paranormal] healing seemed to be "speaking" to him about. Back in the earlier days of the Alternative Medicine office at the National Institute of Health, he might not have risked straying too far from what was already controversial stuff, but today Larry is at that stage of life where it's no longer an option to sit on things-of-importance. If something needs to be said, he's doing it.

One of these things was the pile of health-related incidents that seemed to involve some fore-knowledge of a possible future to come. And he wrote the above book.

When I saw that title, I winched. My theology/ cosmology demands a reality within which each advanced intelligence mind has genuine [not illusional] choice upon which said intelligence acts with free will. This is one of the very few things that I will not budge on, as without such free choice, everything's a meaningless robot show morality-wise. Such a Universe/ Creation would be pointless, a dazzling Mechanica true, but morally pointless if all acts were in fact determined beforehand. Others are welcome to believe that they live robotically without meaning, of course, but not I.

So, I have consistently rejected the concept of fortune-telling, precognition, prophecy if these things claim to be assessing/ accessing already determined futures. I am trained as a scientist; I can predict from known facts/ history that the planets will [in all probability] be doing this and that tomorrow, but I do not believe that tomorrow is somehow already here.

But Larry [who holds free choice as sacredly as I do] seemed, at first glance, to believe so. I needed to talk.

During one of the talks, I managed to sneak in some conversation {not the talk above; I'm just illustrating this blog moment with the picture --- if Roger, Ron, Patrick, and Henry were on stage, I'd be riveted}. I kept it simple by necessity of the circumstances.

First I asked him if he believed that these premonitions from his book were substantive, and he, of course, felt that they were strong cases. Having done a little reading from an extensive interview of his, I then asked him about his model of "Time" and Reality. In order to try to make this concept at least sort-of understandable [no one understands Time], I need to retreat a little to put Larry's view into context.

Generally, the common view of "time" is that it is nothing at all. Rather than a "thing", it is merely a name we give for the sequence of activities of physical things. That is: this situation used to be like this other state, then interactions took place and now it is like this; we call the previous state it's past along with the "moves" it made to become like it is now.

The question is, firstly: does anything's "past state" exist in any way other than being remembered in the Now? A reductionist scientist would say "no". A person who believes that certain paranormal experiences of a Clairvoyant nature are veridical, would say that something quite detailed of those past states survives.

This latter concept is what's meant to be illustrated by the drawing above. The "Now" [whatever it is] plows through the uncollapsed/ not-yet-determined Quantum Foam of possibility, collapsing wave functions into the "Present State". A reductionist would say that nothing of the previous states persist, but the paranormalist would say that those previous states still exist in some now fixt condition --- only rarely accessible by consciousness [retrocognition]. Long ago, this theory was nicknamed "The Block Theory of Time".

In "front of" the Now is Nothing Fixt. That is: the "future state" does not yet exist. Nothing of the "future" is determined until whenever the wave-collapsing nature of this Now "gets there". This denies premonitions apparently, but saves free choice in the Now. Larry, who wants premonitions AND free choice, must see it differently.

Larry sees the future as strongly influenced by the present, as do we all. He makes this more concrete by seeing the wave-collapsing "edge" of the Now [these are my words not his at this point] as projecting this influence "ahead", so that if we could see this from a God-like view, the Quantum indetermined foam just ahead would be taking on --- let's call it a "probability" of a certain "future state" over other potential future states. AND, this "more probable" future state would have achieved a reality which might be paranormally "seen".

This model of things is intriguing. It allows paranormal access to the "most probable" future, but not any determined required future --- any element of that probable future might be affected by willful choice. I will have to modify my views on precognition afterall. [still don't think that the statistical testing of this is as good as the clairvoyance/ telepathy stuff though].

The thought crossed my mind that Larry's work might, ironically, provide some data for those same reductionist scientists that hate it. Larry is collecting cases where persons seem to have tapped into these most-probable futures with their premonitions. Are some sorts of things more likely to be "tap-able" than others? Does the edge of the Now "push" certain kinds of objects or arrangements faster towards determined reality than others? Could making catalogs of premonitionary experiences give us a clue as to how the Universe preferentially sorts itself out?

Larry thought that this was a fun idea, and keeping catalogs might be a path to discovery of something unexpected.

Well, what the heck.... it IS a fun idea.... and everything has to start somewhere.


1 comment:

  1. Most probable future makes a lot of sense, if you think of it. Let's say there is going to be some sort of catastrophe, maybe a building is going to collapse. Well, it is not going to happen without a reason. Maybe it was shoddily built, and now it's getting close to failing. And maybe somebody who does not live in it is seen to die in that collapse, but that would also have reasons - why he happened to be there that precise moment - rooted in the present. So, maybe he's a plumber, and maybe there will be some faulting happening for a while in the structures of the building before the collapse. Maybe the person who will call him got a recommendation about this plumber a long time ago, and remembers the name when he notices a leak in the bathroom, calls him the next day, but he has previous appointments and the day when the collapse probably will happen is the first day he could go there.

    Very little happens completely out of the blue, and most of the things foreseen by people which actually do then happen are exactly that kind of things, happenings which have their roots in the present. So it's about probabilities, and in its way more of a case of seeing what is going on right now, and extrapolating from it, rather than truly seeing the future. (And then there are all the predictions which really are not predictions at all, just fantasizing).



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