Telepathy and Eye Contact.

“When eye contact between two people is initiated and maintained, an invisible energetic circuit is established between the two participants, dissolving the barriers that ordinarily separate them from each other, drawing them ever closer into a shared awareness of union.”
— Will Johnson, The Spiritual Practices of Rumi: Radical Techniques for Beholding the Divine.

“Portal sits deep within the eye.
The eye of yin’s severity
rewards understanding.”
— Mudvayne, Mercy, Severity.

In addition to my personal experiences, parapsychological research suggests that not only is eye gazing unnecessary for telepathy to occur, but distance between the subjects in question ultimately makes no difference, either. Despite this, eyes certainly hold a particular and peculiar power for me and I continue my struggle to understand why. It doesn’t help matters that aside from the alien abduction literature in general and my own experiences in particular I have only heard of experiences of “ocular telepathy” through two other sources.

Years ago, when I found Koda on the net, he had yet to write his 2004 book Instant Enlightenment: Metaphysical Fast Food, which I have since purchased. His interest in metaphysics was first sparked as a teenager in the early 1970s after experimenting with psychedelics. Since then he has explored the paranormal through conversation and tested out various techniques on his own.

His first attempt at telepathy occurred when he and a friend were alone, smoking hashish, and the technique was a rather basic one: Koda tried to focus on and “send” a letter as his friend tried to “receive” it. After visualizing a letter for about five minutes, his frustration grew and he screamed to himself mentally, at which time his friend screamed it quite verbally. They tried to repeat it several times that day and failed, but now that he had confirmed telepathy to his satisfaction he decided to see what other questions in this area he could lay to rest.

After attempting and accomplishing two other paranormal feats while alone in his bedroom that evening, as he explained it, “My ego was glowing profusely.” Upon going to the local coffee shop and telling some of his friends and classmates, however, he was met with only disbelief and ridicule. Frustrated, he was immediately set on revenge, and he stumbled upon the means some weeks later at that very coffee shop.

They often held staring contests and one girl always seemed to be better than the rest. Whenever he challenged her he would be doing fine for a short while before he cracked a grin and lost the game. He finally thought he would try thinking of a joke during their staring and telepathically “send” it to her to see if he could get her to laugh. It worked, even during the rematch she demanded. When she asked how he had done it and he told her, she confessed to using the same technique.

He then began practicing telepathy far more blatantly — and with a certain vengeance. He would begin the process using cold reading, approaching a friend, looking in their eyes and saying,”Let me see if I can read your mind.” Judging from their facial expressions he could easily determine that they thought he was full of shit, so he told them just that. They would confess it was so but maintained that it proved nothing. Then he would declare that they were now trying to think of something more specific and less obvious. Then he would tell them that they were beginning to wonder if he really could read their mind after all given his accuracy this far. At this point he began to generate fear in them, which as a consequence made them focus all the more intensely on whatever they were thinking about.

Up to this point, it was all cold reading, but it became, in this way, effective foreplay for telepathy. He slowly and systematically built up fear in them that he could read their minds and once that emotional component achieved sufficient intensity — typically when he went one step further and accused them of being terrified that he might be capable of knowing their deepest, darkest secrets — their focus became so locked on their specific, sustained thoughts that, as he put it, they essentially broadcasted their thoughts to him. He would then tell them what they were thinking, which by this point was something very specific, and they would confess that he could do it after all.

He did this daily for two weeks and got quite proficient at it before deciding he had had enough. Not only did he finally feel that he gotten even with them, he could no longer deal with the feelings of absolute terror he generated in them in the process. To make matters worse, even after making it known that he had stopped, people still avoided him for roughly two months.

It was two years before he started investigating telepathy again, this time with the intent of teaching others how to do it. In time he developed what he came to call the “Psychic Window Technique” in which two people engage in prolonged staring or mutual gazing at a short distance. According to Koda, this technique has a few effects.

In the midst of prolonged eye-gazing he would perceive strange illusions in his partner’s face: areas would often appear blurry, darker, or become more pronounced. Sometimes these distortions gave way to full-blown hallucinatory shape-shifting into the faces of strangers, animals, and even stranger things. His partner, it turned out, would see the same illusions, simultaneously and with equal intensity on his own face. He came to call this effect “visual telepathy,” and it is essentially this that first brought him to my attention. It helped explain an incident I’d had on December 15, 2001.

For some time I had been working at a particular fast food restaurant where I also often spent a considerable and embarrassing amount of my time off. A few hours before work I would come in, get my free and essentially bottomless cup of coffee, sit in my booth in the smoking section and spend my free time writing, reading, thinking and, in my idle time, people-watching. It was one of the few unofficial benefits of the job.

On the day in question a guy I had briefly worked with at another fast food job saw me, took a seat at the opposite end of my booth and we engaged in a short conversation. He was there with some guy, perhaps a brother, who had a young kid with him. After we concluded our conversation, he got up and left. I went back to my writing, lost in my own personal trance, having assumed that was the end of it. I could not have been more mistaken. As I have previously written:

“I was jolted… by the sound of something hitting the far end of my booth. Startled and curious, I looked up to find a dome of blond hair poking out from just beyond the end of the table. It was the upper hemisphere of a toddler’s head. One hand of his was grabbing a hold of the end of the table; in the other, he held his cup with the sippy-top. He was looking dead at me, and instead of meeting his eyes I just sort of laughed under my breath, turned my head back down, placed the pen to the page and continued my writing. My eyes didn’t even reach my notebook before I heard it again. Looking back up, I immediately locked eyes with the kid and found myself imprisoned there. The gateways to my mind were being held hostage.

My peripheral vision was suddenly enshrouded in this dark, blurry overcast. While the eyes at the end of the tunnel shared the shadowy opaqueness, it was also possessed with a hyper-vivid quality. This sense of pressure built in my head, as if energy from his eyes were literally pushing into my mind, as if breaking and entering the mind and scanning and downloading personal files. A virtual form of search and seizure or, in this case, a telepathic analogue.

After a moment, he seemed satisfied and strangely amused, looking at me in a creepy way, as if he knew a “dark secret,” as I had later phrased it, that somehow connected him and I. The edges of his lips then curled slowly upward to an unnatural height, almost as if this surreal Cheshire Cat grin belonged somewhere in the twilight betwixt reality and cartoon.

Soon he walked away slowly with who I presume to be my ex-coworker’s friend holding his hand, but my line of sight was still ensnared by his eyes. He held me in his ocular tractor beam until he was out of my line of sight, at which time I felt him release my mind from his psychic grip.

Sinking down into the booth, I was cold and trembling, heart pumping wildly beneath gooseflesh. My eyes felt a strange, widened sort of pain, and it felt as if I could still feel the residual feeling of him being inside my head. I tried to look intensely out into nowhere, to “stare” the feeling out of me as if I were trying to flush out the psychic lines or something.”

According to Koda, this mutuality of experience does not end with visual illusions and hallucinations of the face, either, but extends to emotional states and physical sensations. One can even play a game, he suggests, in which one takes on the role of the blind receiver as the other intentionally generates and attempts to communicate a specific emotion or sensation.

This brings us to the 1998 book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis, a biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 1983. Despite his accomplishments and credentials he is, to put it mildly, a controversial figure and an interesting character with even more interesting personal anecdotes to relate. In a chapter entitled, “Intervention on the Astral Plane,” he recounts his experience with a woman he introduces as Katherine O’Keefe who had astounding abilities — though I will focus on a single instance he cited which occurred on the day he met her “in the flesh,” in December of 1978. They met first at a Bakery and she then followed him home:

“We talked briefly about nothing much in kitchen and then made love before I knew anything more than her name. She looked deep into my eyes and did something to me with her mind that was ecstatic. It seemed to me as if a little tentacle had reached into my mid-brain and tickled my hypothalamus” (p 93).

In 2002, while I still worked at the fast food restaurant previously mentioned, I had met Angela, a beautiful girl that had some strange experiences of her own. When we worked nights together she used to get up real close to my face and stare at me in the eyes, which I always enjoyed. At one point, while staring at me in that way, she did something akin to what Mullis described. I received this intense, joyous, almost orgasmic high that reached a fever pitch, overwhelming me and causing my field of perception to ripple like the surface of a disturbed body of water.

I had experienced such perceptual distortions before, to be certain, though the emotional component had never before achieved such intensity. One of the first occasions this happened, I was attending a dance with my girlfriend at the time at her school. In passing, as I was walking behind her through a crowded room, I happened to lock eyes with a random girl and the same thing occurred: a rising high with rippling vision. And she had done it at some distance, too.

Koda also writes about telepathically transmitting and receiving emotionally-charged imagery. Having read it for the first time in the process of writing this, it made me think of two experiences of mine.

The first happened during high school sometime after the flashbacks. I was in English class and we were all in our seats working on our papers independently and the teacher was walking up and down the isles, observing us as we worked. Occasionally she would stop and talk to a student in whispered tones. She walked up to my desk, leaned down to talk to me and as I looked up I happened to look her directly in the eyes. It was as if I was sucked into the vortex of her pupils. Inside, I saw things rotting, dripping with a venomous, sewage-like substance, absolutely grotesque, ill and deprived of life. And in an instant I broke the link, looking away from her, totally confused as to what had just happened.

Years later, the same sort of thing happened to me with a kid on April 8, 2002 as I was in a booth at work talking with a Tess, a co-worker and passing romantic interest:

“As her and I spoke, I found myself a bit distracted when this family of four came in. There was a curly-haired brunette lady who I presumed to be the mother; a tall, dark-haired man who’s face I never saw, and two kids. There was a younger one who had blond hair and blue eyes and looked rather frail-looking. His head was kind of big, too. The other was older with dark hair. The mother sat down in the booth behind my friend – booth number five – with the frail boy between her and the wall. Across from her and back-to-back with my friend was the tall man. Across from the blond haired kid and tall man sat the dark-haired boy.

It was the blond that first caught my attention. He was a cute little kid with bright blue eyes, but something about him made me uneasy. Though I was quick to attribute it to paranoia, for a few moments I watched him closely just to be sure. As I was scrutinizing, both kids stood up at once, leaned towards one another from across their table and placed themselves forehead to forehead, like playful bucks locked in a duel, staring dead into one another’s eyes. The mother lightly backhanded the blond kid and told them both to stop.

My attention slipped back to Tess, who was still talking. I had absolutely no fucking clue what the hell she had been saying, and even what she was saying at present seemed to be empty words lost in a jumble. I was getting really, really uncomfortable, and I had no idea why. It all seemed very odd. Somehow, something just didn’t feel right.

Then I looked back up over her shoulder. The dark-haired kid seemed to sense my eyes on him, and he suddenly turned around and looked dead at me and have me a Cheshire Cat grin. When I meet his eyes his pupils grow large, darker-than-dark, and it suddenly it feels as if I’m violently dragged forward and right into them. It’s like we’re in this foggy bubble where we’re only eyes and mind, and only him and I exist, and the rest of the world grows blurred and distorted. It was definitely visual — he looked magnified, abstract and surreal, and I could still see that Cheshire grin, wide and cartoon-like. It certainly wasn’t limited to image, though. It was as if our eye contact had merged us mentally, fused us. I felt as though I was in his mind, or that he was in mine, or that we now shared a mind.

I looked away. It took me a few seconds or so of staring at the table in front of me to realize just what the hell had happened. I knew I wasn’t sleeping, so I couldn’t be dreaming. I wasn’t on drugs. Tess was still talking, but when she looked up at me she did a double-take and then stopped dead in her tracks. I imagine the look on my face must have been about as fucked up as I was feeling. She studied me another moment before asking what was wrong.

Looking at her, staring deep into her eyes, I found that nothing happened. If this was in my head, I wondered, wouldn’t looking into her eyes do the same thing? I looked back at the kid, thinking this might have been something I’d imagined — half hoping, as a matter of fact, that it had truly been something that I’d imagined. Then it all happened again. He goes into my head, grinning again, almost as if he’s a fucking cartoon. If I focused at all, I feared I might be locked there forever; that I might be trapped there and the rest of reality might fade away.

He looks away. While I’m sitting there pale as a ghost and freaking out, he’s sitting there amused. It’s almost as if he thought it was funny that he could do this. He leaned over the table again and whispered to the blond haired kid. Then he turns back to me and does it again, grinning that wide and freaky Cheshire cat grin, eyes as big and black as universes.”

Koda ultimately experienced something far more extreme than me in this respect, however. In the summer of 1984 he writes how he was practicing the technique with a friend of his in a coffee shop when, for roughly six seconds, they both suddenly saw the same detailed scene from the same perspective:

“I was looking directly at a very pretty blond girl about nineteen-years-old. She was perhaps six feet away, facing slightly toward my left as she sat in front of an old-fashion chest of drawers topped with a large, ornate mirror. Her dress was bright yellow, laced up the front and had a white, ruffled collar. She was brushing her long blond hair with very slow strokes, looking rather absent minded, as if she were daydreaming about some hoped-for future. To the left of the dresser was the closed bedroom door. Without knowing why, I was certain there was a hallway on the other side of the door. I knew that toward the right the hall lead to the back door and the barn area, while on the left the hall opened into the living room. On the other side of the hall from the bedroom was the kitchen. I knew where all the pots and pans and lanterns were hung, that the road came in from west in front of the house and most of the fields were in that direction. I knew everything about the place as quickly as my mind could scan the area, including the ‘fact’ that I was in a farmhouse in Southern California in the late 1800s” (p 18).

In rare instances, he says, even thoughts can be communicated — as exemplified to some degree in his initial experience with his friend on hashish and his subsequent mind-reading of his friends and classmates. It also brings us back to Mullis. In a chapter of the aforementioned book entitled, “My Evening With Harry,” Mullis recounts an experience he had in 1978 in San Francisco.

He was sitting at his kitchen table with his friend, Harry, a fellow chemist, who he had not seen in some time. They both drank some beer and Harry smoked a joint. After explaining that he wanted to show him something, he turned to Mullis with wide eyes and asked him to stare into his eyes and do his best not to blink or react if his face happened to change. As Mullis goes on to explain:

“His face did change. It was still Harry, but varieties of Harry I had not seen. Different faces appeared out of the familiar flesh, which now wasn’t so familiar. Some of them were humans I didn’t know, some were not human at all. They were animal. They were all Harry in some way I couldn’t explain. I was seeing things in him that were him but not a part of the life we had shared. It was a little scary, but Harry was somehow underneath it smiling that confident smile” (p 86).

(p 86)

They both admitted to being inside each other’s minds (“the front room — the reception area,” Mullis explained) and then Mullis broke it off for a moment, grabbed two pens and some index cards.

“We were being scientists. We both wrote down a word and then showed each other our cards. It was the same word. Just a word, nothing cosmic, but it was the same, and we knew it would be. We did it again and again, and we knew every time it would be the same. We were watching something — always present but usually dormany — from a privileged position that we had created by putting ourselves together in some way. It was absolutely normal and yet it wasn’t” (p 87).

Recently I came upon some articles regarding eye-gazing experiments that inspired me to try researching the subject again, hoping to find something. While I found no further personal anecdotes, I did happen upon some interesting and relevant studies. In a video by The Liberators International they invited strangers to publicly engage in eye contact for one, whole, psychologically-juicy minute. After the predictable awkwardness produced at the onset, participants reported the very heights of elation. This predominantly emotional experience may have been overshadowed by some haunting hallucinatory phenomena if ocular engagement had continued for ten minutes, however, at least according to experiments conducted by Giovanni B. Caputo, a psychologist at the University of Urbino in Italy.

I was first introduced to Caputo’s work through an article regarding his studies on mirror-gazing in which he found that after perhaps no more than a minute of staring at one’s reflection subjects experienced what he called the Strange-Face-in-the-Mirror Illusion. Features would darken or become more pronounced; people would see, instead of their own faces, those of strangers, animals, or monstrous beings. In further experiments in which he explored the effects of what has been variously referred to as interpersonal, intersubjective or mutual eye-gazing, he found that the same basic manifestations emerged.

In a paper entitled, “Dissociation and hallucinations in dyads engaged through interpersonal gazing,” Caputo described an experiment in which he paired off 20 people (15 women, 5 men) and had them sit facing each other at a distance of roughly three feet in a dimly-lit room where they were instructed to gaze into one another’s eyes for ten minutes. There was also a control group of 20 placed in more or less the same conditions, though in this case they were instructed to gaze at a blank wall. Each group then completed three questionnaires relating to their experience. The initial dealt with dissociative states, the remaining two focused on their experience of the point of focus — the control group’s wall or the face of your partner. The results were astonishing:

“The participants in the eye-staring group said they’d had a compelling experience unlike anything they’d felt before. They also scored higher on all three questionnaires than the control group. On the dissociative states test, they gave the strongest ratings to items related to reduced colour intensity, sounds seeming quieter or louder than expected, becoming spaced out, and time seeming to drag on. On the strange-face questionnaire, 90 per cent of the eye-staring group agreed that they’d seen some deformed facial traits, 75 per cent said they’d seen a monster, 50 per cent said they saw aspects of their own face in their partner’s face, and 15 per cent said they’d seen a relative’s face.”

As explained elsewhere, a cocktail of neural adaptation, psychological projection and facial recognition would explain the surreal effects that can manifest during mirror-gazing; the same would appear to be true for mutual gazing. This would not, at least so obviously, explain why interpersonal gazing would constitute the more intense experience of the two — nor would it begin to explain the seemingly telepathic effects. There are, however, at least two separate studies that may offer some insight. One was conducted by psychologists from the University of Stirling involving 20 five-year-old children. It concluded that those who averted eye contact in order to consider how they would answer questions were more apt to answer correctly than those who maintained their gaze. In another study conducted at Kyoto University in Japan (the results of which were published as “When we cannot speak: Eye contact disrupts resources available to cognitive control processes during verb generation”) participants played word association games of varying complexity while looking at a variety of faces that were either staring or looking away. During eye contact, they did more poorly during the most complex questions.

In both cases, then, it was suggested that cognitive effort and eye contact interfered with one another. While neither study so much as references hypnosis, the conclusions of both appear to resonate well with hypnotist Scott Jansen’s allegation, which is that sustained eye contact generates “psychological pressure” that diminishes conscious thinking. Subliminal or unconscious thought then rushes in to compensate, heightening one’s suggestibility. In other words, eye contact could be seen as the most basic form of the most typical of induction techniques used by hypnotists both on and off the stage: what is variously known as the direct gaze, fixed gaze or fixation method of hypnotic induction. Though this can be used to refer to the subject’s fixation on nearly anything — a candle’s flame, a finger, a swinging watch — among the objects of potential focus are the hypnotist’s eyes. The issue here is that inducing hypnosis does not alone explain the seemingly telepathic effect, as there are no clearly no overt, hypnotic suggestions to follow in the midst of silent, mutual gazing — and they would prove difficult to deliver, too, perhaps, given the interference it evidently has with respect to cognition.

There may very well be nonverbal hypnotic suggestions at play here, however. Consider that eyes are essentially extensions of the brain that not only receive external signals as sense organs but can also transmit the brain’s own signals to other pairs of eyes. When you engage in eye contact with another person you pick up on the expressions on their face and, of course, the movements of their own eyes. While you can consciously perceive the eye movements known as saccades, such as when the person looks back and forth, there are various forms of subtler, involuntary movements that occur even when those eyes remain fixed on your own, and they may also communicate nonverbal information regarding their inner state. By picking up on these external, nonverbal reactions to their own minds we may instinctively decode those signals and replicate the other person’s inner state within ourselves. Hypnotic trance through silent, prolonged mutual gaze would only amplify such effects.

Those effects are certainly there, too, whatever the cause. In a 2015 study published in the journal Neuroimage, 96 volunteers were split into pairs and proceeded to engage in mutual gazing under the watchful eye of fMRIs. It was found that not only did the pairs begin blinking in unison, their brain activity synchronized in the area of the right inferior frontal gyrus. The remaining question is whether these mundane processes are enough to explain the effects of what I, perhaps lamely, have referred to for some time as ocular telepathy. To put it more plainly: if through prolonged mutual gazing you are capable of sharing or exchanging hallucinations, emotions, mental images and even thoughts with your partner, does it remain a viable hypothesis that the aforementioned normal — as opposed to paranormal — processes are the culprit?

Taken as a whole, it seems a stretch. To break it down in specific bits: being capable, in the midst of locked gaze, of reading emotional states through nonverbals and experiencing them as your own — or experiencing them as emotions from an external source, namely that of your partner — is a hypothesis that would be relatively easy for me to accept, especially given what we know regarding our inherent capacity to subliminally and automatically translate body language. When it comes to sharing hallucinations and subjective imagery, however, I am far more skeptical, and when it comes to communicating thoughts — say in the fashion of Mullis and Harry at the kitchen table exchanging those index cards — it seems absolutely absurd.

So how might one explain this?

We know that ordinary sense perception exists. Our mundane senses do not operate in isolation, however, but are in constant concert, influencing one another with the aim of delivering a seemingly seamless sensory experience to consciousness. Smell, for instance, affects taste, as anyone who has had nasal congestion can attest to. Wine tasters swirl the fluid in the glass, take a hearty whiff, and then sip, utilizing all relevant senses as they contribute to a more holistic, mindful experience of the taste.

There is sufficient data in parapsychological studies to suggest that extrasensory perception exists. While we accept the community or senses as a factor for clear reception with respect to the clarity of reception provided by any singular, ordinary sense, we are for whatever reason suddenly prone to amnesia when it comes to exploring the extra-sensorium. Here, frustration and discouragement overwhelm us when we learn that, for instance, telepathy is difficult to isolate with any certainty from other senses — or potential extrasenses — in the laboratory setting. When we do manage to fashion experiments that isolate specific psi, we are frustrated and discouraged when the effect, though exceeding chance, is relatively weak. We fail to consider the fact that in their natural environment, so-to-speak, they may complement and be similarly influenced by a community of extrasenses just as ordinary senses are.

Not only that, but we should expect these two distinct sensory systems to influence one another as well, which would certainly serve to complicate matters. Assuming this is the case, it could go some way to explain what many interpret as a failure in parapsychology, which is to say that any detectable effects are prone to being relatively weak in nature. After all, when we take average individuals and subject them to parapsychological studies with rigid controls meant to remove any evidence of sensory (if not other extrasensory) influence, we are in effect removing their given extrasense (telepathy, in this case) from its natural context and placing it in an isolated, alien environment in which it is not only virgin but necessarily abandoned by its typical support system. We should be astounded that parapsychological experiments reveal any psi influence at all.

Perhaps the coupling of mutual eye-gazing, subliminal cold-reading and telepathy could better explain the phenomena experienced as ocular telepathy. It works so well, its effects are so predictable, immediate and intense in comparison to telepathy as it is ordinarily explored, simply because it utilizes the parapsychological in tandem with the psychological and biological.

No doubt a relevant form of training might help discipline our natural ability to conjure such capacities through the Psychic Window Technique, and the literature which I have referenced in quotes in this article already provide some clues as to what training might be optimal. Consider, for instance, the conversation between Mullis and O’Keefe following the incident in which she seemed, according to him, to have tickled his hypothalamus:

“I asked her what the hell she had done to me.

She replied, ‘You’ve been playing with your mind, but you don’t know anything yet. No one has ever properly taught you.’

I was excited. ‘Will you show me how to do that? What you did?’

‘You already know. You just need to practice'” (p 93).

Though Mullis reported that she did indeed teach him to practice, he gave few details, in the end only offering the reader her diagnosis of his condition. “She told me that I had abilities that I hadn’t tapped into and that I had to learn to quiet myself inside,” he wrote. “I had to learn not to think so much.” Though she never said it outright so far has Mullis himself has conveyed, it seems clear to me that she was talking about meditation — something akin to the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist practices of samatha and vipassana, which cultivate the power of attention.

There was also a detailed practice offered by Koda, however: the aforementioned “The Psychic Window Technique.” He suggests that you and your partner sit down and face one another at a distance of perhaps two to three feet, sure to maintain “open” body language devoid of defensive barriers like crossed arms or legs in the process. Both of you then decide which mutual “side” will hold your attentions when you stare at one another: either you focus your eyes on your partner’s right eye as they focus on your left or vice versa. It is of vital importance, I think, to focus mutual attention on a mutual “side,” as it makes certain you are both focusing on the eye of the other that is focusing on you. This would also make it indistinguishable from samatha meditation.

Once the “side” is established, you both stare into one another’s eyes unwaveringly, without blinking, all the while trying to expand your field of clear perception to encapsulate the entirety of the face: then the weirdness begins…

BS and Pragmatism.

The Perennial Philosophy sees each religion as a superficially distinct path based on an underlying cosmic truth that it shares with all other religions. There is a unity underlying the illusory manifestation of diversity. Each tradition is perceived as a different path to the same damn mountain.

This philosophy is a high-heel grinding on my left nut for the very same reason the notion that “we’re all the same inside” tends to belt-sand my hairy man-tits. It falsely assumes that we are all one and therefore emphasizes similarities that aren’t there as it proceeds to play down the importance of the contradictions.

Is it just that some are utterly incapable of empathizing with those who are different from them, and so must convince themselves that everyone is just like them, with the same desires and goals?

To those of this mindset, I say you’re going at it from the wrong direction: the problem is that you cannot accept a world beyond your own eyes, a soul distinct from your own. You gleefully ignore all that is lost in your poor attempt at translation.

The approach of Chaos Magick is far more rational than the perennial philosophy. One of it’s fundamental axioms is that beliefs are tools. Their worth is not found in their approximation to the truth but in their pragmatic value. In order to determine their pragmatic value, they must be tested by means of experiment.

In Chaos Magick, this should be a breeze, really — after all, the experiment already exists in the form of religious rites, rituals, ceremonies. All that is left is for you to just conduct the experiment yourself or take part in an “experiment” already being conducted, such as some group Pagan ritual or Buddhist ceremonies taking place in an accessible location. This second option might be the best, as being around those who have made these beliefs their lifestyle rather than a convenient tool will help reinforce your adopted belief structure, to keep the belief-as-tool firmly in hand, to help you “believe in” to prime for the experiment.

This is essentially what Joseph Campbell called the “seizure.” It was a point in a child’s play where they become intensely focused in their play and their peripheral awareness diminishes to near-zero — they become absorbed in the material as if it were a sponge, their consciousness the fluid. As a result, the play suddenly becomes real to them. They faked it till they made it.

They monster they playfully imagined suddenly comes alive. The book they are reading nearly becomes one with their mind. They are the god the ritual masque they wear, cryptic words they chant and the dance about the fire is meant to represent, and so are embedded in the myth-come-alive now through a wild ceremony.

You participate in the desired rituals, try to reach whatever target your shooting for with the tools their beliefs offer along with the props of ritual for potential practical application. No matter how successful the experiment, once you have documented the results, subjected them to analysis and documented them you then must move on, ditch it, drop it.

As you “believe in,” you must “believe out” again and traverse to another belief system (BS, as RAW says) to experiment with, another reality tunnel to leap down, preferably with this second BS-adoptee being as distinct from the former as is possible. You do this again and again, traversing a rich diversity of contradictory world views so as to test their values as tools.

This is what the chaos magicians or “chaotes” call paradigm shifting — that steady, rhythmic pulse of believing in and out again, like a needle weaving a thread through the fabric of so many opposing traditions to serve the aims of a single individual.

It’s like taking a small, divided population of individuals into a room one by one and spill their own sides of a story. The stories may be very different, but the commonalities suggest a shared source that may be objective actuality — or have at root some other shared factor, such as shared and unconscious cultural prejudices, an overt conspiracy to cover up the truth with a cover story and so on. At least you can narrow down the possibilities.

Now consider the potential pragmatic insight comparative religious studies makes available to the chaote given the nature of the practice. Say similar techniques worked in different rituals belonging to belief systems of polarized natures. Again, at least you can narrow down the possibilities. You may not know why the technique works, but you know it does and that it is not reliant on the uncommon factors between the two rituals and the great big bulk of polarized BS they are based upon.

By being able to isolate that technique and experiment with it in tandem with other techniques procured in the same fashion, we could ditch the useless baggage and refine our innate abilities and latent potentialities. Chaos Magick comes equipped with at least one such procured technique in its arsenal, and that is what has been called the gnostic state. Gnosis, as it is usually called, is an altered state of consciousness in which one achieves absorptive focus on a target with a corresponding depletion in peripheral awareness.

In other words, Gnosis is how you achieve Campbell’s seizure, just as inhibitory and excitatory extremes is how one goes about achieving gnosis.

Inhibitory gnosis relies upon meditative states, upon extreme bodily relaxation coupled with sustained and absorptive focus. Intense arousal through chanting, dancing, drumming, fucking, masturbating, doing uppers or subjecting yourself to hyperventilation or sensory overload characterizes excitatory gnosis, however.

As enthralled as I have been and remain with respect to the concept behind Chaos Magick, in the end I must confess that as a practice it would seem too much to me like swallowing 101 flavors of BS hoping to come away with a few prized peanuts stuffed in my cheeks. My fear is that soon enough I would feel as if I were the mystical equivalent to an anal-dwelling chipmunk plagued with new-butt wanderlust, and I find that image incredibly unappealing.

Instead, I find interest and see hope in the practice of psionics, which thrives where parapsychology, for some ridiculous fucking reason, refuses to tread. We don’t need religion, but Chaos Magick can utilize it as a valuable resource alongside psionics.

Psionics strives to create, experiment and refine strategies through which psi abilities can be accessed, disciplined and exploited. This as opposed to the usual trend of parapsychological experiments and studies, which is to needlessly add to the heap of evidence suggesting psi capacities exist. Parapsychology needs to get on the psionic bandwagon.

The High Art of Hunting Down Cranial-Dwelling Homunculi.

Do we experience anything directly?

Take objective reality, for instance. The brain receives data through the senses, each of which pick up a specific type and range of signal, and it then translates this data into perceptible symbols and sews up the holes, offering consciousness the illusion of a complete and unabridged experience of objective reality. Yet it is only a symbolic rendition. A simulation. When we see the color blue or green, we are only seeing our species-specific nervous system’s symbolic translation of certain portions of the light spectrum that it is sensitive enough to receive.

We typically presume we are in intimate contact with objective reality, and this despite the fact that science shows that our brain only provides a simulation based on incomplete information which conforms to the previous simulations bearing some similarity to the present one which are already stored in our memory banks. Perhaps on the basis of similarly ill logic we base our presumption that we really know ourselves.

Take a look at yourself, but not in any literal mirror. Who are you?

Forget objective reality: you never really “see” or experience yourself because consciousness doesn’t have much of a mirror. We can only experience of ourselves what the brain receives and in the way the brain expresses it. We cannot see all of ourselves at once, as we can with our physical body as we stand before a large mirror. Its more like there’s a television in your head and you can change channels, to some easier than to others, and get feedback on the “visible” spectrum of our consciousness only one splice at a time. If our brains were so optimal that we had easy and immediate access to the whole of our consciousness, we would still only experience ourselves one puzzle piece at a time. Never having seen the picture on the box. Never able to have so much as two pieces in mind at the same time, either, so never really getting too far in putting it together.

This does not, of course, mean that consciousness could not still be a product or epiphenomenon of the brain, but in ways it does make the brain sound like a sensory organ to me. If that were the case, we would expect the brain to be akin to the other sensory organs. How so? Well, the eyes pick up a specific type of signal, namely light, and a certain range of that signal, namely the visible spectrum. The ears pick up a specific type of signal, namely sound waves, and a certain range of that signal. Given that, perhaps then the brain also picks up a specific type of signal, namely consciousness, and a certain range of that consciousness. Yet the brain would have to be distinct from the other senses in that it would not merely have to receive its data, consciousness, but also transmit data back to consciousness. The brain would therefore have to be a transceiver of sorts.

The data the brain would be transmitting back to consciousness would be the brain’s triune-structured simulation based on the data offered to it by the senses, including itself. The outer layer would be the simulation of the objective world, the middle layer of the bodily sensations, and the inner core would be the layer of the simulation based on consciousness. As long as the brain still works, at least in its typical mode, consciousness is limited to perceiving only what the brain allows it to perceive of the objective reality and the body. More interestingly, conscious would also be experiencing only the range of itself that the brain permits and in the form translated by the brain.

You are consciousness caught in the brain’s web, ensnared in a recurrent feedback loop with it. The Stimulus can also manipulate the recipient, however. Psychological experiments have shown how cats raised since their youth in an environment composed of only vertical stripes were blind to horizontal ones, for instance. The environment that the brain as a sensory apparatus would be so sensitive to, the stimulus that would manipulate it, would be the specific consciousness that hooked up to it. As with the kittens in Verticalville, we might expect that the sensory organ would be highly sensitive before and after birth. We might presume that it would take some time before the mould hardened, so-to-speak, and the brain “locked on” a particular unit of consciousness.

If reincarnation occurs, to extend this speculation even further into what I fear will be interpreted as absurdity, it could be as Jim Tucker suggested in Life Before Life and multiple souls could be “battling” for the body until it reaches some critical stage of development in which it “locks on” to one and the game of musical chairs is over. So eyewitness testimony, anecdotal as it is, does not support the notion of the soul entering at the moment of conception — to strike one more nail into that absurd motion with the not-so-high-hopes of (if I may descend into the utterly distasteful for a moment) aborting the issue once and for all.

Based on his caseload, episodic and semantic memories from former lives begin as soon as the child can speak and can be retained until late childhood, and in more rare cases, even into adulthood. For most, however, the episodic and semantic memories fade when they are young, but the implicit memory and general character of the personality remains such as tastes, tendencies, fetishes, phobias, talents, addictions, sexual persuasions, sexual identities, mannerisms and handwriting style. It would appear that the brain “locks on” to a particular consciousness by imprinting itself with the patterns of that consciousness.

Yet if the aforementioned cases of reincarnation have anything to say about the matter, it is not merely the psychological and behavioral attributes that can carry over from another life, but appearances. Dr. Ian Stevenson has shown cases where death wounds and other scars as well as blows to the head and severed limbs have manifested in the following incarnation as birthmarks and deformities. Cases have also shown that the individuals who remember former lives tend to grow to look like their alleged former incarnations. Form, or appearance, is retained. As some have attested, perhaps consciousness is an energy that exists around us — called the aura when we‘re in the physical body, the subtle body or whatever when we‘re out of body — and creates, sustains, and evolves patterns of thought, emotion, behavior and form.

Given all this talk about the brain and consciousness being “locked on” to one another, what might we make of the reports of out of body experiences? This would seem to imply that consciousness need not be a prisoner to the body during physical life, but can basically come and go as one pleases, given he masters the talent. What tends to trigger the experience? Extremes at either end of the scale. They are often attributed to stress, making it sound as if the stress short-circuited the brain and temporarily evicted consciousness. Yes, Mr. Keenan, it would appear that at least in some extreme cases, “over-thinking, overanalyzing separates the body from the mind.” They also occur during Near Death Experiences and drug use, of course, which acts as the bridge here as it comprises both extremes. Meditation, hypnosis and dreaming, all extreme states of relaxation, often also lead to OBEs, of course. As consciousness moves beyond its baseline state in the body at either end of the spectrum, it temporarily escapes the feedback loop with the brain and can access itself directly, giving it not only the capacity to move beyond the physical body, but also access its amazing psi abilities.

Onward, I wonder: is consciousness on some super-subtle end of the electromagnetic spectrum? Am I just trying to rationalize the concept of dualism so as to provide a more satisfying explanation for my out of body experiences, which I know may just be some peculiar form of lucid dreaming? Am I too high right now to be posting thoughts unedited by a sober self? Onward to reach if not already achieved: reductio ad absurdum.