Nov 30 2013

A Possible Non-Supernatural Quantum Model of Precognition – Part 5

Published by at 10:57 pm under Consciousness,PSI

[Note: This is taken from a research paper I wrote in 2007.  It’s entirely possible that research since then has entirely refuted my interpretations of the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. This piece is being presented “as-is” or, rather, “as-was.”  I am particularly interested in feedback and discussion, as I realize I’m making some ambitious suggestions in this series.]

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

Part 5: The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events

In the October 1960 issue of The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Dr. Ian Stevenson published “A Review and Analysis of Paranormal Experiences Connected with the Sinking of the Titanic.” Stevenson, who passed away recently, is perhaps best known for is investigations into possible cases of reincarnation. He was affiliated with the University of Virginia.

Stevenson’s article covers a wide array of events that seem to suggest precognitive foreknowledge of the Titanic’s demise from a variety of sources. Some of these seem to be stronger hits than others. One of the strongest, and better known incidents is that of Morgan Robertson, and his novel Futility. This will also be an important case to keep in mind in terms of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, for reasons that will become clear.

In 1898, 14 years before the sinking of the Titanic, Robertson published his novel Futility. This fictional account focused on a catastrophe at sea, involving a ship named the Titan. In Robertson’s book, the Titan was believed to be “unsinkable.” On a voyage in April, the Titan struck an iceberg and sank, killing a substantial number of passengers.  The Titanic, also deemed “unsinkable” (though it had “water-tight” bulkheads, as did Robertson’s fictional Titan), struck an iceberg, and sank – on the night of April 14-15, 1912. Both Robertson’s Titan, and the Titanic had too few lifeboats. Stevenson also lists other similarities between the novel and history.

Titan Titanic
Number of persons onboard 3,000 2,207
Number of lifeboats 24 20
Speed at impact with iceberg 25 knots 23 knots
Displacement tonnage of the liner 75,000 66,000
Length of the liner 800 ft. 882.5 ft
Number of propellers 3 3

(Stevenson, 1960, p. 156).

In addition to these rather intriguing incidents of life imitating art, Stevenson cites a number of other precognitive experiences surrounding the Titanic. Included in Stevenson’s survey are precognitive dreams, crisis apparitions, visitations on the night of the catastrophe, and more. Some of the reports are more compelling than others, and a few do seem to be merely eerie coincidence. Collectively, though, these experiences seem to indicate that “something was in the air” regarding the Titanic’s fate. Why else would J. Connon Middleton, a businessman from England have dreams about the Titanic “floating on the sea, keel upwards and her passengers and crew swimming about her (Stevenson, 1960, p. 157).”  These dreams convinced him to change his travel plans. Why, on April 10, would Mrs. Jack Marshall, watching the Titanic sailing by from her rooftop on the Isle of Wight suddenly feel compelled to proclaim “That ship is going to sink before she reaches America (Stevenson, p. 158)?”

Individual cases of precognition might be written off as coincidence, but when a large-scale event seems to be foretold in a number of ways by a number of people, “coincidence” (while certainly a possibility) seems to be less likely. It is interesting to note that skeptics will dismiss individual cases of precognition as coincidence, or fraud, as noted above, yet, they seem to want to have their cake and eat it too. Martin Gardner, in his book The Wreck of the Titanic Foretold? takes issue with all of these reports. Skepticism is healthy, and essential in dealing with phenomena related to consciousness. However, Gardner dismisses these stories too quickly, and resorts to straw man and ad hominem attacks on Stevenson.

The Coup - Party MusicSimilar to some of the events that seemed to foreshadow the sinking of the Titanic, there seem to be events that may have foreshadowed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On March 4, 2001, Fox Television broadcast the premiere episode of the television show The Lone Gunmen (appropriately enough, perhaps, a spin-off of The X-Files). This episode, 6 months prior to the attacks, dealt with a plot to fly a commercial jetliner into the World Trade Center. Similarly, the hip-hop group The Coup was preparing to release a cd titled Party Music, the cover of which is reproduced to the right:

At this time, finding corroborated individual reports of precognition involving September 11 is difficult. A number of websites have collected stories, but as the Boundary Institute notes on its website devoted to such stories,

Some are moving, some are merely puzzling. Since they are all recorded after the fact (except one, near the end, which was dated and recorded) and have not been independently corroborated, and since memory is malleable and dreams are open to interpretation, there is very little scientific value to these stories as such. We do not take them as anything other than honest accounts of human experience.

These events that seemed to foreshadow the September 11 terrorist attacks provide an interesting glimpse into one of the fundamental problems in how the West deals with paranormal phenomena. In addition to the skepticism of both individual vs. collective precognition as discussed in relation to Stevenson’s survey of incidents related to the Titanic, skeptics will also often cite as “proof” that there is no such thing as precognition the “fact” that if someone had had foreknowledge of a catastrophic event, they should have stopped it. Yet how seriously is someone taken when they call the authorities after a troubling dream or vision that they believe to be precognitive?

Furthermore, in these days of the “Patriot Act”, how quickly would one of these people be hauled in for questioning as a conspirator? While there are most likely countless other reports of possible precognition in terms of September 11 (and hopefully some that have been corroborated), I bring in the examples of both The Lone Gunmen and The Coup as intriguing parallels to Morgan Robertson’s Futility. In a paradigm that holds no space for precognition, perhaps people who are unaware of their sensitivity to such a phenomenon believe that these ideas they suddenly find in their heads to be (a “flash” of?) creative inspiration. After all, a massive luxury liner sinking, or a commercial jetliner crashing into the World Trade Center certainly make for thrilling stories.

Days of Future Passed

We have seen that humans (and earth worms) are capable of sensing small scale events in their immediate future. We have also seen that some people seem to have the ability to tap into large scale events in the relatively near future. We have also seen that certain fundamental particles in the universe can move backwards in time, or have atemporal as well as nonlocal properties. Are these things somehow linked? As tempting as it might be to use a nebulous term like “psychic energy” or the “emotional energy” of an event affecting people “somehow,” and trying to chalk it all up to “a mysterious property of consciousness,” there may be an explanation that can utilize the best of both worlds – the subjective, as well as the objective; one that doesn’t detract from the wonders of consciousness, and that is potentially possible under Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum theory.

To find this explanation, we will next turn to biology.

Up next: The Inmost Light

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Sources:

  • Boundary Institute, The. (2007). Premonitions of 9/11. Retrieved June 17, 2007, from The Boundary Institute: http://www.boundaryinstitute.org/premon911.htm (page is now a 404 – see archive.org link, above).
  • Gardner, M. (1998). The Wreck of the Titanic Foretold?Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
  • Stevenson, I. (1960). A Review and Analysis of Paranormal Experiences Connected With the Sinking of the Titanic. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 54(4), 153-171.

 

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