Thursday, July 9, 2009

UFOs, the unconscious and morphic fields

As discussed in several previous posts, a better understanding of the inner dynamics of social psi is required to develop a comprehensive explanation of the UFO phenomenon. In turn, a better understanding of the shared unconscious processes is required to study social psi effects. Yet, studying the unconscious, shared or individual, represents a significant challenge. Two different authors are used here to provide some interesting conceptual notions for the understanding of the social unconscious dynamics: Otakar Machotka and Rupert Sheldrake.

Further insights about the unconscious

If we want to discuss the content of the unconscious using the language of reason (i.e. of consciousness) then we face the problem of translation. The unconscious is the realm of emotions and symbolism, where analytical logic is of limited use. Even defining the unconscious is problematic. I found, however, an interesting definition in a sociological but long forgotten book by Otakar Machotka, The Unconscious in Social Relations: An analysis of unconscious processes in personality, society, and culture (New York: Philosophical Library, 1964). Machotka defines the unconscious as “unresponsive, undiscriminating, conditioned, subliminal, unattending, insightless, unremembering, unlearned, unrecognized, ignored, and unavailable to awareness” (p. xxi). In other words, the unconscious plays by its own rules, it is naive and on auto-pilot, and works in parallel to consciousness.

Machotka also introduced a short but useful discussion on the issue of tensions in the unconscious. Both individuals and societies can experience “the feeling of tension which may arise 1) between two different ideas, norms, values, obligations, ties, or attitudes, 2) between an idea, norm, value, obligation, tie or attitude, and a reality, 3) between those and the tendencies, drives, and wishes of the personality” (p. 149). Then he adds that “As long as the tension-feeling is weak or mild, it generally is unconscious or operates unconsciously. But even strong tension-feelings sometimes may remain unconscious or disguised. Unconscious tension-feelings are with us most of the time despite general inclination of the human personality to remove or reduce tensions” (pp. 149-150). For him, these tensions are resolved unconsciously, most of the time, by the selection of norms, values, etc., that are the most appropriate socially. Hence, for Machotka the unconscious is also socialized and contributes to maintaining existing social norms.

What Machotka does not discuss, however, is when there is a tension between an idea, norm, value, etc., and a reality unconsciously known but yet to occur. In other words, what happen when there is new knowledge acquired by psi means (and therefore residing in the unconscious) that is in conflict with the norms and values also found in the unconscious? Furthermore, it is also possible to think that if such knowledge acquired through psi means creates a strong tension it will remain unconscious, as both components of the tension are specific to the realm of the unconscious.

If Machotka is right, then this has significant implications for the study of UFOs, and parasociology in general. If the original psi effect is the pre-cognition of emotionally charged events, then as pre-cognition tends to work better in the short term, UFO events and dates of significant events are important indicators (as in the case of Barney and Betty Hill, the Black Thursday, and the events linked to the Mothman Prophecy described by John Keel ). In this context, UFOs are an attempt to resolve the tension by the unconscious and by bypassing consciousness, but to alert the consciousness which has greater ability to deal with tensions. UFOs are possibly a last resort option for the unconscious, or believed to be so by the unconscious. Hence, UFOs are rather symptoms of a (social) problem present or future, rather than a meaningful phenomenon in itself.

The original psi effect leading to the acquisition of new information, however, can be of more than one source (e.g. unconscious telepathy between people, access to the Absolute Knowledge, etc.). It is likely that the idiosyncratic nature of the information will inform the nature of the macro psi effects, which are idiosyncrasies too (e.g. UFO, ghosts, Virgin Mary, ghost ship, Mothman, etc). For the researcher, the challenge is to bring to the consciousness the psi generated information and link it to the paranormal events. In the case of precognitive social psi and UFOs, it is probably easier because the information will become publicly known in the short term. Similarly, in the case of poltergeists, family or work tensions can be found easily too. But for many other phenomena it may be locked up in people’s unconscious forever, or the phenomenon is actually a synthetic PK form drawing on multiple sources (as Rogo (1986: 91-113) found out in the case of poltergeist hauntings).

Lastly, this also means that the occurrence of shared psi information about an event to come cannot be predicted, nor the unconscious calculus that there is no other options than using PK to express the tension (because it is based on what the unconscious believes to be true), and therefore it is probably safe to say that for ontological reasons UFO sightings and waves cannot be predicted through reasoned analysis. In the light of the above discussion, the best that can be done in terms of prediction is to identify conditions that are favourable to the emergence of macro PK effects, which may or may not take the form of a UFO sighting or wave. However, UFO sightings and waves can be explained after the fact (like most social phenomena).

Rupert Sheldrake and morphic fields

Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist who became parapsychologist (like J.B. Rhine), and became famous for writing A New Science of Life (London: Victoria Works, 1981). Sheldrake postulates that “all self-organizing systems are wholes made up of parts, which are themselves wholes at a lower level, such as atoms in molecules and molecules in crystals. The same is true or organelles in cells, cells in tissues, tissues in organs, organs in organisms, organisms in social groups. At each level, the morphic field gives each whole its characteristic properties, and interconnects and coordinates the constituent parts. The fields responsible for the development and maintenance of bodily form in plants and animals are called morphogenetic fields. In animals, the organization of behaviour and mental activity depends on behavioural and mental fields. The organization of societies and cultures depends on social and cultural fields. All these kinds of fields are morphic field” (Sheldrake 2006, 32).

Sheldrake also considers that there is a psi field, and I would add that like I discussed in a previous post there is also a social psi field that is arranged in fractal way with the individual psi fields. For Sheldrake, as well as for Dean Radin, we are all connected through this field, but our connection is greater when there is a social bond between people. Morphic fields are also stronger as they become habits, and unconscious routines. This led him to study telepathy through the pre-cognition of phone calls (being more effective when the caller is a known person), and animals coming back to their master, even if separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometres. Sheldrake also studied the feelings of being stared at, which implies that someone else tries to get closer and thus disturbs the field.

This is a neat concept for parasociology that also postulates that there is a “social glue” at the psi level. It is useful to study psi effects in close knit societies, but also when the social psi field is being disturbed by emotionally charged events perceived by the unconscious. Sheldrake’ s concept of morphic field can also help to explain that when there are less entrenched social habits because there is social ongoing change, weak social fields are generated. This in turn can explain that UFOs may have been less prevalent in the last 15 to 20 years because globalization and homogenization of cultures are in full swing (i.e. we are beyond the initial shock). UFOs, or other paranormal phenomena, will return probably when a new “normal” will be established and then disturbed. In any event, looking for a “strong” social field that is disturbed by social psi effects remains an interesting indicator for the study of UFOs.

I would also use Sheldrake`s concept to explain hauntings, and thus maybe the so-called CE4 or alien abductions (as well as other paranormal events that share a similar narrative structure). Hauntings can be a social psi field that became routinized by people believing that a specific house is haunted. This habit can be passed from one generation to the other, and explaining how a house can be haunted for decades or even centuries. Sheldrake`s concepts helps to reinforce my contention that hauntings are actually social events part of a social structure, while being a PK reality as well. The more people talk about the ghost, and the more they research death people’s life to “fill in the blanks” the stronger the psi fields will become, reinforcing its specific idiosyncratic content (i.e., the ghost of Mr. X). Could it be possible that alien abductions are also routinized psi effects, part of a particular psi field? This would explain the persistence of the phenomenon, as well as its fairly consistent narrative structure. The more the phenomenon is discussed and formalized, the more its idiosyncratic content stabilizes. This would also explain that in spite the relative decline of UFO sightings the number of CE4 events remains relatively stable. UFOs sightings and CE4 would be only linked by the assigned idiosyncratic content (ETs), but are generated through different social psi processes.

Copyright © 2009 Eric Ouellet

No comments: