FMBR Editorial: May, 1985
Speculations About PK
Robert L. Shacklett
Evidence that intention or purpose plays an important, perhaps a dominant role in the way the universe runs has been piling up to such an extent that I feel relatively safe in climbing out on a limb with a few speculations.
First, let me describe some of this evidence which seems so compelling to me. There is the anthropic principle which states that the universe itself is organized and constructed in such a way that people--conscious observers--are an inevitable product of its evolution. This idea which is linked with the physics of elementary particles as well as "big bang" cosmology is both beautiful and awesome in its implications.
The placebo effect is another kind of phenomenon which pushes me in the general direction I am trying to describe. Here the belief in the efficacy of a certain medicine seems to have a powerful influence on the body's response to that medicine. And along this same line, the current popularity of imagery and visualization extending even to the world of sports and athletics suggests that more and more people are catching on to the idea that planting the right thought or picture in the subconscious is the key to the programing of the body for a desired behavior.
Finally I would mention the mass of data that has emerged from studies on psychokinesis (PK). Micro-PK research, such as with random event generators, has shown that thought or intention is weakly but measurably coupled to atomic or quantum-level systems. Macro-PK studies, whether they be informal spoon-bending at "PK parties" or carefully instrumented work in the laboratory, suggest that the release of relatively large amounts of physical energy can be triggered by thought power.
Now one more piece of information from physics before I climb out on that limb. There is a rule governing the behavior of physical systems called "Hamilton's Principle of Least Action." Action is defined as the product of energy and time, and the Principle of Least Action simply states that when a system undergoes some kind of change it chooses a path along which this product has a mathematical minimum (assuming influences from outside the system are negligible). I won't get into the question about how the system "knows" that the path taken is indeed one of minimum action. I want to emphasize, however that the principle has been found to be valid for both large scale (classical) systems and small scale (quantum) systems.
Now I would like to pull these ideas together and see what can be made of them. First I need to make a couple of simple assumptions:
- "Thought" takes place at a different level than the physical (call it "mind") but interacts with the physical through a weak coupling between physical energy and a more subtle energy form.
- The physical level operates in accordance with natural law (Hamilton's Principle) except at the times when thought interacts with it.
Note that (1) is an attempt to clarify the term "psychokinesis". (Naming a phenomenon does not explain it!) It is suggesting that the mind-matter connection is nothing more or less than PK. Some readers may see in (2) some similarity to "Feynman diagrams" and this is precisely the image I wish to evoke. An analogy can be made to a billiard ball (physical system) rolling in a straight line until a cue stick (thought) interacts with it and sends it in a new direction. An interaction point is sometimes called a "vertex."
Using this model it is immediately evident that we run our bodies by PK. From fetal stage on, we have been learning and practicincing this skill. Whether finger wiggles or healings, the same process links thought to substance. Intention dictates the direction; physics and chemistry take it from there. And this goes for getting sick, too. If the mind suggests anything other than perfect health to the body, the body will obediently cooperate with the "intent" and proceed along a path of least action (or minimum energy) until the next vertex. The path taken may correspond to whatever disease is in vogue at the time (highest probability/least energy) or may produce a more exotic set of symptoms depending on the energy barriers erected by the immune system. Thus, drug effectiveness could be seen in terms of molecular obstacles placed in the path of the biochemical reactions associated with the disease process.
PK outside the body seems more difficult to us only because we haven't had all those years of practice that we have had with our bodies. Anyhow, why mess around trying to PK objects when it's much easier to use the body to move things. Also things outside of our bodies are in the public domain and are subject to a consensus about what constitutes "reality." The PK party provides an environment where the consensus can be changed temporarily allowing individuals to experience how sharply focussed intention followed by a release can trigger a rather large energy transformation (as in metal bending).
Research into PK processes and energies should be one of the highest priority programs in the mind sciences. Rather than being another psychic novelty, it is my feeling that PK represents the most fundamental process in the universe.
Robert L. Shacklett, May 1985