NEWS: Analysis & Commentary

Discussions on Remote Viewing, Part One

by Jimmy Williams

Jimmy Williams This is the first in a series of articles that is meant to promote dialog about the nature of remote viewing by comparing it to works by authors that seem pertinent to the discussion but in particular to the experimental work in telepathy done by French chemical engineer Rene’ Warcollier in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Monsieur Warcollier was unique in that he didn't try to prove telepathy to skeptics. He concerned himself with conducting experiments and recording the results. His belief was that until the phenomena could be produced at will, it wouldn't be given scientific status.

Warcollier’s book, Experiments in Telepathy, published in 1938, is a treasure trove of information about psychic functioning. The telepathy he sought to describe strongly parallels what we call remote viewing. There are some key differences between the telepathic experiments carried out or reported by Monsieur Warcollier and remote viewing as generally practiced.

The first difference is that with telepathy, there is assumed to be a sender and a receiver. (This loosely equates to the relationship between the targeteer and viewers in remote viewing, which I explain below.)

The second difference is the notion that telepathic communication is dependent on simultaneity. This was not stated explicitly, but was implied by the structure of the experiments. This basically assumes that in order to succeed, the participants must be actively engaged in sending and receiving information. In remote viewing there is no active sender. Instead the subject to be viewed is given a unique coded designator called a target ID which is a set of random numbers and/or letters such as 2637-8927 or ABCD-EFGH. The target ID is associated to the subject through an act of focused attention. The person who carries out this activity is specially trained and is called a targeteer.

The remote viewer only gets the target ID, frequently has no contact with the targeteer and does not do the viewing while the targeteer is preparing the target. Therefore, simultaneity is not a factor in a remote viewing session.

There is a unique case called "outbound remote viewing" or "beaconing" which is similar to telepathy, in that there is an active sender, but this represents a very small percentage of the remote viewing being done.

I found it most interesting that despite his assumptions about the nature of telepathy, Monsieur Warcollier’s results were entirely familiar to me as a trained remote viewer.

Prior to my exposure to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and other quantum physical theories, my world view would have dictated unquestioning agreement with Monsieur Warcollier’s prejudices for the importance of time and causality. His unconscious assumptions are right for his time and show up in the way he crafted the protocols of his psychic experiments.

Chapter 1

Discussions Image OneWarcollier describes psychic imagery as converging on the percipient from memory and being organized in visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and kinesthetic categories.

Does this sound familiar? It is the very same organization, in the same order, that we use in stage two of remote viewing. You can see examples of this in the many sessions posted on the Hawaii Remote Viewer’s Guild (HRVG) web site. Is this a natural pattern, a coincidence, or could it be that the authors of early remote viewing protocols were familiar with Warcollier’s work?

In the experiments carried out by Warcollier and his colleagues, the imagery received were mostly hand drawn impressions of “visual” data. The primary nature of the visual senses represented in the work is remarkable in that some modern remote viewing techniques suppress "viewing" in the early stages of their protocol structure.

Discussions Image TwoLet's look at some of the specific problems that come about when trying to perceive visual data. In their telepathic experiments, many of the images transmitted contained color. In this regard Warcollier writes: “We cannot know how color is transmitted, but the important thing is that color is transmitted, independently of form. Some subjects never perceive colors in telepathic images; others, like myself, perceive colors as well as form. With the latter, color may be transmitted well, but in connection with a mistaken image. For instance, in the case of a fish of a certain shade of red, the exact shade may get through in association with a billiard ball of the same color, although the image of the red fish may be transmitted in the form of a white fish of another species.”

The data can all be there, but the faculty of the analytical mind is missing. The discernment of normal thought is missing. The mind is communicating the essential gestalts, but it filters out the meaning while transmitting fundamental data like color and form.

Warcollier says that data converge on the percipient from strata of memory. Robert Ornstein, the author of The Evolution of Consciousness, The Origins of the Way We Think, cites experiments by Frederic Bartlett in 1932 that destroy the idea of the accuracy of what we think of as normal memory: “He noticed that people’s recall of figures and events was not accurate. He realized that the transformations memory performed on elements generally altered them to be more like the previous experiences of the person recalling them.”

The basic idea is that your mind assembles data on the fly according to a predetermined mental framework or paradigm one is operating in. (This sounds very much like the concept of "framing" from Neuro-Linguistic Programming.)

Discussions Image ThreeOrnstein goes on to say: “…Bartlett developed the notion of schema – a mental template into which we fit our experiences. Investigators of the memory schema have discovered several types of distortions in recall. Memory is selective - information not in the currently active schema cannot be recalled; it is interpretive - the active schema leads to supposition about the meaning of events, and it is integrative – different ideas and events are combined into one schema and can no longer be processed separately.” On the simplest level, the integrative-interpretive aspect of thought is what we recognize in the proper association of the color (red) and form (fish) in Warcollier’s example, but it also shows up in curious illogical associations like a red fish colored billiard ball and a white fish of similar form. Each is a legitimate association, but the second example lacks context.

Natural evolutionary pressures designed the mind. It was never meant to be an accurate catalogue of the outside world inside one's head. It evolved to accomplish the task of finding food, avoiding pain and reproducing. These are the baseline schemas of the mind.

Schema can be very much more complex, but all data processing is organized to make efficient use of the enormous amounts of data that our environment is bombarding us with. Data is assembled from the senses in real time and from memory according to schema. The schema give meaning to the data and filter out anything that is extraneous. Processing information correctly and efficiently meant staying alive and it has been wonderfully successful.

Getting back to telepathic or remote viewed data, there is no predetermined “schema” to operate from. There is no meaning to organize the data. This is what is known as blind or double blind remote viewing and it is the standard method of conducting a remote viewing session. The data organizing principle of the mind is therefore negated by the protocols of remote viewing (or the experimental restrictions of telepathy).

Because the schema is lacking, the data that is received has to fall back on simple, associative memory rather than integrative-interpretive memory. As in Warcollier’s example above, the red of the fish associates with the red of a billiard ball because it doesn't have access to the direct sensory framework provided by the eyes sending signals to the mind, which say Red Fish. Neither can it rely on memory organized in the form of earlier similar events having similar schema.

This is why people who claim to remote view, but know the nature of the subject ahead of time (i.e. "front loaded"), are not really working in the same arena at all. When front loaded, a whole different aspect of mind is interpreting and integrating data. Remote viewing relies on pure associative data in the beginning stages. It is ill advised to refer to both front loaded and blind remote viewing with the same label because of the significant differences in mental processing.

There is a term used by remote viewers called “Analytical Overlay”(AOL). It is the activity of the mind slipping in to integrative-interpretive mode. This is when one assembles reasonable imaginary contexts for incompletely perceived remote viewing data.

The trick is to maintain associative mental processing. If successful in avoiding AOL, the data collected in the remote viewing session eventually accretes in meaningful ways through the agency of the data collection matrix created by the remote viewing protocols.

This is crucial to understanding the activity of the mind while remote viewing. It takes training and discipline to suspend the normal tendency of the mind to integrate and interpret. Strict adherence to remote viewing protocols ensure that one is in the proper state of mind and that data is collected in a standard methodology that allows meaning to be reconstituted through data analysis.   

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