Slippery Siddhim and Lessons Therein

Among the most dramatic “paranormal” phenomena to be regularly anecdotally observed in human life, are what are sometimes called “macro-PK” – “mind over matter” phenomena, in which physical objects observable with the naked eye are moved around, materialized or dematerialized via the power of some person's thought.

One intriguing aspect of these phenomena is how, in many cases, they seem to come along with certain unusual states of consciousness. This correspondence may have something to each us about the relation of our everyday physical and mental world to the eurycosm.

As one example: In the (very nice) book "Sivananda Buried Yoga", the author recounts (as an aside to the main thrust of the book) a story of a yoga master who -- just for the heck of it, to wig out a skeptical visitor -- materializes a bottle of Jack Daniels and some french fries out of the air. The question is raised why such feats are not observed more often, if indeed yogis of a certain level of mastery are capable fo them. The answer given is one I've heard before -- in order to achieve this capability, you have to first achieve a certain state of mind ... and along with achieving this state of mind, you lose the desire to gain wealth or impress people by doing cheap psychic tricks...

From a skeptic's point of view, this sort of argument is obviously going to sound extremely unconvincing...

But I think it's interesting to run with this idea a bit and see where it leads...

I thought of another analogous situation: The question of why there aren't more horrible terrorist acts wreaked upon the world using advanced technology. I mean: Surely, if the same energy currently spent on Silicon Valley, Beijing or Bangalore tech startups were spent on figuring out how to use cutting-edge science and tech to wreak massive destruction -- we would have a lot more massive destruction in the world!

But it seems that the teams of people with the capability to create effective, innovative practical deployments of advanced tech -- tend not to be the same teams of people who want to kill a lot of innocent people.... (Yes, I know that militaries exist and use advanced tech, and the US military among others often does bad things. But still, the point remains that we don't have anything like a "Google meets al Qaeda" out there.... The closest I can think of would be rogue groups of Eastern European hackers and cyber-criminals -- but that's online crime, not mass murder or physical torture... it's different psychologically....)

Why is this? It seems that the process by which one becomes a science/tech expert, tends to inculcate one with a cultural mindset that is antithetical to the desire to become a terrorist.

I can think of subtle reasons why this would be the case. The scientific community is very international -- one is always using ideas and tech created by brilliant people from all around the world. Further, science and tech themselves are not bound by any human culture in particular, so they intrinsically step beyond tribalism to a certain extent.

Of course, we do have large groups of scientists working on destructive technologies, within national military facilities. But the concept of "dispersed responsibility" is important here. For an engineer to join a team of 20 making a weapon for terrorist usage, he has to really adopt the team's goal as his personal goal. For an engineer to join SAIC and work on killer tech to ultimately be used by the US military, he just needs to want a good stable job doing cool stuff.

(As an amusing aside, when my friend Desmond Germans read an early draft of this chapter, he asked “What is is the equivalent of the US Army? Is there a group of uniformed yogis that do experiments in the desert, making things appear and disappear, just to see if they can somehow weaponize the whole thing?” It occurred to me that this may somewhat exist with in the Indian Special Forces... they have hired an intriguing individual named Master Shifuji – an Indian warrior monk and a kind of yogi - as their expert trainer!)

So, anyway – supposing we assume that yogic miracles and other dramatic psychic phenomena are POSSIBLE (i.e. do sometimes occur), then we have two cases where: X happens less often than one would expect given its possibility, and the reason for this is that the process of acquiring the capability to do X, brings with it a lack of desire to do X …

There's also a little more commonality to the two cases. In both cases, the acquisition of the relevant capability involves development of a rich connectivity to a world outside oneself -- a broader world than one was previously involved with. In one case, the subtly cross-connected energetic/mystical universe beyond our physical world; in another case, the international and historical scientific community, beyond any particular current culture, nature or tribe.

So perhaps these cases only seem weird and mysterious due to a cognitive error of assigning too much agency to human individuals and not enough agency to broader self-organizing nexuses of influence in which human individuals are embedded. I.e., one can look at it like
  • it's not the case that the yoga, as an individual, learned how to materialize Jack Daniels and fries out of the air ... rather, it's the case that the yoga transcended his traditional individual self, and coupled his mind/body with a broader network of forces
  • it's not the case that a student learning science, is an isolated mind who downloads scientific information into his cranium. Rather, in the process of learning science, the student gets absorbed into the "global mind" of the scientific community, and what he likely thinks of as his "choices" are actually heavily guided by the flow of influence in this global-science-mind...
To complete the argument we would then have to assume that
  • working cheap "miracle" tricks is not interesting/desirable to the "broader mind network" with which an advanced yogi gets tightly linked
  • working these miracle tricks is beyond the capability of an isolated human, but can be done by a human acting as a sort of component of or channel for a broader mind-network
and analogously,
  • becoming terrorist is not interesting/desirable to the global scientific community with which a scientist almost inevitably gets tightly linked
  • becoming an advanced sci-tech terrorist is beyond the capability of an individual to do on their own (e.g. just by studying dry manuals), but can be done by a person or group after they munge their minds somewhat into that of the international scientific community
(In the latter case, clearly, as science and tech develop, the second point becomes less and less true, which is a bit worrisome. But it still seems to have a lot of truth at present.)

This also seems to tie in with issues related to the potential use of psi in gambling (about which some have speculated that "the universe doesn't want you to get rich via psi"), and the decline phenomenon via which particular psi experiments tend to work worse and worse over time, for no easily explicable reason. To the extent that psi requires, to a weaker degree, some sort of rich coupling with a broader influence-network outside the individual mind -- it may be something that cannot be controlled by individual minds based on their egocentric goals and interests, but has to be driven by the broader mind-network... To explain the decline effect, one would then have to argue that repeating the same experiment over and over again is somehow "out of synch" with the dynamics of the broader influence-network ... i.e. that psi naturally occurs in accordance with the flow of patterns in this broader influence-network, and trying to get it to occur systematically in the context of repetitive experiments is somehow distortive and creates out-of-synch patterns that rapidly dissipate....

When I posted these thoughts on Facebook, a couple folks had interesting rephrasings/elaborations of my point regarding yogic macro-PK:

In fact, the siddhim -- the powers of the sorcerer (intriguingly similar to the "gifts of the spirit") -- are generally thought of as a great danger on the spiritual path because they distract from the path itself.

You said it one way: "those who obtain no longer have a desire to use." -- but those of us in the tantric path see it the other way around: "those who want do not get." The desire for "special powers" is an impediment to developing the kind of energy body that would be required to develop -- even at a primitive level -- those powers. The ego -- the mental construct or idea of self simply can't access those kinds of abilities because they are not of the mind at all. And my explanation for the effect you mention about declining efficacy of psi powers comes down the mind getting involved. Like a pitcher thinking about his no-hitter. If he thinks about it he's going to lose it. (Blunt Jackson)


The "think about it and you're going to lose it" example is just perfect.... In the case of an athlete or an improvising musician, the "flow" they get into is closely tied to the fact that they are in a state of consciousness where their deliberative mind and their individual ego are in the background and not serving as major nexuses of influence...

The insight that the Yogi does not perform the miracle themselves but that a larger self-organizing nexuses of influence is operating 'through' them, also resemble the claims of some indigenous shamans who often say that they themselves are not the ones who are performing the magic, rather they are a 'hollow bone' through which a larger sentience or immanent dreaming intelligence is operating. (Jason Hine)

The story, then, seems to be:

  • Macro-PK often occurs in the context of an individual human mind existing in a state of consciousness in which it is richly networked with a network of causes beyond its individuality
  • This sort of state of consciousness tends not to be correlated with wanting to do a lot of macro-PK

Phrasing it eurycosmically, it seems that

  • Macro-PK is associated with individuals in states of consciousness, enabling a lot of causal flow between the eurycosm and the individual's cognitive contents
  • This causal flow between the eurycosm and the individual's cognitive contents, seems to allow causal flow between the eurycosm and aspects of our “physical reality” (in this spacetime continuum) that that are correlated with those cognitive contents
  • This causal flow between the eurycosm and the mental reality of folks in these eurycosmic states of consciousness and their correlated physical surroundings, in some sense “does not want” to run amok with macro-PK and disrupt the order of our reality considerably (whether for good or for ill)

Supposing all this really makes sense, it seems to hint at some messages of broader significance. Among other things, it hints that in some sense: Eurycosmic mind-patterns by and large don't want to disrupt the order of things here in our little spacetime continuum. They are OK with tweaking what happens here a bit. But they don't want to bring the whole thing tumbling down, or let massive chaos unfold and spread. 

If Eurycosmic mind-patterns are “conservative” with regard to our spacetime continuum in this sense, then the observed data regarding macro-PK makes sense. One has the chain of reasoning that:

  • Macro-PK is achieved via close coupling of eurycosmic mind-patterns with physical-universe-resident mind-patterns
  • Eurycosmic mind-patterns don't want to mess with our physical universe too much
  • Thus, macro-PK is unlikely to cause huge disruptions in our world

This abductive inference does, however, lead to another obvious question: Why would eurycosmic mind-patterns be conservative with respect to our spacetime continuum?

This ties into a broader question: What “purpose” does our physical reality serve in a broader eurycosmic sense. I have already posited my intuitive answer to this question: it's a pattern generator, with its own particular characteristics. 

But then we're left with the question – why would rampant macro-PK undesirably disrupt the pattern-generation capabilities of our corner of the eurycosmos?

A question whose further exploration I will defer to a later post, where said pattern-generation capabilities and peculiarities will be explored in more depth!

1 comment:

  1. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that for the last approximately 5200 Gregorian years we have been in what is called a degenerate age. I think now that we have almost completely and successfully transitioned into the Fifth Hoop we shall most likely see a tremendous amount of macro-PK. I would point to Will Tiller's work, the Dalai Lama's Science for Monks program, documentaries like The Yogis of Tibet, the Mind and Life Institute, and etc. as evidence of this. I think your children's generation is going to experience some really cool shit . . . We're on the launch platform and the engines are idling!