Seeing the Future

IN THIS ISSUE WINTER 2010- 2011

The Science of Premonition by Dr. Larry Dossey
Author: Larry Dossey

Excerpted from The Science of Premonition: How Knowing the Future Can Help Us Avoid Danger, Maximize Opportunities and Create a Better Life by Larry Dossey. Copyright 2009 by Larry Dossey. Reprinted by permission of the author.

The allure of future knowing is ancient and powerful. As author and remote-viewing researcher Stephan A. Schwartz says, “There is no siren whose call is quite so exquisite as the music of the future. For as long as writing has existed there are records showing we have sought to know its form. Last year alone, literally billions were spent by widows, lovers, spies, and presidents – all seeking, like an arrow through time, some way to answer: ‘In the future, what will …?’”

For more articles about “Knowledge”, Click Here

Seeing the Future - The Science of Premonition by Dr. Larry Dossey

For most of human history, foreknowledge has not been regarded as hypothetical, but as a natural part of the human endowment. People saw evidence for this everywhere. Premodern cultures routinely used, and still use, premonitions pragmatically: Knowing where danger lay, where to find game and shelter, when to plant and harvest, where to locate strayed animals, or which part of which plant, harvested in which season, prepared in which way, would cure a specific illness. In addition to the utilitarian side of precognition, there were more subtle benefits that were equally important.

The ability to know the future is a stepping-stone outside the here and now. The intensity of the trials of life – the daily dose of hunger, suffering and death – was lessened for our predecessors because foreknowledge made it clear they were part of something outside the here and now, something transcendent. Our forebears could better endure the nastiness, horrors, and pain of the present because they were not time-bound.

They kept their links to the past alive through oral history, ritual myth, and story, which often included honoring their ancestors. Their link to the future was fashioned through foreknowledge, which for them was an obvious, demonstrable fact.

Surely wisdom and discernment not censorship or condemnation, is the better approach toward a gift that humankind has possessed for probably its entire history, and whose impact on us is, on the whole, benevolent.

Our forebears knew something we don’t: The links between the past, present, and future are real. But how can we know this for ourselves? There are two main ways. One approach is to examine the actual precognitive experience of ordinary people. Second, actual experiments demonstrate that we can know the future before it happens.

Systematic research in premonitions has a long and storied history, beginning most emphatically in 1882 with the founding of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in the United Kingdom. The SPR was later imitated in other countries, including the United States, where William James, widely regarded as the father of American psychology, helped found the American version in 1885. The founders of the SPR were among the most eminent, respected scholars of their day. Their dedication to the principals of science was profound. Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung were members of the organization. Past presidents have included several Nobelists.

Seeing the Future - The Science of Premonition by Dr. Larry Dossey

Another major event in precognition research was the founding of the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory in 1935 by the legendary J. B. Rhine. Rhine is rightly considered the founder of modern parapsychology research, and did more than anyone in the twentieth century to anchor it in rigorous science. Rhine and his colleagues brought a statistical and laboratory approach to studying extrasensory perception (ESP), which continues to this day. Rhine’s initial laboratory has morphed into the Rhine Research Center, with headquarters in Durham, North Carolina.

Today it is difficult for us to appreciate the extent to which premonitions, visions, prescient dreams, prophecy, and divination have influenced civilizations.

In 1957, following an initiative by Rhine, the Parapsychological Association (PA) was formed with the intention of providing a nucleus for an international society. In 1969 the PA became formally affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The archives of the PA are a rewarding entry point for anyone wishing to pursue the history of research in precognition.

Though the focus of The Science of Premonitions is on the most recent research in precognition, I mean no disrespect to the early trailblazers. Those wanting a more comprehensive approach might consult the recent scholarly books Irreducible Mind by Edward F. Kelly and colleagues, and Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence, edited by Etzel Cardeña, Stanley Krippner, and Steven Jay Lynn.

One of the most striking features of psi-related experiences (PREs) is their high prevalence in nearly every culture studied. A 1987 survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center found that 67 percent of adult Americans say they have had PREs. In most other countries where similar surveys have been done, more than half the population reports PREs. This includes all of North America, the United Kingdom, and other countries in Europe, the Middle East, Brazil, Asia, and Australia.

The most common PRE involved telepathy, reported by onethird to half of the population. About one-fifth report clairvoyance. Psychokinesis is reported by only 5 to 10 percent of the population.

Where do premonitions fit in? Around 60 percent of PREs are contemporaneous, meaning that they link two concurrent events. Nearly all the remainder are precognitive, relating to the future. Precognitive ESP [extra sensory perception], or PREs, are what we call premonitions.

Our forebears knew something we don’t: The links between the past, present, and future are real. But how can we know this for ourselves? There are two main ways. One approach is to examine the actual precognitive experience of ordinary people. Second, actual experiments demonstrate that we can know the future before it happens.

Seeing the Future - The Science of Premonition by Dr. Larry Dossey

Most contemporaneous PREs are intuitive imageless impressions – a hunch or “just a feeling.” By contrast, precognitive experiences or premonitions usually occur as realistic visual images, most commonly in dreams.

There is a dark side to premonitions. Because they provide foreknowledge, people throughout history have coveted this ability as a way of exercising influence over others. In their quest for power, people throughout history have won – and lost – kingdoms and fortunes by trusting premonitions. Adolf Hitler’s premonitions of Aryan supremacy and a Third Reich that would reign supreme for a thousand years destroyed Germany, ravaged Europe, and led to 50 million deaths in World War II. The Allies’ premonitions that the D-Day invasion at Normandy would be successful, in spite of horrid weather and ferocious German resistance, won the day.

Today it is difficult for us to appreciate the extent to which premonitions, visions, prescient dreams, prophecy, and divination have influenced civilizations.

For most of human history, foreknowledge has not been regarded as hypothetical, but as a natural part of the human endowment. People saw evidence for this everywhere.

“The concept of divination is basic to not only shamanic but also Judeo- Christian traditions, “ say psi researchers Elisabeth Targ, Marilyn Schiltz, and Harvey J. Irwin in Varieties of Anomalous Experience. “As in other places, leaders in ancient Greece relied heavily on the prophetic efforts of sibyls at the Oracle of Delphi to make strategic decisions. In modern Asia, the time of escape for His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, after the Chinese invasion was determined through directions from the Nechung oracle, helped guide the spiritual and political leader of Tibet into safety in India.”

The Nechung Oracle remains the official state oracle of the exiled government of Tibet. The Kuten, the medium of the oracle, occupies the rank of a deputy minister in the Tibetan government. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has dealings with him several times a year. The reason is pragmatic. As His Holiness says in his autobiography, “This many sound farfetched to twentieth-century western readers . . . . But I do so for the simple reason that as I look back over the many occasions when I have asked questions of the oracle, on each one of them time has proved that his answer was correct.” But he cautiously adds, “That is not to say that I rely solely on the oracle’s advice.”

At least the Tibetans are open about their reliance on future knowing. Our government tends towards secrecy in these matters. First Lady Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer in managing President Ronald Reagan’s schedule. The Carter administration successfully used remote viewers to locate a downed spy plane that satellites could not see. The CIA for decades employed remote viewers to gather intelligence in the highly classified Star Gate program.

The intensity of the trials of life – the daily dose of hunger, suffering and death – was lessened for our predecessors because foreknowledge made it clear they were part of something outside the here and now, something transcendent.

Premonitory abilities can be extremely seductive. This is why many spiritual traditions have regarded them as detriments to one’s spiritual development, and why some religions condemn them as satanic. This reaction is perhaps overwrought, at least in some instances. Fire can be used to cook our food or burn heretics, but no one suggests that we ban it because it can be used in nefarious ways. So it is with premonitions. Surely wisdom and discernment not censorship or condemnation, is the better approach toward a gift that humankind has possessed for probably its entire history, and whose impact on us is, on the whole, benevolent.

Would you learn how to develop your natural ability to know the future if it meant you could avoid danger, maximize opportunities and create a better life for yourself? - Tell us below!