Hi. I used to use this blog a lot more than i do now. I don't agree with much of what i've posted here, but such is the nature of time. :) My instagram & facebook are likely to be more up to date.

battle of the adepts - remote viewing

>> Wednesday, April 2, 2008

after posting about remote viewing on boingboing, i received a very stylish challenge from the venerable takuan... it is as follows:

"and it's on! The crowd goes wild! One corner, Takuan spits in the bucket and comes dancing out, sequined tights twinkling under the kliegs, spiked gloves up and waving! From the other corner, Jamesegyre somersaults to center ring completely naked except for a thick layer of rancid yak butter and brandishing a jeweled scythe labelled "Truth"! Takuan jabs with:
"Remote Viewing is Bullshit!!"......"

my reply is as follows:

i admire your stylish challenge (and generally admire your comments) so it is, with the utmost respect, that i ask you move the rest of this battle here. i find it annoying to follow long comment threads, and would like to document this sure-to-be-epic intellectual struggle for my readers. sooo...

jamesgyre immediately sits in bound lotus and pronounces "remote viewing is an ancient and proven practice with some adherents even in mainstream physics. i have witnessed it performed perfectly first-hand. oh, and my yak butter isn't rancid, it's fermented."

let the games begin!

UPDATE: the conversation was not moved here, but is continuing on boingboing. i will post it here after a certain stage of completion has been reached.

UPDATE 2: a certain stage of completion has been reached... very civil, very cool. the whole original thread (with other folks comments and other digressions is here) the rest of takuan vs. jamesgyre is here in the comments.


james gyre... April 3, 2008 at 10:32 PM  

here it is... the continuation:

#49 posted by Takuan , April 2, 2008 11:40 AM

I am now placing an object on my computer. It is a physical object, separate from my person. It has been closely associated with me for the entire length of my physical presence upon this earth. It will remain touching my computer until an answer is given.

Name the object.

#53 posted by jamesgyre Author Profile Page, April 2, 2008 11:54 AM

@ takuan...

i am saddened that this conversation wasn't moved, but i will continue here for the sake of an important discussion. so,

note that the question is not whether i am able to remote view, but whether anyone can. that being said, i am not able to remote view personally. i have had flashes of siddhis, but never that one. even the person who has performed remote viewing for me has failed on other occasions. however, the performance for me was so unquestionable (and there are so many other examples...) that i remain convinced it is possible.

#60 posted by Takuan , April 2, 2008 1:41 PM

Dear Jamesgyre:

Please accept my apologies for declining your kind invitation. I assure you that under different circumstances I would be delighted to continue at your site. Regrettably, I am constrained for several reasons.

As to remote viewing; I would be delirious if someone could name the object. It doesn't have to be you, anyone reading this is invited. The challenge stands.

#62 posted by jamesgyre Author Profile Page, April 2, 2008 2:00 PM


re: invitation - apologies accepted. oh well.

re: remote viewing - similar to your (accurate) claim about mythbusters above, your experiment isn't "scientific authority". at best, it can only prove that no one on this thread can remote view your object. it does nothing to disprove the possibility of remote viewing globally. do you have (different, more fleshed out) grounds for stating that "remote viewing is bullshit".

note: i've got grounds for believing it's real, but i'll wait to hear your position first, so as to address your specific doubts.

#63 posted by Takuan , April 2, 2008 3:06 PM

amendment: "bullshit" is stylistic carelessness.

Rather: "remote viewing is something I have heard about, possibly experienced myself - though in a fugue state - am hopeful to believe since it makes the universe more interesting, but, at this time, in this place, cannot accept as a demonstrable,repeatable phenonom due to lack of direct personal observation or confirmation of general social consensus of the experiential paradigm I currently subscribe to."

#67 posted by jamesgyre Author Profile Page, April 2, 2008 4:27 PM

@ takuan

well put. that describes my own position on the topic fairly well up until two important experiences in 2004, notably "direct personal observation" and the of changing my "paradigm subscription"

i described my personal experience in an old thread on boing boing, so i'll copy it here:

"people have tried to find holes in this story since i started telling it, but i assure you it is the truth and that i am reporting it accurately. a friend (who happened to be recently taking some higher level philosophy and shamanism classes at the tracker school) accomplished a successful and detailed remote viewing of my basement music studio. i was lamenting the fact that he couldn't see it because he was 7 hours away and he suggested that he try anyway! i was on the phone with him at the time. i didn't say a word the whole time. he instructed me to try to feel happy and enjoy what i was seeing and that that would help him locate me. he began by describing what i was looking at, including simple, guessable (but correct) things like the hole where the doorknob was to go and some of the complex sound-disrupting angles we used in the wall design. but then the real kicker came. he said he saw "a man that looks like santa claus sitting on a rug with a woman playing what looks like a banjo or a fiddle." i had no idea what he was talking about. i turned my head (important!) and saw on the wall behind me a print that my housemate had just put up the day before of a man in a red coat and hat both with white trim sitting on a rug with a woman playing the saw-u (aptly named!) which is a thai instrument that looks like a cross between a banjo and a fiddle. my jaw dropped. then he said he was seeing blue and white birds. the border of the print featured blue and white birds. at this point i interrupted him to tell him of his great success. he was as surprised as i was. what i think separates this from what could be called telepathy is that i was not looking at the image when my friend saw it. i didn't even know it was there. the closest i had gotten to it was that i dumpster-dived the book it was torn out of two days before. i believe (as much as i ever "believe") he was truly non-local during those moments.

let me quickly dissuade people from wasting our time with these common counter-arguments:

1. he guessed... prints of that very specific type are not a common fixture of sound studios. he also made no "wrong" guesses the whole time.

2. my friend told him about the print... absolutely not. i brought up the studio, if my friend was planning this he would have needed to get an immense amount of specific data for every room. this would have also had to happen in the two days previous to the conversation. my housemate does know the remote-viewer, and they talk, but they didn't have any conversation like that in those two days. my housemate who has no need to lie to me has sworn that he didn't tell him anything. i even woke him up early in the morning to ask him during the hypnotic moments right after sleep. no, no, no...

3. he set up a spy camera... seriously, i've heard this. my friend is not in the c.i.a."

anyway, that's the experience i had. my tracker school pal was as shocked as i was. he had tried it with a skeptical friend and bombed. this fits the pattern of complaints (and jeers) that this cannot be accomplished when the "energy isn't right" or some other such fluffiness. i realize it's a frustrating aspect, but consider this:

demonstrable isn't the same thing as repeatable. while some scientific traditions seem to think repeatable is required to prove a possibility, i don't. i think quite possibly that we may not understand the prerequisite conditions well enough to repeat them. even if my friend and i try again, we might be too invested in a new experiment's success to succeed. but that wouldn't prove it didn't happen, or couldn't happen again.

as for shifting my "subscribed paradigm", i experienced similar stories from other trusted sources, including some that involving non-linear time (wowza, that's a whole other thread), and also encountered some mainstream science that supported these ideas. besides the whole body of quantum non-locality research, one of my favorites is a bit older than that...

stephen m phillips did some remarkable historic and scientific research in which he examined over ten years of physics research done with remote viewing by annie besant and c.w. leadbeater (occult chemistry). basically, they viewed a ton of very detailed, numerically correct aspects of the different elements. the modern research examining this data (by phillips, a cambridge and UC educated physicist) is in a couple of books (i have "anima - evidence of a yogic siddhi" but there are others listed on his website), and is summed up quite well in this quote by phillips:

"the excuses for disbelieving the claim of psychics are irrelevant in the context of their (besant & leadbeater's) highly evidential descriptions of subatomic particles published in 1908, two years before rutherford's experiments confirmed the nuclear model of the atom, fiver years before bohr presented his theory of the hydrogen atom, 24 years before chadwick discovered the neutron and heisenberg proposed that it is a constituent of the atomic nuclei, 56 years before gell-mann and zweig theorised about quarks. their observations are still being confirmed by discoveries of science many years later."

along with my direct personal evidence witnessing remote viewing, finding that data helped to confirm that this wasn't just a story, but happened, at least occasionally.

sorry for the length there, but it's a lot to chew. i have yet to hear compelling evidence either of those experiments show anything other than a positive light on remote viewing, but i'm open too it... (but have hope... if i'm right, and i think i am, the universe IS that much more interesting.)


#68 posted by Takuan , April 2, 2008 9:37 PM

Dear Jamesgyre:

Thank you so much for all that. I sincerely appreciate your effort, experiences and information.
I add it to my pile on the topic for further digestion and integration.

One thing struck me: "demonstrable isn't the same thing as repeatable.". Time. `Repetition needs time to happen.How long a time,how much time? How much time do I get? My lifetime is my infinity, so: is once enough? If I observe something once in the span I am alloted, is that not enough? Science may demand multiple human lifetimes -I think my short span and tiny bubble of space/time might only need once.

Challenge stands. What is the object on my computer? Anyone?

thank you again

#69 posted by jamesgyre, April 2, 2008 9:51 PM


groovy. let's leave it at that... except...

leave that object on your computer until tuesday. coincidentally, i'm likely going to see my friend this weekend because i'm going to a funeral. maybe we'll take a shot at seeing it...

if you could, post your rough location. it might help. i'm not terribly hopeful we'll get it. i chalk a lot of our earlier success up to my recent receptivity and unattachment and my friend's fresh tuning from his classes. it's almost as if it had to happen that time, to help us believe. it definitely changed our lives, our minds, our path...

and thank you

#70 posted by Takuan , April 2, 2008 10:01 PM

I am loathe to confirm the presence of my base on your world, let alone a continent.

I will think upon that. The object remains.

My sincere condolences on your bereavement.

#71 posted by Takuan , April 2, 2008 10:04 PM

good night

james gyre... April 3, 2008 at 10:38 PM  


stephen m phillips site
besant & leadbeater's book
phillip's book

got money? feed kids!

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