Paranormal Beliefs

Paranormal Beliefs

spirituality

spirituality-Paranormal Beliefs

Paranormal beliefs and experiences are associated with  certain personality factors, including absorption, fantasy proneness, and the Myers-Briggs intuition and feeling personality dimensions. Skepticism appears to be associated with materialistic, rational, pragmatic personality types. Attitude toward psi may also be influenced by motivations to have control and efficacy, to have a sense of meaning and purpose in life, to be connected with others, to have transcendent experiences, to have self-worth, to feel superior to others, and to be healed. The efforts to obtain reliable control of psi in experimental parapsychology have not been successful. Given the lack of control and lack of practical application of psi, it is not surprising that those who are by disposition materialistic and pragmatic find the evidence for psi to be unconvincing. When psi experiences have been examined without a bias for control, the primary effect has been found to be enhanced meaning in life and spirituality, similar to mystical experiences. Tensions among those with mystical, authoritarian, and scientific dispositions have been common in the history of paranormal and religious beliefs. Scientific research can do much to create better understanding among people with different dispositions. Understanding the motivations related to paranormal  beliefs is a prerequisite for addressing questions about when and if psi actually occurs.

What is the Purpose of Psi?

According to the prevailing view in biology, the driving force for biological evolution is self-serving enhancement of reproductive and associated material success through competition and struggle for existence. However, the evolution of consciousness in humans has resulted in symbolic thought and culture that can disengage from the instinctive self-interests underlying evolution. This evolution of consciousness includes the emergence of spirituality, and motivations for transcendence and ethics beyond self-interest. Experimental parapsychology has assumed that psi is directed by needs and motivations based on self-interest. However, both experimental and spontaneous case findings suggest that psi is generally not guided by conventional motivations and needs. The parapsychological assumptions have not produced significant scientific progress and the experimental results appear capricious and actively evasive. On the other hand, paranormal phenomena tend to inspire an enhanced sense of connectedness, meaning in life, and spirituality, and have had a major role in most spiritual traditions. Psi appears to have the function of drawing attention to spiritual matters. The instances of striking psi draw attention away from the material world, and the capricious, actively evasive characteristics of psi thwart efforts to use psi for material self-interests. Enhanced consciousness can be viewed as the self-evident result of biological evolution, the ultimate goal of spirituality, and the primary effect of paranormal experiences. Interest in spirituality and related paranormal phenomena appears to be associated with personality traits that have significant genetic components.

Excerpt from PERSONALITY AND MOTIVATIONS TO BELIEVE, MISBELIEVE, AND DISBELIEVE IN PARANORMAL PHENOMENA By J. E. KENNEDY

 

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