A Commentary on Jim Keith's Lecture, "Revising Reality"

By Greg Bishop

Without launching into a tirade about Scientology, I would like to attempt a reply to the honorable Mr. Jim Keith (for whose scholarship and writing I incidentally have the greatest respect) on his lecture/essay about remote viewing that appeared here recently. I am not certain, but it seems that Jim hasn't read up much on the subject, and beyond that, I have actually interviewed a couple of the "remote viewers" myself over the past few months, so I beg your indulgence...

What is suggested is that since remote viewers are able to transcend time and space by the power of their intentions, and through the focusing of their mental faculties, they might be able to "fix" past events where something in our evolution or history has gone wrong, thereby transforming our condition into some version of Nirvana on Earth. There are a multitude of reasons why this is not even theoretically possible. He also seems to fall into the peculiarly western desire to "fix" things. There is nothing in our past that needs to be "fixed." In fact, I believe that it is the point of Scientological "auditing" to remember and understand the past rather than to deny it. What Jim seems to suggest is that the collective unconscious needs some sort of bandage, or worse, blinders to clear us of unpleasant race memories. We are reminded of that old "Those who do not remember the past..." adage. Why as Mr. Keith suggests, would we want to "vanish traumatic events in the past from the mass consciousness"? We'd eventually commit whatever it was all over again.

It seems odd that Wayne Carr, a claimed viewer, would not explain to Keith that given what is currently known about the process of remote viewing, that the idea of affecting distant events and times viewed is an impossibility. This is not to say that it will ALWAYS be an impossibility, but it appears to be in the realm of fiction at this time.

The first presumption Jim makes is that "we are not defined by our bodies." Fair enough. I completely agree. The argument falls apart, however as he assumes that remote VIEWING is somehow related to remote LOCATION. Just because some of us are able to separate our consciousness from our bodies doesn't mean that the consciousness is able to affect anything tangible.

Some remote viewers (Col. David Morehouse notably) have said that their viewing sessions resemble out of body experiences. From over 100 years of research and writing about OBEs, there are only a few cases where the participants were able to affect anything outside their immediate personal location. The most that anyone could ever muster was the flutter of a corner of fabric or the like. (See Hereward Carrington's The Projection of the Astral Body for more on this.) Morehouse does claim that he visited the site of a helicopter crash (backwards in time) and the recently dead soul of an Army buddy, and was able to integrate the experience and come to peace about this unfinished area of his life. He was NOT however able to prevent it. Is Keith talking about this sort of understanding? If a remote viewer is able to understand and integrate past human transgressions, how is this communicated to the population at large without the inevitable confusion and giggles?

Although rumors abound concerning research into remote influence, there is as yet no firm documentation of this. The existing literature suggests that this can only occur in the present- time is a limiting factor. Some stories from the Soviet bloc had psychics injuring or even killing subjects at a distance. Again, this is at the moment that the medium desires, not in the future or past.

Mr. Keith also assumes that causality is linear. Why time and space should be an illusion while leaving causality in an Aristotelian frame of reference is not made clear. There is growing body of theories and evidence that suggest causality depends on the meaning of the events and their effect upon the viewer (as well as the viewer's effect back upon them.) Cause does not always equal effect, sometimes the effect drops in before the cause-in our time frame. The idea has also been put forward that events are not predetermined (i.e. "fate"), and we may continually be "jumping rails" in the paths our lives, and our species take. All possibilities may be occurring simultaneously all the time, only we're just able to perceive one of them, since we are incarnate in physical bodies.

I am also forced to wonder why Jim insists that the universe needs a therapy session. Just because he's unhappy with the outcomes of many events in our particular space and time frame, doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the whole shebang. Besides, in light of the last paragraph, if the viewers went into the past and "fixed" something, the logical conclusion is that the viewer would come back to a world that didn't need fixing in the first place. The trap of linearity causes a paradox. Another, more frightening idea is that messing with causality may result in a "crash" of the viewer's reality, where ALL possible outcomes are experienced simultaneously. This is a little weird, I admit.

Perhaps I'm also going out on a limb like Mr. Keith.

Greg Bishop edits and publishes The Excluded Middle

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