Systems vis-a-vis the Superpowers
Ingo Swann (20Nov99)
Two major concepts regarding the basic nature of the superpowers have dominated Western conventional ideas and thinking patterns during the modernist epoch.
First, the recognized superpowers of the human biomind (such as represented by the terms telepathy, remote-viewing, clairvoyance, intuition, and etc.) are thought of as special individual gifts or special abilities. As a result those abilities are classed apart from abilities that are seen as more common.
Second, it is also generally accepted that the special gifts and abilities function, when they do, via the brain-mind concept.
However, there is an important distinction to be made between (1) the concept of so-called special abilities, and (2) certain common abilities that are suppressed or extinguished by social measures, and hence are rarely seen.
Indeed, certain abilities that are common to our species, but which are suppressed by social measures, would be seen as "special" if they occasionally manifested in certain individuals or under certain circumstances.
Thus, there are two options regarding how to basically think of the superpowers: (1) as special gifts or abilities; and (2) as abilities common to our species, but culturally suppressed by societal measures.
By far and large, thinking patterns of modern parapsychology have identified with the first option above, and also with the brain-mind concept.
As it has turned out, however, work undertaken within the auspices of those two modernist contexts has not yielded very much with regard to opening up, as it might be put, the information discs regarding the essential nature of the superpowers.
Many "ordinary" people occasionally experience some kind of superpower activity, and this brings into question the validity of the "special ability" idea. It has also proven quite difficult to locate any actual or precise functioning of the superpowers within the brain-mind model as so far conceptualized.
Generally speaking, the foregoing represents a fair, if brief, overview of what has been referred to as Western parapsychology, and which overview has endured, more or less intact, for about century thus far.
Nothing new has really been added into this Western conceptualization, and indeed the mind-set configurations involved with it have shown themselves to be resistant to such additions.
One example of such resistance is that the break-through Soviet and Russian work regarding bio-communications and electromagnetic bio-information has been successfully avoided.
Another examples is that Chinese information regarding certain energy formats that are obviously associated with different kinds of Psi phenomena has likewise not been incorporated into the Western concept.
And the many constituents of the all-important information theory, which itself is a Western product, has not so far dented the Western mind-sets which continue to mull about within the limits of their own concepts.
Additionally, the Western concepts contain a vacuum of information regarding the roles that awarenesses play with regard to the superpowers. Something of the nature of this information vacuum has already been discussed in this database under the general heading of awareness.
But there are other knowledge vacuums in the Western versions of the superpowers.
One of these has to do with the idea that the superpowers function within SYSTEMS that are intrinsic to that functioning.
And so it is the purpose of this set of essays to open up windows of discussion regarding the hypothetical existence of such systems.
Usual Ideas About Systems
It can be found that almost everyone has at hand some kind of idea regarding what a system is.
Thus, although ideas about systems can be quite varied, it seems that the two most familiar ideas about them are:
they have something to do with organizing activities to achieve higher proficiency and effectiveness;
that they have sociological importance with regard to how societies, and corporate units within them, are managed from the top down.
Be that as it may, although many think of the existence and the presence of systems, few seem to consider their ABSENCE, and what goes on or happens because of their absence.
What goes on is generally referred to as randomness and which itself is a minor form of chaos. Systemization seeks to reduce randomness, so as to achieve better functioning with regard to whatever.
Psychical and parapsychological researchers have produced quite a number of ideas, theories, words, and terms regarding the topics of their interest.
Some of these have come and gone, leaving a sort of historical residue. Some have been short-lived, some have been jockeyed around for prestige purposes. Inside those disciplines, intramural prestige and pismire activities have changed, new directions attempted, and hostilities among parapsychological players have come and gone.
While some systemization has occurred, it has mainly focused on acceptable parameters of experimental design, and the application of statistics regarding the usually minimal appearance of this or that Psi phenomena.
But no systemization of the various kinds of Psi (superpower) phenomena has been undertaken - until the emergence of Rhea White and her wonderful, but arduous attempts to identify the many dozens of varieties of "exceptional human experience (EHEs)." [See her paper contained in Section 3 of this database.]
In large part, the phenomena, theories, ideas, nomenclature, and intramural battles of parapsychology have existed in fluctuating and random states and conditions. Some researchers do not even think that the Psi powers are capable of being considered in any systemic way.
This implies that those who intellectually consider the superpowers via the random parapsychology trajectories must in some sense be mentally duplicating the randomness, even if unaware of doing so - this because there is no system to mentally duplicate otherwise.
For hypothetical purposes, it is possible that the superpowers become activated only by virtue of various kinds of coordination among many awareness systems.
Indeed, such coordination would be systemic, and therefore would suffer from any unrealized randomness that might become introjected into the desired coordination.
It is thus that any approach toward such activation must include at least some knowledgeable basis not only regarding the nature of systems, but also the nature of randomness.
The Nature and Effects of Randomness
As found in most dictionaries, RANDOM is based in Middle English and Old French words that meant "running a haphazard course." In our contemporary usage, its major definitions are:
"Without definite aim, direction, rule, or method;"
"Lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern."
Synonyms are HAPHAZARD, which refers to "what is done without regard for regularity or fitness or ultimate consequences;"
CASUAL "suggests working or acting without deliberate intention, or purpose;"
DESULTORY "implies a jumping or skipping from one thing to another ungoverned by method or system."
In the absence of systems, things physical, mental, creative, etc., can dwindle down to the point where they become random, haphazard, casual, desultory messes that are non-functional, non-constructive, and etc.
This permits whatever is involved to go to rot, slime, and other odiferous formats of disintegration and ultimate vanishment.
Indeed, DISINTEGRATION has the opposite meaning of INTEGRATION, whose overall sense, somewhat paraphrased here, generally means "to unite, to form into an organizational whole."
One non-paraphrased definition for INTEGRATION is given as:
"Coordination of mental processes into effective functioning, personality, or within the individual’s environments."
The foregoing, painfully extracted from dictionaries, more or less implies, on the one hand, that if something is random, or perhaps surrounded by random factors, then it probably will not undergo effective integration.
On the other hand, the same could also imply that if the something itself is not INTRINSICALLY integrated, organized, and systematized, then it is quite likely that it will NOT manifest in ways that would amount to much.
As will be discussed, the term SYSTEM implies integration of the factors that comprise it. It also implies that if the factors do not become systemically incorporated, then they will remain random.
By virtue of the foregoing factors, one can now attempt to transliterate them with regard to the superpowers.
If one dares to presume that the superpowers are very intimately and intrinsically associated with different kinds of awarenesses, then two direct implications are:
That the mix of superpower-awarenesses- faculties are somehow innately and intrinsically systemic of and in themselves;
That if the systemic mix is cluttered or introjected with non-appropriate random stuff, including inappropriate mental activity and theoretical hypotheses, then the systemic mix will accordingly devolve toward becoming desultory (i.e., non- functional).
Systems Within Systems
Of course it is to be admitted that there are systems within systems within systems, and on and on.
This is suggestive of complexities which the general lust for simplification and over-simplification cannot really accommodate, no matter how powerful and drooling it is.
At another level of consideration, it can be thought that the entire cosmos is systemic in various ways, and that all within it is also somehow fundamentally systemic in nature.
After all, it is difficult to see how something could exist completely independent of its systemic relationship to other somethings. Indeed, some past metaphysical writers have hypothesized that if something is truly independent of all else, then it will go out of existence.
It is true that many do sometimes realize that interconnectedness among things does exist.
But the basic idea of interconnectedness AMONG things is not the same as the more fundamental idea that all things are not only incorporated within, but are reflective of systems.
An Amusing Parapsychology Randomness
In order to give some real-time support to the foregoing discussions, it is necessary to refer to some personal experiences of my own.
To be begin doing so, it is worthwhile mentioning again that the concepts of systems play no central roles within the concepts of modernist parapsychology and psychical research.
Rather, a selection of the more obvious superpower faculties (such as telepathy, clairvoyance, intuition, etc.) are given names. Each name is then thought to be a specific ability, and is thereafter thought to be a thing-in-itself.
The names permit passive awarenesses to differentiate definitions among and between the NAMES - after which everyone can then assume, for example, that intuition and remote-viewing, as NAMED, are truly specific IT-things-in-themselves.
It is, of course, entirely meaningful to differentiate between this and that thing, and so people overall can become quite good at doing so.
But the differentiation leads to specializing formats of awarenesses with regard to each thing that manages to achieve the differentiating within the awareness contexts of each individual.
What does not achieve the status of having been differentiated remains ambiguous, confusing, and possibly even cloaked within assumptions that can be vivid but meaningless.
For a species, such as our own, that has generic qualities of intelligence and arrays of awareness powers, this differentiating is not all that difficult to accomplish - especially when applied to physical and tangible things.
However, when it comes to intangible factors and aspects of our species and its individually downloaded "units," the processes of differentiating become much more involved and complex.
One way of easing this complexity is to identify the intangible factors as IT-things also, and then to attempt to differentiate among them just as one does with physical and tangible things.
In all fairness, it must be pointed up that psychical, parapsychological, and energetics researchers constitute the only segments of our modernist culture that have attempted an examination of our species intangible factors.
In their attempts they have indeed converted some of the intangible functioning into IT-things, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, ESP, precognition, OOBE, and etc., and some of those workers have recently made an IT-thing of "remote viewing."
Those IT-things, having been identified and given definitions, are thence interpreted as abilities, or suspected abilities. Experiments are then organized to examine and reveal their presence.
Subjects are then located to act as percipients of test-situation targets that will act as stimuli to the given type of intangible functioning.
If the experiment fails, then there is no further problem. But if it should succeed, then some crucial questions immediately arise.
For example, the parapsychologists were experimenting with regard to ESP, and the subject therefore was asked to perceive the target via ESP. The subject succeeded in identifying or "getting" the target.
Now the problems of differentiation arise. For example, did the subject indeed perceive the target via ESP?
Or did the subject get the target by telepathically reading the mind of the person who selected it?
Or did the subject go out-of-body in order to perceive the target?
Or did the subject actually use clairvoyance, or perhaps remote viewing, or perhaps precognition of what the target would be, or perhaps some non-specific generic psychic ability such as Psi?
This somewhat amusing scenario is WELL WITHIN the actual experience of this writer, who acted as a research subject for almost eighteen years in dozens and dozens of different kinds of experiments.
In any event, IF a subject is successful in an experiment, then what seems to have happened is that the subject BECAME AWARE of the target - thus utilizing coordinated KINDS of awareness that otherwise are not active in those in whom, well, they are not active.
If the foregoing can be considered as relevant, the scope of the situation then becomes basically recognizable as a matter of inactive and active awarenesses systems at the individual level.
In the parapsychological sense, the subject who shows some success in experiments is demonstrating certain kinds of active awareness systems existing in addition to those particular awarnesses that are responsive to physical, tangible, IT-things.
Systems Tangible and Intangible
At this point, one might examine the existing and known definitions of SYSTEMS and thereafter assume that one has been sufficiently apprised about them.
However, modernist knowledge packages have established definitions for only a very few general categories of systems, and so it is to those categories that the known definitions apply.
This is to say that our definitions of systems apply to the general category of (1) IT-things that are not only identifiable as being tangible, but which (2) are also verifiable by tangible methods or via logic that utilizes the tangible as a starting point.
The definitions of SYSTEMS are therefore serviceable (and actually quite elegant) regarding the tangible. But they stop short of a number of phenomena that cannot be verified and mapped by methods regarding the tangible.
And so, before dealing with the existing definitions of systems, it is worthwhile looking at what those definitions do not encompass.
However, the reader is alerted to the fact that the pursuit requires entry into matters that have for some time and are presently suspended in various states of confusions typical of randomness - and this even at the highest scientific and philosophic levels.
This is then to say that discussing what is apparently involved might at first seem to add to the confusions rather than ameliorating them.
But before plunging on into various confusions in an effort to ce-confuse them, there is a fundamental aspect that one, if one wishes to do so, can carry in mind.
That fundamental aspect is this: IF awarenesses do exist, then it might logically seem that one of their basic functions would be to differentiate among this and that - DIFFERENTIATE meaning, of course, to recognize differences.
On average, when people refer to a human specimen, they are generally referring to the IT-thing that is named the bio-physical body.
Thus, there is first the bio-body - which then becomes dressed with name, background, various degrees of intelligence, occupation, profession, status, etc., and all of the other IT-identifiers that separate bodies into the final result - a personal individual, and which is indeed named "a person."
If the essential body is thought of in any other way, it is thought of as its parts - its heart, liver, skin, organs, all of which are IT-things as is the body Itself.
About the only reason that the internal organs are thought of as IT-things, and indeed, even thought about AT ALL, is that certain of them occasionally and ultimately malfunction and one has to go to doctor/hospital to have them taken care of.
But on the whole, the body is thought of as THE BODY, with special emphasis on its visible, but superficial, external appearance and condition. As such, each body is a separate one from all others, and so each body appears as "individual."
Getting a little deeper, the bio-physical body is thought of as a physical IT-thing, identified by the IT-thing adjective of "human."
But in thinking of the body as material and physical, the concept that the body is an animate life form somehow gets rather silkily slid by without hardly any notice - this with respect to modernist contexts, anyway.
One of the principal reasons for this is that modernist scientists have experienced a great failure rate with regard to:
Determining the actual constituents of the life force; and
How so-called inanimate matter manages to undergo a tremendous change-of-state into so- called organic matter.
What is called the physical bio-body is actually NOT composed of physical matter per se. Most exactly put, it is composed of physical inorganic matter somehow seized upon and literally drafted into those changes that end up as physical organic matter.
The modern sciences have so far failed to find any clue, much less explanations, as to how this significant change-of-state from inorganic to organic takes place, or even why it does.
This situation is, of course, quite embarrassing within the overviews of the modern sciences. And the best way to cover up this professional embarrassment is to avoid bringing it to broad attention.
The modern sciences are quite good at examining physical inorganic matter, largely because their underlying philosophy downloads from the self-limiting doctrines of philosophical materialism.
But even so, the materialistic sciences (together with their tremendous funding and enormous societal support) have become quite good within their philosophically imposed limitations.
IF, therefore, the life-force (that is closely associated with organic matter) was even in some minimal sense composed of matter, then the modern sciences would by now have discovered this and already have taken the embarrassing situation somewhat in hand.
The central problem regarding the incapacity of the materialistic sciences to get a grip on the life force and organic matter was that whatever is involved apparently consisted of intangible factors.
Here, then, is the old conflict between the VITALISTS (who were interested in the nature and constituents of the life-force), and the MATERIALISTS (who were interested in the nature and constituents of physical matter.)
Now, one subtle, and seldom recognized, factor of this old conflict needs to be brought into visibility.
Many cutting-edge scientists materialistic scientists capable of larger-picture thinking have never really denied the existence of the intangible per se.
The subtle problem focuses on the fact that the SYSTEMS of the intangible have not been located, identified, and categorized.
Thus, the concept of systems and systematizing would be crucial to any kind of science - because this leads to the possibility that maps of the systems and their interwoven phenomena could be made.
And indeed, one of the major definitions of so-called "anomalous phenomena" refers to the undoubted existence of phenomena which cannot be incorporated into any so-far known system that would thereby "explain" them.
Inorganic vs Organic
One of the fundamental issues that is apparently involved has to do with the unacknowledged problem that downloads from the inorganic-organic division itself.
This unacknowledged problem (one I’ve never found unambiguously stated) is that the inorganic matter within an organic animated life form is STILL INORGANIC at the level of atoms, the atoms that make up the ORGANIC life form.
Thus, the strict division between inorganic and organic is expressed simply as: Inorganic/Organic
And it is upon this somewhat formulaic concept that the sciences can duly proceed and maintain their philosophic dignity.
This is to say that inorganic and organic concepts CAN be mounted upon and supported by the doctrines of philosophical materialism; i.e., that both inorganic/organic together and separately are composed of matter.
But with this, yet another inconvenient problem can be encountered - in that organic matter is associated with LIFE, where as inorganic matter is not.
But this is the same as saying that the completely NOT understood principles of LIFE do belong within the formula pointed out above. The inorganic/organic divisioning thus needs to be altered to something like:
Inorganic < > life < > organic
Hence, inorganic is life-force minus, so to speak, while organic is inorganic plus life-force.
Inorganic and Organic vis-a-vis the Nature of Awarnesses
The purpose of dragging the reader through the foregoing has been to construct some kind of conceptual framework against which an important three-part hypothetical question can be posed regarding the problems of awarenesses:
(a) Do awarenesses belong to the minus-life inorganic?
(b) Do awarenesses belong to the plus-life organic?
(c) Do awarenesses belong to the life force or the life principle?
Systems vis-a-vis IT-Things Incorporated In Them
As a cognitive way of getting further into the topics of this and subsequent essays, it can be supposed, for hypothetical purposes, that things are parts of systems. However, if all attention goes to the parts, then the systemic factors might not ever be noticed.
There are two much over-quoted axiom along such lines, to wit:
(1) If one is in the forest one will see the trees in one’s immediate proximity, but will not see the incorporative dimensions or the entire panorama of the forest itself (i.e., the forest’s bigger picture.)
(2) If one is outside of the forest, on might see its overall panorama and dimensions, but not see the individual trees themselves.
The Systemic Nature of the Organic
At this point, it might seem that the discussions have meandered afar from the superpowers themselves.
But if for hypothetical considerations it can be thought that although the superpowers have IT-thing definitions, they may also have systemic functioning that has never hereto been attributed to them.
Even so, it would be clear that the superpowers are somehow mixed into, so to speak, the organic nature of the biomind organism.
The conventional definitions of ORGANIC are found in most dictionaries and encyclopedias, and so what is to follow cannot be taken as too off the wall.
If organic matter is composed of inorganic matter, then, as a fundamental simplicity, it would be understood that both are the same thing.
Strictly speaking, then, there is no absolute difference between organic and inorganic matter because both ARE the same thing. And one is therefore obliged to wonder why the term ORGANIC ever came into existence.
Those reasons are implicit in the standard definitions of the term itself.
ORGANIC: "Having systematic coordination of parts, i.e., organized; forming an integral element of a whole."
An ARCHAIC definition is usually given in most dictionaries, to wit: "Instrumental."
INSTRUMENTAL itself is defined as "serving as a means, agent, or tool."
In my trusty Webster’s, one runs across the theory of ORGANICISM, and which is described as:
"A theory that life and living processes are the manifestation of an activity possible only because of the autonomous organization of the system rather than because of its individual components."
Well, even in modern times, it is difficult to view organicism as "a theory" since ipso facto evidence on behalf of its real existence is continuously present and even tangible.
The essential elements that stick out of these definitions are the concepts of "systematic," "instrumental," and "autonomous organization of the [instrumental] system."
My Webster’s somehow fails to note that the "autonomous organization" IS "the system," or, that "the system" IS "the autonomous organization."
So, system and autonomous organization are the same thing, in some general fundamental sense, anyway.
These definitions don’t help us very much with the inorganic-organic confusion - and which was perpetuated before the invention of electron microscopes, and has not been corrected since.
The element of "system-organized" was accepted as a part of organic matter, but only in the sense that this was thought of as "organic molecules," not inorganic atoms.
It isn’t too much to say that atoms were thought of IT-things, the famous inalterable and indestructible "basic building blocks" of matter.
However, since the advent of the electron microscopes, it has been understood that inorganic atoms are NOT "blocks," but highly organized formats of energies in the forms of waves and frequencies that are tight super-packages of varying kinds.
AND, the same electron microscopes revealed that the so-called organic molecules are composed of inorganic atoms. However, the reason for their conversions from inorganic into organic states is not yet revealed by the telescopes.
If the reader is now somewhat confused, not to worry - because indeed so is advancing physics, biology, and chemistry.
In any event, above the deeper level of atomistic confusions, the conventional definitions of inorganic and organic still hold some efficiency.
Thus, even if inorganic atoms are not "blocks" but super-compactions of waves and frequencies (i.e., energies), it is still admitted that the inorganic atoms possess factors "forming an integral element of a whole;" and, as well, "having systematic coordination of parts."
You see, these definitions DO apply to inorganic atoms, but, in essence, the same definitions belong more to the term "organic."
To now INCREASE the confusions already encountered above, the term INORGANIC is defined as "lacking structure, character, or vitality."
As it is, though, electron microscopes revealed that the inorganic does have structure, character, and compacted vitality.
For example, since the 1940s it became abundantly clear that atoms are super-structured and clearly do not lack "character" or "vitality." If that vitality is messed with or released, one is likely to be "atomized" by the released "vitality."
An additional definition for INORGANIC is: "Of, relating to, or dealt with by a branch of chemistry concerned with substances not usually classed as organic" - until, it might be added, the substances are drafted into organic usage.
Well, IF "organic" refers to "forming an integral element of a whole having systematic coordination of parts," and IF these same definitions can apply to inorganic "substance," then we no longer know what inorganic should mean or what organic does mean.
Here we have finally somewhat arrived at the confused nature of the "embarrassment" that does plague the modern sciences behind their placid contentment with materialistic interpretations of everything.
In other words, the distinctions between the inorganic and the organic are in somewhat of a mess.
Even so, while scientific comprehensions of the essential and intrinsic nature of organicism are a mess, it can be seen that the mess itself nevertheless proceeds with continuous reenactments of its SYSTEMS and its systemic nature.
This is to say that even if scientific and philosophic knowledge is a mess in this regard, what we refer to as "life-forms" continue to manifest systemically - and do so seemingly oblivious to the fact that the knowledge packages of the life-forms themselves are in a mess regarding whatever is involved.
SYSTEM (from the Greek SYSTEMA - to combine so as to cause to stand.)
In modernist English, SYSTEM is defined as:
"A regularly interacting of interdependent group of items forming a unified whole."
"A group of interacting bodies [or parts] under the influence of related forces."
To clarify: body + parts + systems = whole body.
But body-systemic + infra-systemic parts = whole body systems.
To clarify further: if the systems are deleted from the whole body, then it IS understood that it would promptly begin its fall to total system collapse and thence crash.
If the CONCEPT of whole-body systems is deleted from the CONCEPT of whole body, then the whole-body concept actually falls into wreckage with regard to anything approximating the fuller or more complete MEANING of the corpus carne incarnate.
If the concept of whole-body systems is not combined with the concept of whole-body + parts, THEN one WILL think in terms of whole-body only, or whole-body + parts.
But then one is very likely NOT to think in terms of systems.
It is via the above discussion that we can now enter into even more confusing extensions of the meanings involved.
Bi-body vs Bi-body Systems
We are left with the question of which comes first, the body or the body systems.
We are also reminded that the definition of ORGANIC includes the term SYSTEMATIC - i.e., "having systematic coordination of parts so as to form a integral element of a whole."
Hence the term ORGANISM:
"A complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements [parts] whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole;"
"An individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent."
HOWEVER, it might be noted that an organism is one because of its organization, and if this organization is not systemic, then it will neither be organized nor systemic.
All of the foregoing leads to a question that has to do with organs needed "to carry on the activities of life" - especially with regard to ourselves and our species entire.
One direct, if somewhat brutal, way of entering into considerations relevant to that question is to delete awareness systems from the list of those needed organs - and then to try to imagine what "activities of life" we could carry on with.
(To be continued...)