Ingo Swann (01Mar98)


During the last twenty-eight years, one of the questions most commonly asked of me had to do with what people might read or study that would help them develop their "psychic powers."

If I was in a sardonic mood at the time, I'd point up that a great deal has been written, and most of which is very interesting. None the less, the undeveloped psychic powers, in any activating sense, have stubbornly remained more or less undeveloped.

In other words, the great heap of the whole that has been written and studied has not yet resulted in the world becoming thickly populated with developed superpsychics.

If one observes this frustrating issue as calmly as possible, it would appear that there is some subtle difference between reading and studying about the powers on the one hand, and the actual, real-time activation of the powers on the other.

That one can read and study (even undergo some kind of training) and still not have their superpowers activated can easily be interpreted as evidence that the powers don't exist in the first place.

People automatically expect to positively benefit from what they read and study. Indeed, the way that teaching and learning have been institutionalized in the modern West leads one to assume as much.

One of the most central computations of Western styles of teaching and learning is based on providing the intellect with organized formats of information, usually in step-by-step ways -- after which various states of competency can be expected to manifest.

In other words, the Western styles of teaching and learning postulate that there is a direct and automatic relationship between in-take of organized information and out-put of competency and efficacy.

There can be little doubt that this in-put/out-put schematic DOES yield high results in very many areas of endeavor -- so much so that it is taken for granted that it will work regarding all things.

But one verifiable fact about this schematic is that it works best where some kind of rote learning is involved. It doesn't work very well, or not at all, where, for example, creative development is involved.

One of the major, but subtle, constituents of rote learning is that the in-put proceeds via organized in step-by-step ways that do not require the in-put information to be recombined. Indeed, the efficiency of rote learning can easily suffer if it is messed about.

One of the major, but subtle, constituents of creative learning is that the elements of all in-put information need to be recombined -- to the degree that if not then creative manifestations might be very minimal.

In other words, creative learning involves high mobility of recombinant factors -- whereas rote learning generally does not.

There is no intended attempt here to imply anything negative about rote learning. The intent is simply to indicate that two different areas of learning activity do exist. In fact, an important third category of learning also exists -- but which will be addressed in other forthcoming essays.

RECOMBINANT is a term principally arising out of genetic studies, and refers to "the formation of new combinations of genes via cross-overs through fertilization."

In the sense of information theory, then, recombinant refers to the formation of new combinations of information via cross-overs through what may best be called "inspiration."

An important characteristic of rote learning is that all information specifically meaningful to the learning is identified and included in the teaching-learning package. This is to say that rote-learning is pre-packaged, and does not require cross-overs. In fact, the efficiency of the rote learning completely depends upon this.

The chief characteristic of creative teaching and learning is two-fold: it breaks apart various categories of pre-packaged information in order to recombine the manifold elements; and it also recombines those elements with cross-over information best acquired by original deduction and/or "intuitive insight."

But there is a quite large problem involved with creative learning.

This has to do NOT with what information IS available to be reintegrated into new formulations.

Rather it has to do with the absence of information whose participation is needed to help in cross-over fertilizations -- and thus to achieve effective levels of functioning.

For example, if it chances in genetic recombining that the genes responsible for eyes, ears or genitals somehow drop out of the cross-over fertilizing process, then the resulting product will not "develop" those important organs.

It can easily be said that activation of any of the superpowers falls into the creative type of teaching and learning. But it could benefit even from the pre-packaged rote type of learning -- IF that type included all that was needed to aid in effective cross-overs of recombinant information.

THIS database is somewhat filled with categories of information that are nowhere included in the typical rote-learning concepts of "psychic empowerment."

The function of this particular essay is to introduce yet another set of information that has fallen into absence not only with regard to the substance of this database, but with regard to just about any kind of awareness and thinking.

This information has to do with SENTIENCY from which various levels of SENSITIVITY are dependent. The concept of sentiency has, as it might be said, more than almost completely vanished within all modernist contexts. Indeed, there is no rote learning package regarding "psychic development" that even mentions the term.

But it can surely be said that if one wishes to develop any of their superpower faculties, it must be taken for granted that unless one expands or extends their sentiency thresholds not much is going to happen.

To be effective, however, the vital topic of sentiency needs to be entered into rather obliquely at first.

The development or enhancement of any human faculty appears to be almost completely dependent on two primary factors.

It is somewhat difficult to articulate the more exact nature and elements of the two factors -- largely because of a lack of concepts and terminology that would be precise enough to reduce ambiguity and induce clarity.
However, we can utilize the device of a metaphor to help arouse at least a general, if still quite gross, recognition of the two primary factors.

Thus, the two factors might approximately be described by leaning on the metaphor having to do with "doors" of perception, and which indirectly carries a four-fold connotation:

(1) whether the doors are open;

(2) whether the doors are shut;

(3) what opens the doors;

(4) what keeps them shut.

However, although this "doors of perception" metaphor is suggestive, it has something of a passive quality -- if compared with another useful metaphor: that of a sentient dynamo.

This additional metaphor again can carry four-fold connotation, to wit:

(1) whether the sentient dynamo is on line and working;

(2) whether it is off line and closed down;

(3) whether it has been kept well-oiled and in good working order;

(4) whether it has been shut down, allowed to rust, or has been wrecked by any number of wrecking possibilities.

In the sense of these metaphors combined, the two primary factors that can lead to development and enhancement of human faculties concern whether whatever is involved is: (1) open and active; or (2) closed and shut down.

However, these two metaphors, although useful, still don't quite incorporate two additional nuances that are entirely meaningful. These nuances have to do with how the faculties (whatever they are) have been treated within larger-picture sociological scenarios, circumstances or environments people find themselves.


In the sense of such larger-picture situations, one will always encounter the phenomena of tolerance-intolerance, and the phenomena of constructivity and destructivity.

In the sense of all of the above combined, the two primary factors regarding development or enhancement of any given human faculty can roughly be identified as:

The human faculty: The human faculty:
Constructively dealt with. Destructively dealt with.
Open. Shut.
On line, producing Off line, closed down.
Tolerated. Not tolerated.

Here we now see two line-ups which seem easily recognizable as the traditional dichotomies of:

good vs. bad
pro vs. con
positive vs. negative


One of the most fundamental constituents of our species is that it is a sentient one.

Indeed, the existence of our sentiency precedes any and all concepts that become possible because of it -- such as awareness, consciousness, sensitivities of all kinds, perception, and last, but not least, powers of ANY kind.

None of these can exist in the absence of the fundamental foundations of sentiency.

If this is understood, then it is rather mystifying to find that discussions regarding sentiency and its awesome potentials are so minimized as to be nil in such important studies as science, philosophy, religion, creativity, and empowerment.

By far and large, this can only mean that the vital issue of sentiency has been plunged into such intolerance that it figures not at all within anything -- to the degree that it is not even RECOGNIZABLE as the vital topic that it obviously is.

Sensitivities of all kinds download from species-generic sentiency. But sensitivities can be "contained," as it were, by societal strictures -- meaning social systems can determine what sensitivities are permissible or not permissible. This is to say, that the extent and functioning of sensitivities, both quantitatively and qualitatively are linked to various social perspectives.

But sentiency, as a species-wide generic phenomenology, can, by THAT its very nature, easily prove to be trans-societal, trans-cultural, and trans everything else as well.

That this observation might at first seem odd is to be expected -- but only because the topic of sentiency has never been opened up, while various social maneuvers have closed down any approaches to it. Thus, although the term can be found in dictionaries, it is not in common parlance -- except in some science fiction movies.

As a result, inhabitants of various societies might feel they have sensitivities. But that they are also a sentient life-unit can be quite alien within their thinking processes, and within any rote-learning or creative enhancing activities.


However, since various formats of SENSITIVITY are experienced far and wide, it is useful at this point to refresh the major WESTERN definitions in order to clear the way to a consideration of SENTIENCY.


Receptive to sense impressions;

Subject to excitation by external agents;

Readily fluctuating;

Capable of indicating or reacting to minute differences or qualities;

Readily affected or changed by various agents, or by exposure or proximity to external factors" -- such as, for example, social tolerance and intolerance.

If the above definitions of SENSITIVITY are correlated with various human faculties and activities, we can plot the faculties along a spectrum ranging from less sensitive to hyper-sensitive.

And so we can begin to spot, hypothetically, two general kinds of human faculties that are identifiable, so to speak, by their internal apportionment and need of sensitivity.

This is to say, then, that those human faculties requiring the LEAST amount of sensitivity will probably develop and survive come Hell or High Water. Thus, in each society there will be found, so to speak, a sensitivity norm which can be treated with the aplomb of tolerance -- because it IS the norm.

It would be somewhat recognizable, then, that those human faculties needing the least quotients of sensitivity skills are those that tend to be most precisely well-developed among our astonishing species.

However, if we move along the spectrum or scale of faculties needing increasing sensitivity, we can begin to enumerate faculties that are dependent upon a high-signature of sensitivity.

It would be unarguable that the better functioning of such sensitivity-oriented faculties depend on increasing quotients of sensitivity skills.

Thus, as we move along the spectrum of human faculties, we can begin to recognize faculties that need higher or larger sensitivity development and support.


Finally, we can encounter faculties that absolutely need what might be called "panoramic sensitivity" if they are to function AT ALL.

And among such panoramic sensitivity faculties we would itemize the superpower faculties -- almost all of which are understood to be not only hyper-sensitive, but omni-sensitive.

But the ideas of panoramic, hyper- and omni-sensitivity draw increasingly close the extremely wide scope of our species-generic sensitivity.

Indeed, it can be assumed that most of the superpower faculties are those particular faculties somehow DESIGNED for omni- and panoramic sensitivity.


A rather exhaustive search for documented modern research into the nature and functions of sentiency reveals something akin to a vacuum -- a research vacuum apparently so ingeniously engineered that hardly anyone notices it.

Some work along these lines was attempted during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth. This seminal work, however, was not pursued much past 1932. And so it can be said that our sentient species does not, as it might, research the nature and extent of its sentiency or the many fabulous echelons and combinations of them at the individual sensitivity levels.

 We might grasp around for an explanation of this vacuum. One explanation might be that various increases of applied and functional sentiency have to do with increases in power.

If this explanation is a viable one, even in some small aspect, then the knocking down or wrecking of sentiency development in others is seen as a way to eliminate them as power competitors of one kind or another.

In this possible light, the best way to decrease or suppress increases of applied sentiency, would be to surround the topic with as much ignorance and ambiguity as possible.


In this essay, the concepts of SENTIENCY and SENSITIVITY have, by direct implication, been attached to the so-called "paranormal powers" of our species.

But the assignation of them as "paranormal powers" serves mostly to relegate them into those social auspices that are very nervous when it comes to the "paranormal," and which social auspices are usually very concerned and jittery within anything smelling of power and its "potentials."

In any event, it can prove very useful to re-designate paranormal powers as smart systems.

Of itself, the concept of smart systems is usually nerve-wracking to this or that societal status quo, but at least we have the advantage of FINALLY perceiving what primary sentiency and secondary sensitivities are all about. Clearly, the existence of sentient and sensitivity systems within our species would, in the species master plan, not be designed to make us more stupid.

Much to the reverse, it can be said achievement of stupidity is much more the goal of social systems reductive of the sentient and sensitivity systems. By far and large, stupidity is most often achieved by social systems than by given individuals.


It is useful to examine a bit of nomenclature at this point. The concept of PARANORMAL POWERS is quite sociologically useful -- because it identifies two topics that can be justified as of sociological concern and condemnation and can easily be rejected.

However, societal concerns would be very hard put, even embarrassed, to condemn smart systems -- since there is rather broad awareness in all social systems that smart system are needed, perhaps even merely to survive.

Thus, sensitivity (or certain kinds of it anyway) are accepted, but probably because sensitivities are almost everywhere -- somewhat like the air we breathe. But hardly anywhere are increases in sensitivity taught or supported by mainstream social vectors.

Super-sentiency is not taught, either. There is no perceived need to do so -- because the topic of sentiency itself has disappeared.


Most dictionaries define SENTIENT as: "responsive to or conscious of sense impressions, finely sensitive in perception or feeling." There usually is mention of SENTIENTLY as an adverb. These definitions, it could be submitted, are somewhat minimalizing ones -- considering the panoramic factors involved. The term SENTIENCY does not appear in most dictionaries.

There are no main entries for SENTIENCY in the following important psychical research and parapsychology sources:


HANDBOOK OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY, Benjamin B. Wolman, Ed. (1977).


A short definition of SENTIENCE is found, however, in the PSYCHIATRIC DICTIONARY compiled by R. J. Campbell (1981): "Mere sensation, apprehension, or cognition, without accompanying associations or affect."

The DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS compiled and produced by the American Psychiatric Association, also has no entry for SENTIENCY or SENTIENCE.

 There is no mention at all of SENTIENCY in the otherwise wonderful and extensive ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY, edited by Paul Edwards, and published by Macmillian Publishing Co. (1967). It seems that most other authoritative encyclopedias follow suit.

Although "psychics" were referred to as "sensitives" before they became referred to as "psychics," there is no reference in the Psi research sources to SENSITIVITY per se -- except as an occasional reference to the "exteriorization of sensitivity" analogous to out-of-body experiencing, psychokinesis, telepathy, etc.

Now, it should be said that no Psi function could possibly exist if such functions were not first built upon, or were not extensions of, some form of sentiency and sensitivity.

Thus, if we dare to consider that special formats of sentiency and

and sensitivity are the horses that pull the cart of Psi and associated perceptions, then we are faced with the somewhat astonishing probability that the cart has been dissected and pulled apart in every possible way.

The horses, however, are thought so unimportant that no one has bothered to study them.


Early in this database was placed an essay entitled MENTAL INFORMATION PROCESSING GRIDS -- and within which INFORMATION POINTS were described.

If one is moved to design an information processing grid that might be somewhat functional with regard to the superpowers, the concept of one as a SENTIENT entity could figure as a centrally important information point within the schematic.

All the other phenomena discussed in this database could then be placed in some aspect around this central information point -- and between them all lines could be drawn interconnecting them this way and that.

Humans have a distinct tendency of viewing things through their own inventions. Thus, recognition of the nature of sentiency, and some of its parameters, probably has something in common with sonar, radar, microscopes and telescopes -- and maybe even with the Internet. Such hypothetical possibilities will be elaborated in a forthcoming essay.


NOTE: If anyone knows of any printed or published sources examining the nature of the sentient being and functions of sentiency, it would be nice to reference them in this database.

Thanks in advance.