The Delicate ForceThe source of the mysterious anomalies that govern our life
By Chris Thomason, Author of The Delicate Force
In his book The Delicate Force, Chris Thomason presents his research into some of the amazing anomalies that influence all of us at the microscopic, human and cosmic levels. Here are two examples at the human level which are occurring to every one of us on a daily basis.
You have no free will
For close to fifty-years, Dr Benjamin Libet was professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and in the 1970s he conducted research into free will in the mind. He connected research participants to an electroencephalogram (EEG) which measured electrical activity in the brain, and then asked them to make a motion by flicking their wrist or pressing a button. He asked the participants to indicate the moment when they first became aware of their desire to make the movement.
Naturally, the intention to make the movement preceded the actual movement itself, but the EEG revealed that the brain activities relevant to the movement started half-a-second before the participant was aware that they wanted to make the movement. At the time, this research was extremely controversial, as it seemed contradictory to the notion of free will within mankind.
These results have been reproduced many times since then, and advanced brain-scanning technology has allowed more-accurate readings of the brain’s activity to be undertaken. In 2008, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany discovered something even more unusual. When participants were asked to press a button with either their left-hand or their right-hand, the areas of the brain associated with making the decision and the movement, would indicate activity up to ten-seconds before the participant was aware that they wanted to make a movement.
Additionally, the researchers were able to predict with a sixty per cent accuracy, whether the participants would use their left, or their right-hand to press the button. Again, this was up to ten-seconds prior to the participant being aware of having made their choice.
Feeling the Future -- The Bem experiments
Daryl Bem is a renowned social-psychologist and professor emeritus at Cornell University. In the 1960s he developed the theory of self-perception, which is now a standard element in the study of psychology. His current studies focus on investigating the unexplained transfer of information between people, and also between people and machines.
In 2011, he published the findings of research he undertook in a paper entitled Feeling the Future in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by the American Psychological Association. For this research, he involved over 1,000 participants and ran a series of experiments to test for their ability to perceive a future event.
When doing research exercises with members of the public, it’s normal to pay them a monetary incentive for their time, which can add considerably to the total cost of undertaking any research. As universities perform large numbers of research projects, this could cost a significant amount. To overcome this in the university environment, students are frequently given course-credits if they volunteer to be participants in research. This is a mutually-beneficial arrangement which gives the researchers a wide pool of potential participants at minimal cost. The participants are still given a monetary incentive — but a very modest one for their time.
One of the additional incentives that Bem’s research team offered was to show the student-participants explicit erotic-images, and they could choose the type of image they would prefer to see, dependent upon their sexual preference. Once it was clear what type of images interested the students, they were then shown a computer-screen with a picture of two curtains. They were told that behind one of the curtains was an erotic picture, and they had to click on the curtain that they thought covered it.
The participants assumed that the tests were trying to detect their clairvoyant capabilities, as they had to think which curtain was hiding the picture. In truth there was no picture behind the curtain when they made their choice. It was only after they had made their choice, that a computer programme using a random-number generator, determined which curtain to place the image behind.
The participants weren’t trying to detect the outcome of a decision that had already been made (clairvoyance); they were trying to detect the outcome of a decision that had not yet been made (precognition). In effect, the test was to predict the future.
Over one-hundred sessions were run using thirty-six images each time, which delivered more than 3,600 test instances. The participants correctly identified the future-position of the erotic images 53.1% of the time — which is significantly above the 50% expected rate for any pick-one-out-of-two choice selection. When the same experiment was run using a variety of non-erotic images, the test results did not differ significantly from the expected chance rate of 50%.
Type of image % choosing the correct curtain
One of the reasons that Bem ran the experiments using erotic imagery was that previous research by others had shown that abilities around precognition appeared to be most prominent when tested on erotic or emotionally arousing imagery, as opposed to neutral imagery.
The second Bem experiment
Another of Bem’s experiments was based around people’s recall of a list of common words. The participants were shown forty-eight words on a computer screen and asked to form a mental-image of each word as it appeared. An example word might be tree. Each word appeared individually on the computer screen for three seconds.
After all the words had been shown, the participants were given a surprise test, and asked to type in as many of the forty-eight words as they could remember. The number of words correctly recalled was noted-down, and the testing was essentially finished at this point — but the participants weren’t told of this — and they were given another exercise to do.
In this next exercise, twenty-four of the words that had been used in the first-stage of the experiment were selected at random by a computer, and the participants worked through a series of exercises where they had to sort these twenty-four words into groups and re-type them into boxes on the screen. These exercises were helping to reinforce the selected-words in the minds of the participants, while the other unused twenty-four words acted as the unpractised control-group.
What’s very clever about the set-up of this experiment was that the participants were being helped to remember twenty-four of the words once the test was over.
The overall results showed that the participants had a 2.3% better-recall of the twenty-four practiced words than they did of the twenty-four unpractised words, even though the practice took place after the testing was complete.
Both of these experiments — one using imagery and the other using words — seemed to indicate that the participants somehow managed to beat the odds that would be expected due to the laws of chance. Daryl Bem stated that this could be evidence of time-leakage, as the research could be interpreted to show that people can consciously access the future in some way.
In this research, the participants didn’t know the true purpose of the tests they were involved in. They were ignorant to the concept of time-leakage, and weren’t consciously trying to predict the future. This is how Bem can state that time was leaking from the future — into the present — and helping them to make more right-decisions that wrong-ones.
What is most fascinating about these experiments is that they weren’t run using people who claimed to have clairvoyant or extra-sensory perception skills. These were a mixed cross-section of regular university students; unsuspecting participants who simply volunteered to take part in some research activities — and who somehow managed to access a future event. If they were able to access the future, then perhaps we all have this capability to some degree.
Daryl Bem believes that his experiments provide evidence that human physiology can anticipate erotic stimuli before it occurs. He states that ‘Anticipation of this nature would be evolutionarily advantageous for our reproduction and survival’.
It isn’t just Bem’s research that has shown this natural capability among people. In 1989 Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari of the Stanford Research Institute reported on their research that analysed all the forced-choice precognition experiments appearing in English-language journals between 1935 and 1977. Their analysis covered 309 experiments conducted by sixty-two different researchers using more than 50,000 participants. They reported a small, consistent, and highly-significant success-rate being achieved across this multitude of experiments.
In The Delicate Force, you’ll find out how these things relate to some of the most amazing anomalies that science has discovered – and that you probably aren’t even aware of. In this unusual half-fact, half-fiction story, the facts are so extraordinary that it needs a fictional plot to help you to believe they are true.
Reece Tassicker has a dream about a number he knows he needs to remember. When messages for him start appearing in books, he learns that his future activities are being predicted – to the precise minute. And that someone is mysteriously using this knowledge to influence events in his life. As Reece starts to out-think the people who can control his life, he learns there are chinks in our reality that allow us discrete glimpses behind the true nature of the universe.