Why do so many mind management systems assume and implicate the existence of the paranormal or supernatural?
Well, for one thing, if the systems are geared toward helping the practitioner achieve the seemingly impossible, they have to install in her a paradigm for reality where her will and choices can make the improbable happen. The systems have to imbue her with a sense of control in arenas where, classically and rationally, she has no control.
This is why systems like NLP insist that we are 100% responsible for our results. You’ll get the same new age insistence from interpreters of the Hermetic and Toltec traditions—that you create your own reality (with how you think, feel and what you subsequently do).
Psychologically, taking full responsibility for our results is empowering. It imbues us with agency. If I’m responsible for what I get, it means there must be something I can do about it. I can’t blame anyone else for my results either. This combination puts me constantly in a proactive, adult brain state, as opposed to a passive, victim mentality, which I may be tempted to regress into in times of crisis.
While I can’t comment on the claim that I am the creator of my entire reality and all my results (superstructural factors like race, gender, ethnicity, location, environment and socioeconomic status need to be considered with the weight they deserve), I can take a closer look at the insistence that intuition is something that can be developed and used.
Quantum Jumping, the Silva Method and Extended Remote Viewing are three mind management systems in particular that seek to cultivate our extrasensory perceptions. They want us to receive information about distant things, people and events, or information about infinitesimally small things, like diseased cells in our bodies (for example), or to predict future outcomes. Is there any scientific research that could potentially support this imaginative and ambitious effort?
What we do know is that quantum physics has given us a non-linear model for time. Our linear model for time says that cause always precedes effect and that the irreversible past moves into the future. This is not always the case on the level of the infinitesimally small. Scientists have been able to do strange things like reverse the arrow of time or observe how photons revise a past event, based on something that happened in their future!
Daryl Bem was also able in 2015 to replicate the results of his initially controversial 2011 experiment, in which he showed that subjects registered physiological arousal in response to a negative stimulus prior to the selection and presentation of the stimulus.
Ingo Swann’s book Your Nostradamus Factor is rife with the kind of anecdotes that have either happened to us or to someone we know. Stories like that of Abraham Lincoln foreseeing his own assassination in a dream and stories of premonitions of Kennedy’s demise as well.
While these are old wives tales about premonition and precognition that could be explained away as coincidences that have to happen to someone, somewhere, some of the time, they are also possibly weird ruptures in the usual progress of time (from cause to effect), that actually do happen, in consciousness, occasionally.
Given the nonlinear behavior of quanta, perhaps intuition (i.e. precognition of a future event) really is possible, and these mind management systems are getting us to pay attention to the already existent ability in us to see future events in consciousness. This, in fact, is Ingo Swann’s claim on pre-sentience: that it is something we all can and already do, biologically, but have been socially de-conditioned from noticing when we do it.
At least this last claim is compelling and consistent with emerging evidence. If pre-sentience occurs naturally in our minds, then turning our attention to it is well worth it. If it doesn’t, well, this could lead to a whole lot of unproductive confusion as we search for the existence of something that doesn’t exist. But we wouldn’t know either way unless we investigated our own mental impressions and their relationship to future events. While the playing field is rife with perceptual and memory errors it could also be a whole lot of fun.