Seeing Both Sides:
by Tom Butler
There is a common thread that runs throughout any discussion of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). It is the general acceptance amongst EVP experimenters that we are communicating with other people. Not dead people, really, just people who are no longer in this world. It permeates our thoughts even though we know there are those who do not agree and even though no one has been able to offer a comprehensive explanation for the presence of these communicating entities. The belief is just there, inescapable and undeniable: we are talking to people whom others call dead.
For the people who study EVP, this idea that we survive physical death is not a matter of religious belief. The evidence seems clear and undeniable. Yes, it is true that this belief is shared by most religions of the world. But there is much to be said for the sort of physical evidence provided by EVP, as opposed to revealed knowledge. There is no need to have faith in something that is so well documented with evidence.
Others do not agree with the conclusions we draw from EVP. People who have been trained in the physical sciences generally discount the possibility that we survive physical death. Or, if they do not outright discount survival, they relegate it to that which is religious and make no attempt to mingle these articles of faith with facts of science.
How can this be? How can intelligent, earnest people who are clearly observing the same reality, find so little common ground.
I believe the foundation of this difference in worldview can be found in the assumption of where creation has taken place. Here, by creation, I intend to say the formation and evolution of self-aware entities. The nature of the other objects in our reality must wait for a later discussion.
In the physical sciences, our self-awareness can be reliably traced back to the origins of the first living cells in that fabled primordial soup of creation here on earth. Based on this model, it is assumed that similar primordial soups must have existed in other parts of the universe, leaving room in this model for the existence of other life forms. Perhaps our universe is teaming with life.
Now here, I will enlist the study of metaphysics to champion the side of survival, for scholars of this field also seek to embrace the question of survival from a scientific viewpoint. In metaphysics, the origin of physical life is, indeed, thought to have originated in that fabled soup. However, also in metaphysics, physical life and self-awareness have very different paths of evolution. Self is thought to have originated outside of physical reality.
So here, I am introducing the concept that there is a greater reality, of which, our physical universe is but an aspect. Because this greater reality is not physical, I will simply refer to it as nonphysical reality. While the existence of nonphysical reality cannot be declared a given, it can be stipulated that there is such a thing for this discussion. Just for the sake of discussion.
There is no use discussing how Self came to be. Perhaps there was a primordial soup of energy that first gained self-awareness. Regretfully, the how of Self’s creation is beyond the scope of this discussion. I will say, though, that this is not about an anthropomorphic god of creation. The point here is that, in metaphysics, there is a dual aspect in the nature of people. We are human beings and we have evolved from simple organisms here on earth. Also, we are Self and, as Self, we have evolved in an environment that is outside of physical reality.
So, allow me to describe the question of origin as a question of creation and the path of evolution as the arrow of creation. The question then, is which way does the arrow of creation really point?
In physical science, there is no foundation for a nonphysical aspect of reality. The arrow of creation must point from that primordial soup to present day. Anyone properly trained in the physical sciences has no choice but to hold that this is true if they are to remain faithful to their education.
In metaphysics, as it is amongst most EVP researchers, and yes, in theology, speculation in the existence of a greater reality allows us to embrace all of physical science and to expand that understanding with the concepts defining nonphysical reality. For Self, the arrow of creation can point both ways, but it must first point from some etheric origin toward present day. No other consideration can explain the phenomena we experience.
There is a second trajectory of this metaphysical arrow of creation that must be described. Somehow, someway, the physical aspect of reality must also have been created. The arrow of creation points toward the creation of that physical world primordial soup, as well.
And so, this is the point of my comments. The observed and demonstrable phenomena cannot be explained unless the arrow of creation for the Self is considered to point from the nonphysical to the physical aspects of reality. Once the existence of a nonphysical aspect of reality is accepted, then the majority of what is generally called “paranormal” phenomena can be explained as the natural processes of nature.
Allow me to offer a for instance. It has been clearly demonstrated that it is possible to stimulate the brain in such a way as to cause the person to remember something or to sense mental images. In physical science, the conclusion is that, since it is possible to find a place in the brain that is involved with that function, then that function must originate in that part of the brain. Therefore, for instance, memory is a function of the brain. By extension, Self is a function of the brain. The arrow points to the evolution of Self as a byproduct of the evolution of the body.
However, if the existence of a nonphysical aspect of reality is allowed, then it can as easily be argued that, by so stimulating a region of the brain, the researchers are stimulating the portion of the human body that facilitates the Self’s existence in the physical. In other words, in metaphysics, the Principle of Agreement holds that an object of reality must be energetically in agreement with the aspect of reality it will inhabit. In practical application, we express this as Self residing in a physical body. It is our physical body that enables us to be energetically in agreement with the physical aspect of reality. For a particular ability of Self to be expressed in the physical, the body must be able to support that ability. If for some reason the body is damaged, say it is blind, then that ability cannot be expressed. In this case, the Self would not be able to see in the physical.
The body probably has evolved from that single cell, but it is a physical thing that functions as a host for Self. Yes, it is a form of life with an attendant energetic body, but the body is believed to lack Self-awareness. It is generally thought to be dependent on Self for volition beyond simple requirements of survival such as eating or reproduction.
In another example, recent research in parapsychology has established that we are able to telekinetically influence physical objects. This in itself is a substantial breakthrough in support of the possibility of a nonphysical aspect of reality. Since telekinesis has gained some credibility amongst physical scientists, it has come to be something of a catchall to explain other, less acceptable phenomena such as survival of the Self. In EVP, telekinesis is often sighted as an explanation for the origin of EVP. “Humans are telekinetically putting the voices on tape.”
In fact, telekinesis may be a good explanation for the processes involved in EVP, since by definition, it means to mentally influence objects. The Self is nonphysical. Self residing in a physical body and Self that is free of a body while the body is sleeping or because of physical death, should be qualitatively the same. However, since the communicating entity is generally thought to be free of a physical body, it must have the assistance of a Self still residing in a physical body to satisfy the Principle of Agreement. In more common terms, the EVP experimenter is believed to function as a medium through which the communicating entity is able to impress its messages.
Of course, the mediumship aspect of EVP is not accepted by all EVP researcher, let alone physical scientists. However, this should serve as an example of how simply changing the direction of the arrow of creation can change the interpretation of an observation. The possible presence of telekinesis in EVP does not mean that the experimenter is the communicating entity. It means that the EVP may be impressed into the recording medium via telekinesis. The source of the telekinetic ability may be the EVP researcher, but the source of the message and all of its characteristics could very well be a nonphysical entity. The observation that telekinesis is involved would be the same in either case.
If you consider that our universe is but an aspect of a greater reality, and if you consider the complexity we are aware of in this universe, then simple extrapolation demands that the larger reality be vastly more complex. But the existence of a greater reality and some hypotheses concerning its nature must first be stipulated to before such an extrapolation can be made. Who amongst us is qualified to make such an extrapolation?
Few of us who are trained in the physical sciences are also trained in metaphysical thought. While it is the nature of EVP to attract researchers who are technically inclined, few EVP researchers are well versed in both fields. Evidence of this is frequently placed before us by physical scientists who propose super conscious or holographic principles to explain all of the various characteristics of EVP that is reported by experimenters. At the same time, we see EVP researchers who have substantial background in metaphysics, propose the survival hypotheses as the explanation for all of the reported phenomena.
In fact, all of these explanations may correctly explain some of the observed phenomena, but as stated, they are not acceptable to the other school of thought because they do not answer all of the questions. Not being one to sight a problem without proposing a solution, it is clear to me that cooperation amongst physical scientists and metaphysicians is in order. Of the many forms of EVP, some may very well be evidence of the holographic nature of the universe. At the same time, other EVP are probably evidence of the survival of Self after physical death. Both schools are right within the appropriate context. However, we may never come to understand this if qualified EVP researchers do not work with people who are qualified to speak of physical principles. Neither can do this alone.
But here is the good news. Some open-minded scientists are beginning to seriously evaluate EVP because they can see that there is something going on that is extraordinary. Physical scientists are trained to follow the evidence. They recognize that phenomena represented by EVP and mediumship cannot be explained with known physical principles. Rather than shrinking away from such controversial subjects, they are seizing the opportunity to study these phenomena.
For instance, there are members of the Association TransCommunication (ATransC) who have the necessary scientific background to address the issues and who are fast becoming serious EVP researchers. Other EVP experimenters are learning to describe their work in terms that are acceptable to the scientific community. We have found that members, as in EVP associations around the world, have a true pioneer spirit when it comes to trying new ideas and techniques. As a community, EVP experimenters represent a collective laboratory ready and able to support scientific investigation.
This illustrates an important point. Many of the scientists whom we seek to certify these phenomena are already interested and are participating in EVP related associations around the world. It is for the rest of us to order our thoughts and to clearly describe our experiments. Not all EVP experimenters are EVP researchers, but all EVP experimenters are potential contributors to EVP research. We know so much and we have so much evidence, now we must bring that to the researchers in a form that is rationally presented and well documented.
Many of you are probably aware of the work being conducted at the Human Energy Systems Laboratory in the University of Arizona, at Tucson (www.livingenergyuniverse.com). This is research concerning the validity of mediumship. A team of mediums has been reliably graded at between eighty and ninety percent accuracy in the messages they are able to deliver via mediumship. Since EVP and mediumship seem to be closely related phenomena, this research tends to validate the concepts involved in EVP as well. This research also offers a formidable method to verify the Survival Hypothesis.
Interestingly, the existence of a nonphysical aspect of reality is beginning to be well established through research by scientists who are not even aware of EVP, but who have learned to look in the direction of a possible nonphysical cause for phenomena. For instance, one of the more exciting bits of news to make the rounds in the Association is a report from the Boundary Institute that they detected a change in the output of an array of random number generators that seemed to predict the attack on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001. Could this be evidence of consciousness influencing physical processes?
In another study, a group of doctors at the University of Southampton have published a groundbreaking report that claims for the first time, that there is scientific evidence of life after death. Dr. Sam Parnia, who led the study, believes the mind might be independent of the brain. He said: "The brain is definitely needed to manifest the mind, a bit like how a television set can take what essentially are waves in the air and translate them into picture and sound."
Such conclusions would not have been seriously voiced a few years ago.
I will close with an explanation of why I think it is so important that the scientific community validates the Survival Hypothesis. First, it is not to provide validation for people who already accept personal survival. While validation would be nice, these people already have proof. We have the philosophy in ATransC that we are teaching the world to experiment with EVP one person at a time. We believe that Humankind is on the verge of a major shift in worldview. This shift is toward the understanding that the physical and the nonphysical aspects of reality are part of a greater whole. In this worldview, will be the understanding that we survive physical death, and therefore, we must have a new value for life and sense of the importance of personal growth. Humankind is composed of people and people respect the opinion of scientists. Should scientists begin to speak of the Survival Hypothesis as a reasonable theory, people will be more inclined to accept this view. Humankind’s change in worldview will more quickly evolve to embrace these concepts. I believe that is the true benefit in scientific approval. That, and the portable EVP phone booth some engineer will build for us once our scientists have provided the necessary supporting theory.
So I say to you in the scientific community that there is a large EVP community that is waiting and able to help you. EVP is a most powerful tool that can provide a window into the nonphysical aspect of reality. It is here now, it is well understood, it is repeatable and anyone can do it. You should also know that it is very inexpensive. Why not set up a series of survival experiments in which mediumship and EVP are used as cross-correspondence tools for data verification? Why not give it a try to help catatonic patients or for grief management? Why not use it as a possible link into the thoughts of sleeping people for dream research? What if you could record an EVP message that would identify the physical location of something that is lost? Would that interest you? We cannot guarantee that EVP will work in all of these ways, but we can assure you that the communicating entities of EVP are also interested in helping you.
EVP is a most powerful tool.
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