Prayer and telepathygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Robot Wisdom : One Thread
[I link this Salon article in the weblog for 6Nov99, along with a poll.]
The ideas below were explained at slightly greater length in two 1995 netnews posts, reformatted here.
The thesis is that there's a physical/psychic matrix shared by all of us, that manifests in phenomena like these:
- Sensitivity to housemates-- sensing whether they're still mad by the sounds they make-- clanking dishes, slamming doors.
- Sensitivity in lovemaking.
- Contagious atmospheres-- panic or euphoria or tension you can cut with a knife.
- Getting in the groove when you're jamming with a band.
- Peer pressure. You start to express an opinion and realise (by a 'physical' sensation) that the zeitgeist just doesn't allow you to articulate it (eg, talking seriously about God with Gen-X-ers).
- Intimidating charisma. The psychic temperature rises when you raise topics they don't want to hear.
- Flaming, on the Net.
These mostly share a sense of psychic pressures, that one exerts via one's thoughts. Articulating goodwill in prayer should havee a positive effect within this matrix, but negative prayer will also be effective, and it's the negatives that strongly predominate in today's culture, where positive prayer is loudly and widely rejected as ridiculous.
The mass media are especially guilty of amplifying the negative pov, here.
-- Jorn (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 1999
(Dear Jorn, do me a favor- not that I think this is publishable, but if you do, would you please leave my email address off? I would appreciate it.)
So- how about when you turn your head and stare directly into the eyes of someone who is staring at you? We obviously can affect others in ways that don't involve our physical senses. As a nurse, and especially as a hospice nurse, I am certainly convinced that prayer has power, and not as a religous act. I also think that the more people praying, the better. I don't think that we can succesfully pray for rain, or mercy, or things other than to affect the outcome of one specific person's physical or emoptional distress. We can pray for ourselves but I think that this gives a placebo effect, although so what? If I think it is so, than it is. And since it certainly seems to be true in human interaction that what goes around comes around, negative prayers should be avoided, for selfish reasons if nothing else. (Altruism is it's own reward!)
-- Anonymous (not really Jorn) (email@example.com), November 22, 1999.
If such things are true, being an american my first instinct is to harness this power for financial gain. Hmmm, prayergroups.com (and it's available too!). Sell groups of people priced by size and by the hour to pray for you (or whatever you want).
Seriously though, most of your examples could be manifestations of your own feelings towards the situation and not necessarily any "connection". Perhaps if there was someone in the room that was there, but not aware of the conversation, etc. (maybe someone deaf or blind or both) and you asked that person later if they felt that particular vibe. That would be interesting.
-- John Namest (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 10, 1999.
I'm inclined to think these pressures are chemical (e.g. pheremones or just the plain ol' scent of sweat). Certainly most people's apocryphal evidence supports the theory of their existence. I've also noticed that extended isolation breeds isolation in some people--that the more time they spend alone, the more fearful they get of encountering others (in addition to standard primate depression, helplessness, deterioration in grooming, etc.). Has anyone else seen this? That would point the "matrix" (heh) having a net positive effect overall, despite the mass media's best efforts...
Incidentally, IMHO the case study mentioned by Salon (1st paragraph) doesn't make any sense. Her tissue samples were taken before the bout of prayer, so if they came back benign I'm sure they were benign all along. Had this first biopsy turned out malignant and then further samples taken post-prayer revealed a miraculous transformation to the benign--now, that would warm the cockles.
-- Nina (email@example.com), November 11, 1999.
I'm surprised that more people haven't responded to this posting. Maybe the internet IS really full of cynical agnostics like myself!
I don't pray, because I've never had a real direct experience of God or a higher force, but I do believe that our thoughts and feelings do have the capability to affect physical reality. I know this because I'm nightmarishly sensitive to them. It is not something I'd wish on anyone and most of the time I feel like I'm going to have to give up and go live in an Wyoming cave. . . Maybe I'm crazy, but it is very real to me.
I think the problem is that most of the manifestation is negative and not positive. Negative emotions seem to have more physical "force" than positive ones or perhaps there are just so many more people transmitting negativity. I've only met a few people that have radiated positivity and let me tell you, being around these people is better than Prozac! I certainly don't want to get all new agey, but the world would be a better place if people like myself could overcome all of this negativity that we send and recieve.
-- Oxnard (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1999.
I say the brain as is invented by scientists, we developed it to soupify so to speak the certain sensitivities of sensitives. And to outsmart the corporation underers, ers. So there are six rules for this type of behavior: 1. scan low and high for microelectron dot multiplication matrices, 2. leave the sorting and parsing and spacing and Farsi pantechnicon macrophageousicicity to personal data handlers, and 3. talk to a second cop about traffic stops. These summarize Bucky Fuller's thoughts on this topic, also those of Miriam Edelstein and the oo-oomlaut gruppe.
-- Telex Codagrammathon (email@example.com), November 14, 1999.
Test of the a href link format. Unanswered Prayers thx , Jorn
-- russ conner (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 19, 2001.
I'll be dammed . It works .
-- russ (email@example.com), January 19, 2001.