Are All Psychics Frauds?: A Speculative Essay
Good Day rajivnandy
Thank you for this question: Are all psychics frauds? I'm going to say at the outset that if you visit a "psychic," and you are comfortable with him or her, there is no reason to stop consulting with her, even though I just put the word psychic in quotes. I will say at the outset that they are professionals just like anyone else. They have cultivated natural talents through hard work to earn a living by providing a service. They are like any other kind of counselor, a priest, therapist, psychologist, what-have-you.
I do not believe the nature of their faculties is what they themselves tend to believe it is. I believe that "psychics" have an especially highly developed intuition -- not unlike the guy who plays on that CBS show The Mentalist. But the "psychics", most of them, I believe, are not necessarily being fraudulent in calling themselves psychics.
Psychic counselors are said to have ESP (extrasensory perception). Let's think about what that means -- Extra Sensory Perception. To me this would mean that there are people who have means of perceiving the world that are of an entirely different or "higher" order of knowing than is available to the rest of the species. I approach this question on an evolutionary basis.
For example, ten million years ago in Africa, the beginnings of the human species are said to have originated in the forest belt stretching horizontally from one end of the continent to the other (looking at it on a map). The forest belt was dense, meaning that a lot of trees were really close together. The "ape-like" beings who inhabited the area relied on their sense of smell to navigate their way around, hunt prey, etc. The point is that smell was imperative and the most highly developed sense. Of course they could see and had the other senses of touch and taste and hearing -- but it was smell that was dominant because of the situation, the environmental imperative was such that it demanded the acute development of smell.
But then due to certain environmental/geologic changes the forest belt thinned out considerably. The trees got much, much farther apart, and vast, wide open spaces were revealed. This situation created a different environmental imperative for those creatures. The need for the acute development of sight was called for now, and the sense of smell was somewhat de-emphasized over time. Now, these creatures who spread out from this area, gave rise to both the beings who would become us and the apes. There were other modifications of physiology and anatomy, of course, that occurred but they needn't concern us here.
My own perspective is that of a religious naturalist. We needn't define that here, but it demands a certain approach to questions like the one we're dealing with here. When I hear talk of "psychics" or ESP, the first question I ask is: where is the specific environmental imperative calling for the emergence of these faculties? If such environmental imperative(s) exist then that would mean that the entire species is changing -- that these enhanced faculties are to be the birthright, someday, of everyone, not just a select "chosen" few.
Let's back up a step and define what we mean by "psychic" and ESP. Psychics, for our purposes purport to have some form of extrasensory perception. We are not dealing with the totality of "psychic phenomena" (telekinesis, reincarnation, etc., -- some people call it "supernatural," perhaps "mind reading, etc). I am aware of two basic forms of purported extrasensory perception proper: clairvoyance ("remote viewing" -- there's people who work with the police to find missing people: some of them use objects of the missing person to try to build a connection which enhances their ability to hone in on the missing person and find them) and seeing into your future or several of your possible futures.
Now then, if an environmental imperative did exist which seems to call forth the emergence of enhanced faculties, then this process would, of necessity, be organic. In other words, these enhanced faculties would have to be merely the augmentation of faculties we already have. These abilities cannot just come out of the air as "gifts" to a "select" few. If I do not find such an environmental imperative I do not necessarily scream "fraud."
The next question I ask is: is it possible that we have miscategorization here? I think we do. In my opinion psychics, as I have narrowly defined the term, are people who have quite consciously and deliberately developed their sense of empathy (as opposed to sympathy, there's a difference), intuition, and imaginative visualization to a much higher degree than the rest of us.
But here's the thing. They are no less professional and valuable to society for it. Why does someone become a lawyer? Because one has a natural argumentative, analytical dominant tendency and decides that the law is a profession that best suits his innate talents and abilities. He goes through his schooling and formal training to -- hone that argumentative, analytical tendency. Why does one become a writer? Because she has a strong narrative, storytelling urge that dominates the way she processes and interacts with the world.
And on and on it goes. Choosing any profession and going thorugh the schooling and training for it, then, is all about honing one's dominant tendencies. I'm sure many "psychics" would make excellent detectives, criminal profilers, psychotherapists, social workers, drug counselors, and the like. But on the other hand they're fine where they are.
So, are all psychics frauds? My answer, therefore, is no. I would say that most of them are genuine. Its just that their highly developed empathy, intuition, and imaginative visualization (faculties we all have), are miscategorized. If I had my druthers I would call them facilitators or something like that.
More by this Author
This essay is a follow-up discussion to a previous hub I wrote, which is called "On the Question of the Existence of God: A Meditation."
I consider this installment number three of a series that began with "On the Question of the Existence of God: A Meditation."
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