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The formula for telling how to judge a new idea is fairly simple, a little like that for crossing a railroad track: “Stop, look and listen,” then proceed with caution and try to get the facts about it. Remember too that “I believe” or “I don’t believe” is an unnecessary end point. What seems to be a proper decision today may change again when the light of tomorrow gives a different outlook. Newton seemed correct in his own time, but Einstein gave a new view of the universe, and now the physicists of today are already changing the Einsteinian universe.
The acceptance of quick, sensational, publicized claims about psychical matters is evidence really of a general need to know the answer to “What am I?” and to know it now. Like a cancer victim, the general public wants a cure and quickly without waiting for the slow, painstaking way of science. But the same impatience leads to quack cancer cures in medicine and to the occult fringe of parapsychology.
The careful person must therefore beware of unproven claims, even while he keeps an openminded attitude toward new ideas which may seem impossible, but are as yet untested. With this attitude the fringe beliefs will not smother the good research, as it slowly separates the true from the false. And some of those fringe beliefs may have in them elements of truth that will be needed before the entire secret is revealed.
Louisa E. Rhine
Psi What is it?
Harper & Row, New York, 1975
This work provides a journey that every man can follow. It is an exploration of the personal world of your own mind. If you believe that this is not very interesting because your life has not been exciting, I want to show you that this is just not so. The nature of the individual mind is such that potentially every nook and cranny of the world can be reflected in it, and there are ways and means to experience this. Let me give you an example. You might say that you have never studied the circulation of the red blood cells under a microscope in a laboratory. Yet you have only to look at the blue sky, relax your mind, and you will directly observe the flow of myriads of blood cells in the fine vessels of your eye. You could lie down at absolute rest in a quiet room in your basement where there is no light or other disturbance, and within an hour or so you would begin to see, feel, and hear things whose existence up till now had never been suspected.
Man has been exploring his mind since time began, and out of it has come all that we know. When the mind becomes uncertain of what it finds, or thinks it knows, then it turns to the outer world and utilizes observations and experiment as a check upon itself. And this is a necessary precaution because a mind unchecked by facts can get out of control and create fantasies that can become injurious to one's existence, or to others.
I have gone beyond this inside experience and outside observation and summoned all my scientific acumen to rationalize the anatomy and dynamics of the mind. I have tried to relate the facts of mind to the facts of biology and physics. I am the first to admit that this is a pioneering venture and that my interpretation may not entirely reflect the laws of mind. But I have taken this bold step in order to stimulate others to examine the same problems, and thereby draw more interest toward a seriously neglected area of knowledge. If I can serve as a catalyst, even though many of my ideas fall in the fray, I shall have accomplished one of my major purposes. My other purpose is to bring the latest thinking in this field to the attention of many intelligent seekers who in turn can utilize some of the techniques herein described in the private laboratory of their own mind. The more such private laboratories are placed in operation the quicker will the truth about ourselves be revealed. This is one of the last great frontiers of exploration, and fortunately it appears to be an infinite one, so we need not fear, as did Alexander, that there will be no more worlds to conquer.
Dr. Andrija Puharich
Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1962
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