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Seeing like the snake

by on March 4, 2013

I’m developing a theory of the nervous system as an antenna. This is probably not an original thought, but I’m exploring it from my own perspective (physicist, patent attorney, musician, yogi). Anyway, I wrote the following piece about 3 years ago, and am posting it here as a preview of my upcoming theory (no promises on when it will be ready).


Can you read people’s minds? Do you get “signals” out of thin air? Thoughts that materialize into reality seconds, hours, or days later? What about dreams of events, people, situations that contain elements of the past, yet may hint at the future?

I’m particularly interested in the “signals.” What type of signals do you receive? Do you act out of instinct, turning around just in time to see your friend enter the room? Is it a mental tic, insisting that it needs to be acted on? Or is it a mere whisper of a suggestion, willing to be ignored, maybe even forgotten by the time it is real? How much do you trust this feeling to be true? If it was clear as a bell, how much would you attribute as hindsight? 

If you’ve recognized and acknowledged your ability to observe happenings beyond the realm of our basic senses, have you noticed any patterns of behavior of this extra-sense? Do you practice this process? What methods do you use to tune into your surroundings? How far do you think you can take it? Where is the balance between developing this “muscle” and overexerting it to the point of exhaustion? Do you find your yoga and meditation practice having a positive effect on your extra-sense? Alternatively, what other methods have you used to exercise this extra-sense?

Our basic senses are only limited in their function by the apparent ability of the brain to process their input. The eye “sees” only a fraction of the available electromagnetic spectrum, known as visible light. Similarly, the ears “hear” somewhere between 20Hz and 20,000Hz. Dogs can hear and smell far better than us. Reptiles see infrared. Bats build images with their echoes. It is said that animals can “sense” fear. Considering that our bodies undergo subtle shifts in chemical balance depending on our emotional state, what exactly are the animals picking up on? Can we humans, as distant relatives of most other life, pick up on these with our senses? Can we practice sniffing like the dog, listening like the cat, seeing like the snake? And if so, can we clear up the smoke around the concept of extra-sensory perception, and start focusing on how to harness these new skills?

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