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Clairvoyance (from 17th century French clair meaning "clear" and voyant meaning "seeing") is the purported ability to gain information about an object, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses,[1][2] a form of extra-sensory perception. A person said to have the ability of clairvoyance is referred to as a clairvoyant.

Claims for the existence of paranormal psychic abilities such as clairvoyance are highly controversial. Parapsychology explores this possibility, but no evidence for such paranormal phenomena is accepted by the scientific community.

UsageEdit

Within parapsychology, clairvoyance is used exclusively to refer to the transfer of information that is both contemporary to, and hidden from, the clairvoyant. It is differentiated from telepathy in that the information is said to be gained directly from an external physical source, rather than being transferred from the mind of one individual to another.[3]

Outside of parapsychology, clairvoyance is often used to refer to other forms of Anomalous cognition, most commonly the perception of events that have occurred in the past, or which will occur in the future (known as retrocognition and precognition respectively),[4][3] or to refer to communications with the dead (see Mediumship).

Clairvoyace is related to remote viewing, although the term "remote viewing" itself is not as widely applicable to clairvoyance because it refers to a specific controlled process.

Status of clairvoyanceEdit

Within the field of parapsychology, there is a consensus that some instances of clairvoyance are verifiable.[5][6] There is also a measured level of belief from amongst the general public, with the portion of the US population who believe in clairvoyance varying between 1/4 and 1/3 over the 15 year period from 1990 to 2005.

Year Belief
1990 26%
2000 32%
2005 26%[4]

The concept of clairvoyance gained some support from the US and Russian governments both during and after the Cold War, and both governments made several attempts to harness it as an intelligence gathering tool.[7]

According to skeptics, clairvoyance is the result of fraud or self-delusion.[4]

Clairvoyance and related phenomena throughout historyEdit

There have been anecdotal reports of clairvoyance and 'clear' abilities throughout history in most cultures.[How to reference and link to summary or text] These episodes are often reported as being experienced through early adulthood.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Often clairvoyance has been associated with religious or shamanic figures, offices and practices. For example, ancient Hindu religious texts list clairvoyance amongst other forms of 'clear' experiencing, as siddhis, or 'perfections', skills that are yielded through appropriate meditation and personal discipline. But a large number of anecdotal accounts of clairvoyance are of the spontaneous variety among the general populace. For example, many people report seeing a loved one who has recently died before they have learned by other means that their loved one is deceased. While anecdotal accounts do not provide scientific proof of clairvoyance, such common experiences continue to motivate research into such phenomena.

Clairvoyance was one of the phenomena reportedly observed in the behavior of somnambulists, people who were mesmerized and in a trance state (nowadays equated with hypnosis by most people) in the time of Franz Anton Mesmer.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The earliest record of somnambulistic clairvoyance is credited to the Marquis de Puységur, a follower of Mesmer, who in 1784 was treating a local dull-witted peasant named Victor Race. During treatment, Race reportedly would go into trance and undergo a personality change, becoming fluent and articulate, and giving diagnosis and prescription for his own disease as well as those of others. When he came out of the trance state he would be unaware of anything he had said or done. This behavior is somewhat reminiscent of the reported behaviors of the 20th century medical clairvoyant and psychic Edgar Cayce. It is reported that although Puységur used the term 'clairvoyance', he did not think of these phenomena as "paranormal", since he accepted mesmerism as one of the natural sciences.

Clairvoyance was a reported ability of some mediums during the spiritualist period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was one of the phenomena studied by members of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). Psychics of many descriptions have claimed clairvoyant ability up to the present day.

While experimental research into clairvoyance began with SPR researchers, experimental studies became more systematic with the efforts of J. B. Rhine and his associates at Duke University, and such research efforts continue to the present day. Perhaps the best-known study of clairvoyance in recent times was the US government-funded remote viewing project at SRI/SAIC during the 1970s through the mid-1990s.

Some parapsychologists have proposed that our different functional labels (clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, etc.) all refer to one basic underlying mechanism, although there is not yet any satisfactory theory for what that mechanism may be.

Parapsychological researchEdit

Parapsychological research studies of remote viewing and clairvoyance have produced favorable results significantly above chance, and meta-analysis of these studies increases the significance to astronomical proportions. For instance, at the Stanford Research Institute, remote viewing experiments undertaken between 1973 and 1988 were analyzed by Edwin May and his colleagues in 1988, and the odds against the results being due to chance were more than a billion billion to one. The SRI results were replicated at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory.[8] (Radin 1997:91-109)

Skepticism Edit

Parapsychological research is regarded by critics as a pseudoscience[9] In 1988, the US National Research Council concluded that it "...finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years, for the existence of parapsychological phenomena."[10]

Scientists say that if clairvoyance were a reality it would have become abundantly clear. They also contend that those who believe in paranormal phenomena do so for merely psychological reasons. According to David G. Myers (Psychology, 8th ed.)

The search for a valid and reliable test of clairvoyance has resulted in thousands of experiments. One controlled procedure has invited 'senders' to telepathically transmit one of four visual images to 'receivers' deprived of sensation in a nearby chamber (Bem & Honorton, 1994). The result? A reported 32 percent accurate response rate, surpassing the chance rate of 25 percent. But follow-up studies have (depending on who was summarizing the results) failed to replicate the phenomenon or produced mixed results (Bem & others, 2001; Milton & Wiseman, 2002; Storm, 2000, 2003).
One skeptic, magician James Randi, has a longstanding offer—now U.S. $1 million—“to anyone who proves a genuine psychic power under proper observing conditions” (Randi, 1999). French, Australian, and Indian groups have parallel offers of up to 200,000 euros to anyone with demonstrable paranormal abilities (CFI, 2003). Large as these sums are, the scientific seal of approval would be worth far more to anyone whose claims could be authenticated. To refute those who say there is no ESP, one need only produce a single person who can demonstrate a single, reproducible ESP phenomenon. So far, no such person has emerged. Randi’s offer has been publicized for three decades and dozens of people have been tested, sometimes under the scrutiny of an independent panel of judges. Still, nothing. "People's desire to believe in the paranormal is stronger than all the evidence that it does not exist." Susan Blackmore, "Blackmore's first law", 2004.

Other related termsEdit

The words "clairvoyance" and "psychic" are often used to refer to many different kinds of paranormal sensory experiences, but there are more specific names:

Clairsentience (feeling/touching) Edit

In the field of parapsychology, clairsentience [From the French clair, “clear,” + sentience, “feeling,” ultimately derived from the Latin clarus, “clear,” + sentiens, derived from sentire, “to feel”] is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person acquires psychic knowledge primarily by means of feeling.[11] In addition to parapsychology, the term also plays a role in some religions. For example: clairsentience is one of the six human special functions mentioned or recorded in Buddhism. It is an ability that can be obtained at advanced meditation level. Generally the term refers to a person who can feel the vibration of other people. There are many different degrees of clairsentience ranging from the perception of diseases of other people to the thoughts or emotions of other people. The ability differs from third eye in that this kind of ability can not have a vivid picture in the mind. Instead, a very vivid feeling can form.

Psychometry is related to clairsentience. The word stems from psyche and metric, which means "to measure with the mind".

Clairaudience (hearing/listening)Edit

In the field of parapsychology, clairaudience [from late 17th century French clair (clear) & audience (hearing)] is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person acquires information by paranormal auditory means. It is often considered to be a form of clairvoyance.[12] Clairaudience is essentially the ability to hear in a paranormal manner, as opposed to paranormal seeing (clairvoyance) and feeling (clairsentience). Clairaudient people have psi-mediated hearing. Clairaudience may refer not to actual perception of sound, but may instead indicate impressions of the "inner mental ear" similar to the way many people think words without having auditory impressions. But it may also refer to actual perception of sounds such as voices, tones, or noises which are not apparent to other humans or to recording equipment. For instance, a clairaudient person might claim to hear the voices or thoughts of the spirits of persons who are deceased. Clairaudience may be positively distinguished from the voices heard by the mentally ill when it reveals information unavailable to the clairaudient person by normal means (including cold reading or other magic tricks), and thus may be termed "psychic" or paranormal.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Clairalience (smelling)Edit

In the field of parapsychology, clairalience [presumably from late 17th century French clair (clear) & alience (smelling)] is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person acquires psychic knowledge primarily by means of smelling.[13]

Claircognizance (knowing)Edit

In the field of parapsychology, claircognizance [presumably from late 17th century French clair (clear) & cognizance (< ME cognisaunce < OFr conoissance, knowledge)] is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person acquires psychic knowledge primarily by means of intrinsic knowledge. It is the ability to know something without knowing how or why you know it.

Clairgustance (tasting)Edit

In the field of parapsychology, clairgustance is defined as a form of extra-sensory perception that allegedly allows one to taste a substance without putting anything in one's mouth. It is claimed that those who possess this ability are able to perceive the essence of a substance from the spiritual or ethereal realms through taste.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Developing clairvoyant abilities Edit

Current thinking among proponents of clairvoyance posits that most people are born with clairvoyant abilities but then start to subliminate them as their childhood training compels them to adhere to acceptable social norms. Numerous institutes offer training courses that attempt to revive the clairvoyant abilities present in those early years.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

According to many Taoist- and Buddhist-related practices, abilities such as clairvoyance and many other 'supernormal' abilities are by-products of spiritual awakening and the realisation of divine consciousness. Integral to spiritual and mind expansion is breathwork and meditation. By expanding lung capacity and learning to use the lungs as a 'bellows' to direct qi (Template:Lang-zh qì, meaning "air") around the body and open the subtle energy channels we also naturally expand the mind and refine consciousness. This is how these seemingly miraculous powers develop, though they are not truly miraculous. They are considered to be latent abilities that everyone possesses but need 'waking up.'[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Such abilities in some schools of thought are considered distractions from the true path of Enlightenment and can lead to the practitioner falling off the true path. The re-discovery of these energetic abilities relies on the activation of the 'Dan Tien' (Template:Lang-zh dān tián, meaning "energy gate") that is the central energy reservoir just below the navel. When the practitioner learns to 'turn' it and move it as if it were a fifth limb then qi can begin to be pushed around the body. The Dan Tien is strong as a baby but quickly slows to a crawl as one ages. A major part of Taoist and Chinese Buddhist practice is learning to activate the Dan Tien once again. This may also explain why such abilities are a bit stronger as a child and quickly disappear as one ages but can be awakened again at any time by the proper practice of arts such as neigong and qigong to expand the mindstream and spirit. There are many abilities that can be developed in this way — telepathy, prediction, astral travel, pyrokinesis, telekinesis, levitation and energetic healing.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://mw1.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clairvoyance Merriam-Webster Online dictionary, Retrieved Oct 5, 2007 "1: the power or faculty of discerning objects not present to the senses 2: ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception: penetration"
  2. Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Retrieved Oct 7, 2007. The ESP entry includes clairvoyance
  3. 3.0 3.1 Glossary of Parapsychological terms - ClairvoyanceParapsychological Association (2007-04-27)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Carrol, Robert (2003), "Clairvoyance" - Skeptics Dictionary, Wiley, ISBN 0471272426
  5. "What is parapsychology?", FAQ - Parapsychological Association (2007-02-03)
  6. "What is the state-of-the-evidence for psi?", FAQ - Parapsychological Association (2007-02-03)
  7. Waller, Douglas (1995-12-11), "The Vision Thing", Time, p.45
  8. The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean I. Radin Harper Edge, ISBN 0-06-251502-0
  9. Marks, D.F. (2000). The Psychology of the Psychic (2nd Ed.) New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573927988
  10. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural James Randi
  11. Parapsychological Association historical terms glossary, retrieved December 17, 2006
  12. Parapsychological Association website, Glossary of Key Words Frequently Used in Parapsychology, Retrieved January 24, 2006
  13. Supernatural Glossary


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