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Remote  Viewing: Conditions and Potentials

By Christophe  Brunski*

The more I research the  practice of remote viewing, the more critical questions I have concerning the parameters  of its practice by growing numbers of people. The potential implications of the ability  to gather or intuit accurate information from any point throughout time-space are  absolutely staggering, so much so that when considering the expansion of remote viewing  as a type of new alternative industry, I wonder whether or not the extent of these  implications is ever fully appreciated. The geometry of human cognition would be  altered forever if remote viewing could really advance into the next stages of development  in terms of widespread mastery, legitimacy, and dissemination. Have we finally a  major gateway into the future of our own conscious evolution?

 There are conflicting and numerous approaches to defining what remote viewing is  and what the reasonable limits of its application are. Despite the nuances pronounced  by each individual practitioner, remote viewing (often called controlled remote viewing,  or CRV, for short) is understood to be a method of accessing information--distant in either space or time--through psi, or psychic intuition. I think that no one is  really about to step forward and claim that they have the definitive answer to what  psi is, but this does not discredit the often startling evidence supporting remote  viewing itself; one might say that intelligent application of a mechanism is not  wholly contingent upon an explicit understanding of that mechanismís constituent  parts. (Most people could be considered competent thinkers without being able to explain the workings of the brain, for example.) So if remote viewing can be demonstrated  effectively, the question of its "engine," psi, can be set aside for the  time being.

 But here a second question arises: if it works, can it be taught? The overwhelming  majority of remote viewers claim that, yes, it can. While "ordinary" psychic  ability is most often said to be a rare, innate ability occurring in a select few,  remote viewing is considered to be an acquired skill. An interesting theory surrounding  remote viewing deepens this argument: many remote viewers support the idea that remote  viewing was an essential part of the earliest human minds, and that it was in fact  the vital instrument used by hunter gatherers to locate areas of abundance and safety.  If that were the case, it could hardly be imagined that a group of hunter gatherers  would have to sit around waiting until another individual just happened to be born  with the remote viewing gift. It would make sense that the skill could be shared  and transmitted with the group.

 Over time, we as industrialized humans have eroded this innate potential, and we  further grow away from it when we dismiss our occasional moments of deep, accurate  intuition as mere chance. It is said that some of the isolated populations most virgin  to modern society, such as the Aborigines in the most remote parts of Australia, may have retained all of their original remote viewing skills. The possibility exists  as long as there are still indigenous peoples on the earth who live with little or  no corruption of their original ways. Serious research into this topic, however,  is practically non-extant.

 On the other hand, fully modern people are undertaking remote viewing instruction  through various affiliations and groups. But there are two sides to this coin. Tthe  more people are involved, the greater the chance for a real breakthrough in understanding  of remote viewing. Yet at the same time, such wide proliferation of an abstruse activity  like remote viewing could ultimately lead to the same fate as the out-of-body experience,  once an area of serious inquiry now relegated to being an imprecise household expression  (and household excuse) for any type of mental fuzz. If remote viewing is a worthy  and legitimate exercise, it must not suffer a complete diffusion of definition in  the same way.

 Another potential problem with the rapidly expanding interest in remote viewing is  that inexperienced practitioners may end up diluting the statistical data supporting  remote viewing. The success rate in remote viewing is difficult to evaluate, and  the determination of accuracy is often rather subjective. The statistical- or percentage-based  scoring of a remote viewerís accuracy is largely metaphorical and based on each individual  viewer's practice.



 In a typical photo-based exercise, a viewer is given a series of numbers or letters  (A) representing a photograph which has been selected entirely at random but not  shown to the viewer. The number/letter codes have no meaning aside from being a focal  point for the viewer. The viewer then sketches out his or her impressions of the  target (B) and finally, when finished, the viewer is allowed to see the target photograph  (C) to check their results for accuracy. In the beginning stages of remote viewing  development, geometric orientation is of great importance. For example, in the sketches,  the strong impression of an arch (above) and the vertices crossing the horizon (below)  would be judged as a high degree of accuracy because of their correspondence with  the bridge and the wooden poles in the actual target photographs. The novice works  with determining whether the target is indoor or outdoor, the dominant shapes represented,  etc. Later, in more advanced stages, impressions of exact location, precise words  or numbers contained in the target, etc., may be addressed.

 In my very first RV "test," I had a very distinct impression of an image with a broken, jagged horizon. I went further, in my mind, to craft this into a mountain  vista with sharp peaks. The photograph turned out to be one of a marina full of sailboats.  And yet the horizon was indeed jagged and pointy, just as I had drawn it, because  of the sails poking through the horizon line. Even though the content of the image  was by no means in line with the one I had drawn, I felt quite satisfied (and even  slightly impressed) with my fledgling RV session, because the most striking point,  the "bottom line" of my impression--the jagged horizon--was corroborated  in the actual target image.

 Determining accuracy is perhaps the single most questionable part of remote viewing,  and the drawing of the viewed target is a good way for other individuals to agree  upon a level of accuracy. However, care should be exercised in crafting an exacting  image, one with notes explaining its contents, pointing out any significant text  that might be a part of the image, as well as any sort of relation between the objects drawn (a particular orientation or motion, etc.). One instructor, Jon-Aaron Baklund,  explains: "Determining the level of accuracy of a session depends on many things.  The first is: Did the viewer follow the protocols? After that has been determined,  then look at the data. Look at generalities that match the target. When there is  enough corroborating data, we look for finer points that match, then moving on to  things that arenít known but could be there. These are called probables. Sometimes  sessions are metaphorical or symbolic in nature and need to be interpreted."  It is the interpretation of an RV session, and not the RV session itself, which is  an intellectual exercise. A session itself is based on relaxation. The intuitive,  "non-cerebral" character of remote viewing is demonstrated quite well by  the fact that Jon Baklund's RV group Soulfire leads RV training with children, who often  produce remarkable and accurate results.

 As already stated, much of the confusion surrounding remote viewing resides in determining  the basis and "location" of remote viewing; Is it a metaphysical process  dependent upon some other dimension, or a cognitive one wholly dependent on the brain?  One RV instructor goes so far as to say that remote viewing and dreaming "are  the same thing--one happens while you are sleeping and the other happens while you  are awake." I do not personally adhere to this view, because while one person  might be gifted in both psychic dreaming and remote viewing, conflating the two in  this manner only further obscures the character of RV and blurs an expository approach  to its method. I personally maintain, then, that remote viewing is not a form  of dreaming.

 Similarly, it is important not to confuse RV with meditation or trance states. When  working, the remote viewer is fully awake and alert. Whereas one might consider a  trance state to be "going down" into the deeper levels of mind, RV might  be said to allow information from these deeper levels to "come up." It  should thus be emphasized to the learner that no strenuous mental exertion should  be made, but rather one should become accustomed to a relaxed clarity of mind that  de-emphasizes critical and intellectual powers. This in itself is a difficult task  to undertake, and an individual who has learned to trust his or her initial impressions  without lapsing into doubt and autocritique has already overcome the first major  difficulty in practicing RV.

 Not surprisingly, a large percentage of the information generated on remote viewing  has found a home on the Internet. Often mentioned at remote viewing-related sites  is the certification for RV teaching. This strikes me as rather curious. I believe  there is a certain irony in becoming certified in something no one can fully explain.  While this irony does not in itself discredit the advances made by RV projects and their instructors, it certainly inspires a certain caution when approaching an instructional  setting. Baklund says, "I have personally certified only two instructors and  one is currently on non-active status in our organization and the other is still  an apprentice. Our certifications must be updated every year for an Instructor to  remain on active status. Also, our certification is free, so we are not profiting by certifying people."

 If you are interested in finding a remote viewing instructor, take note of what is  promised. Anyone who promises that you will be remote viewing aliens in a distant  galaxy after two weeks of instruction should not be taken very seriously. Furthermore,  some RV projects are free and welcome new participants, whereas others actually charge exorbitant fees for training seminars and the right to participate in their work.  This is one way to weed out uncommitted individuals, but it certainly inspires caution  when considering involvement in a remote viewing group.

 Although RV suffers from a lack of scientific research, a shimmering definition,  and, frankly, an occasional degree of vagueness on the part of its instructors, results  are produced which reinvigorate the idea of a learnable mental skill with  radical potentials. The aspect of remote viewing which I find to be the most dynamically  interesting and which I believe has the greatest potential for application and evolution  is associative remote viewing. This technique uses remote viewing to make decisions  and solve practical problems in matters where volatility and chance are involved.  Associative RV is an advanced skill and to begin using it effectively a viewer must  first be very proficient in accurately viewing and sketching targets.

 In general, a selection of targets is used to represent a selection of possible chance  outcomes; what one views is not the actual outcome of an event but rather the target  image that represents that outcome. The targets are assigned to their respective  outcomes by a second party so the remote viewer does not know what outcome the viewed target stands for. In this way the desire for a particular outcome does not distort  or influence the prediction of what the actual outcome will be. (For an excellent  presentation of this concept, see remote viewing instructor Greg Kolodziejzyk's website.)

 The potentials of remote viewing are seductive and vast, and the whole movement works  like an incubator for radical ideas. Most remarkably, remote viewing offers interesting  possibilities for integration with other realms of mind work now reaching peaks of popularity, such as nootropics and light-sound technology (mindmachines). The current  high tide of information and equipment sources makes these fields widely available  to anyone who cares, or dares, to explore the application of remote viewing to other  areas of study.

 At the slight risk of over-exerting the premise, one might even suggest using remote  viewing to study remote viewing itself: if remote viewers are correct in their claims  that there is no boundary t in the gathering of remote information, then using remote  viewing on the body--and on the brain--should not be impossible. Imagine using the  brain to observe the brainís own activity, and then having its findings corroborated  by accepted neurobiological procedure (i.e. using remote viewing to pinpoint the  precise loci of various mental activities and having these assertions checked against  CAT scans and other imaging techniques). This would unquestionably be the most remarkable  stride ever managed by the "alternative sciences," and would verify that  our contemporary knowledge and science of the mind are only the antechamber of what  is actually possible.


 *Christophe Brunski is a writer and photographer who works both in the United States  and Europe. His latest book is called The Sea-Glass Chronicles.

Copyright  2000 The Anomalist