Eric Wargo | The Freudian Unconscious as Misrecognized Precognition

Experimental as well as anecdotal evidence suggest that precognition orients toward meaningful rewards ahead in an individual’s life. Consequently, the study of precognitive dreams and other precognitive behaviors should not ignore highly personal meanings and associations that may be relatively inaccessible to strict laboratory methods. Clinical case studies of Sigmund Freud as well as others working in his tradition provide a rich trove of data on precognition, which has been largely overlooked both by psychoanalysts and, with a few exceptions, by parapsychologists. Indeed, reexamination of events in Freud’s biography shows that he himself precognized significant upheavals in his later life in his dreams and parapraxes, even though he never acknowledged such a possibility.

The psychoanalytic construct of the unconscious offered turn-of-the-century science a way to admit otherwise supernormal-seeming human capabilities into scientific consideration, by framing them as the operation of a not-causally-outrageous (but still-paradoxical) off-stage agency forming judgments and directing our behavior without our direct awareness. Yet in light of more recent research, ranging from laboratory precognition and presentiment evidence to new thinking about retrocausation in physics, it becomes more parsimonious to reframe many phenomena associated with the unconscious (dreams, parapraxes, creativity, and even neurotic symptomatology) as potentially precognitive in nature. Parapsychology more generally could gain much from a “return to Freud,” since his hermeneutic approach straddled the sciences and the humanities in a way that is necessary to make progress studying meaning-centered phenomena.

Bio: Eric Wargo is the author of the book Time Loops: Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious (2018, Anomalist Books). He has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Emory University (2000) and has worked as a science writer and editor for organizations including the Biblical Archaeology Society, the Association for Psychological Science, and the National Institutes of Health. In his spare time, he writes about consciousness, paranormal phenomena, and science fiction at his blog The Nightshirt.

Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration Conference in Broomfield, Colorado 2019.

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Published on February 3, 2020