Michael Nahm has a Ph.D. in Biology and is a scientific research assistant at the Institute for Frontiers Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (IGPP). He also has published four books and numerous articles on poltergeists, hauntings, mediumship, and the links between biology and psi.
Psi phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, pre- and retrocognition call for a model of space and time that goes beyond the traditional model of spacetime. Many parapsychologists agree that the world we perceive represents only an excerpt of a larger structure of reality, or background reality, that is inaccessible to our senses and technical measurement instruments. Hence, explanatory models of life and its evolution must take the existence of this background reality into account. Few parapsychologists or biologists, however, have so far attempted to connect unsolved riddles of biological life and its evolution to the findings of parapsychology.
Especially in the first half of the 19th century, several biologists contributed to advancing parapsychology as well as biology in developing detailed neo-vitalist concepts of life. They soon resulted in the formulation of related approaches such as holism and organicism. These perspectives match current trends in biology in which the basic understanding of organisms is currently shifting from regarding them as mere biochemical machines to regarding them as active and systemic centers of individuality, and even as active drivers of evolution.
In particular, epigenetics provides important new insights into heredity, and a growing number of biologists recognize that the traditional neo-Darwinian model of evolution is insufficient. For example, the significance of natural selection has been diminished in new theories such as the “Extended Synthesis”, in which it is accepted that many traits of organisms have not been carved out via random mutations and merciless selection of the best adapted during evolution. Some traits could simply have come into existence because of autonomous development dynamics and may have no selective value.
Linking these seemingly divergent lines of reason, I argue that the acceptance of psi phenomena, as well as that of the background reality they are rooted in, provide a missing link that allows for the synthesis overcoming the still existing explanatory gaps in (evolutionary) biology in understanding life, although there are promising steps of development into the right direction. But the “Extended Synthesis” needs to be extended even more by including psi. In doing so, I follow a long tradition of thinkers such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Eduard von Hartmann, Hans Driesch, C.G. Jung, Aloys Wenzl, or Sir Alister Hardy. It is time to lift their approach to understanding life on a contemporary level.
Presented at the online PA Symposium “Ecology, Nature and Parapsychology” on November 21,2020; program chaired by Renaud Evrard, President of the Parapsychological Association. Download the Abstracts at https://www.parapsych.org/articles/37/525/ecology_nature_and.aspx
The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.
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Published on May 22, 2021