The ESP Enigma; The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena – A REVIEW

I’ve recently finished reading a book titled: The ESP Enigma; The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomenon – by Diane Hennacy Powell M.D., a Johns Hopkins University trained doctor of neuroscience, and one time Harvard Medical School faculty member – and I must say, my passion for the subject has been rejuvenated.

This is what I had to say about it on Facebook’s LivingSocial Visual Bookshelf:

I loved this book! It is easily one of my top 5 favourite titles now.

My thoughts on the subject have been somewhat disorganized, though I do admit that I’ve always harboured a belief in ESP (in its many forms), Diane Powell’s astute research and insight are inspiring to say the least. I did question some of her conclusions, as they seem to be more like authority arguments rather than logical hypotheses, but overall I have to say I agree with her.

I’ve even been inspired to think of and arrange some experiments of my own, and I intend to put some effort into the study of lucid dreaming as well.

I would say that any book, which possesses such passion and coherent thought, that can inspire a reader to act beyond a mere “hmm” at the last page, is a whopping success.

If you are even remotely interested in either ESP in its many forms, or in neurology / neurobiology, this is the book for you…highly recommended!

This book is a succinct collection of facts about ESP or extra-sensory perception, which includes telepathy, clairvoyance, prophetic dreams, Synesthesia[1] (which is an unendingly interesting subject all on its own) and even remote viewing.  More than that though, it’s a thorough and up-to-date discussion on the meaning of consciousness, tempered with the benefit of professional insight in neuroscience and psychology.

This is the book that has been missing from the cannon of information available on the psychic trades.

I’ve been quite clear in the past, in my public distain for psychic charlatans, and I’m not about to change that position.  All the while, I’ve harboured a nascent belief in the phenomena itself.   Sort of a one percent-er rule, wherein the vast majority of people who would publicly (and for profit) claim that they possess an ineffable psychic ability (or some combination thereof) are more than likely full of proverbial bullshit, there are, to my mind, a small percentage of people in the general population who do indeed possess some undefined ability that bears more than a little scientific scrutiny.  Though this scrutiny need not necessarily be to determine the level of bullshit involved, more so to determine how the process works, by what mechanism and ultimately, in what medium.

Powell draws some startling conclusions from her work and from the collective work of many, many scientists over the past 100 years or so.  The most interesting may be (or one of the most interesting) her assessment of the phenomenon of consciousness.  She discusses the two primary schools of thought regarding a definition of consciousness – monism vs. dualism – and presents a more abstracted vision of what consciousness might be (I’m particularly fond of the idea that consciousness is a subatomic field accessed by our minds, through a complex process of neurochemistry and synaptic function).

All of this intertwined with the most astute assessment of so much famous and relatively obscure scientific study of ESP phenomenon the world over.  As I said in my earlier review: “I loved this book!”

[1] Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae or synaesthesiae)—from the Ancient Greek σύν (syn), “together,” and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), “sensation“—is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes.

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