Our fascination with the idea of disembodied consciousness isn’t anything new — the mid 20th century had been ripe with projects and efforts to study extra-sensory phenomena, eventually fizzling out under the more immediately gratifying offers of technological potentiality.
However, as instruments became more precise and capable throughout the turn of the 21st century, new potentials of [quantum] measurement took hold.
Suddenly, the spooky actions at a distance that had troubled the greatest minds for over a century seemed not so out of reach, and our appetite for all things quantum grew accordingly.
Hardline physicists soon ran out of grains of salt for their taking of each new fantastical but verifiable subatomic discovery; spiritualists have thrown caution to the wind and adopted many concepts as irrefutable evidence of ethereal layering to our world; fringe pioneers sought to, ever so carefully, weave all intersections together under a kind of symmetric aesthetic between intuition and logic (Fritjof Capra has done a masterful job of this).
Which brings us to one of the most intriguing postulations yet: per experiments conducted under the conceptual umbrella of quantum entanglement, consciousness itself demonstrates such spooky actions at a distance — specifically at a distance of 7300km.
And so we have this study, elucidated below via Q&A with one of its leading authors, the conclusions of which force us to ask: what do we do with this?
Q&A with John Kruth
Borealism: The answer had been ‘probably yes’ as to whether or not the study (which you had co-authored in 2015) demonstrated an increase in the number of photons detected at 7300km of distance to measure mental entanglement.
Can you briefly describe how the anomalous increase had initially been hypothesized and, going beyond the confines of the paper, what do the subsequent results signify to you personally?
JK [John Kruth]: This study was designed to test whether specially selected participants in Italy could have an effect on our detection devices in Durham, NC, over 7000km away. Patrizio Tressoldi was working with a number of people who had trained to have out of body experiences using an induction process he had developed. These selected participants would establish the necessary state of mind and attempt to travel out of body from their physical location in Italy to the bioenergy lab at the Rhine in the US. Tressoldi worked with his team to establish a timing for the participants’ sessions and instructed them on how to perform the sessions. In Durham, I would set up the lab to monitor changes in light measurements in our bioenergy lab.
At first, I would set up the lab and send Tressoldi the results of each session. I was aware of when the participants would begin and end their focus sessions, and we had equivalent sessions where there was not intended effort from the participants or baseline sessions. Our early sessions informed us that we would be better served if I were completely blinded to the timing of the focus sessions. This would provide us more validity to the data collected, and it reduced the possibility that an unintentional experimenter effect would modify the data.
In our subsequent studies, I would start the equipment each morning at a predetermined time and collect data for approximately 4 hours. During that time, the participants in Italy would focus their effort on traveling out of body, but I was not aware of when they were focusing during that 4 hours. The data from the moments when they were not focusing was used as the baseline readings for the session.
The participants were instructed to travel to the location in the US, but their intent was to focus their efforts on affecting the electronic systems and produce higher readings in the very sensitive equipment.
The analysis in the final study was developed based on our experiences in some pilot studies. It examined the mean number of photons registered during the baseline sessions and looked for “events” where the photon readings were at least two-sigma greater than the baseline mean, and ideally six-sigma greater than the baseline mean. These six-sigma events were counted in the baseline and the focus sessions, and the goal was to find an increase of at least 5% in the events during the periods of focus. This is exactly what we found.
From my perspective, a six-sigma change in readings is very strong evidence that there is a change in activity during the focus sessions. The sessions were done over a period of months on many different days, and the only factor that had changed was the periods of effort by the participants over 7000km distant. This indicates that there was an impact of the focus of the participants on the readings detected by equipment that was very distant from them.
There is still a question of how this effect was produced and whether this is an example of quantum entanglement. Some people interpret all non-physical effects from a distance as potentially a result of entanglement. There is only theoretical speculation that these effects were the result of entanglement. Some other theories are related to the potential presence of the participants in an out-of-body state and the possibility that this presence could produce light that would register on the equipment. Some others describe a potential non-local effect on the electronic equipment that may or may not be related to entanglement. Even others describe a potential precognitive event where the researchers unconsciously selected moments of focus that corresponded to changes in the data that they would not see for weeks. This final theory is called Decision Augmentation Theory (DAT), and it has been described by researcher Ed May.
We do not have a definitive answer for how this effect occurred, but there is strong evidence that the efforts of the participants did have an effect on the devices.
Borealism: As we zoom in closer, the world of quantum happenstance tends to continuously prompt us to think beyond the parameters of space and time; if a human mind can entangle with a predefined target at a distance by way of biphotons, what what should it mean to the scientific community in terms of our potential to transcend space/time in such a way?
JK: If this effect was a result of entanglement, it is acting similar to other effects that have been described by quantum physicists. Though it is an anomaly which doesn’t fit into the materialistic model that has driven physics for centuries, it is clearly a repeatable and predictable phenomenon.
If we describe the effects from this study as entanglement, they are more likely to be accepted by physicists and other scientists. Quantum entanglement transcends our materialistic understanding of matter and cause and effect, so these events would also be interpreted to transcend traditional ideas of space and time.
Parapsychology traditionally explores the edges of sciences and effects of this sort are recognized as evidence that we have much more to learn about the capacity of human consciousness to affect the world around us. If highly trained individuals can cause effects as such a distance, there are both positive and potentially disruptive possibilities. For example, healing could occur from a great distance, but electronic devices could also be disrupted or disabled in a malicious manner. It is very important that any new technology be guided by ethical investigations, and effects of this sort are equivalent to a new technology.
Borealism: Have there been any recent quantum-science discoveries in particular, or are there any specific quantum-mechanical principles/concepts that have most substantiated your work/research/hypotheses?
JK: The fact that studies on entanglement have been progressing to entangle larger objects provides more support for the idea that a mind might be entangled with other objects in the world.
Also, a study by Radin on consciousness and the double-slit experiment provides evidence that intention and consciousness can have an impact on physical events on a quantum scale.
Borealism: One solution, as mentioned in the paper, is to measure the energy of these biphotons, which may shed more light on how the mind can be entangled at a distance; are there any other avenues that can help us clarify the situation more and is there any further investigative effort currently in the works?
JK: A current study is exploring the nature of ultra-weak photon emissions (UPEs) and why some people are able to produce them in the lab while others cannot. We are exploring human physiology simultaneously to photon emissions to see if there are biological correlates to the generation of intentional photons. In addition, there are some plans to explore the potential non-local phenomenon to determine if it can be captured in the lab in a more predictable way. Because this second study is still in the planning stage, I can’t describe it in more detail.
By the way, it is possible to measure the amount of energy produced by photons detected in the lab. Using Plank’s constant, you can multiply the wavelength (approximately 380nm) by the constant to get a sense of the amount of energy in a single photon. Multiplying that value times the number of photons will produce an estimate of the energy that is being produced in the lab.
A Problem Growing Louder
While we’ve mostly tuned such phenomena out since the ESP craze of the 60s, experiments like this one are due to bifurcate in the coming years, with numerous applications and methodologies (and results) urging the whole enterprise forward, one tantalizing conclusion to the next.
Right now, studies like this one (and conclusions like these) can be anything we want them to be.
For those of us who disregard anything beyond the domain of religion, it’s blasphemous nonsense; for classical physicists, it’s playful pseudo-scientific banter; for the spiritually oriented, it’s evidence worth celebrating; for the curious, it’s something — yet to be understood, but certainly something.
Unifying all of these subjective interpretations, for everyone, is one golden common denominator: it’s a problem.
For the more open minds, it’s a beautiful puzzle yet to be solved — it’s a start. For minds more closed, it’s an inconvenience and a trap — a dead end.
Regardless, it seems that the reverberations of findings like these are about to get a whole lot louder and difficult to ignore.