The term extrasensory perception or ESP is an unfortunate choice of words because it implies that man has an extra or sixth sense. This is not true. All human beings have only five physical senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.
What people normally refer to as the sixth sense, or extra sensory perception, refers to spiritual sight. It is perception that goes beyond the physical senses. But since mainstream Western science does not believe in the existence of “spirit,” ESP is routinely and readily dismissed.
Persons who manifest extra sensory perception abilities are commonly called “psychics.” Unfortunately, this term, specially in the Philippines, has come to be associated with fortune telling. A psychic, by common understanding, is one who can tell the future. This is not necessarily true. Many types of psychic powers do not involve seeing the future.
In fact, fortune telling or precognition is only one of more than 35 psychic powers or abilities I have listed in my book. The term “psychic” is, therefore, a misunderstood and misused word. Etymologically this comes from the Greek word “psyche,” which means “mind” or “soul.” So, everybody is literally psychic.
But because this word is usually associated with the occult and the mystical, some serious writers and researchers refuse to use it. Dutch parapsychlogist professor Wilhelm Carl Tenhaeff of the University of Utrecht prefers to use the term he invented, “paragnost,” to refer to a psychic. The word means a person who knows things beyond ordinary knowledge. But since this word has not caught up with general usage, we are better off using the more familiar terms.
Although Dr. J.B. Rhine of Duke University in North Carolina was not the first to use the term extra sensory perception, this has been closely associated with him because he was the first scientist to extensively study the nature of ESP under scientifically controlled laboratory conditions for about 30 years.
Among the other noted serious researchers in this field are Dr. Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff of Standard Research Institute (now called SRI International) in Menlo Park, California, Dr. William James of the American Society for Psychical Research, Dr. Robert Jahn and Psychologist Brenda J. Dunne of Princeton University and Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama of Japan.
The academic or scientific discipline that studies ESP, psychic powers and related fields such as paranormal phenomena is called parapsychology, which literally means either “beside,” “beyond” or “after” psychology.
This controversial discipline was admitted as member of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1969, mainly through the strong advocacy of anthropologist Margaret Mead (known for her book “Growing up in New Guinea”).
The Philippines does not have a university subject or degree in parapsychology, which is unfortunate, because this country, in my point of view, is a virtual laboratory of paranormal and psychic phenomena.
Many unusual and strange happenings have been experienced and reported by our people since before the Spanish people came to the country.
There is a strong bias of the scientific and academic communities against the study of psychic and paranormal phenomena. This is rather unfortunate, but we must live with it until more enlightened or progressive scientists, researchers and scholars emerge.
Some authors prefer to call the knowledge that comes from sources beyond the senses as intuition. It is defined as “knowing something directly or instantly without ratiocination or going through logical or analytical process.” You just know, but you don’t know where the knowledge comes from.
An example of intuition is the case of a man who was rushing to go to the office. But before he backed out of the garage, he thought of checking behind the car and found his 2-year-old neighbor sleeping there. Had he backed out without checking, he would certainly have killed the child.
Or take the case of that American mother who was cooking lunch at home when she felt a sudden pain in her chest and thought of her son, who was a soldier fighting in Vietnam. The next day, she received news that her son was killed by a bullet to his chest at the exact time she felt the pain.
To me, intuition is the same as extrasensory perception or ESP.
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