Suppressing the Future to Use ESP in the Present
Charles T. Tart
Some years ago I was amazed to discover unexpected and massive amounts of a particular kind of ESP, precognition, in an analysis of experiments designed to see if people could be trained to use ESP more effectively in a telepathic kind of situation. I was amazed because while intellectually I accepted the existence of precognition, predicting the future with ESP when there was no way of inferring it correctly from knowledge of the present, the whole idea of getting information from the future made no real sense at all to me! I have, in many ways, an old-fashioned mind and live in a Newtonian universe. Time and space are there, the time is now, the past is over and gone, the future does not yet exist! And yet, here were the data, way too strong to try to explain away.
Compounding my confusion, it was precognitive missing, i.e. scores were way below chance.
If you were asked to guess red or black on a deck of face-down ordinary playing cards with no trial-by-trial feedback on correctness, and you called all 52 cards correctly, you don’t need a statistician to tell you this is enormously improbable. (By chance, once in 552 times, probability about 2×10-26). You should get about half your calls right each time by chance. But suppose you got none right? That’s just as improbable. Psi-missing, as it’s been named, occurs under some experimental conditions, and no one has ever thought of a hypothesis to explain it other than that some unconscious part of the mind knows by GESP, on a particular trial, what the correct target is and inhibits the conscious mind from calling that.
The discipline of science requires that data, what you’ve actually found, is far more important than what you think about it, what you think is possible or impossible, so you have to work with the data. So I eventually created an unusual idea, viz. that the “now” of some part of the mind, the part that can use ESP, was wider than the “now” of our ordinary mind. When I look to see what is on my work table with my ordinary eyes, I see just what is there right now. But if that part of my mind looks, it will “see” not only what is there now, but what has been there recently and what will soon be there…
If my goal is to use ESP to determine what’s on my work table now, though, that information about the immediate past and the immediate future is noise, it’s informatio
n that may mislead me. I can do better using ESP the way I want to, about what’s there now, by suppressing that immediate past and future psychic information so it’s less likely to confuse me… This led to my theory of trans-temporal inhibition as an information processing strategy for ESP…
Hardly had I finished formulating the theory when, as is typical in my life, I was diverted to working with many other fascinating phenomena (like remote viewing), and although I had published my findings no one really worked with them. Indeed it would be hard to work with them as the level of ESP in most parapsychological experiments was quite low, just above the noise level, and TTI was lower in size and so harder to detect. I had gotten quite high levels of ESP in my studies.
In the current issue of the Journal of Scientific Exploration, the Editor, philosopher and parapsychologist Steve Braude, wrote an editorial about trans-temporal inhibition to revive interest in it. You can read his editorial at
He gave me an advance peek and a chance to elaborate on what it was all about, which you can read in the same issue at
Incidentally if you want to stay informed on hot issues at the frontiers of science, I strongly recommend this journal!