In the rational age of the twentieth century, perhaps one of the most maligned subjects is that
of psychic phenomena. Whenever ESP, hauntings, automatic writing, and the like are mentioned in
conversation, the listener will almost surely expect a good joke to be in the making, or else a good
"spook" story to be in the offing. Few people openly take psychic phenomena or its researchers
seriously, with most of them seeing psychics and "victims" of paranormal phenomena as crackpots
or tricksters and seeing the parapsychologists who study them at best as pseudo scientists trying to
prove superstitions and at worst as outright frauds.
With more circumstantial evidence supporting the existence of at least some psychic
phenomena streaming in every year, why is this area held in such ill repute? The disdain in which
psychic phenomena are held probably stems in large part from the fact that parapsychologists have
yet to come up with any rational and scientific model for the occurrences they are studying. Their
theories contradict one another, the are often based on gross assumptions which frequently flaut their
data and reality in general, and their successful experiments are haunted by the continued failure of
others to replicate their results. It would seem that the rational scientific approach which has been
so successful in other areas has failed utterly to adequately address the issue of psychic phenomena.
It is quite possible that this is simply because there is nothing to address in the first place. However,
the vast body of evidence indicates quite strongly that there is indeed something to be addressed.
Supernatural causes are frequently said to be the source of psychic phenomena. In other
words, beings of a higher nature are in some way responsible for much of what occurs in the psychic
realm. In this author's opinion, this is more of an excuse for not addressing the problems of proving
existence rather than a legitimate explanation. It is this author's opinion that the power of the human
mind is more than sufficient to explain most phenomena normally attributed to the supernatural, and
it is the purpose of this paper to provide rational and natural models for two of the better known
forms of psychic phenomena --- telepathy and premonition. This model will be drawn from the
metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy. Process philosophy was chosen as the
basis for the model because Whitehead's relational concepts of the concrescing present and its
interactions with the past and the Future as Possibility lend themselves quite naturally to explaining
This paper will proceed by first developing a detailed model of the processes within the
concrescence and demonstrating one way that telepathy and simple premonitions can arise naturally
from these processes. A model relating the concrescence to time will then be introduced, and this will
be used to give firm footing to the idea of alternate realities and the construction of a possible
scenario by which complex premonitions could arise from the prehensive process.
The great twentieth century mathematician and logician Alfred North Whitehead believed that to
be actual is to be a process. In his eyes, anything which is not a process is an abstraction from
process and not a true actuality in itself. He affirmed that the temporal process is a "transition" from
one actual entity to another. These entities are momentary events which perish the instant they come
into being, but these individual entities are themselves processes of their own momentary becoming.
From a serial time perspective, these entities appear to occur all at once; but at a deeper (daresay
infinitesimal) level they may be seen as identities which "become". This process of "becoming" is
known as the concrescence (becoming concrete) of the entity, and it is the concrescence which will
occupy the attention of this paper.
The concrescence consists of several parts, none of which are wholly distinct or independent.
In a sense, the "first" portion of the concrescence consists of its reaching out into the past and feeling
(prehending) past actualities through its subjective form. The subjective form is a process of
gathering together a prespectivized summary of all that has come before the current concrescence.
The "next" step grows from the subjective form and involves a prehension of the Future as
Possibility; that is, a sensing of the infinite and as yet unrealized opportunities for direction. This
prehension, known as the creative subjective form is neither unbiased nor unlimited. It is shaped by
two things. The first is the effect of the past data gathered by the subjective form. This database is
in the form of many small subjective inputs all coming together to form a composite emotional impact
upon the concrescing actuality. This author will call the database of the subjective form the emotive
matrix of the concrescence.
The emotional force of the emotive matrix affects the concrescence by predisposing it toward
prehending a particular set of future possibilities. It does this through what Whitehead called the
subjective aim. Whitehead viewed God as providing an initial aim to the locus of all concrescing
actualities which is always the same --- to increase the enjoyment of the concrescing moment. The
subjective aim of the concrescence is its response to the Divine initial aim. The emotive matrix
energizes the subjective aim; and, as such, is a powerful determinant in the causation of the
concrescing entity. The creative subjective form by which each individual concrescence prehends the
Future as Possibility is also biased by past experience and the subjective aim. However, the subjective
aim cannot completely determine the manner in which the concrescence prehends future events as this
would imply that efficient causation would have the final say in determining the outcome of the
concrescence, leaving no room for God. The creative subjective form has as its source the purely
creative force present within the concrescing actuality itself --- the Breath of God. It therefore opens
the concrescence to possibilities which may be novel with respect to its particular past. The emotive
matrix of the subjective form opens the concrescence to a particular set of future possibilities directly
linked to its past and colors the creative subjective form but does not determine or control it.
It is possible that the initial aim from God will present possibilities not brought forth by either
of the mechanisms discussed above. However, for the purposes of this paper, only the effects of the
emotive matrix on the subjective aim and the possibilities emerging from this effect will be considered.
The term "emotive matrix" has been used to describe the subjective force of a prehended past
upon the perspective of the concrescing event. How is this matrix constructed? I propose that this
matrix is actually a combination of two separate matrices, the personal emotive matrix (PEM) and
the extra-personal emotive matrix (EPEM). This author defines the PEM to be the locus of all
prehensions of past events which are felt to bear sufficient relation to the current concrescing actuality
either to be responsible for precipitating the concrescence (a kind of forward momentum) or to have
direct influence upon such precipitating events. In other words, the PEM is a data base consisting
of past actualities the concrescing actuality feels to be directly related to its temporal evolution. The
EPEM is then simply the set-complement of the PEM in the prehended past. That is, the EPEM is
the locus of all prehensions of past events not felt to bear any direct effect upon, or significant relation
to, the concrescing actuality. Of course, the concrescence "feels" the past actualities through their
modification of the subjective aim --- the observed affects the observer, as it were.
If the prehended past actualities were simply categorized into the PEM or the EPEM with no
additional subjective processing, then the influence of all perceived past events would contribute more
or less equally to the concrescing actuality's perspective on the future; and that actuality's perspective
of the past would be more-or-less uncentered. However, during the process of prehension, some past
actualities are bound to be prehended more intensely than others. If more of these intense
prehensions fall into one matrix than the other, the emotive impact of the two becomes unbalanced.
The matrix containing the greatest number of intense prehensions will exert a stronger force in the
emotive matrix and thus color the set of future possibilities prehended by the concrescence. Those
possibilities felt to be most in keeping with the emotive force of the stronger matrix will be those most
likely to be actualized.
Of course, any imbalance favoring the EPEM will quickly pass to the PEM of future
concrescences. Indeed, the unbalanced forces of the emotive matrix will, through their modification
of the subjective form, pass into the subjective field surrounding the resulting actuality. Thus, the
next concrescence will prehend this actuality as being more directly related to its temporal evolution,
thereby placing the emotive force of the original prehension within the sphere of the PEM for that
concrescence. As a result, the temporal evolution of the concrescence develops and maintains a very
stable I-Center whose foundation lies in the PEM.
The emergence of the I-Center is of profound importance to understanding telepathy and
simple premonition. The I-Center, by dichotomizing the prehended universe into things "I" and
"NOT I", further colors the subjective aim so that all prehended past actuality and future possibility
is viewed through the lens of the I-Center. The subjective aim therefore becomes a drive toward
interpreting the past and synthesizing future possibilities in ways which serve the needs and goals of
the I-Center. In this way, the I-Center struggles to perpetuate its particular timbre by seeking to
actualize those possibilities which will continue the emphasis upon which it is based. This author shall
use the term personal aim when referring the subjective aim as harnessed by the I-Center.
The I-Center skews the subjective aim into a lens for personal continuity. However, for every
action, there should be an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, this author proposes that the process
of channeling the undifferentiated subjective aim into the personal aim creates a secondary, relational
aim. The goal of the relational aim is the integration into the emerging subjective aim of the next
concrescence an openness to the past of the "NOT-I" as represented by the weaker EPEM. In other
words, the creation of the personal aim results in the creation of a relational aim whose goal is a re-emphasis on those events not constituting the basis of the I-Center.
The personal aim says, in effect, "I will strive to actualize those possibilities which are most
in keeping with my personal past and which will be most likely to engender future possibilities for
growth and enrichment of my personal self."
The relational aim, on the other hand, says "I will strive to be open to the other in the
universe, not only for its implications in my personal future, but also for what it has to say to me in
its integrity at this instant."
Thus, the subjective aim is thrown into counterpoint with itself through the development of
the I-Center, and the risk of chaos within the concrescence is heightened. However, this increased
risk indicates that there is now greater potential for richness of experience. The development of the
I-Center injects the evil of discord into the concrescence, but this evil is the price to be paid for a
richer and more intense way of experiencing the universe and the possibilities entailed by it.
Does the richer mode of experience offered by the I-Center include psychic phenomena? This
author believes so. Before the development of the I-Center, a concrescence is indeed open to all past
experience, but to what extent? A concrescing actuality without an I-Center receives input from all
past experience more or less equally. True, there is a degree of subjective bias inherent in the
subjective form of the prehension, but without an "I -- NOT I" distinction, this bias is applied equally
to all past experience. It is also true that some experiences will have a more amplified effect on the
concrescence due to temporal relativity --- those events further back in time will generally be
perceived more weakly than those closer to the concrescence. Thus, there will be a differences in the
prehensions entering into the emotive matrix; but those differences are basically harmonious in that,
by and large, they are perceived with no inherent contrast between them. This mode of perception
can be likened to listening to a collection of sounds, all of various pitches and volumes, but also, for
the most part, trivial. Richness is experienced through counterpoint and the interplay of contrasts.
The development of the I-Center may restrict the complete prehension of all past events as they
occurred, but it opens the actuality much more fully to the richness and intensity of the past by
introducing conflict and perspective into the prehensive process. It is through an awareness of this
richness that psychic phenomena present themselves.
Caution should be observed at this point. The preceding paragraphs imply that the stronger
the I-Center becomes, the more intense the counterpoint between the personal and relational aims
becomes. This then implies that the greater a person's awareness of this richness becomes, the
greater that person's capacity for psychic experience becomes. The reader who draws this conclusion
may well be tempted to counter this with the observation that, historically, the greatest psychics have
been very un-self-centered individuals; or with the equally correct observation that most psychic
experiences occur at times when one is open to influence from without and not concentrating on the
These observations point to a fundamental problem encountered when talking about the I-Center. Notice that in the explanation of the I-Center given above, no mention is made of the
apparently synonymous term "self". This term is carefully avoided because the two ideas are not
synonymous at all. The self stems from the I-Center but is not equivalent to it. The self is the center
of the ego and is therefore the source of all craving and desire for personal fulfillment. In the
observations noted above, the idea of self is not one of I-Center, but rather one of ego-center. In
ordinary context, to be self-centered is to be egocentric. Such an individual views the world and
everything in it as having meaning in and through that person alone. The intrinsic value of all things
is measured solely through the context of their importance to the furthering of the self. Such a
viewpoint results from overemphasizing the egocentric tendencies inherent in the personal aim. Such
a viewpoint is not a strengthening of the I-Center but a stifling of it. The relational aim is submerged
beneath an overpowering personal aim which seeks to perceive everything from the standpoint of the
self. An egocentric individual subverts the intended richness offered by the I-Center by imposing an
artificial triviality through a monolithic personal perspective which grossly overemphasizes
continuation of the self. When emphasizing such an aspect of the concrescence, an individual is
definitely not open to something as relational as psychic phenomena.
The I-Center is something very different. The I-Center is a perspective from which everything
is viewed; it is not a perspective by which everything is viewed. The strengthening of the I-Center
occurs through a deepening and enriching of this central vantage point through openness, not only
to influences from the dominant PEM, but also from the diverse and perhaps contradictory insights
delivered by the EPEM. Hence, a strengthening of the I-Center is not a restricting of the modes of
prehension to comply with the goals of the personal aim, but rather a broadening of these modes to
include ever more diversity. The personal aim is enriched through the broadened perspectives lent
it by the insights of the relational aim. This broadening widens the possibilities open to the I-Center
for its own continuation which in turn enriches and strengthens the PEM. This deepens the meaning
and richness of the I-Center which, finally, strengthens the relational aim. Thus, strengthening the
I-Center is not a narrowing of the perspective to selfish goals, but rather a self-enriching process of
increasing openness and growth.
A hybrid prehension is the direct prehension of the mental state of another individual, without
the mediation of external events. It should be clear that such prehensions would be collected into the
EPEM; thus, it follows that hybrid prehensions would affect the conscious part of the concrescence
through the actions of the relational aim. These prehensions would, as any other prehension, affect
the consciousness of the concrescing actuality to the extent the consciousness would be open to them.
It also follows that the degree of openness displayed by the consciousness would depend directly
upon the strength of the I-Center, since this strength determines the relative strengths of the personal
and relational aims.
Telepathy is, by most definitions, the sending or receiving of thoughts, feelings, or other
mental impressions from one individual to another without the use of touch, sight, hearing, smell, or
taste (the five physical senses). Consequently, telepathy is best viewed as a kind of hybrid prehension.
It's conscious reception must, therefore, be a function of the relational aim.
How might telepathy occur? From the standpoint of the sender, telepathy likely begins in the
personal aim: the sender finds herself in a situation generating strong emotions (for example, the
sender perceives a personal threat). If no one is within sensory range, the possibilities open to the
personal aim for expressing these emotions will be limited. The personal aim may opt to intensify the
presence of the EPEM in the subjective field to enhance it's options for expression. It might do this
by supplanting the relational aim and diminishing the overall importance of the PEM in that instant.
Strengthening the EPEM will greatly alter how the concrescing actuality will be prehended by all
subsequent concrescences. Since the EPEM is formed by reaching out to actualities not directly
related to the personal past of the concrescence, a subjective field dominated by it will have the same
outreaching character. This field will alter a subjective form prehending it in a much broader fashion
than the more restricted actualities dominated by the PEM. The broader, less restricted alteration
may result in future prehending concrescences receiving impressions from this actuality which are
much stronger that would otherwise be the case. (As an analogy, when we look at a sandy beach,
it is those grains which sparkle that most catch our attention.)
Consequently, a very detailed impression of the actuality might be incorporated into the
EPEM of a different concrescing actuality. The force of the impression could be strong enough to
affect the concrescence directly, either through a conscious recognition of the circumstances
surrounding the prehending actuality, or through an unconscious impulse to act upon those
circumstances. In this way, an individual removed from sensory contact with the person perceiving
the strong emotions might become deeply aware of that person's circumstances without the mediation
of physical events. Such an awareness would by most sccounts be defined as a telepathic event.
Premonitions seem to come in two basic forms. I shall label one form simple premonitions,
and the other form complex premonitions. Simple premonitions always involve events in the
immediate future of either the prehender or someone very close to the prehender. Simple
premonitions do not involve explicit visions of future events but rather emotional impressions of
them. Simple premonitions would commonly by called "hunches" or "intuition". People who have
suddenly had a strong urge to miss a train, bus, or plane which later was involved in an accident, or
who have paused inexplicably before stepping into an intersection and thereby avoided being struck
by a vehicle they neither saw nor heard may have experienced simple premonitions. Simple
premonitions appear to be common and can be understood using a model similar to the one
developed for telepathy.
Suppose a person is planning to go by train to some destination. Since the trip is an event
signalling a change in the person's life, the concrescences forming his life will be "agitated" to some
extent --- the subjective forms of these concrescences will reflect the excitement (or anticipation,
dread, etc.) of the upcoming trip. This agitated state may cause these concrescences to prehend the
past with greater intensity than usual, especially those events concerning the trip. If something is
amiss, such as a damaged wheel on one of the traincars, then one of these concrescences may prehend
this fact with sufficient subjective force to color the entire prehension of the train. If, during the
course of this prehensive process, further facts are intercepted which enforce the negative effect of
the prehended wheel, then the relational aim might bring all of these inputs together and extrapolate
that a train wreck is likely. This extrapolation, backed by the negative force of the train prehensions
in the EPEM, might be sufficient to produce an urge in the personal aim to avoid taking the train.
This urge may or may not take the form of an explicit vision of the disaster since it is derived simply
from the likelihood of it taking place.
From the perspective of the concrescence, this model is simple and arises quite naturally from
the prehensive process. It would thus seem likely that simple premonitions occur often, perhaps with
the majority of them occurring on the unconscious level. The possibility that simple premonitions
occur much more frequently than many imagine has been borne out by a study conducted by W.E.
Cox in the 1950's. Cox made a detailed analysis of the number of people riding trains. He obtained
figures from railroad companies on specific trains on days when accidents occurred, for six days
preceding the accident, and for the day corresponding to the accident on four weeks preceding the
actual event. His findings showed that, for dozens of trains, the number of passengers boarding on
the day of the accident was drastically lower than average. For example, a Chicago and Eastern
Illinois train named the Georgian had an accident on June 15, 1952. For the six days preceding the
crash, the train carried 68, 60, 53, 48, 62, and 70 passengers, respectively. A week before the
accident, there were only 35 people on board. On the other days considered, there were 55, 53, and
54 passengers on board the Georgian. However, on the day of the accident, the train carried only
nine passengers. (Mysteries of the Unexplained, Reader's Digest, Pleasantville NY/Montreal, 1982,
Let us now turn to the other form of premonition. Consider the following experience of
Madame de Ferriem, a prominent German psychic, written as it occurred in 1896:
All these people here at the mine entrance! How white they are! Like
corpses! --Ah1 That is what they are, all corpses! Yes, they are
coming out --- all being carried out. The whole region is so black,
nothing but small huts all about. The people I see speak a different
language... Now they are bringing out one wearing a belt with a
shining buckle on it. It will soon be Christmas --- it is so cold! There
is one who has a lamp with a little wire grating on it. Ah, this is a coal
mine... Now I understand what one of them is saying. He says, "The
doctors are all coming from Brux!" Oh! This is a Bohemian place...
They are Bohemians. The women and children all wear kerchiefs...
Are those physicians, applying friction? Many of them have bands
with crosses on their arms... Oh, that is a rosary... "In the coal mines
of Dux," he is saying. But what I read is Brux. Why, I see it on his
arm band --- Oh, they are from the health department.
Madame de Ferriem's experience was published in a German newspaper three years after it ocurred.
One year later, in September 1900, a coal mine explosion in Dux, near Brux, Czechoslovakia killed
hundreds of peasant miners. One month later, during a bitterly cold October, officials were still
removing bodies from the mine. (Mysteries of the Unexplained, Reader's Digest, Pleasantville
NY/Montreal, 1982, pp. 24-25)
Madame de Ferriem's experience is a classic example of complex premonition. Complex
premonitions are radically different from simple premonitions. Complex premonitions involve vivid
visual experiences or intense and particular emotional prehensions. The person receiving the
premonition frequently experiences the event as occurring at the instant it is envisioned; or, as in de
Ferriem's case, as a detailed visual record, much like a newsreel of the event. Complex premonitions
present the subject with detailed and very explicit information about an event occurring too far in the
future and generally concerning individuals too far removed from the subject to be attributed to
simple extrapolation of future possibility from past experience. Complex premonitions are rare when
compared to simple premonitions and seem to involve a radically different process. In order to
construct a model for the rare and striking events, we need to develop a model relating time and the
The first step in making this model is to note a seeming paradox. In spite of all the complex
activity going on in the concrescence, the act of concrescing cannot be temporal. The following
argument explains why this must be so.
By Whitehead's definition, the concrescence is the absolute present. If it were temporal; ie,
if time passed during the concrescence, then some time must pass between the inception of the
concrescence and it's satisfaction. This implies that the inception is in the past with respect to the
satisfaction. Now, since the concrescence involves as part of it's synthesis the prehension of all past
data, it follows that during the course of the concrescence, the inception itself becomes a datum for
prehension. This implies that the concrescence prehends part of itself, which then implies that part
of the absolute present lies in the past. This is contrary to any understanding of the absolute present;
hence, the concrescence cannot be temporal.
The fact that the concrescence is not temporal seems to clash with the intricate processes
taking place within it. However, this dispute can be resolved by qualifying what we mean by "non-temporal".
The moment of concrescence is the very cutting edge of existence. It is impossible to prehend
this cutting edge, since such a prehension would force part of the present into the past. Thus, the
present cannot be perceived and therefore cannot be understood through any context with which we
are familiar. The very nature of prehension prevents us from prehending the source of all prehension;
therefore, we cannot equate the present with any model of reality we know. This situation is similar
to the problem of dimension. Mathematics tells us that four dimensional objects exist. For example,
the four dimensional cube is formed by simply moving the cube at right angles to itself, just as the
cube is formed by moving a square at right angles to itself. However, knowing this does not allow
us to visualize the four dimensional cube. We know it exists and how to construct it, yet we cannot
visualize it because it's construction lies in a realm beyond our experience. This is precisely the case
with the concrescence. We know that the concrescence exists and how it is formed, yet we cannot
visualize it because the process involves two seemingly contradictory ingredients --- nontemporality,
and ordered events.
What makes these ingredients contradictory? Our inability to visualize the four dimensional
cube does not point to it's nonexistence, but rather to the limited perspective by which we perceive
reality. I propose that the contradiction we sense in our construction of the concrescence does not
stem from flaws in the construction (though such may exist), but rather from the limited perspective
by which we perceive the passage of time. We perceive time as a two dimensional plane.
I compare time to a two dimensional plane because we have two independent components in
our understanding of its passage. First, we have a sense of forward and backward --- we perceive
events as happening before or after the present. Second, we have a sense of simultaneous events...
a kind of left and right perception, if you will.
We perceive time as being two dimensional just as we perceive space as being three
dimensional. This perception is not fully in keeping with reality, however. Cosmologists tell us that
space is "curved" across a fourth dimension, and quantum physicists tell us that as many as ten
dimensions may be required to explain events at the sub atomic level. Consequently, there is no
reason to assume that time is solely two dimensional. With respect to time, we are two dimensional
beings, just as we are three dimensional beings with respect to space. We cannot imagine an "up and
down" dimension to time, but our failure to conceive of such a dimension does not negate it's
existence. I propose that the concrescence is an example of this "up and down" time which we
From this point on, I shall refer to our two dimensional understanding of time as perceived
time. All that we know as "past" involves perceived time as part of it's structure. The dimension of
vertical time intersects perceived time along a single line, the line which divides the temporal
prehension of actualized possibilities from the realm of unactualized possibilities. This line of
intersection it non-temporal in the sense of perceived time since it possesses no horizontal "width".
This vertical time is the instance of the concrescence; and, as such, constitutes the absolute present.
It is the "now" in which possibility is synthesized into actuality as a result of the context, and through
the perspective of, the concrescing actuality. This now is transitory and forever changing as the
opportunities for synthesis are always being transformed by newly actualized events and newly
prehended insights arising from the emotive matrix. Hence, this "now" is always fleeting and in
process. In one sense, this "now" is akin to Whitehead's Primordial Now which constitutes the
nature of God. Both are non-temporal from the standpoint of perceived time, and both are
instruments through which Creativity interprets possibility. However, the Primordial Now is infinite,
embodying as it does the envisionment of all possibility, whereas the concrescence is finite. Thus, I
will refer to the instance of vertical time in which the concrescence occurs as the Finite Now.
Are perceived time and the Finite Now different expressions of time? The answer must be
"no", since an affirmative response would lead toward a dualism in time. Time as we perceive it is
solely a function of actualized possibility. The notion of perpetual perishing is precisely the notion
of perceived time, since the passing into concreteness of synthesized possibility is what undergirds
the flow of perceived time. Hence, the perceived time plane is grounded in the act of concrescence.
Perceived time is the natural result of Creativity. Creativity is propagated through the synthesis of
unactualized possibility into realized concreteness, which implies that creativity is engendered and
satisfied through the flow from possibility to actuality. Thus, perceived time, which is simply the
string of concrete events streaming away from the Finite Now, is but the echo of Creativity, the
ghostly signature of the ultimate driving force in the universe.
This model of time provides us with several important concepts needed to understand
complex premonitions. The first is the idea that what we perceive as reality (the past) can be thought
of as a thin, two dimensional disk, one actuality "thick", which spreads continuously through the fog
of unrealized possibility. The edge of this spreading disk would be the Absolute Now of that
perceived reality, which is simply the locus of all concrescences in that reality. The second, and by
far most important, concept is that time is multidimensional. Using this model of time, it is not hard
to picture multiple realities as multiple thin disks, all oriented differently in the temporal dimensions,
yet each one possessing a two dimensional perceived past.
All possibility is prehended by the concrescence through context. Possibility is open to the
concrescence because either the initial, personal, or relational aim has illuminated it as a possible
mode of synthesis in the current concrescence.
I propose that each possibility as perceived is one manifestation of a deeper, more universal
Possibility, just as each concrescence is one manifestation of the deeper Creativity that is the essence
of all things. This deeper Possibility, which I will call Primal Possibility, can be likened to a many-faceted diamond. Creativity can be imagined as a universal Light which shines on the diamond. This
Light, striking the diamond, causes facets to shine; and each flash represents a potential perceived
form of the Possibility. The flash actually perceived by the concrescence depends on the angle (that
is, the context) that the concrescence encounters the Possibility. Changing this context would, of
course, cause the concrescence to prehend a different --- but related---manifestation of the same
Primal Possibility (or possibly to perceive a facet of another Primal Possibility altogether).
The notion of Primal Possibility provides us with two or more important ideas. First, it tells
us that the future is composed of Primal Possibilities which cannot be prehended in their fullness by
any single concrescing event. Primal Possibilities are only partially actualized by a concrescing event,
and this partial actualization takes the form of a realized perception of the Possibility based upon the
unique context through which the Possibility is prehended.. Second, it tells us that different
concrescing events (possibly from different realities) could encounter the same Possibility and prehend
it in an entirely different way. However, since both prehensions are manifestations of the same
underlying Possibility, there would be a deep connection between the two prehensions, and therefore
potentially between the two resulting actualities. (A connection would result, of course, only if both
concrescences chose to act on the perceived possibility.) It is this implication which is vital to
understanding complex premonitions.
The perception of Primal Possibility is entirely dependent on context; and, of course, the
context of a concrescence is determined by it's perceived past --- the two dimensional disk on whose
edge the concrescence lies. Since this perceived past gives meaning to "time" for the concrescence,
we can think of it as the temporal orientation of the concrescing event. Two concrescing events have
the same temporal orientation provided they lie on the edge of the same disk of perceived past. All
concrescences comprising the Absolute Now of a particular perceived past share the same temporal
orientation (though not necessarily the same perspective) on Primal Possiblities.
Two realities (perceived pasts) are parallel if their Absolute Now's approach Primal
Possibilities from the same perspective. Suppose that two parallel realities differ slightly in temporal
orientation. We would then have, in essence, two "parallel universes" identical in many respects
(since both encounter Primal Possibilities in the same way), but offset regarding perceived time. One
reality would be "ahead" of the other in it's perception of Primal Possibilities but otherwise
essentially the same. (The two would never be identical, since perception of possibility does not
force it's actualization.) The present of one reality lies in the future of the other in the sense that
context favoring the actualization of events already having occurred in one reality have not yet
materialized in the other.
Consider two (possibly unrelated) concrescences, one in the Absolute Now of each parallel
reality. Suppose that, though the general context of one lies in the future of the other, similarities in
context cause the two to be "coincident" for a time in the sense that both share a number of
actualized possibilities. The lives of the two beings having coincident concrescences could be quite
different on the whole and still share a large number of actualized possibilities. Such coincidence
could result in a kind of resonance developing between the concrescing actualities, at least for a
short time (much like a tuning fork when struck can induce vibrations in a similarly tuned fork some
distance away). This would especially be possible if one being experiences intense emotional trauma
during the coincidence.
Suppose the future-oriented being experiences a plane crash. The intensity of the experience
could be sufficient to bridge the contextual barrier separating the parallel realities and cause the
resonant concrescing being in the lagging reality to partially incorporate the perceived past of her
concrescence into his EPEM. To the degree to which the subjective aim of the lagging concrescence
is open to the EPEM, the incorporated data could take on all of the immediacy and intensity for him
that the immediate past (the crashing plane) does for her. He could then "see what she sees" and "feel
what she feels", at least for a brief instant. Since the experience would still be quite "other" for the
lagging concrescence, he would experience what amounts to an intense vision, separate from his own
perceived past, with all the immediacy of the future-oriented concrescence. Further, since the two
realities are very similar but temporally out of phase, it is possible that a similar plane crash (possibly
with the same individuals involved) will occur in the lagging reality as well. If such is the case, and
his vision of the future event is sufficiently detailed, he will experience what we have termed a
The goal of this paper has been to construct process philosophical models for telepathy and
premonition. To briefly recapitulate, telepathy arises from the heightened awareness in the
concrescence of past actuality brought about through the contrapuntal prehensions of personal and
extra-personal past events in the personal and relational aims. These aims arise from the emergence
of the I-Center which itself arises as the concrescing being links its own personal meaning and
enjoyment to the PEM. The I-Center splits the subjective aim of the concrescence into the personal
and relational aims as a result of its trying to perpetuate itself. It is the interaction of these aims which
produce actualities that are subjective beacons and open the prehending concrescence to the
prehension of special actualities as telepathic events.
Simple premonitions arise from an intense prehension of related past events and extrapolation
of likely future happenings based upon the overall picture these events present to the concrescence.
Complex premonitions arise, not from the concrescence's prehension of past events within its own
reality, but rather through prehension of events within a very similar but temporally different reality
through a unique and fleeting resonance with another being in that reality who shares a significant
number of actualized possibilities with the concrescence.
The reader will likely not agree with some or all of the models presented in this paper. The
realm of psychic phenomena is wide and volatile. This paper has looked at only one small aspect of
this realm and has done so from an admittedly unusual perspective. It is my hope that the reader will
understand that I do not intend these models to be definitive explanations of telepathy or premonition,
but rather to be points of departure for further discussion, and to be examples of novel ways
mathematics and process philosophy can be used to understand the complex world in which we live.
However, the reader should also note that process philosophy agrees with Kurt Godel and
states that the fundamental mystery which underlies all things is ultimately impenetrable. Nothing can
be understood in its entirety. Process philosophy may help clarify psychic phenomena, but it will by
no means reduce it completely to the realm of symbols and formulas. Nothing will be able to
accomplish that. It is a firm belief of mine that there will always be things that go BUMP in the night.
1. Cobb, J.B., and Griffin, D.R; Process Theology, an Introductory Exposition; The Westminster
Press, Philadelphia; 1976.
2. Griffin, D.R.; Science and religion: How parapsychology could affect the relation; unpublished
paper; School of Theology at Claremont.
3. Griffin, D.R,; The need for a post-modern paradigm; unpublished paper; School of Theology at
4. Mysteries of the Unexplained; Reader's Digest; Pleasantville NY/Montreal, 1982.
5. Whitehead, A. N.; Process and Reality (Corrected Edition); D.R. Griffin and D. W. Sherburne, Eds.; The Free Press, A Division of Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1978.