James B. Hart


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 these phenomena.

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 self.

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, p. 29)

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 concrescence.

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 cannot picture.

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 complex premonition.


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 Claremnot.

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.