The Paranormal is not Excluded from Physics

CostaDeBeauregard, OlivierCosta, De Beauregard Olivier, 1998
ESSAY Fondation Odier De Psychophysique 77 Route De La Capite, 1223 Cologny (Geneva) Switzerland

A major change in the paradigm of physics is suggested by using: (1) the Einsteinian concept of existence as extended in time-and-space; (2) the Bayesian reversal of conditional probabilities, as used for timelike distance events; (3) information negentropy equivalence binding the subjective and objective sides of reality; and (4) quantum non-separability. Aristotle’s concepts of dual-faced reality and efficient-final cause symmetry are formalized. Psychokinesis is legitimized as the reciprocal to the gain in knowledge. Precognition, telepathy, psychokinesis and teleporting are allowed.

Keywords: symmetry laws in physics — paranormal effects


Changes in paradigms are necessarily irrational; they function beyond the previously accepted limits of the rational, and beyond even more primitive axioms and postulates. A paradigm can be evaluated only in terms of its internal consistency, its economy, and its utility.

EinsteinEinstein, Albert 1Einstein, A. (1949). In Albert Einstein, Philosopher Scientist. Ed. P.A. Schilpp, The Library of Living Philosophers. Evanston, IL., p. 683. , tongue in cheek it seems, likened the "paradoxical" EPR (Einstein et al., 1949) to telepathy. I submit that a largely overlooked formal consideration of today’s physics allows for the existence of the so-called ª paranormal" phenomena of telepathy, precognition, and psychokinesis.

The argument is that any operational mathematical formalism should fit the data in "taylor style." Was this not, for example, exactly what Maxwell did in predicting the existence of electromagnetic waves, and Louis DeBroglie in that of matter-waves?

Time Extendedness of Matter and the Concept of Existence

When the man in the street says that something exists, he means exists now. If the thing is distant, questions are raised. As seen now, the moon "existed" 1.25 seconds ago; what is the meaning of the moon existing now?

Such thoughts were agitating at the turn of this century, when the gestation of the theory of relativity from kinematical optics was coming to full term. It then dawned upon us that light is the privileged carrier of information, that Maxwell’s electromagnetism is the proper framework for conducting measurements of interval in space and time, and that "c," the velocity of light, is the universal constant connecting them.

Michelson’s experiment in 1887, culminating years of labor initiated by Arago in 1818, proved that for velocities of masses approaching c, the intuitive law of addition of velocities is wrong: paradoxically, the velocity of light is measured the same in all directions, whatever the velocity of the measuring apparatus. An unexpected consequence, with far-reaching implications resulted: matter is extended in time no less than in space: it dwells in a four-dimensional space-time.

GalileoGalilee had made it clear that relative motion transforms time into space: as anyone can experience by walking inside a moving train. Einstein proved that relative motion also transforms space into time: a truth veiled until then by the enormity of the velocity of light, as measured in the "practical" units of dayto-day experience.

Inasmuch as matter exists at all, its past and its future exist no less than its ªover-there." Existing no longer means existing in the moment. We have now learned to be at home in a universe of four-dimensional space-time.

Events are experienced in point-instants. The Poincare-Minkowski light cone trisects space-time in the past (down there), the future (up there) and elsewhere (outside). In practical units the cone is pictured as wide open; in the limit c → ∞ the "elsewhere" is expelled, so that Newton’s severance of past and future by an "existing now" is recovered. Space-like vectors point outside, time-like ones point inside, light-like ones of null space-time distance lie along the cone.

If past, present, and future of matter coexist (not now, of course, which would be self-contradicting), why not those of the subconscious mind immersed in Jung ’s "collective unconscious?" Retro- and pre-cognitive flashes could then cross the border line of consciousness. The whole concept of ªnon-locality" in contemporary physics requires this possibility.

Reciprocities in Cause-Effect and in Action-Reaction

Bayes’ Principle, fundamental in probability theory, states: The joint probability of two correlated chance events A and B equals the conditional probability of B if A times the prior (a priori) probability of A, or inversely the conditional probability of A if B times the prior probability of B. The linguistic A & B symmetry is respected.

In physics correlation means interaction. The Bayesian reversibility then implies action-reaction reciprocity for space-distant events, and cause-effect reciprocity for time distant ones. The latter can be interpreted as Aristotle’s symmetry of efficient and final cause.

Space-time geometry thus considers that final cause operates from "upthere," somewhat as in hydrodynamics a sink does by suction from downstream. Efficient cause operates from "down-there," like a hydrodynamic source by pressure from upstream. The old common sense objection: "How on Earth could something not yet existing do anything?" is discarded.

And how does final cause operate? By tampering with the final priors.

Boltzmann and Gibbs, each in his own way, had made clear that, as Mehlberg (1961) puts it, physical irreversibility is fact-like, not law-like, while reversibility is law-like. This contention goes back to the thermodynamic one between the First and the Second Law.

The normal use of statistics is predictive, the recipe being pre-selection by equating the final priors. Mehlberg calls it blind prediction, implying causation and the tendency to disorder. This is the situation for inert matter.

Inversely, blind retroduction or post-selection via equating the initial priors, expresses finality — retro-causation, as physicists put it. This describes the organizing tendency present in Nature: Given the eohippus can one predict the horse? Of course not. But blind retrodiction says the eohippus came from a "primitive soup" — the accepted view.

So contrary to widespread belief, the laws of chance per se do not explain irreversibility: they formalize it, if used forward, by equating the final priors 2Van derWaals, J. D. (1911). Uber die erklärung der naturgesetze auf statischmechanischer grundlage. Phys. Zeits., 12, 547. .

Believing in operationality of the final cause excludes that the psyche be a byproduct of evolving matter. Quite the contrary, it implies that matter is under the control of some universal psyche. We physicists may be misled by our practice of hand-adjusting experimental setups, then "letting things go" via forward causation. Excluding from the picture all the thinking behind the preparation of an experiment, and all the manual activity producing the setup, restrains us from asking if the universe may not be more like a space-time-extended idea than a running machine.

This has academic grandeur, but let us not brush aside difficulties which might later crop up. Looking down at the elementary level is mandatory.

Final cause, the idea turned into reality, is psychokinesis 3Hoekzema, D. J. (1992). Quantum event theory. Found. Phys., 22, 487. .

Theoretical physics, a representation of matter, has by definition an objective and a subjective pillar. Probability is the keystone of the ogival arch.

Information-Negentropy, Law-Like Reversibility and Fact-Like Irreversibility

Bergson 4Bergson, H. (1907). L’évolution Créatrice. Paris: Alcan. the philosopher and Shafroth 5Shafroth, M. R. (1960). "The concept of temperature." In Selected Lectures in Modern Physics. Ed. H. Messel. London: Macmillan. pp. 268-277. the physicist, each in his own way, state that disorder is order different from the one expected. In a similar vein Lewis 6Lewis, G. N. (1930). The symmetry of time in physics. Science, 71, pp. 570-577. writes that gain in entropy means loss of information, nothing more. Poincaré 7Poincaré, H (1908). Science et Méthode. Paris: Flammarion, pp. 64-94. however asserts that chance is not just the name we give to our ignorance.

The question at stake is the objectivity-subjectivity dilemma. To Aristotle, information was a twin-faced concept: gain in knowledge on one side, organizing power on the other. This cybernetics has rediscovered: "decoding" is extracting knowledge from a negentropy previously in the machine as "coding" some thinking. Previously Boltzmann aBoltzmann, L. (1964). Lectures on Gas Theory. Trans. by S. Brush. Univ. of California Press, pp. 446-448., not spelling the word, had likened physical entropy to missing information, to incomplete knowledge- and-control at the microlevel.

The information-negentropy physical equivalence, I ↔ N, is expressed by Boltzmann’s constant k ln 2, the conversion rate between a bit and a thermal entropy unit: N=k (ln 2)I; k has an exceedingly small value ≈ 10-16 , explaining why advertisements go so easily to the wastebasket and why the price of an object mainly expresses the difficulty to get or produce it.

>Understanding the deep meaning of Boltzmann’s constant, discovering the subjective side of entropy, is the cybernetic revolution. Very much as the largeness of c had long hidden the relativity of time, so the smallness of k did hide both the negentropy cost of information and the very possibility of psychokinesis. Requiring from consciousness-the-spectator to pay a very cheap ticket, cybernetics grants to consciousness-the-actor exorbitant wages. So, the N ↔ I transition is easy or "normal" forward, hard or "paranormal" backward. Thanks to k it is not forbidden backward.

Internal psychokinesis is advocated by Eccles 8Eccles, J. (1986). Do mental events cause neural events analogously to the fields of quantum me- chanics? Proc. Roy. Soc., 22, 411. as explaining voluntary motion. Descartes 9Descartes, R. (1971-1974). Correspondance. Eds. A. Adam and P. Tannery, Paris: Vrin, See letters 302, 425, 452. had anticipated this: in a letter to Arnauld he writes that "the means by which our soul moves our body differs radically from that by which a body moves another body." (Let it be recalled that he had taken part in the investigation of the conservation laws of mechanics.)

External psychokinesis, paradoxical as it may seem, is implied in the various forms of law-like reversibility, including that of the field equations of physics, those of the universal information transmitting telegraph. Thus Wigner 10Wigner, E. P. (1967). Symmetries and Reflections. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press, p.171-184. concludes from his own symmetry arguments that "reciprocal" to the action of matter upon mind, there must exist a direct action of mind upon matter.

Rediscovery of the hidden face of information implies that a chance event is not just a mechanical accident — or rather that it is such insofar as the subjective side of nature, Jung Jung, Carl Gustav's "collective unconscious," is dormant.

Reciprocal to the normal N → I transition there is the paranormal I → N one.

Wave-Particle Dualism and Quantal Non-Separability

Wave-particle dualism, the mismanaged but fruitful union of discrete and continuous arranged by Einstein and de Broglie, was in need of legalization. Probability was the predestined minister.

Born, stating that the wave ’s intensity expresses the probability of manifestation of the particle, set aside without much fanfare, the recipe of adding partial probabilities. Partial amplitudes, not intensities, must be added. Jordan, following in the same track, multiplied independent amplitudes. Dirac 11Dirac, P. A. M. (1947). The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, 3rd Ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. systematized the whole matter in a bra |A⟩ and ket ⟨B| symbolism of transition amplitudes ⟨A | B⟩ from prepared to retropared representations of a system. To these Feynman 12Feynman, R. P. (1949). The theory of positrons. pp. 749-759. Spacetime approach to quantum mechanics. pp. 769-789. Phys. Rev., 76. conferred Lorentz-invariance and Luders 13Lüders, G. (1952). Zur bewegungsumkehr in quantizierten feldtheorien. Zeits. Phys., 133, 178. Mehlberg, H. (1961). "Physical laws and the time arrow." In Current Issues of the Philosophy of CPT-invariance (C, particle-antiparticle exchange).

Hermitian symmetry of a complex amplitude corresponds to the real symmetry of probability, as used for instance in the Boltzmann equation. However, there is an important difference. Since phrase realtions are lost in the transition, there can be no real "hidden states" such as would lead to the equivalence of preperation and retroparation. Alexander, it is said, by cutting the Gordian knot was allowed to conquer Asia up to the Indus — where he met gymnosophists holding as illusory the perceived world. Wheeler (Miller & Wheeler, 1984) comments on this in his "smoky dragon" metaphor.

This is all paradoxical. In probability terms, a Young-Fresnel interference is quite puzzling: one can neither retrodict, nor even test, from which aperture came any one of the detected photons.

Instead of paired converging photons one can use diverging ones. Such an "EPR correlation" leads to the so-called EPR paradox, which says that two correlated measured results obtained on the diverging beams cannot have preexisted in the source. Is this not retrocausation by definition 14Costa de Beauregard, O. (1983). Lorentz and CPT invariances and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations. Phys. Rev., Lett. 50, 867. ?

Psychokinesis As Wave Retrocollapse

Pictured à la FeynmanFeynman, Richard P., a transition is a reversible toss between a prepared set of diverging, and a retropared set of converging waves 15Cramer, J. G. (1986). The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics. Rev. Mod. Phys., 58, 847..

The normal use of quantum mechanics is via diverging waves, or forward causation. Preselection is the recipe. This is the quantal N → I transition. Postselection, the reversed recipe, formalizes the paranormal phenomenon of psychokinesis, retro-causation via converging waves. This is the quantum I → N transition.

Telegraphing faster than light is normally forbidden, but paranormally allowed 16Costa de Beauregard, O. (1997) Lorentz and CPT invariances and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations. Phys. Lett. A, 236, 602. by associating psychokinesis with an EPR correlation. A most simple setup could include a low-intensity laser, a semitransparent mirror, an agent on one beam, a photo-detector on the other. The agent, biasing by will (either up or down) the normal arrival rate of photons on his beam, retroacting at the plate would bias (either down or up) the detection rate on the other beam. The assumption is of course that the laser’s intensity is unchanged (which can be tested).


Algebraic in its expression, the wave-like non-separability pervades all space-time with no damping.

Indissolubly objective-and-subjective, it ties together representations physicists have in mind when preparing or retroparing their systems (including "teleparing" two distant correlated ones, in which case they are subjectively connected).

It also ties together unprofessional representations by people in general, animals, and why not, plants (in as much as, according to Bergson, sensitivity is more dormant in them than absent).

So, via the relativistic and quantal telegraph, some sort of universal telepathy-and-telekinesis must be going on at a very low energetic level, expressing the subjective face of nature.

Anyhow, so many low level (occasionally high level) paranormal events are reported that it would be unwise to flatly deny them.

17Einstein, A., Podolsky, B., and Rosen, N. (1935). Can quantum mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete? Phys. Rev., 47, 777. 18Science. Ed. H. Feigl & G. Maxwell. NY: Holt, Rinehart and Wilson, pp. 105-138. Miller, W. A. and Wheeler, J. A. (1984). "Delayed choice experiments." In Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in the Light of New Technology. Ed. S. Kamefuchi, et al., Tokyo: Physical Society of Japan, pp. 140-152.