Mod+ 259. LOYD AUERBACH ON THE HISTORY OF PSYCHIC SPYING

#1

259. LOYD AUERBACH ON THE HISTORY OF PSYCHIC SPYING


Interview with Loyd Auerbach on remote-viewing, Project Stargate, and the misunderstood history of psychic spying.

also available on youtube.com/skeptiko

you can also leave a comment on alextsakiris.com

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with author and parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach. During the interview Auerbach explains the origins of remote viewing programs within US Army Intelligence and Soviet/Russian Intelligence organizations
 
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#3
Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

One can note that throughout history there have been claims that psi (precognition, ESP, divination etc.) has been utilised by the powers that be (e.g. kings, rulers and governments) to influence the outcomes of events. What effects might this actually have had on achieving that? Can it all be dismissed as folklore and superstition? If one believes such phenomena do actually occur, does the historical record ever support that? Should we at least be more open to the possibility?
 
#4
Enjoyed the interview, as always!

Intrigued by the references to the "decline effect" and in particular the New Yorker article "The Truth Wears Off," I read the article online. There seemed to be a great deal of food for thought there, but I have to say I was deeply disappointed to discover, after Googling author Jonah Lehrer, that he has admitted to fabricating quotations in some of his work. According to Wikipedia, two of his three published books have been withdrawn from the market for this reason. :( Of course, this doesn't mean the decline effect itself is fabricated. And Lehrer's thesis doesn't even make reference to psi, so it's not as if his fabrications reflect badly on the parapsychological community. But I'm wondering if anyone knows of a more reliable resource for information on this topic.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

One can note that throughout history there have been claims that psi (precognition, ESP, divination etc.) has been utilised by the powers that be (e.g. kings, rulers and governments) to influence the outcomes of events. What effects might this actually have had on achieving that? Can it all be dismissed as folklore and superstition? If one believes such phenomena do actually occur, does the historical record ever support that? Should we at least be more open to the possibility?
I think dismissing all historical accounts is as much a mistake as accepting all of them. The paranthropological record could prove very useful in making the case that parapsychology is a vital field for understanding reality, especially those accounts of remote viewing that led to the uncovering of buried artifacts:

When discussion was opened to the floor, Bharati rose and screaming and waving his hands in the air, said to Emerson “You’re either lying or cheating... I simply don’t believe you... it can’t happen... I don’t care what kind of evidence you’ve got.”

Bharati had now dismissed the work of both Eisenbud and Emerson, but it was the way in which he had done it that caught attention most. The contradiction between Bharati’s emotional outburst and his paper, which called for objective (etic) standards to be applied to any research involving parapsychology and anthropology, was not lost on the audience. One woman anthropologist in a stage whisper that could be heard by all nearby said to her companion, “How much more emic can you get than ‘I simply won’t believe it?’”

What surprised me then, although it wouldn’t today, was how much his disparagement lacked substance. Emerson’s reports of the Iroquois work, emphasized location information that had been tested by the spade, and found to be accurate. Archaeology, could provide clear, indisputable, testable information, in a way that the Castaneda work never could that something worth study was going on. Shamanism may be subject to several interpretations, but whether an artifact is where a psychic says it is, is identified as described, and is positioned as Remote Viewed is not. The viewer is either right or wrong. Bharati – and everyone else – instinctively recognized this. Every question from the floor was addressed to Emerson. Only his paper was discussed.
For people interested in the history of paranormal claims I'd also recommend Kripal's Authors of the Impossible as well as Mutants and Mystics. It's interesting to see the work that went into Meyers and James acceptance of Psi and souls, not to mention the support for certain paranormal claims made by other historical figures.
 
#6
Something touched on in the interview -I haven't yet studied Loyd Auerbach's page or read any of his books -is the whole question of belief. The leading decision-makers in our society, I think (or believe), come up against real psychic effects (etc.) because of their interest in exploiting belief, rather than the other way around. Your interview drifted off this aspect, briefly hovered around it, then went off it again. It is at the heart of the problematic. The Rand was on to this in its early days of course (Jean Hungerford's 1954 paper -The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare).

To say that belief is central to political order/political power has been known for a long time seems to me to be a tautology –surely the very existence of political order/power implies this. But debate on it maybe comes out into the open during the 19th century when changes in the way society must needs be governed are consonant on the great changes in the way the whole political-economic order functions –the scientific-industrial revolution. Looked at another way, there are perceived the beginnings of a decline in traditional faith, a questioning of the spiritual, disillusionment with religion and a concomitant growth of atheism.

Two of the leading questioners in Britain are Arthur Balfour and Henry Sidgwick, related by marriage (Sidgwick marries Balfour’s sister), who seem unable to lose their faith completely, and gravitate towards spiritualism. Both write on all this. Balfour is, of course, traditionally conservative, well-connected within Britain’s aristocracy and briefly Prime Minister. Both become members and leaders of the SPR in London.

Meanwhile, capitalism develops its imperialistic tendencies and finds a use for anthropology -study the minds, traditions and beliefs of the peoples in foreign climes and exploit their fears and feelings (as the British did in India, for example, exploting belief in terrible ways). Imperialism means war and the same is true there (see Hungerford's brief comments though). Finally, real or not, UFO beliefs have clearly come in useful to the intelligence community in governing (or misgoverning) people.
 
#7
Enjoyed the interview, as always!

Intrigued by the references to the "decline effect" and in particular the New Yorker article "The Truth Wears Off," I read the article online. There seemed to be a great deal of food for thought there, but I have to say I was deeply disappointed to discover, after Googling author Jonah Lehrer, that he has admitted to fabricating quotations in some of his work. According to Wikipedia, two of his three published books have been withdrawn from the market for this reason. :( Of course, this doesn't mean the decline effect itself is fabricated. And Lehrer's thesis doesn't even make reference to psi, so it's not as if his fabrications reflect badly on the parapsychological community. But I'm wondering if anyone knows of a more reliable resource for information on this topic.
I seem to remember Sheldrake having some good references, but I can't pull them off the top of my head... maybe someone can help.
A
 
#8
Something touched on in the interview -I haven't yet studied Loyd Auerbach's page or read any of his books -is the whole question of belief. The leading decision-makers in our society, I think (or believe), come up against real psychic effects (etc.) because of their interest in exploiting belief, rather than the other way around. Your interview drifted off this aspect, briefly hovered around it, then went off it again. It is at the heart of the problematic. The Rand was on to this in its early days of course (Jean Hungerford's 1954 paper -The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare).

To say that belief is central to political order/political power has been known for a long time seems to me to be a tautology –surely the very existence of political order/power implies this. But debate on it maybe comes out into the open during the 19th century when changes in the way society must needs be governed are consonant on the great changes in the way the whole political-economic order functions –the scientific-industrial revolution. Looked at another way, there are perceived the beginnings of a decline in traditional faith, a questioning of the spiritual, disillusionment with religion and a concomitant growth of atheism.

Two of the leading questioners in Britain are Arthur Balfour and Henry Sidgwick, related by marriage (Sidgwick marries Balfour’s sister), who seem unable to lose their faith completely, and gravitate towards spiritualism. Both write on all this. Balfour is, of course, traditionally conservative, well-connected within Britain’s aristocracy and briefly Prime Minister. Both become members and leaders of the SPR in London.

Meanwhile, capitalism develops its imperialistic tendencies and finds a use for anthropology -study the minds, traditions and beliefs of the peoples in foreign climes and exploit their fears and feelings (as the British did in India, for example, exploting belief in terrible ways). Imperialism means war and the same is true there (see Hungerford's brief comments though). Finally, real or not, UFO beliefs have clearly come in useful to the intelligence community in governing (or misgoverning) people.
thx for this. great points. then again, It's complicated... multilayered... concentric circles of complexity.

So sure... the power apparatus creates/manipulates/abuses belief systems. "Faith-peddlers" do the same. Everyone's trying to get over on everyone else. What I found interesting about this interview was Auerbach's review of Cold War psychic espionage with an eye toward ancient historical accounts of government sponsored psi.
 
#9
Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

One can note that throughout history there have been claims that psi (precognition, ESP, divination etc.) has been utilised by the powers that be (e.g. kings, rulers and governments) to influence the outcomes of events. What effects might this actually have had on achieving that? Can it all be dismissed as folklore and superstition? If one believes such phenomena do actually occur, does the historical record ever support that? Should we at least be more open to the possibility?
I think dismissing all historical accounts is as much a mistake as accepting all of them. The paranthropological record could prove very useful in making the case that parapsychology is a vital field for understanding reality, especially those accounts of remote viewing that led to the uncovering of buried artifacts:



For people interested in the history of paranormal claims I'd also recommend Kripal's Authors of the Impossible as well as Mutants and Mystics. It's interesting to see the work that went into Meyers and James acceptance of Psi and souls, not to mention the support for certain paranormal claims made by other historical figures.
My own highest recommendation is Colin Wilson's seminal work, "The Occult: A History". It is freely available in pdf format.
 
#10
During my latest visit to Mad in America - one of the leading online sources and outlets for the critical psychiatrists and other proponents of radical reform of the mental health system and defenders of the rights and liberties of its patients, I found this piece by clinical psychologist (and devout libertarian rebel) Bruce Levine: "Why an Assassinated Psychologist — Ignored by U.S. Psychologists — Is Being Honored".

Levine states:

Ruling elites and power structures — from monarchies to military dictatorships to the U.S. corporatocracy — have routinely used “professionals” to control the population from rebelling against injustices so as to maintain the status quo. While power structures routinely rely on police and armies to subdue populations, they have also used clergy — thus, the need for liberation theology. And today, the U.S. corporatocracy uses mental health professionals to manipulate and medicate people to adjust and thereby maintain the status quo — thus, the need for liberation psychology.
He tells about some American psytchologists' activities in the favour of authorities:

Shortly after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the American Psychological Association (APA) made high-level efforts to nurture relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other government agencies. As Truthout reported earlier this year, the APA aimed “to position psychology and behavioral scientists as key players in U.S. counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities.”

The APA, for several years, not only condoned but actually applauded psychologists’ assistance in interrogation/torture in Guantánamo and elsewhere. When it was discovered that psychologists were working with the U.S. military and the CIA to develop brutal interrogation methods, an APA task force in 2005 concluded that psychologists were playing a “valuable and ethical role” in assisting the military; and in 2007, an APA Council of Representatives retained this policy. It took until 2008 for APA members to vote for prohibiting consultations in interrogations (reported by Project Censored in 2010).

U.S. psychologists and psychiatrists have also met the needs of the power structure by subverting resistance of U.S. soldiers in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the Vietnam War, the GI Anti-War Movement — in which soldiers refused to cooperate with the U.S. military — was one of the decisive factors in ending U.S. military involvement in Vietnam (see Sir! No Sir! ). However, today, psychologists and psychiatrists’ “treatments” of soldiers with behavioral manipulations and psychiatric drugs make such a resistance by soldiers more difficult.

One of the most famous psychologists in the United States, Martin Seligman, a former president of the APA, has consulted with the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program (as I reported in AlterNet in 2010). Seligman achieved not only “social position and rank” for himself but several million dollars for his University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which quoted Seligman saying, “We’re after creating an indomitable military.” In one role play utilized in this Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, reported by the New York Times, a sergeant is asked to take his exhausted men on one more difficult mission, and the sergeant is initially angry saying that “It’s not fair”; but in the role play, he’s “rehabilitated” to reframe the order as a compliment.
So, I have a ethical question which, I hope, all professionals who support force-using authorities (military, intelligence agencies etc.) have asked themselves at least once: are we sure that we are doing more good than harm by our support the current power-structure?

For psychologists and psychiatrists, the question can be more precisely formulated: are we sure that we are doing more good than harm by helping the ruling elite to use sophisticated psychophysical techniques to control population?

And for parapsychologists and psychical researchers, it can be as precise as possible: are we sure that we are doing more good than harm when we give already excessively powerful, force-based and force-hungry authoritative groups and structures the possibility of utilizing the psychic forces - the forces, which, potentially, can turn out to be the most powerful tool of control and influence existing?

I need to emphasise that I do NOT condemn any parapsychologists who did work with authorities. After all, the government funding they received helped them to move psychic research further and gather evidence (the overall success of the Stargate Project speaks for itself). They decided that they were doing the right thing by supporting these organisations, and it was their choice.

The ethical question I stated above shouldn't be avoided, however. I really want to know what do think about it, and what your answer to it would be.
 
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#11
During my latest visit to Mad in America - one of the leading online sources and outlets for the critical psychiatrists and other proponents of radical reform of the mental health system and defenders of the rights and liberties of its patients, I found this piece by clinical psychologist (and devout libertarian rebel) Bruce Levine: "Why an Assassinated Psychologist — Ignored by U.S. Psychologists — Is Being Honored".

Levine states:



He tells about some American psytchologists' activities in the favour of authorities:



So, I have a ethical question which, I hope, all professionals who support force-using authorities (military, intelligence agencies etc.) have asked themselves at least once: are we sure that we are doing more good than harm by our support the current power-structure?

For psychologists and psychiatrists, the question can be more precisely formulated: are we sure that we are doing more good than harm by helping the ruling elite to use sophisticated psychophysical techniques to control population?

And for parapsychologists and psychical researchers, it can be as precise as possible: are we sure that we are doing more good than harm when we give already excessively powerful, force-based and force-hungry authoritative groups and structures the possibility of utilizing the psychic forces - the forces, which, potentially, can turn out to be the most powerful tool of control and influence existing?

I need to emphasise that I do NOT condemn any parapsychologists who did work with authorities. After all, the government funding they received helped them to move psychic research further and gather evidence (the overall success of the Stargate Project speaks for itself). They decided that they were doing the right thing by supporting these organisations, and it was their choice.

The ethical question I stated above shouldn't be avoided, however. I really want to know what do think about it, and what your answer to it would be.
great points. the answers might have to be very nuanced... as you suggest. consider the alternative question:
- what power structures should be support? If none, then explain how that really works.

I heard a clip from Ralph Nader (I've never been a fan, but may become one) where he reminded me of all the things "good people" CAN do.

One of the elements of the psy-op playbook is to convince us that we can't really resist the might power structure. maybe we can do more than we think.
 
#12
Alex wrote:

the power apparatus creates/manipulates/abuses belief systems

Yes, succinctly put, Alex.

Everyone's trying to get over on everyone else

Not so good. Do you not recognize the inequality of this activity? I do not think a society can function unless a general climate of sincerity exists among us. Meanwhile, contemporary Power and those who merely prey on sincerity as sharks do on small fishes and even big fish, replace sincerity with cynicism. However, we do have a situation where cynicism is gaining a mass following in certain areas (and across the globe), and this spells the end of society, in my view, its collapse into some sort of Gomorrah (organized crime in league with governments, banks and corporations, etc.).

Faith peddlers only get a little way along the road to that. To illustrate what I am trying to say I like to use the words from a song “Love makes the world go round.” “Yes,” say the powerful, rubbing their hands together, “we like people to believe that because money actually makes the world go round as long as people believe that love makes it go round and act in consequence of that belief.”

Like you (I believe) I am inclined to take many accounts of psychic and near-death experiences, certain reports of UFOs and other unusual events seriously, which makes me vulnerable to the cynical manipulators, especially the sharper-minded ones. It seems a good idea to admit one’s vulnerabilities in this area (at least to one’s self) while maintaining a critical eye –an eye to the mind manipulators.

Remember, the CIA wasn’t established just by militarily-minded men; its counter-espionage section was run by a poet (well, the soldier-poet does have a history) for 20 years –James Jesús Angleton was very well connected in the world of literature and poetry of his time. Perhaps I should say, a former poet (some might prefer a “wannabe”), for his work seems to have dragged him away from the muse (correct me if I’m wrong on this). It may seem horrendous that a poet played the role he did, although he also appears to have freaked out of his job in the end (believing too much in what he wanted to believe in or seeing things as they really were?). However, he probably made a valuable contribution to the intelligence community’s understanding and use of story to channel minds.

What I found interesting about this interview was Auerbach's review of Cold War psychic espionage with an eye toward ancient historical accounts of government sponsored psi

All of which is indeed fascinating –I must read more about this. Thanks, Rod.
 
#13
Do you not recognize the inequality of this activity?
I do... I'm just not sure what to make of it. I think the Gnostics are onto something with their Archons (maybe not literally, but...) are we here to perfect the material world or just nudge our soul a inch or two further down the path?

Remember, the CIA wasn’t established just by militarily-minded men; its counter-espionage section was run by a poet (well, the soldier-poet does have a history) for 20 years –James Jesús Angleton was very well connected in the world of literature and poetry of his time. Perhaps I should say, a former poet (some might prefer a “wannabe”), for his work seems to have dragged him away from the muse (correct me if I’m wrong on this).
fascinating! I had forgotten.
 
#14
ALEX I've been listening to your shows for awhile now love them and I thought it is a good time to share this nice little coincidence, I was listening while I was drawing as I usually do or paint, I am an artist by trade and when listening to your Loyd Auerbach on the History of Psychic spying, I was drawing a caribou actually drawing the antlers and he started talking about the caribou and bone story, anyway no biggy but thought it was cool, keep up the great work photo.JPG
 
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