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Intuition: Two Heuristic Models of Precognition 

Connections Through Time,   Issue 14: January - March 2002

The lack of mathematics to permit quantitative predictions limits the practical application of the following two models.  However, we consider both of these models to be valuable for providing important insights concerning how consciousness is able to gather information from the future.  The first model is based on general concepts of mind-matter developed from observations and analysis of many psi experiments.  The second model is based on the fundamental concept of the organization of systems.  Our hope is that the mathematics of Link Theory can be applied to both of these models to guide investigations of consciousness, precognition and life itself.

Modular Model of Mind/Matter Manifestations
(M 5 )
C is the conscious mind T is the tangible physical world
U  is the unconscious underlying the conscious I is the intangible underlying the tangible

1.  M5

Two recent papers in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, "The Challenge of Consciousness", by Robert Jahn and "A Modular Model of Mind/Matter Manifestations" (M5)" by Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne from Princeton Engineering Anomalous Research (PEAR), describe their modeling work which is based on a very large database of psi experiments spanning 12 years involving man-machine interactions and remote perceptions.  

The key elements of their heuristic model are shown in the adjacent figure and the model implications, as suggested by Jahn and Dunne, are quoted here:

The essence of this modular model is to set aside the common presumption that anomalous mind/matter effects are achieved by direct attention of the conscious mind to the observable physical processes addressed.  Rather, an alternative is proposed wherein unconscious mind and intangible physical mechanisms are invoked to achieve anomalous acquisition of mental information about, or anomalous mental influence upon, otherwise inaccessible material processes.

Implications for more effective experiments include subtler feedback schemes that facilitate submission of conscious intention to unconscious mental processing, physical target systems that provide a richness of intangible potentialities, operators who are amenable to such interactions, and an environmental ambience that supports the composite strategy. Theoretical requisites include better understanding of the information dialogue between conscious and unconscious aspects of mind, more pragmatic formulations of the relations between tangible and intangible physical processes, and, most importantly, cogent representation of the merging of mental and material dimensions into indistinguishability at their deepest levels.

The C, T, U and I in the figure are defined in more detail as:

C represents the conscious mind including perception, representation, cognition, memory, volition, activation, etc., as usually treated in the academic formulations of psychology, neurophysiology, and philosophy.


T encompasses the tangible physical world of events, as commonly represented in the natural sciences and technological and medical applications.


U represents what is commonly termed “unconscious,” “sub-conscious,” or “pre-conscious,” including storage of information and experiences, autonomic control of physiological functions, subliminal reactions to stimuli, instinctive behavior and insight, and preparation for conscious attention and action.

I refers to an intangible or subtangible level of physical events and processes that underlie the tangible or observable phenomena of the natural world. This domain has been described in various ways, e.g., “quantum holism,” “implicate order,” “ontic level,” “string theory,” “vacuum or ZPE physics,” etc., all of which share the presumption of a pre-manifest basis or source for all tangible phenomena, wherein the common parameters of substance, energy, and information; space and time; and even mind and matter are undiscriminated.

So, the PEAR data and their model suggest that anomalous phenomenon (psi) can best be achieved by "dipping down" into the unconscious and intangible aspects of our being.  For example, they state:

In contrast to the array of unsuccessful attempts to enhance anomalous effect sizes via more engaging feedbacks, other experimental designs that intrinsically provide less explicit, less attractive, or less immediate feedback, or that would seem to present more difficult tasks for the human participants, often have yielded larger anomalous effect sizes.

Their theoretical work is just starting, but they feel that, "a number of its subtler features, and some of its experimental and theoretical implications, can be identified and are being pursued. "  Stay tuned.

2.  TES

In The Theory of Enformed Systems: A Paradigm of Organization and Holistic Systems, Donald Watson, Gary Schwartz, and Linda Russek from the University of Arizona, describe the broad scope of TES (Theory of Enformed Systems) to explain psychological experience, parapsychology, and life itself.

All these phenomena share a common root: They are products of the properties and behaviors of prephysical systems, the necessary condition for which is organization per se. TES describes these systems beginning with the fundamental postulate of organization: that organization per se originates with enformy, the universal, conserved organizing principle (Watson, 1993).  Enformy is the capacity to organize; that is, enformy is to organization as energy is to work.  At prephysical levels of organization, enformy is expressed as curiosity, mental creativity, life per se, and the evolution of species.  At the quantum level, enformy allows the nonlocal interactions of entangled photons and atemporally organizes photons in slit experiments to behave as either particles or waves.  At higher ontological levels, enformy imposes organization on otherwise random physical systems, e.g., electronic and radioactive random number generators and mechanical cascades (Jahn, et al, 1987).  In short, enformy accounts for the organization inherent in all holistic systems, whether prephysical, physical, or biological.

Like energy and mass, enformy is not an object or a substance, but a theoretical quantity that is not directly observable. That is, we infer the existence of energy, mass, and enformy from their physical expressions. As energy and mass are the theoretical foundations of physics, enformy is the foundation of systemics (the study of holistic systems).

A living person is a holistic system that is more than the sum of its parts.  A living person, according to TES, is sustained by enformy.  The very organization of the person as a coherent physical whole originates with and is sustained by enformy through the creation of "enformation".  Enformation is non-randomness which is the essence of organization.  Enformation is more fundamental than information since information is displayed in the physical world as nonrandom patterns, while enformation is the inherent non-randomness at the conceptual pre-physical level.  A thought is an expression of enformation.

In their Introduction to the Theory of Enformed Systems, Watson and Williams, say:

TES applies the notion that electrons, atoms, molecules, and living organisms share two critical characteristics: (a) All of them are, in Koestler's terminology, "holons"--whole systems, or gestalts, that can't be divided and retain their original characteristics; and (b) these holons can be organized into more complex holons in hierarchical arrangements--"holarchies." The key concept here is "organization."

TES is able to explain the order inherent in holons and holarchies because it is a theory of organization per se. That such a theory is radical to the prevailing paradigms is emphasized by the deep level of abstraction of organization itself.


Like other revolutionary theories, TES originated in a single posited concept. Classical mechanics rested on the concept of mass, and quantum mechanics was founded on the energy posit. TES was derived from the posit of enformy--the fundamental, conserved capacity to organize.

The concept of a "gestalt" now becomes key in the context of this model.   From www.dictionary.comgestalt  n : a configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts.   Thus, the configuration or pattern of connected elements represents a "map" of organization of the gestalt.

A gestalt is referred to as an "enformed system" in TES:

... a gestalt maps to a four-dimensional, nonmaterial (i.e., "spiritual"), organizing field that is created and sustained by enformy.  This field is acronymed "SELF" from Singular, Enformed, Living Field.  The SELF contains the map of organization for enformed systems at all ontological levels.

... one of the SELF's fundamental behaviors is cohering in space-time.  Since its extension in space-time removes the constraints of three dimensions from the SELF, its behaviors are nonlocal and atemporal. As a result, predicted SELF-related phenomena include quantum entanglement, telepathy, precognition, and the homing behaviors of pigeons and other animals.

So, a person's SELF represents the nonmaterial organizing field in space-time that relates (or maps) a person's actions and body parts.  This mapping and the associated enformation includes thoughts, emotions, actions and physical aspects of body parts, cells, molecules, atoms, etc, which are, in turn, their own SELFs.  The SELF contains a 4-dimensional map of gestalts including space and past, present and future time.  The whole of a person is thus the SELF and all the physical elements.  What would you be without those parts - what would you be without your SELF!

According to TES, each "part" of you is also a self-aware SELF capable of interacting with other SELFs in space-time thereby forming new SELFs.  Each SELF, including you, contains enformation at many levels of complexity.  You are not the enformation, you are your space-time-SELF and the parts.

In more detail from their key paper, SELFs possess two fundamental, complementary properties that determine their behaviors and attributes, namely conformability and coherency:

Conformability is a SELF's capacity to conform to enformation under the influence of enformy.  It is essential to the integrity of SELFs as unique entities.  Because a SELF's conformability defines its complexity, it also defines the complexity of the SELF's associated physical system.  The complexity of a physical system can be realized or potential.  For example, as a zygote, an organism's complexity is mainly potential, whereas as an adult, it becomes mainly realized. ...


Conformancy is complemented by the second fundamental property of SELFs, coherency, which allows subsets of SELFs to cohere with one another in spacetime.

Cohering in spacetime accounts for nonlocal and atemporal interactions with other SELFs—e.g., telepathy, psychokinesis (PK), precognition, mediumship, NDEs (Figure 1). It also expresses enformy's tendency toward increasing complexity and enformation—as evident, for example, in the evolution of increasingly complex species. 


Figure 1. Enformy coheres subsets of existing SELFs in spacetime. In this four-dimensional "Venn diagram," the vertical axis represents reversible time, and the horizontal plane represents three-space at a point in time. The three-dimensional SELFs are subsets of four-dimensional SELFs that are confined to three-space by their associated physical systems. They are discontinuous in three-space, but intersect with a SELF that is continuous in spacetime. This four-dimensional SELF is an enformation field that accounts for nonlocal and atemporal phenomena. Because subsets of SELFs are themselves SELFs, higher level SELFs inhering lower level SELFs corresponds to a four-dimensional translation of Koestler's "holarchy" (1967). (Figure due to Antonio Barchetti, personal communication, 1998.)

The horseshoe-shaped object in Figure 1 is the 4-D SELF that is connected to two "physically constrained" 3-D SELFs, e.g. people.  These concepts (enformy, SELF) cannot be easily illustrated or discussed, to say the least, but the same is true of quantum mechanics and relativity theory.  So, the quest goes on to learn more about our mysterious universe and life on our mysterious planet - certainly life here is increasing in complexity!

In Donald Watson's 1997 paper, "Enformy and Enformed Gestalts: A Radical Theory of Consciousness", he provides a summary of enformy as follows:

A fundamental, conserved organizing principle has been posited: enformy (Watson, 1993).  Enformy is the capacity to organize; that is, as energy sustains work, enformy sustains organization. It opposes the entropy law, and nullifies time's arrow.  Thus enformy is conserved in the same sense that the entropy law is conserved: Both are constant tendencies, or propensities.  Enformy is expressed as the universal tendency toward organization and complexity—for example, as life per se and the evolution of species.  It derandomizes random systems, including electronic and radioactive random number generators and mechanical cascades (Jahn, et al, 1987).  In sum, enformy sustains the organization of all systems, whether material, nonmaterial, or abstract—e.g., plants and animals, the self-aware entity, and the laws of physics.

Stay tuned for future work that quantifies these concepts.



The PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) homepage is here

Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program, R. G. Jahn, B. J. Dunne, R. D. Nelson, Y. H. Dobyns, and G. J. Bradish, Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University, 1997. 

The Enformy home page with links to articles is here

Go to another section of this issue:
Link Theory and Precognition     Applications: Prediction of a High-Speed Object Entering the Earth's Atmosphere

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