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New Amazon Review of First Sight

A very extensive and thorough exposition of parapsychological research in the context of the author’s (Carpenter) First Sight Model of Psi phenomena. This book is different to much literature on parapsychology in that it treats psi phenomena (telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance and psychokinesis) as real phenomena without getting bogged down in hackneyed old arguments about whether or not psi phenomena really exist. The First Sight model suggests that we should understand psi phenomena as being a largely unconscious process of information gathering where the notion of “information” is defined by the more traditional idea of content that is meaningful to the experiences of the person. Hence, the First Sight Model is a non-reductionist theory that takes Psi as being goal-directed and fundamentally psychological in nature. According to the model, the psyche unconsciously monitors the “environment” beyond the normal sensory-perceptual boundaries of space and time and influences – be it often unknowingly – our responses to the world. In the tradition of Freudian psychoanalysis, Carpenter suggests that this means sometimes Psi information may be unconsciously assimilated and/or approached or unconsciously differentiated and/or avoided by the Psyche. In support of his theory, Carpenter relates Psi or extra-sensory perception to subliminal perception studies in mainstream psychology. He also looks at the First Sight Model in relation to long term memory and working memory and suggests that Psi may work antagonistically with working memory. I personally think that this may be one of the most interesting areas of future parapsychological research as so-called working memory is key to conscious information processing. This would suggest that Psi phenomena and conscious experience may only come together in rather unusual states of conscious experiences such as dreams, hallucinogenic and dissociative states. Carpenter also explores his model in relation to personality theory, particularly, the differences in psi ability in relation to extroversion/introversion scales and emotional states, particularly, the effect of fear and anxiety on psi ability. There is also analysis of researcher effects, dissociative states and psychoanalytic counseling in relation to psi phenomena and experimental psi research. Carpenter’s argument that Psi is not some ability that is unique to only a select number of “special” people and is not some mysterious “paranormal” event of the Psyche but rather, a normal process occurring in all people (and other living things) is, in my opinion, important. The future of Psi research depends on integrating psi phenomena into our mainstream understanding of human psychology so that it may no longer be defined as being fundamentally “anomalous.” Carpenter’s First Sight Model is a good starting point in taking us off the path of conceptualizing Psi as belonging to the paranormal and normalizing Psi as part of the everyday world. This, despite how strange and out of the ordinary such phenomena may initially seem.

A. Luther