We miss the implications of parapsychological findings if we feel the necessity to “ground” the phenomena in brain processes. Psychophysics has been captured from its inception by the presumption that all experience must be the product of either impinging stimuli or central nervous system processes that interact with these stimuli. However, the findings of parapsychology imply that we exist extensively far beyond our selves, and respond preconsciously to meanings that may be far distant in space and perhaps time as well. The function of the mind, as Jung thought, is to create meaning, and it pursues this task purposefully, drawing upon all the material that is at its disposal in doing that creating. Much of that material is well beyond (and after) the sensory reach of the somatic system. If all of our experience were truly caused only by the physical functioning of our brains, in conjunction with physical events that impinge upon them, then we might rest comfortably with the idea that all we are and do is really only the product of the physical brain. However, much of us comes from far beyond all that. It cannot be that brains simply generate minds. Minds must be bigger than brains.
A nice new book by an eminent neurologist takes a similar position and argues it persuasively. Mario Beaurogard’s Brain Wars, published by HarperOne. Beaurogard does not deal explicitly with the challenging data of parapsychology, but he finds plenty of challenge to a standard materialist reduction model of the mind in many other facts about our functioning. If anyone believes that the assumption of First Sight to the effect that the mind exceeds the brain in scientifically farfetched, please check out this work for a congenial perspective much closer to the mainstream.
To say that parapsychological findings do not need to be “grounded” in physiology does not mean that field should be ignored. To the contrary, much exciting scientific progress awaits us when the implications of parapsychology are truly absorbed by those who study the physiological dimensions of the mind. To understand more about how brain and mind work together in the context of a vastly expanded personal world will be a wonderful thing.