“Beyond the sixth sense and before second sight there simmers a more fundamental First Sight. In this radical reframing of the meaning and mechanisms of psychic phenomena, James Carpenter proposes that where the edges of mind and matter meet all distinctions between inner and outer, subjectivity and objectivity, disappear. First Sight reigns in this strange place where everyday reality blurs, and it is here where extrasensory perception and other psychic effects suddenly make a good deal of sense. A refreshingly novel approach to understanding psychic phenomena.” — Dean Radin, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences
“Psychic abilities like ESP are usually treated as great mysteries, either to be desperately and illogically explained away since they don’t fit into our predominant materialistic world view, or embraced uncritically as a prop for unexamined personal belief systems. While we still don’t have (and perhaps won’t ever have) a simple, physicalistic explanation for psychic abilities, we have a lot of psychological data on what effects it and how it fits in with the psychology of our minds. This data has been pretty scattered and unconnected, though, so Carpenter’s book is a brilliant integration of what we know. I’m supposed to be an expert on the subject, but I know this book is going to take me in whole new directions!” — Charles T. Tart, professor emeritus of psychology, University of California-Davis and author of The End of Materialism and Altered States of Consciousness
“James C. Carpenter has presented a model of the mind that is both innovative and compelling. Psychic abilities, such as telepathy and precognition, fit easily into this model and are seen as not only ubiquitous but adaptive. First Sight will challenge readers who are skeptical about so-called “extra-sensory” perception, as well as those who are convinced of its existence or those who are simply curious.”
—Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. Co-editor, Varieties of Anomalous Experience and professor of Psychology, Saybrook University
In this engaging and beautifully crafted book Jim Carpenter shows in remarkable depth and detail how situating the paranormal in the context of other preconscious receptive and expressive processes allows us to understand a host of existing findings in a way that makes excellent psychological sense – a significant theoretical achievement that should command the attention of parapsychologists and mainstream psychologists alike.
—Edward F. Kelly, Ph.D. Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia
Well-named as he is, Jim Carpenter proves himself a master carpenter of the mind in constructing a provocative new theory that integrates ESP and other psi phenomena into the overall edifice of human consciousness. According to this theory, ESP is not really the Second Sight that common sense has supposed it to be, but indeed is the very earliest information-gathering process of our being, the First Sight upon which all other perceptual and mental processes have become intricately overlaid. The ramifications of the First Sight theory are tremendous, leading to a whole new view of human consciousness and for its serious study by psychologists and parapsychologists alike.
— Sally Rhine Feather, Executive Director Emeritus, Rhine Research Center
I feel as if I have been privileged to be in on the beginning of something very large and groundbreaking, a new way of thinking about ancient topics, a new world-view of a subject matter that has seemed extraneous to the world, even when grudgingly admitted to be a part of it. Like one of the first readers of Newton’s Principia or Freud’s Psychopathology in Everyday Life.
— Fred Chappell, novelist and poet
Jim Carpenter has devoted many decades to study psi phenomena in the lab and the psychological clinic. In First Sight he presents his bold integration of psi phenomena and contemporary cognitive, personality, and clinical psychology, and seeks to demystify phenomena that are part and parcel of what being alive is all about. William James wrote more than a century ago that psi influences at times leak into reality and Jim Carpenter provides a model of how these influences may be at the base of all of our psychological life. It has been decades since we had a comprehensive attempt to integrate psi phenomena into psychology and I hope that this tome will be seriously considered by everyone seriously interested in the nature of all mental processes.
— Etzel Cardeña
In First Sight, Dr. James Carpenter shows that there is nothing ‘para’ about paranormal abilities; they are a normal, natural, and vital part of the human endowment on which we continually rely. In this important book, Carpenter has given us a new vision of what it means to be human. Highly recommended.
— Larry Dossey, M.D., Author; Reinventing Medicine and The Power Of Premonitions
First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life is written from James Carpenter’s unique dual perspective as both a respected research scientist and a practicing psychotherapist. It is an exciting and elegantly written book that simultaneously makes a major theoretical contribution to the science of psychic functioning while providing an accurate, non-technical overview of the field accessible to the interested general reader.
Carpenter’s major thesis is that psychic abilities—such as telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition—long considered to occur only in “gifted” individuals or on rare traumatic occasions are, in fact, ongoing subconscious processes that continuously influence all of us in making everyday decisions. As the book’s title implies, these common abilities should not be regarded as an incidental “second sight” but as a critical “first sight,” an immediate initial contact with information not otherwise presented to our known senses. And just as we are not typically aware of other subliminal or incidental stimuli that impinge upon us and influence us in myriad ways, so too we typically remain unaware of this extrasensory information and its influence. The evidence that Carpenter marshals in defense of this thesis is persuasive and serves to unify many phenomena associated with psychic functioning.
“This lengthy book offers a detailed and extensive examination of a new model of how the unconscious mind works, which Carpenter (psychiatry, Univ. of North Carolina) labels “First Sight.” Carpenter’s argument is that abilities like extrasensory perception (ESP), parapsychology, psychokinesis, and paranormal experiences are neither unusual nor rare—in fact, humans use them, without knowing it, all the time. The First Sight model asserts that, first, all people have unlimited parapsychological potential and, second, that parapsychological behaviors and experiences occur unconsciously and purposefully. Carpenter supports these two statements by explaining how unconscious parapsychological activities help us make sense of the world, then covers areas of experience like anticipation, summation, intentionality, and frustration, among others. The book concludes with a presentation of research findings that support Carpenter’s theory, as well as suggestions for future directions of research. . . . Recommended for serious readers interested in a scientific theory for parapsychological phenomena that is supported by case studies.” — Library Journal
“I think it is a masterpiece — and probably represents the most sophisticated psychological analysis of psi phenomena since F.W.H. Myers’ classic over a hundred years ago.”
— Jeffrey Mishlove