The real live psychic

Hypothesis.  Extrapolation.  Imagination.  Visualization.  Intuition.  These are all words that define a part of our brains that separate us from other animals.  Some scientists claim these mind skills were an evolutionary breakthrough.  The ability to anticipate and envision the coming of winter, the possibility of flood, or the movement of a thunderstorm may have given us an extra survival advantage over instinct.  The ability to see a range of possible changes in our environment allowed us to prepare for each one.

It’s an ability that we still cherish to this day.  It allows for the possibility of art, science, philosophy – almost all of the high points of current culture.  It can be overdeveloped in certain areas – I think here of the socially awkward genius, so strong in his innate understanding of certain systems, but not others.  Yet it also shares an edge with less provable extrapolations.

If we are to believe in the strength of human perception, estimation, and generalization, does that make the ideas of fortune telling and psychic advice really seem that far-fetched?  True, the idea of tarot reading or crystal balls may not seem scientifically accurate.  And yet some of us are better judges of character than others.  Some easily pick up on the visual clues that tell the life story of a person you are meeting for the first time.  A good detective might be able to ascertain the perpetration of a crime with very limited factual information and without any experience in crime.  Does that make someone like the self-proclaimed ‘intutionist’ Laura Day seem more credible, despite her lack of expertise in a particular field?  Perhaps.

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