What lies behind the laws of nature?

     In his post Phantom arrivals, William James Tychonievich writes about the phenomenon of people experiencing other people or objects arriving at their house some time before they actually arrive.  Read that post before reading what follows to get the full context.  

    What I find interesting is that the phenomenon described in this post is that they seem to happen spontaneously.  No one is trying to make them happen; they just occur.  And also, while strange, they are not dramatic, but concern everyday events, such as ordering a book or a battery.  In some places, they even seem to be quite frequent; Tychonievich quotes the following from a book by Rupert Sheldrake: 

    "This hearning of sounds in advance is well known in northern Scandinavia, as I discussed in Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home. In Norway there is even a special name for the phenomenon, vardøger, which literally means 'warning soul.'  Typically, someone at home hears a person walking or driving up to the house, coming in, and hanging up his coat.  Yet nobody is there.  Some ten to thirty minutes later the person really arrives to similar sounds.  People get used to it.  Housewives put the kettle on as the vardøger arrives, knowing their husbands will arrive soon.

    Professor Georg Hygen, of Oslo University, investigated dozens of recent cases, and published an entire book on this subject.  He concluded that the phenomonon is not so much a pre-echo of what will happen in the future, but is related to a person's intentions.  For one thing, the sounds are not always identical to those heard in advance.  A person might be heard going up to the bedroom, whereas when he arrives he goes into the kitchen.  Moreover, the vardøger phenomenon can still occur when a person does not in fact arrive, having changed his mind."

    The line "people get used to it", particularly caught my attention.  Here we have an event that, while still paranormal, happens often enough that it becomes familiar. 

    I find the theory of telepathy in the second paragraph fairly convincing, but there may also be other things going on as well.  The vardøger could be precognitive if one believes (as I do) that the future can be partially forseen, but is not entirely predetermined.  I believe it is more like hearing someone's plans for the next day, rather than looking ahead in a book to what is already there.  So, the precognition is not an exact copy of the events that subsequently occur, but an indication of an intention.  And it may be that telepathy and precognition are also related on some level.  

    Another possibility, relates to the philosophical idea that when angels are present in a particular location, unless they take on a body, they are not present in the same sense as human beings are because they are not physical.  An angel's presence is more analogous to focusing one's mind on a location than being there physically.  A similar thing could be said of ghosts.  Based on reading and thinking about the matter, I believe that there are probably multiple kinds of ghosts: one might be a kind of energy that is sometimes left behind after death, another might be a projection from the thoughts or emotions of a person, and the last would be the soul of the individual detached from the body.  And the last kind could be present in a non-physical way related to the soul of the person thinking about or remembering some location.  

    Thus, the vardøger could be, in addition to telepathy, that the person traveling to a location is present there in some non-physical sense while they are thinking about returning home and focusing on the location.  

    In some ways paranormal events of this kind seem similar to rainbows, magnetism, or static electricity.  In the past these were probably thought of by some people are curios, interesting events that happened occasionally.  But now we know that there were glimpses of a broader understanding of nature.  Likewise, I believe that the vardøger and related phenomena provide glimses of laws that underlie the physical laws of nature but are themselves non-physical - more like mental.  Though I do not think they are the deepest level or that they are truly spiritual.  (William Wildblood has written some about this level of reality on his blog, referring to it as the psychic plane).

    I use the word laws because I think that these mental laws are regularities, that they are chaotic.  But, they are not regular in a sense that would make them easy to predict, i.e., they are not mechanical.  Also, I do not believe there will ever be a science of these laws, both because they are non-mechanical and difficult to discern and because fallen human beings are prohbited from fully understanding these matters for their own good and the good of others.  


  1. Good stuff. I also regard this as some kind of 'telepathic' phenomenon.

    According to Steiner and Barfield, this kind of communal knowing was normal, and indeed unavoidable, at earlier stages of human development (original participation - when our selves are substantially immersed in a common consciousness) - and the course of development was to separate our 'selves' from this ocean of involuntary knowledge of others; so that we could become more autonomous agents.

    In the current consciousness soul phase we have almost lost the ability to do this.

    The coming phase of final participation would be that we would regain the capacity to do this - but voluntarily and consciously, by choice not compulsion.

    1. "In the current consciousness soul phase we have almost lost the ability to do this."

      Yes, if it is partially telepathic, it makes sense that the verdoeger would be between husbands and wives, since they already have a close connection. It's probably more difficult between people who aren't already connected in some way.

      "The coming phase of final participation would be that we would regain the capacity to do this - but voluntarily and consciously, by choice not compulsion."


      I had not made the connection between final participation and telepathy as related to group consciousness before.

  2. I agree that such phenomena are probably indicative of some underlying laws but am not sure to what degree those laws are mechanical and predictable-in-principle. Many things -- rainbows for instance -- are not easy to predict in practice but nevertheless (we assume, and it *is* an assumption) have causes that are entirely physical and mechanical.

    1. You make a good point about phenomena which are unpredictable, but come about from mechanical causes.

      Thinking back over what I wrote, I should have elaborated more in that section.

      Thinking about it some more, I would say that I agree these phenomena can be predicted. And maybe even with a fairly high degree of accuracy. It was probably easier to find people who could do this in the ancient or pehistoric world than it is now. What I think we will not be able to do is to predict them in the quantitative, precise way of prediction that we associate with physics, which would allow us to manipulate these situations in the same way that we can some physical phenomena.

      I was thinking also about how people try to test for ESP in a statistical, quantitaive manner and the results are rather unspectacular. As far as for physical or chemical experiments, it makes sense that they would be unaffected by mental or emotional states of the experimenters as well as the general situation as a whole. On the other hand, if ESP is a phenomenon of the mind, it makes sense that it would be affected by these things.

  3. I worked with a guy who said he and his wife lived in a place where they could hear someone coming home from work everyday, but no-one was there. The husband could hear someone stocking the fireplace and closing the door etc.

    One time, he and his wife went out on date night or something, and when they came back, all their clothes were stacked in neat piles along the drive-way. The ghost or whatever was politely suggesting they'd overstayed their welcome, thank you very much. They got a priest or a native shaman to clear it out and had no more problems. Bit freaky though.

    1. That's an interesting story. Hearing the noise without anyone there does suggest that if it was a ghost, it was not "there" in the same sense they were.

      I have not had any experience with a ghost myself, but I have heard at least one similar situation, about furniture being rearranged in an old house with no one there to move it.

  4. When it comes to personal, experiential evidence (anecdotes) it depends on the quality of the witnesses. One good witness (e.g. honest, competent, insightful) is worth any number who are not.

    I found this in psychiatry - most things that some patients say mean essentially nothing either way - they just spout drivel 24/7. But there are some things that some patients say (even just once, and without special emphasis) that should be taken with the greatest seriousness. Judgment is all.

    Same in science and ceasing medicine! The individual, and judgment, can never be eliminated without eliminating the functional.

    Nowadays, nothing said by anyone in a leadership position means anything factual - just that they are trying to make you do what they want. Likewise with the mass media.

    1. That is a good point, that some witnesses are essentially worthless, so no number of them proves anything while for the most honest and knowledgeable, a single witness is of great value.

      I find considerations like that to be one of the most compelling reasons for taking the views of old thinkers seriously. Who is more trustworthy, a careerist academic who must produce novelty to publish or a monk who has memorized the Bible and devotes his life to studying and thinking about Christianity?


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