Psychic phenomenon, or Psi, is a very real concept, and has been used and studied for centuries-- increasingly so since the start of the 20th century. In this essay I will explain the very basics of what Psi is and how it works.
What is Psi?
Psi is a term used to describe and classify different areas of psychic ability. Technically speaking, Psi is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and looks sort of like a three-pronged Y or a trident. The word literally means "breath" or "soul," which makes sense considering that our psychic ability comes from within us. The term Psi, in relation to psychics and the study of them, was coined in the 1930's by a man named J.B. Rhine, who had a strong interest in psychic ability and was one of the driving forces behind the development of the lesser-known field of science, parapsychology. His experiments, published works, and contributions to research and education in this field have helped launch it and its subjects into the future.
What's the difference between Psi and PK?
The simple answer is, there is no difference! While these terms are not exactly interchangeable, one does seem to beget the other. Psi is actually a broad category of paranormal science. Some people expand its meaning to include strange, unexplained events such as alien abductions and UFO sightings, but to be more accurate, Psi is just an encompassing term for both PK and ESP
PK and ESP?
PK is psychokinesis-- literally, "movement with the mind." In the past it has also been referred to as telekinesis, or TK. They are both the same idea: the ability to move things at a distance with the power of your mind alone (think of spoon-bending). Most of the offensive psychic attacks in video games are forms of PK, but greatly exaggerated. It is highly unlikely that any normal person with psychic ability, however talented, could shoot fire or cause earthquakes.
ESP is extrasensory perception, or the ability to "know" or receive information by some means other than the five senses. Indeed we have more than just the five senses we learned about in school (some experts think we have well over twenty!). You are probably familiar with the term "sixth sense," and that is related to our psychic abilities. Telepathy is actually one of the sub-categories of ESP, along with clairvoyance (and the other 'clairs,' which I will explain in a moment), and precognition or foreknowledge-- knowing something before it happens.
Perhaps an easier way to think about ESP and PK is to imagine them in terms of receiving and transmitting messages. People who use ESP are receivers-- they bring information in-- and people who use PK are transmitters-- they send energy out.
As I have already said, the games do exaggerate things a bit, not that this is bad. Their outlandish, fantastical qualities are part of what we enjoy about them. But let me make one thing clear...
PSI AND MAGIC ARE NOT THE SAME THING!!
The difference? Magic is fantasy, parlor tricks, and illusions, or lifestyle and religion. Psi is something we can really tap into and experience. Am I saying that there are some people out there who can actually use PK Fire? Of course not. That is all part of the fantasy element of the games, but however outlandish they are, there is some very real knowledge being put to work.
How does Psi work?
Very much like a lot of other matter in our universe. It is all energy and vibrations, and we are subject to them constantly, whether or not we realize it. Have you ever been somewhere and gotten a terrible feeling or a "bad vibe"? Or maybe you were around someone once, who never said anything or acted out in any way, but you could just tell they were in a bad mood. That's your psychic "sixth sense" or intuition at work. But how? The mental vibrations you were receiving. There are many varieties of mental matter and each has its own appropriate vibration. Our bodies are constantly emanating waves of energy, either from metabolic activities or from our own thoughts and mood swings.
Everything comes to us by means of vibrations-- light, color, and sound, for example. Rays of light or waves of sound vibrate and cause us to hear or to see, but we are also able to see and hear with our psychic senses as well (clairvoyance and clairaudience). Some of these rays or waves vibrate at levels much higher or lower than our eyes and ears can detect, such as ultraviolet light and supersonic sound. We may not be able to detect them, but they still exist. We can use machines to help us experience them. There is no need to use a machine to catch the higher, finer vibrations of the astral plane, though! One simply needs to learn how to tune into them properly. It is true that some people are born naturally gifted psychics, and they tend to be more skillful with it than others, but we can all learn to develop and utilize Psi. There are many different ways of receiving information psychically. Understanding these methods and identifying which one is your strongest can really be beneficial.
The Four 'Clairs'
Most of you are probably familiar with clairvoyance (literally "clear vision"), which is a way of seeing with more than just your eyes; but there other ways of receiving information, and they are called: clairaudience, claircognizance, and clairsentience. Each of the 'clairs' provides us with information in a certain way, sort of like tuning in to a different television or radio channel.
Clairvoyance: also called "second sight." It can be precognitive (visions of the future) or retrocognitive (visions from the past). Because it is associated with sight, the psychic information received by a clairvoyant comes in the form of images, symbols, omens and oracles. Clairvoyants tend to be drawn to the visual arts, fashion design, and other such like-minded professions.
Fun fact! Many people do not dream in color. Those that do, especially if it is vibrant, lifelike color, may have some natural talent in clairvoyance. What about you?
Clairaudience: psychic hearing, which operates outside our normal range (or what we can usually hear with our ears). People who are clairaudient may be sensitive to loud sounds and avoid places that most people tend to enjoy (ie. rock concerts), or they may hear sounds in their ear that cannot be attributed to any disease process, mental or physical.
It should be noted that hearing voices through clairaudience is not the same as hearing voices as part of a mental disease, such as in schizophrenia. Schizophrenics suffer from delusions and auditory hallucinations that are destructive and malevolent ("the voices are telling me to kill you" and that sort of thing), and will often display very bizarre behavior. Clairaudients receive real, beneficial information, not part of a hallucinatory process.
Claircognizance: also called "clear knowing." It comes to its recipient as a sudden thought or idea, as if they all of a sudden know something. Unlike the previous two 'clairs,' it does not come in the form of a vision, image, or sound. It is as if a thought has suddenly popped into your head, completely unrelated to whatever you may have been thinking about or doing at the time. I have experienced claircognizance several times in my life. It is always very striking, so pay close attention if anything like this happens to come your way.
People who are claircognizant tend to be logical, the type that needs to analyze everything in every situation, and they may be very inventive and hard-working.
Clairsentience: a type of psychic "feeling." You may have heard of people who are empaths and can absorb emotional energies and vibrations, thus taking on the feelings of others. They are incredibly sensitive to suffering and this may manifest itself physically-- in other words, they may start to feel pain in their bodies just from being around people who are suffering emotionally. Many clairsentients can learn about your emotions by holding an object that belongs to you. Lucas is likely very clairsentient, and his segment of the series seems to focus a lot on emotional burdens.On another note, clairsentients can be highly sensitive to certain waves of light, such as fluorescent lighting, and may become dizzy, tired, or develop headaches from them.
What else is there to know about Psi and psychics?
Well, a lot, really. Much more than I'm going to say here, so if you are interested you can look into it on your own time, but here are a few more things to think about...
Not all psychics receive information in the same way, as you can already tell. Being more proficient in one 'clair' and less in another is just like being good at art, but terrible at math. And, on that same note, being skilled with your psychic abilities is no different than being a good doctor, or a good chef, a good painter, and so on. It is something you can learn, practice, become better at, but certainly does not make you perfect.
But wait! Don't psychics know EVERYTHING?
Absolutely not. If you knew everything, that would make you omniscient (all-knowing), and, therefore, not human. Psychics are just as human as anybody else. They make mistakes, they have good days and bad days, and they're sometimes wrong-- same as you and me. The ability is dependent upon how the person is feeling, whether they are healthy or ill, sleepy or awake, sober or inebriated, and so on. Would you care to have a doctor operate on you if he is running on two hours of sleep, or a good night's rest? The same idea applies here.
When it comes to predicting the future, keep in mind that time is not stagnant. We all have free will, the ability to shape our destinies, and, as we all know, our life changes in the most unique ways. Psychics can "see" or "feel" something happening in the future, but the future is never set in stone, and it is up to you whether to take any advice they offer you.
Keep in mind that everything we experience is processed through our own personal filter. Not everyone views things the same, and that goes for psychics, too.
Another common thought is that psychics ought to use their gift to get ahead-- predict lottery numbers, the outcome of cards in a gambling game, and so on. But to do this is immoral. Using your talent for selfish, personal gain will ultimately result in a loss of the gift. Can Psi be helpful in your life? Most definitely, and developing it will open up so many doors, but be mindful of it and use it to help others, not cheat the system. Are there fakes out there? Certainly, and they give those with real talent a bad name. They are no different than those online scams looking to get your money and credit card numbers. Most often, a fake will tell you things you want to hear, rather than the things you need to hear.