By Julie Spangler
A few years ago my daughter came home fuming with anger. Smoke was coming out of her ears! Her psychology teacher at the local community college had told the class two things that enraged her:
There is no new knowledge in the world yet to discover.
There is no such thing as ESP or psychic perception.
According to him, humanity had discovered all there was to know and there was nothing more in the universe to learn. Yet the fact that we humans are always learning and revealing new insights about this world and beyond is evident to anyone with the eyes to see.
Recently, I found an old book in a box of my husband's family treasures. It was a history/geography primer written in 1850, that had belonged to David's great grandfather, Rufus.This was published before the civil war and reveals much about the way people thought of the world and history at the time.
Rufus was taught that there are two continents in the world, the eastern continent and the western. (Australia was considered the largest island.) In those days, a continent was defined as a contiguous landmass completely surrounded by ocean. Today, continents, which we count as seven, are defined by modern knowledge of the dynamics of the geological processes within the earth's crust.
This small primer also espoused that there are five races in the world which were defined as Malayan, African, Caucasian, American Indian, and Mongolian. Since then, anthropological definitions of the differences between people, which were called race, have morphed several times - in 1890 they considered three races - Caucasian, Mongolian and Negroid, and by 1962 Australoid was added - but today, our understanding of the human genome has progressed to the point that we now know that nearly all the variation in the human species can be found within the remotest tribe of humans in the world, and 99.9% of our genetic material is the same in all people.
Looking at this book written 170 years ago from the perspective of our time, we can see how much the world has changed; and each time new information was brought forth, it changed how people saw the world. David's great grandparents were farmers in Ohio. Imagine the world that Great Grandfather Rufus inhabited during his life. Born in the 1850s, he lived in a horse and buggy world where communication was through slow mail, and the telegraph was in its infancy. The transcontinental railroad was only just conceived but not yet built. He was confined to a local community and change was slow.
The world we inhabit now is vastly different than the one Rufus lived in. It is even vastly different from the world I knew as a child. Every person alive right now over 30 years old spent their formative years in a world without cell phones and internet. Information flow is instant in most parts of the world, and change is so fast that it is hard for our minds to keep up with it! And yet... there is no new knowledge to discover?
I confess to feeling some disbelief that there could be a college teacher in this day and age who could believe we have reached the limit of all there is to know!
But what about his second point - There is no such thing as ESP or psychic ability? There are way too many incidents of "other perception" - intuitive warnings, synchronistic happenings, telepathic communications, predictive experiences - to deny that something of a psychic nature exists.
One night when I was about seven years old, I remember my mother suddenly getting anxious and upset. She felt an urgent need to see her beloved 92 year old Aunt Grace. Though it was evening, and there were four of us young children who couldn't be left alone, my father, bless him, recognized that something unusual was going on. He bundled all of us kids and mom into the car and drove 2 hours to the large retirement home where Auntie Grace and Uncle Harry lived.
We found Auntie Grace sitting in their room crying inconsolably. She said they had taken Uncle Harry away and would not let her see him. Mom, my siblings and I all stayed with Auntie Grace while Dad did the warrior/hero thing and stormed the fortress to track down Uncle Harry.
Dad found Uncle Harry in the hospital wing of the facility, dying. He came back, got Aunt Grace and escorted her to her husband’s side, pushing past the various nursing officials trying to stop them and asserting that Grace needed to see her husband and they had no right to deny her. Harry and Grace got to say goodbye before he passed over later than night.
I was always deeply touched by the seemingly magical events that took us on a long drive through the dark to help Auntie Grace. And I have no doubt these kinds of incidents are more frequent than we know. Is this ESP? In my world it is. Is it psychic perception? Maybe that also. It is certainly an intuitive, unseen and subtle world connection between hearts that love.
As of now we can't easily measure subtle worlds or subtle perceptions. We know our perception of the world is changing because we can experience it, but we can't record the changes in spiritual consciousness around us. We often take this for granted. But in every culture, knowledge of subtle worlds and subtle beings has existed. We can't prove their existence, only anecdotal evidence attests to their reality, such as my story about Auntie Grace. But in my household, contact with subtle worlds is a normal part of ordinary life.
We always have to determine for ourselves what we are open to. Maryn's teacher kept his mind very tightly structured. I understand the inclination. It is challenging to stay open to things that might shake up our reality. But in a world that changes as quickly as ours, it behooves us to keep our minds flexible, open to possibility and ready to welcome our own corroborating experience. Then when we have our own subtle perceptions, to accept them and prove their inherent value for ourselves.