Ingo Swann (10Jan96)
One of the earliest sources which refers to remote viewing --faculties-- is found in the Yoga teachings of ancient India, with echoes of them throughout the Far East.
There are also elements to be found in most early pre-Modern cultures in lower Africa, Egypt, Babylon, Scandinavia, among the Amerindians, among the ancient traditions of the Bushmen of Australia, in early Greece, among Siberian and Persian shamans, and among the Polynesian Islanders, including Hawaii. Elements of remote viewing were also found in early Europe before the Inquisitions of the Middle Ages. And elements of remote viewing again emerged early in the eighteenth through and into the twentieth centuries.
The hypothesis now to be considered is this: if the fundamentals
of remote viewing exist within the hard drive of our species'
Biomind then it is to be expected that elements of it WILL manifest.
Indeed, such elements have manifested in the past, in the present,
and will continue to do so into the indeterminate future. The
formats of the manifesting may be different, but the essential
nature of what does manifest is the same.
The terms used among these many older cultures are very many.
But in English the general concept can be adequately rendered
as "distant-seeing" --- a hyphenated term not too difficult
to deal with.
We need only combine "dynamic-awareness" (of) "distant-seeing" to get the general drift of what is meant. For unless distant- seeing is expressed via dynamic awareness, then its fundamentals will remain latent and invisible within the hard drive of each human specimen's Biomind.
The historical background for the existence of distant-seeing is quite extensive. But in large part it has been bowdlerized (or "bleeped") from conventional modern history texts utilized by science and academe. Thus the general public is unaware that distant-seeing possesses a vital and substantial history.
In most of the cultures the elements that equate to distant-seeing
were passed down through the generations by word of mouth -- not
The ancient Yoga texts differ in this regard. For there is evidence that the methods for developing distant-seeing were in some kind of brief written form perhaps from about 2,000 BC or even earlier. Who the peoples were, though, is in question --- excepting that they probably were not the Hindus of historical times.
Those earlier texts are lost, however, but versions of them were compiled, lost, and compiled anew from about the sixth century BC. In those and later texts, distant-seeing is listed among the numerous "Sidhis."
Here is a term that is very difficult to render into English.
It won't do to say that a "sidhi" is a psychic power
because the modern connotations of "psychic" are neither
appropriate nor exact enough.
The ancient Hindu Yoga texts that consider the sidhis are in Sanskrit. This is an extremely elegant language and far surpasses the Western romance languages and English in containing terms having to do with faculties and functions of the mind. It often takes a long English paragraph to give approximate English definition to a single Sanskrit term.
Furthermore, most past efforts to translate into English the Sanskrit Yoga texts range from incompetent, to awful, to useless. This is probably not the direct fault of the translators, but due to lack of frames of reference in the English language.
But two additional problems are that contemporary Sanskrit speakers no longer comprehend what the sidhis are except in a general way. English translators themselves have no real idea. So the English translators select what appears to be the nearest English equivalent. The "sidhis" thus are equated to psychic powers.
But there is a problem here, too, in that the term "psychic" has never achieved a good or stable definition in English.
It has been important to the substantive and technical concepts of remote viewing to reconstruct what may originally have been meant by "sidhis," especially the one having to do with distant-seeing. Such a reconstruction is summarized below.
I accept that the reconstruction may be argumentative for a number of reasons --- one of which is that scholars tend to be an argumentative lot to begin with. Whatever the sidhis were in the distant past, they have since taken on legendary status. Scholars therefore deal with them as legendary --- and not as direct participants in the dynamic-awareness phenomena involved.
In what follows I am not at all saying that "controlled remote viewing" as researched and developed at Stanford Research Institute during the 1970s and early 1980s, is the exact same as the distant-seeing sidhi of the Yoga texts. But the working assumption can easily hold that similar mind- dynamic fundamentals are involved in both the sidhi format and the contemporary remote viewing format.
Both formats have one distinct attribute in common, however. It is generally accepted among scholars that a sidhi was NOT merely a spontaneous manifestation of a superpower of mind.
This is clear from the fact that such spontaneous manifestations are separately mentioned in the Yoga texts. In other words, the sidhis were not spontaneous forms of psi. The sidhis therefore cannot be equated with the spontaneous and randomly present forms of psi which have been the topics of modern psychical and parapsychological research.
The evidence is very good that the sidhis were controlled AND enhanced forms of what we would call psi, whose potentials are universally present throughout our species.
In any event, we must distinguish between a POTENTIAL that can emerge spontaneously or temporarily, and a developed ABILITY that is under cognitive control. And it seems likely that the developers of the sidhis did so as well.
It may be that the Yogins saw the potential for the superpowers as an innate manifestation of the Biomind hard drive -- to which I have already referred to in speculation.
But it is quite possible that the ancient Sanskrit- speaking people saw the natural and spontaneous presence of superpowers of mind as the BASIS to build upon and perfect into highly organized functioning. When this building was accomplished, the result was called The Sidhis --- i.e., the spontaneous superpower was brought into a cognitive and controlled state.
The CONTROLLED format of remote viewing emerged from similar
considerations. If it were not for this I would probably hesitate
to connect controlled remote viewing to the ancient sidhi of distant-
The following might be somewhat difficult to cope with, even though I try to be as clear and succinct as possible.
In the ancient Yoga traditions, the functional basis of the
sidhis belonged to the human species and elements of them were
to be found in every human.
Whether or not the ancient Yogins distinguished between mind and body becomes more uncertain the deeper one goes into the Yoga materials. The strong modern distinction between body and mind as separate and different things appears not to have extensively existed until about 1850.
We can roughly speak of the sidhis as superpowers of mind-body that extend beyond the local limits of the physical senses, but which senses were VERY NUMEROUS in the ancient Yoga frames of reference. So there is a danger here because the Yoga traditions held that the PHYSICAL senses themselves, were, in fact, very extensive IF they were honed and "perfected."
It is important to establish that the Yoga traditions did not distinguish between physical, mental functioning and superpowers in the way the modern West has done. How they did distinguish these is not clear.
But the traditions emphasized unity of the whole rather than breaking it apart into separate functions --- and which breaking apart would have brought about imbalances within the whole.
In the Yoga traditions, these three categories were not, and SHOULD NOT BE, separated and divided. All of them were integral parts of the human organism which contained all them interdependently.
The modern concept that has long prevailed held that the Biomind
human organism possessed only five limited physical senses, and
that how much we perceive is constrained within their limits.
The question is now pertinent whether there are more than five physical senses. To save time and space here, I now refer you to "Deciphering the Senses: The Expanding World of Human Perception" by Robert Rivlin and Karen Gravelle (Simon and Schuster, 1984). This book reports on SEVENTEEN physical senses identified by bio-neurologists during the 1970s. And the book's last chapter considers "Extra-Sensory Perception" not particularly as a paranormal or "psychic" thing, but as extensions of the bio-body's very many sensory receptors.
The historical evidence is very good that the ancient Yogins
taught that the abundantly-more-than- five physical senses could,
by practice, be so perfected as to achieve many hundreds of highly
The distinction between the perfected MANIFOLD physical senses and the superpower sidhis is thus very narrow -- because a highly-developed physical sense might indeed be a sidhi. All highly-skilled martial arts persons will immediately understand what is meant here.
In the ancient Yoga traditions, the sidhis are part and parcel
of the whole human organism and its manifold senses that could
be honed and perfected. But if we consider that the Yogins taught
Biomind holism, it then becomes curious why they singled out the
sidhis for special discourse.
There are between seven and twenty sidhis depending on which source is consulted, and distant- seeing is always one of them. Yet the Sanskrit texts comment on certain clearly PHYSICAL senses that can be perfected so as to function as "distant senses" -- such as sensing magnetic directions. This we might think of as a mind superpower but it was not considered a sidhi.
There may be several explanations why the ancient Yogins particularly identified the sidhis from among the many other extended senses. But one explanation is that the sidhis probably would not have been specially commented upon and identified unless there was an essential difference regarding them that needed to be comprehended.
Something now depends on what a "sidhi" is. This
is quite complex and opinions have certainly differed through
the ages, among scholars, and even among Yoga masters.
To the best of my understanding, a sidhi is not exactly a thing in itself to start with. But, with honing and development, it can later become a thing in itself.
You will need to read through the papers ahead having to do with sensory transducers and mental information grids to more fully comprehend this. After you do so, you can come back to this point better prepared.
In essence, a sidhi is something that needs to be put together within dynamic-awareness in order to take on discrete identity. In other words, the basis for distant-seeing might exist within our bio- mind hard drives --- and from which source it might function spontaneously some of the time.
However, in such a "natural" state, it functions in the absence of cognitive dynamic- awareness. In other words, it functions (when it does) AUTOMATICALLY --- while the experiencer usually does not cognitively know when, how, or why it does.
In this sense, it can be said that the hard drive superpower is functioning automatically, but that cognitive control of it is absent. Or we can say that the potential is spontaneously manifesting, but that the organized ability to call it up and sustain it under direct control of cognitive will has not been developed.
It seems that the "direct control of cognitive will"
was what the ancient Yogins may have meant in reference to the
If this is the case, then a "sidhi" is different from all our other extensive physical senses --- all of which come equipped with physical receptors born with the human bio-body and which are fully encoded in our human genetic pool.
My understanding, which was proven at least somewhat correct
in the case of remote viewing, is that a sidhi results from a
very highly specialized organization of powers of mind/body.
This organization includes extensive and direct awareness of biological and mental functioning, including knowledge of what Freud and others called the subconscious and the supraconsciousness.
To the Yogins, a human person was born with a bio- mind that possessed potentials. But it was born in a raw state, and was a disorganized mind until it could become properly organized.
I believe that "properly organized" can be equated quite nicely with "mind software programming" which is defined as "installed information grids."
It is quite clear regarding the sidhis that CORRECT self-aware information grids are being talked about here --- information grids which PERMIT the recognition and integration of the vast spectrum of body-mind faculties innate in our species.
Clearly, the installation of correct "software information
grids" would "organize" the Biomind into highly
efficient thinking patterns --- while incorrect ones would result
in the opposite.
Indeed, the Yogins held, even in ancient times, that mind can be installed with incorrect or false or fake information grids --- that yielded "illusion." The presence of "illusion" among humans is, at any rate, a very big concept in most Far Eastern philosophies.
Accordingly, life lived within illusion information grids was predictably confusing, painful and awful.
Indeed, the escape from illusion is a major theme in all ancient Yoga. The "escape" apparently meant to escape from faulty mental information grids that deprived their carriers of dynamic-awareness of real REALITY, so to speak.
Furthermore, the Yogins taught that the sidhis COULD NOT be developed and "perfected" in the presence of incorrect information software grids --- even though, as they noted, rudiments of the sidhis might occasionally flare up spontaneously.
But this brings up the question regarding from where the rudiments
occasionally flare up.
The Yogins appear to be talking --three-- things:
1. a naturally existing base drive for the human bio-body/mind;
2. the fact that incorrect and correct mind software programs can be inserted into the naturally existing base drive; and
3. the difference between illusion and reality.
If all this is thought of in the technological computer metaphor, it seems that the Yogins were actually talking about a bio-body/mind born as a HARD DRIVE --- but into which correct or incorrect software programs could be installed that were derived from experience, learning, indoctrination or misinformation.
If we utilize the computer metaphor, we can add to it the metaphor of a program "virus" whose introduction can demobilize and erode or distort all of the mind's software programs including the bio- mind hard drive. An incorrect thought out of keeping with real Reality thus can act like a virus throughout the entire Biomind systems.
Several different kinds of Yoga practice were evolved to correct
different kinds of illusion information grids - -- and to install
(or "awaken") those more in keeping with what we today
would call "innate human potentials."
There was a central motto that was variously subscribed to within different Yoga philosophies and practices:
that the correct way of life was that Way which was in keeping with non-illusion, and thus in keeping with self-discovered true life principles not only of the human species, but of the universe.
To the ancient Yogins, or at least most of them, each human specimen was innately a self- perfecting "unit" within whom existed the basic framework or faculties for enormous powers of body and mind.
These powers could be located, developed and enhanced if the mind AND self-aware BODY could be properly formatted to do so by constructing information grids of self-awareness of potentials.
This was a process referred to by different metaphors such as "the Unfoldment of the Lotus" --- a flower growing out of water (the subconscious) and unfolding in perfect form in cognitive consciousness. Another popular metaphor, especially favored by later Buddhists, referred to the "Perfecting the Diamond Consciousness."
The sidhis appear to have been selected out for special note
because it seems that it required MORE of Biomind recombinant
elements to achieve them.
It is especially important to note that the sidhis were neither separated from the physical senses, nor held to be exclusively mental in nature.
Rather it seems that the sidhis were additional extensions of the physical senses that required the integration of a very large number of mental and physical faculties.
But the faculties would not work together very well unless selectively and increasingly integrated by the cognitive mind of the human self-perfecting "unit."
They also held that while some of the faculties might function spontaneously, others of them needed to be deliberately integrated so as to achieve higher-order and more spectacular performance.
In this sense, the sidhis appear NOT to consist of A SINGULAR FACULTY NATURALLY EXISTING WITHIN THE BIO- BODY/MIND, but need to be artificially engineered within consciousness by combining a number of faculties within dynamic- awareness. And this is what CONTROLLED REMOTE VIEWING also consists of.
If this was the case, then indeed the sidhis needed special mention as contrasted to all our other naturally- existing faculties and senses. For a great number of our sensory and bio-processes (including our urges and drives) function automatically or autonomically.
But the sidhis had to be engineered into existence within cognitive dynamic-awareness in order to take on "perfecting."
But WHAT was it that had to be artificially engineered within
cognitive Biomind consciousness to achieve, for example, the sidhi
of distant- seeing?
There is only ONE concept that fills the bill. It is very well-known in the modern physical sciences and technology. But it has never been applied to the human bio-body/mind.
It is the concept of the TRANSDUCER --- the topic of Part Three of these mini-essays.
Rather than thinking of distant-seeing as a psychic aptitude, it is more to the point to think of it as a correct series of sensory transducers that permit the integration of Biomind hard drive faculties that result in cognitively controlled distant-seeing.
Thus, distant-seeing it is not at first a thing in itself, but can become one (a sidhi) AFTER the needed sensory transducers are cognitively located and integrated.
When it became possible, during the mid-1970s, to lift remote viewing up and out of its spontaneous "psychic" nature and to tutor others in it with increasing SELF-PERFECTION - -- well, remote viewing, as a format of distant-seeing, indeed seemed to equate to one of the sidhis of ancient India.
Controlled remote viewing (CRV) was achieved by the cognitive integration of the needed sensory transducers that resulted in the installing of the correct cognitive software program --- exactly as the ancient Yogins had determined. It was then seen that while spontaneous remote viewing is an "experiencing," CRV is a form of "controlled and directed meditation."
The concept of SENSORY TRANSDUCERS will be the most difficult
concept in these essays. Although you might not agree with the
terminology I've selected for them, we can see people walking
around with their frames of reference, mental information grids
It is also not difficult to apply the concept of transducers to technological equipment, such as telephones, televisions and radar, etc. All of these utilize transducers to convert one form or energy or signal into another form.
But it is difficult to apply the concept of the transducer to sensory stimuli and to mind-dynamic functions. Yet it can be shown that practically every cell, neuron, or synapse in our Biomind bodies is a sensory transducer of some kind.