The ultimate power of the mind is not yet known
The power of the human mind is indeed impressive, but are people capable of performing astounding mental feats that defy scientific explanation? Most scientists would probably say of course not – that would be magic, while others try to keep an open mind regarding such matters.
One possible feat of the mind would be telekinesis (TK), Greek for “distant-movement,” also known as psychokinesis (PK) or “mind-movement.” People with such power can literally move or even transmute objects without touching or influencing them in any obvious physical way.
Let’s explore telekinesis to see if it’s more than just the proverbial parlor trick and, if it is something other than trickery and/or wishful thinking, can people learn TK if given the proper instruction and training:
History of Telekinesis
In 1890, Russian psychic researcher Alexander N. Aksakov invented the term telekinesis, which means remote influencing or mind over matter. Research into telekinesis began during the heyday of Spiritualism, a system of beliefs positing that everything was either matter or spirit. Belief in Spiritualism meant that if something was being moved without physical agency, then spirits or ghosts had to be responsible.
In the late 1800s to early 1900s, many spiritual mediums during séances or other demonstrations seemingly manifested telekinetic powers, though these instances almost certainly involved fakery. (It appeared to be a regular industry in those days!) At any rate, scientific investigation was mostly absent during such occurrences, because science hadn’t progressed enough to measure advanced mental processes.
In the modern era, telekinesis is considered an aspect of extrasensory perception or ESP, as described by research into parapsychology. Researchers utilize laboratory tests designed to prove that a person has telekinetic or psychokinetic powers. The test subject is asked to move atoms, molecules or subatomic particles, thereby evincing what could be called microtelekinesis. The subject may also be asked to influence a game of chance or project a mental image upon a photographic plate or, presumably, into the storage of a digital camera.
In 1958, parapsychologist William G. Roll invented the term “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis,” when describing the sudden movement of objects when a test subject is present. In comparison, when such objects fly through the air and sometimes hit people, poltergeist activity is suspected. Roll theorized that telekinesis is psychic phenomena, that is, a combination of quantum mechanics and neuroscience, and that all individuals carry with them psi fields, containing psi information.
People with Telekinetic Powers
In the early 1900s, Stanislawa Tomczyk, a Polish woman, displayed telekinetic, poltergeist-like ability while in a hypnotic trance. Investigators noticed fine threads seemingly emanating from her fingers while these PK events transpired. Were these threads in fact wires used to conjure tricks? Back in 1910, Tomczyk was apparently tested under scientific conditions in Warsaw and displayed startling TK phenomena.
Over the years since then, many people have claimed to possess psychic powers of some sort, including telekinesis. Author Martin Caidin claimed in the middle 1980s that he could cause telekinetic movement by using “psi wheels.”
Since the 1970s, Uri Geller, a self-styled psychic, has told the world he possesses abilities such as psychokinesis and telepathy. Geller likes to bend spoons and reactivate broken watches, astonishing folks in audiences. But most of Geller’s feats are considered nothing more than magic tricks, using techniques such as sleight of hand.
Renowned psychic debunker James Randi has offered to test the alleged psychic abilities of supposed psychics such as Caidin and Geller, but none of them has taken the challenge. Randi has offered $1,000,000 to anyone who can demonstrate any paranormal or supernatural ability under laboratory conditions.
Also, throughout history many “godmen,” swamis, yogis or gurus, have claimed to possess miraculous powers, including telekinesis, though none of them have proven anything of the sort while adhering to scientific protocols.
The Russians, during the 1960s and ‘70s, studied ESP to a great extent. Researchers investigated Nina Kulagina while she allegedly performed telekinesis during numerous filmed demonstrations. The U.S. Department of Defense was particularly interested in Kulagina’s putative psychic ability.
Distant Movement and Science
Most scientists will tell you that telekinesis is impossible, because it violates the very laws of the universe, particularly the inverse square law, the second law of thermodynamics, conservation of momentum, as well as Einstein’s theories of relativity. Simply put, you can’t make anything move unless you act upon it with some kind of force.
Scientist Carl Sagan once said that “offerings of pseudoscience and superstition” would be foolish to accept without solid scientific data, though he added that possibilities such as telekinesis could eventually be verified.
Other scientists such as Brian Josephson have said that explanations for telekinesis and telepathy could be found during investigations into quantum mechanics, the properties of which are only beginning to be understood.
Interestingly, scientist Gerald Feinberg suggested in a paper in 1967 that a so-called tachyon could explain telekinesis. Tachyons, in theory, always move faster than the speed of light and do so by having a negative mass. Therefore, learning how to manipulate such astonishing particles could give one telekinetic powers! Unfortunately, the existence of tachyons remains more sci-fi fantasy than reality.
Telekinesis and the U.S. military
In 1984, the U.S. Army requested that the United States National Academy of Sciences form a panel to evaluate the findings of 130 years of research into parapsychology. Of course, the military was interested in possible military applications of telekinesis, such as the remote disruption of enemy weaponry. The panel made visits to the PEAR laboratory, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab, where apparent positive results for “micro-PK” were detected - a statistical difference of about one per cent, actually. But critics claimed these test results could be explained by publication or cognitive bias.
The panel published in 1987 a report stating it could find no scientific evidence for the existence of telekinesis. It appears the positive test results, as small as they were, could be described as the human tendency to see what it’s looking for.
Incidentally, failing to produce impressive test results, PEAR laboratory closed in 2007.
Telekinesis and Religion
Some enthusiasts and scholars of Christianity believe telekinesis is a spiritual gift. They point to passages in the Bible such as the Book of Acts, chapter 16, verse 26: "When Paul and Silas were arrested and imprisoned, a great earthquake struck, opening all of the doors of the prison and then Paul and Silas’ bands were loosed so they could escape." Perhaps some of Jesus’ miracles could be explained in such a way as well. For instance, faith healing could be an aspect of telekinesis.
In Hindu philosophy, it is said that one can levitate using the power of yoga. Supposedly, Yogi Subbayah Pullavar, while in a trance, levitated for four minutes as a crowd of 150 people observed him on June 6, 1936. Other Hindu mystics have claimed they can levitate while sleeping or meditating, and that this comes about naturally as one progresses through spiritualism.
Telekinesis and the Existence of Ghosts
Assuming that ghosts may exist, could watching them move something from place to place - or the movement of the ghosts themselves - be explained by telekinesis? That is, could the people who claim to see ghostly activity or locomotion actually be providing the movement? This tends to bring to mind the question: Is it easier to believe in the existence of ghosts or the possibility that people may have telekinetic ability?
Can a Person Learn Telekinesis?
Some people think that with sufficient knowledge and training a person can learn telekinesis. In an article titled "How I Learned TK" the author wrote that to practice TK one must first realize that everything in the universe is connected in an infinite cosmic web. Second, one must develop a sense of “empathy” with all objects. (If you want to move that chair across the room, then learn what the chair feels.) Third, one must learn to focus one’s energy upon an object; otherwise, it almost certainly will not move.
Obviously, learning the ability to perform telekinesis must be difficult if not impossible. So, can anybody do it? Moreover, has anybody ever been able to do it? The answers to those questions are up to the individual to ponder. But if TK isn’t possible, perhaps we should be grateful. Do we really want people moving stuff all over the place whenever they feel like it? Moving in a vehicle from one place to another – especially during rush hour traffic - can be troublesome enough as it is!
Please leave a comment.
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© 2012 Kelley Marks
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on April 23, 2013:
I agree that just about anything is possible, especially in science fiction. At any rate, it's reassuring that the universe does have physical limits, such as the laws of thermodynamics; otherwise, it would be much harder, if not impossible, for humans to live in it. Moreover, Einstein's theories may not seem useful in every day life, but if the theory of electromagnetism weren't true, then our advanced modern world wouldn't be possible. Still, I think telekinesis may be possible, but I have no idea how it would work. Later!
William Kosko from Baltimore, Maryland on April 22, 2013:
People who think you need reason for everything are in denial. Proof is a matter of opinion. If you pay attention to the way men such as Albert Einstein spoke...you would realize that. We are all one, but we also all live different lives. Science only proves what is true to each individual scientist. Of course, if they make something seem real then everyone will believe it. But at the end of the day that is all anything is: a belief. Everyone who likes to use science to back everything...why don't you go study the laws of the universe...the laws that actually matter. At the end of the day, those are the only laws anyone has to answer to. And those laws say psychokinesis is definitely possible because anything is possible. If it wasn't, why would we be talking or thinking about it? Some days I want to learn this just to make every skeptic have to rethink their entire outlook on life. Anything is possible...those who believe that can and will achieve anything.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on February 23, 2013:
Thanks for the comment, RoryColgan. I love to speculate about the powers of the mind. Later!
RoryColgan from Louisville, Kentucky on February 22, 2013:
I loved the article! Keep it up.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on February 11, 2013:
Hey, charlesbrawnyson, perhaps these telekinetic people, made themselves disappear. With enough telekinetic power, one could be omnipotent. Later!
charlesbrawnyson on February 11, 2013:
Telekinesis is so awesome! I used to know a group of opticians in toronto that could do telekinesis and they were teaching me, but they all mysteriously disappeared one day...
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on December 26, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, endless sea. Learning how to use telekinetic powers would be truly revolutionary. Given sufficient skill, we could heal ourselves and others and even change our appearance. Later!
Akhand Pratap SIngh from Lucknow(U.P.) India on December 26, 2012:
Very interesting read, as to what is mentioned as telekinesis is the power to move objects by help of just mental(spiritual) energy. The paragraph "Distance movement and Science" says according to physics the process of TK is practically impossible, according to Neotic science each and every object has a physical presence, which means that even thought possess some weight and gravity can act even on thought,the same field tells that a human can change the physical properties and nature of an object just by thinking about it, for eg: changing ice to water in a room temperature much faster than normal. These kind of things are explained by neotic science, abiding by the laws of physics. I am not sure if a person can really perform telekinesis but still there are many things that we need to know and it will be quite interesting to know about them.
Liked the read, voted up and interesting.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on December 02, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, Kenja. Simply by applying what we know - and what we think we can know - humans can achieve remarkable feats. Also, I may check out Foer's book. Thanks for the tip. Later!
Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on December 02, 2012:
Kosmo: Quite interesting, good stuff. We can probably train ourselves to do just about anything. The book I am reading now Moonwalking with Einstein (great, fun, informative read) by Jonathan Foer, is about one reporter who, in just over a year, went from being a journalist who did a piece on top memory experts to becoming the World Memory Champion. It's amazing, and wonderfully well written. best, Ken
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on October 25, 2012:
Thanks for the eloquent comment, stessily. Perhaps Jesus of Nazareth practiced telekinesis. Maybe one of these days we'll find out for sure how it's done. Stay tuned. Later!
stessily on October 25, 2012:
Kosmo, As Napoleon Hill observed, miracles, unexplained events, and seeming mysteries are all happenings for which we have not discovered the pertinent laws of nature. With that in mind, it is possible to allow for the possibility of telekinesis as more than a parlor trick. Also, perhaps mysteries such as bilocation and teleportation were practiced in previous centuries for reasons and necessities which were more congruent with world views of the time. Also, perhaps they were more noticeable, or even less apparent, in those times of a less crowded Earth. The Dalai Lama has said that, because of aerial transportation, there is no longer the need for teleportation ~~~ although I can still surmise its usefulness.
Thank you for presenting this information and raising interesting questions.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on October 22, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, Blond Logic. The power of the human mind is truly remarkable, but telekinesis may forever be unattainable. Let's wait and see. Later!
Mary Wickison from USA on October 22, 2012:
I am the proverbial fence sitter. I won't say no, and I won't say yes. Maybe it does exist but I like concrete proof. We know so little about the brain so i won't discount the idea. Not so long ago, people thought the world was flat. If you disagreed with that held belief, your were thought a lunatic. There are a lot of people who say they can do this and that but I need evidence.
Interesting food for thought though.
Steve Orion from Tampa, Florida on September 09, 2012:
"Lover of Praetor?" There's no reason to think I "love" that Hubber based on anything I've said or done. More importantly, I've asked a question of the author of this Hub and have made what I 'believe' as clear as I need to. If the author is so inclined and/or views my comments as somehow insufficient, it's his prerogative to delete them, not yours to tell me to "get lost." What foolish things to say.
Also, anecdotes are worthless in the face of scientific inquiry. That means that it means nothing if I say I've seen a room full of people levitate, concerning logical discourse and discussion of this topic. What matters is proof, what matters is science. There is no reason to suggest or think that humans can learn telekinesis, but that obviously doesn't stop humans from believing what they like. Do some research.
sharewhatuknow from Western Washington on September 07, 2012:
Steve Orion, lover of Praetor, another hubber here, either tell us what you belief or have experienced, or get lost.
Sorry Kosmo, these two individuals I speak of hate those who worship God. I do support y0ur comment, that we may be able to produce it ourselves. Possibly.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on September 04, 2012:
It has been suggested that telekinesis may explain the existence of ghosts; that is, we see ghost-like phenomena because we produce it ourselves. This makes more sense than the possibility of spirits or souls haunting houses or hanging around after death, which has never made much sense to me. Thanks for following. Later!
Steve Orion from Tampa, Florida on September 03, 2012:
"Nevertheless, I still think this phenomenon may have a scientific basis everyone can utilize."
Why? Based on anything you've read, what brought you under this impression?
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on September 03, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, sharewhatuknow. In my dreams, I never have telekinetic powers, so perhaps it's not possible for me to develop it. Nevertheless, I still think this phenomenon may have a scientific basis everyone can utilize. Later!
sharewhatuknow from Western Washington on September 03, 2012:
I have had several dreams, in the last 5 years about, that in my dream I would stretch my arm out, my hand, and something would land in my hand. In my dream, it seemed so feasible and real.
And my dreams of flying and defying gravity.
Wow. I constantly experience those dreams!! I know the brain can be very powerful, but the sensation of floating and flying while looking down at trees and grass...come on, something para psycho happening. I voted up and awesome.
Poor Steve O...must be miserable to think inside the box of a box.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on August 11, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, Steve Orion. I had lots of fun writing this hub. Most, if not all, of telekinesis is trickery of some sort, but speculating about such possibilities still rests within the body of science. Later!
Steve Orion from Tampa, Florida on August 10, 2012:
A good Hub and interesting look at this practice, or nonexistent heba-jeba! It's generally agreed that telekinesis is the latter, though that doesn't stop some people from believing, and never will. Human beings are so drawn to superstition, whether it is in mental abilities or "New Age" medicine, believing blatantly foolish things can, and do, have detrimental effects on society, if not simply wasting time.
Good to come across your works, rated up and I look forward to reading more!
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on August 04, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, Emayordomo. I hope telekinesis is possible, though the skeptic in me says don't be a fool. Later!
Emayordomo from San Francisco, CA on August 03, 2012:
What an awesome hub! I'm not sure if it can be taught or if it is truly a gift. Very interesting, but great job nonetheless
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on August 02, 2012:
Thanks a lot for stopping by, Lynda. Even though I'm a scientist of sorts, I think telekinesis is possible. Perhaps someday we'll learn how to use it without screwing up the world. Later!
lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on August 02, 2012:
In answer to your title question: I don't know. Do some people truly possess such powers? Again, I don't know but I am a skeptic, one of the drawbacks of having been raised by a man of science. A very interesting read, all the same. Lynda