"Spooky Actions at a Distance": Physics, Psi, and Distant Healing

Leder, Drew
October 2005
Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine;Oct2005, Vol. 11 Issue 5, p923
Academic Journal
Over decades, consciousness research has accumulated evidence of the real and measureable existence of "spooky actions at a distance"—modes of telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, and the like. More recently scientists have begun rigorous study of the effects of distant healing intention and prayer vis-a-vis nonhuman living systems and patients in clinical trials. A barrier to taking such work seriously may be the belief that it is fundamentally incompatible with the scientific world view. This article suggests that it need not be; contemporary physics has generated a series of paradigms that can be used to make sense of, interpret, and explore "psi" and distant healing. Four such models are discussed, two drawn from relativity theory and two from quantum mechanics. First is the energetic transmission model, presuming the effects of conscious intention to be mediated by an as-yetunknown energy signal. Second is the model of path facilitation. As gravity, according to general relativity, "warps" space–time, easing certain pathways of movement, so may acts of consciousness have warping and facilitating effects on the fabric of the surrounding world. Third is the model of nonlocal entanglement drawn from quantum mechanics. Perhaps people, like particles, can become entangled so they behave as one system with instantaneous and unmediated correlations across a distance. Last discussed is a model involving actualization of potentials. The act of measurement in quantum mechanics collapses a probabilistic wave function into a single outcome. Perhaps conscious healing intention can act similarly, helping to actualize one of a series of possibilities; for example, recovery from a potentially lethal tumor. Such physics-based models are not presented as explanatory but rather as suggestive. Disjunctions as well as compatibilities between the phenomena of modern physics and those of psi and distant healing are explored.


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