Psychics Anonymous

New York is a city that is fascinated with itself. To me it’s kind of like rooting for a professional sports team. The members of the team come from all over the place. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “You’re rooting for the jerseys,” or something to that effect. So it was that I found a piece in News Watch so interesting. “New York City: Psychic Capital of the World?” the headline ran. New York has to be first in this too? I’ve noticed on my daily walks through Midtown Manhattan that many psychics hang out the shingle proffering their wares. In my half decade of commuting into the city, I’ve only ever seen one person take up such an offer by pushing through the door. Nevertheless, I have been impressed by the sheer number of psychics that advertise in New York.

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I’m not one to rule out psi without giving it a fair hearing. Much knowledge is lost, I fear, by the ridicule factor. How many times have you thought about someone for the first time in years and then they called you? We all experience significant coincidences from time to time. Princeton and Duke Universities even set up, once upon a time, laboratories to test such things. What really interests me here, though, is that those who advertise are doing it as a business venture. Something of value changes hands for a chance at some insider knowledge. For legal purposes the psychics have to declare their wares for entertainment only—they go where no empirical evidence dares follow. Lawyers live for such ambiguity. Even so, some of the most influential people in the world of politics have relied on psychics. Some police departments do as well, very quietly.

News Watch says that psychic consultation is the closest some New Yorkers get to spiritual. If so, I’m glad they exist in such profusion. Our world has many shortages: fresh water, adequate food, and, for the tastes of some, fossil fuels. Perhaps the most dangerous shortage of all is the recognition that we are spiritual beings. Call it emotion, call it irrationality, call it feeling—our non-physical selves are what we care most deeply about. When we greet someone after an illness or surgery, we don’t ask “How do you think,” but rather “How do you feel?” We can give it many names, but the existence of our psyches is what keeps us sane and healthy. New York City is just like anywhere else, in that regard. It is a very human city.

2 responses to “Psychics Anonymous

  1. PSI, ‘give it a chance, a fair hearing’ The Amazing Randi over there with the folks at Skeptic gave all of them a fair chance. Prove something which does not work against the laws of science and you will become rich. Only problem is that it has to be perfomred before a panel of skeptics from the world of science, magic, etc. Second problem is that you have to put up some money in order to enter the ‘game. As they say in the bible when theres’s money riding on it, many are called but few ‘chosen’, up to date none have been chosen to prove any ESP and the ‘pot’ is rising year after year,..

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    • Thanks, Joe. Always good to hear from you! The problem with Randi is that it doesn’t account for what is called “the problem of occasional phenomena.” I certainly understand why many people dismiss it, but empirical studies have trouble catching things that don’t occur on demand. Dean Radin has written some very interesting (and empirical) studies on this. Me, well, I like living in a world where anything can happen.

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