Psi Power

The term psi comes from the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and is used as an informal abbreviation for "psychic phenomena". As such it covers all uses of the mind beyond the reach of accepted science. It is not an acronym and should therefore not be typed as "PSI" - a mistake I know I tend to make myself!

What Is Psi? What Is ESP?

The term psi refers to any ability to achieve apparently paranormal or psychic phenomena through the power of the mind. There is no generally accepted mechanism in conventional science by which such abilities could operate.

Although "psi" is sometimes used interchangeably with ESP they're not quite the same: ESP stands for "Extra Sensory Perception". As such ESP covers phenomena known as "anomolous cognition", for example mental telepathy. Psi is a more general term that also covers "anomolous operation". In other words, ESP is the subset of psi that deals with knowing things - psi itself is a much wider field that also includes using the power of the mind to do things.

ESP is sometimes described as being "passive psi" (also known as psi gamma) as opposed to "active psi" (psi kappa).

Some of the best well known types of mental powers and psionic abilities include:

•  Clairvoyance / Clairsentience
•  Electrokinesis
•  Precognition
•  Telekenisis (also called psychokinesis)
•  Telepathy
•  Teleportation

Some people argue that all forms of scrying are in fact subconscious application of psi powers.

Parapsychology and Psionics

Psi research, studying the potential untapped power of the human mind, is the main focus of parapsychology and parapsychological research. The applied usage of psi power is known as psionics. This is what we informally call "mind over matter".

Parapsychology and psionics are hotly disputed subjects, with many critics dismissing them out of hand. It is true that many apparent psi successes are difficult to reproduce under laboratory conditions - however perhaps this is not surprising for something that comes from the mind. Psi powers fit into the category of phenomena for which there is little solid scientific evidence but a wealth of anecdotal experience. It could be classified as "unproven but interesting".

Despite the dismissal of parapsychology by much of the scientific establishment, there are some groups doing serious research into the subject, for instance Edinburgh's Koestler Parapsychology Unit (KPU).

How Does It Work?

There are various theories of the origin of psi power. Some think that it's a "special" ability possessed by only a few - perhaps an evolutionary step or even a throwback to a previous branch of development abandoned by evolution. Others believe that everyone has latent psionic ability to some extent and that this can be brought out and enhanced through training regimes, usually involving meditation and visualisation.