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Archive for October, 2010

In the Afterlife...

I was chatting with a friend about ghosts and ancestor worship recently, and put forth the notion that if a genetic mutation allowed you to exist (in some form) beyond the death of your body, and *if* you could influence the physical world in some way (however limited), then you might behave in a manner that had a positive benefit for your surviving family members.

Imagine that you are a ghost and you can stand watch over your family at night to wake them up (perhaps by disturbing their dreams?) when danger looms. The family has the uncanny sense that they were lucky that they woke up just in the nick of time, but in reality they are awake because of the direct beneficial efforts of you, their dead relative/ancestor. These minor acts of supernatural disturbance constitute a benefit for the surviving members of the family and they have a small advantage, genetically speaking, over the other members of their tribe who cannot come back as ghosts.

Then I happened upon this interesting description of an experiment that showed good evidence that the brain might be able to send information backwards in time to itself in order to shorten nerve response times:

All of which got me thinking that there could be a whole slew of cognitive-effect mutations that would be hard to detect or test for, but that might still be beneficial to the survival of a genetic line. Things like “luck” might be explained by extending the reach of the backwards transmission of information described in the video, and once you have a durable consciousness that outlasts the body, you can imagine that it might sometimes take up residence in another body (something we might call “possession” in the aggressive case, or reincarnation if it happens early enough).

Just as there are viral explanations for vampirism, it’s fun to come up with plausible explanations for psychic abilities. Although, being born a Kennedy aside, it does seem like we would have noticed by now, if some families or individuals really had a paranormal advantage.

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