ESP for Executives
Applied ESP: Managing and problem solving with the aid of the unconscious
by John Mihalasky
Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering,
Director, PSI Communications,
New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ
In the last few years it has become increasingly difficult for business
and industry to stay competitive. Critics charge that there is too much
reliance on "short-term thinking" and on the fear of taking
With more data being generated by more and more computers, there has been
a tendency to slip into a posture of "managing by the numbers."
The emphasis has been on the use of rationality and logic in problem solving
and decision making - operations research, management science, modeling,
and the development of computers that "think."
Unfortunately, all this has given us more and more incorrect, invalid,
and/or unreliable data, faster, to make decisions whose outcomes have been
correct about as many times as when we made decisions by holding a wet
finger up to the wind. It is my contention that this state of affairs is
due to the fact that not enough has been done to investigate the
application of non-logical, non-rational, unconscious thinking.
The creative idea does not happen by accident...
Precognition is one way that information not available to those other
thinkers working with the normal channels and sources of information
comes to creative people.
We have spent most of our time on rational, logical, conscious thinking
and it is (has been for a long time) necessary to delve into the use of
the unconscious. The purpose of what follows is to explore the basis for the use of the
unconscious - ESP, if you will - in the problem solving and decision making
ESP and problem solving
Extrasensory Perception (ESP) can be defined as
an awareness of, or response to, an external event or influence not apprehended
by presently known sensory means. Note the emphasis in the definition on presently known sensory means and
the lack of a mystical quality to the definition.
Extrasensory perception can further be broken down into four categories:
- Telepathy, direct passing of information from one person's mind to
another person's mind.
- Clairvoyance, direct passing of information from matter to mind.
- Psychokinesis, mind over matter.
- Precognition, direct obtaining of information of the future.
At least one of these, precognition, can be tied into the intuitive/creative
method of generating ideas. With precognition, information is obtained from, or about, the future.
In creative thinking or innovation the essential feature is that the path
or method to the solution was not known beforehand. Psychologists tell us that it is the unconscious that is operating to
search out these unknown paths, methods, and approaches that lead to the
creative idea, to the revolutionary invention, or to the brilliant solution.
The creative idea does not happen by accident. The mind organizes the
experiences, facts, and relationships that it has stored in its banks,
and stretches out to utilize all information it can get. But the creative
idea comes from a mind that has information that it organizes into a path
that has not been taken before. Precognition is one way that information
not available to those other thinkers working with the normal channels
and sources of information comes to creative people.
Now, decision makers are also problem solvers and idea generators. Therefore
it would be expected that the superior idea generators, the creative idea
generators, would turn out to be more precognitive or intuitive. Preliminary
test data gathered by the PSI Communications Project are pointing in this
The chance level of correct guesses turns out to be 10,
with a standard deviation of 3. There are, however, people who have the
ability to score beyond chance expectations up to 24.
Does precognition exist?
The PSI Communications Project at the New Jersey
Institute of Technology, formerly the Newark College of Engineering, has
been researching this phenomenon called precognition since 1962.
As part of the effort, a precognition test was developed. It consisted
of having the participants guess at a 100 digit number that did not exist
at the time the guesses were made. The 100 digit number is later generated
by a computer, using random number generating techniques.
After the 100 digits have been generated, the computer proceeds to compare
the guessed 100 digits with this target. The chance level of correct guesses
turns out to be 10, with a standard deviation of 3. There are, however,
people who have the ability to score beyond chance expectations up to
This test has been administered to people in all walks of life and age
brackets. The data generated from these tests indicate that the better
guessers, or better precognitors, tend to have a vectorial or dynamic
personality. Precognitive ability also does not correlate with intelligence,
and has at best a slightly negative correlation with measures of achievement
such as grade point averages attained by engineering students.
This test was also administered to top executives, and an attempt was
made to correlate superior management skill as measured by superior profit
production with superior precognitive ability. This correlation has turned out to be quite positive.
Has precognition been used or tried?
The Rand Corporation has developed a method of
technological forecasting or idea generation called the Delphi method.
This method attempts to use precognitive judgments.
In validating the Delphi techniques, the developers at Rand used what
ESP researchers would call precognition and clairvoyance method.
The dream may present an entire solution, such as an
equation or a design... Many people keep pencils and pens at their
bedsides just to be able to record the thoughts - insights, flashes,
dreams - that they get just before and during sleep.
The Delphi method is based on the realization that future projections
are largely based on the personal expectations of individuals, rather
than on predictions based on well established theory, i.e., a group technique
where the participating "experts" are chosen at random and asked
for their ideas.
Precognition is an unconscious process that involves
the transfer of information. It is also associated with the flow of information
about matters with which the information recipient is emotionally and
intensely associated. The information may take the form of a dream, a
flash of thought, a hunch, or a feeling.
The dream may present an entire solution, such as an equation or a design. The flash of thought may present something like a method, approach, material,
or equation to try. The hunch or the feeling is usually associated with a choice between alternatives:
The solid facts and/or experience seem to point in one direction, but
the hunch or feeling disagrees.
The reader should remember the words of this kind of teacher who advised
the class to stick with the first choice in a true-false quiz when the
student was unsure of the answer. It seems that the unconscious does come
up with the correct answer, and attempts by the logical and rational mind
to overrule the unconscious usually result in disaster.
Therefore, to make full use of precognitive information, the user must
first learn to recognize its form. Be on the lookout for it.
Once the form is recognized, it is a matter of building up courage to
use this information just as any other information would be used. Many
people keep pencils and pens at their bedsides just to be able to record
the thoughts - insights, flashes, dreams - that they get just before and
Precognitive information should be treated no differently than any other
information and should be so utilized to generate ideas - solutions, methods,
Problem Solving and Decision Making in the Information Society
The precognitive decision maker
Development of precognitive abilities