by Ingo Swann
08 June 2002
A previous essay having to do with
superpower processes and layers of meaning discussed concept that
all situations and all things have several layers of meaning.
These layers range from the obvious through several kinds of
meanings that become increasingly so subtle that they may not at all
impinge on the processes of recognition.
The several situations that encompass remote viewing cannot escape
from the difficulties this implies, in that information achieved via
remote viewing is clearly one of the things that can have multiple
layers of meaning.
To get this present discussion started, it needs to be pointed up
that what is being referred to does NOT fall into the area of
The principal definition of SEMANTICS is given as:
and psychological study and classification of changes in
significance of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic
Rather, what is being referred to in this essay is that things and
situations have multiple meanings that differ in significance,
purpose, or connotation, or in import and implication.
Recognition of such meanings has to be achieved by deducing or
inference, or via insight or intuition, etc.
For example, if a fifty-ton rock is tumbling down the hill toward
you, the meaning rapidly to be deduced or inferred is that you
rapidly better get out of its way – this being a rather obvious
The one complexity that enters into this discussion is that aspiring
and ostensible remote viewers are expected to detect meanings
independently of the five physical senses, these senses being
considered, in conventional terms, the only real source of deducing
and inferring, and which are arrived at via reason and logic based
upon a fixed set of postulates.
The contexts of this essay escape the foregoing, and largely dreary,
debate simply by accepting that remote viewing is possible - and it
is therewith that we can turn attention to the problems of multiple
layers of meanings within the contexts of remote viewing processes.
As it is, remote viewers are expected to view things, situations,
and meanings without depending on the limited ranges of the five
physical senses. This constitutes an activity thought impossible in
modernist conventional terms, but accepted as possible in most
HAMID BREAKTHROUGH IN REMOTE VIEWING
To jump into this as quickly as possible, a woman named Hella Hammid
proved to be a rather efficient natural remote viewer within the
early part of
the remote viewing project at Stanford Research
Institute in the 1970s.
Hella was an extremely cultured person, a great photographer, and
usually a joy to be with.
One day in keeping with a long line of experiments she was
participating in, she was given a certain target to remote view. She
ultimately sketched a large, hot, steaming teapot with a lid on it,
and placed on some kind of crisscrossing tripod support.
However, the designated distant target was a small nuclear reactor.
In standard parapsychological terms, this was a clear miss, and it
could be concluded that no remote viewing had taken place, even
though she had been very successful in earlier experiments.
Someone (guess who) thought to ask Hella if she had ever seen a
nuclear reactor. Except for pictures of nuclear reactor
out-buildings, it was thus determined that she had not, nor had she
ever studied drawings, photos, or blueprints of nuclear reactor
So, as an enjoyable outing, we all visited the small nuclear
reactor, examined it closely, and then collected schematic examples
of other kinds of reactors – which are relatively the same except
for size and dimensions. And, when on line, they all produce heat
and steam, as well as radiation which must somehow be contained.
At a later date, another nuclear reactor target was sandwiched into
her random target pool, and when that target came up she promptly
said “Oh, that’s another of those nuclear reactors.”
Now, the reader needs to pay close attention to the following -
because this first experiment with Hella proved to be one of the
most important benchmarks that ultimately led to training routines
being discovered for increasing remote viewing efficiency.
ABSENT MEANING-MEMORY STORAGE
As already mentioned, when Hella did not get the first target
correctly, in the standard contexts of parapsychology,, she missed
the target, except for some few descriptive similarities in the case
of the teapot.
In those parapsychology contexts, such matters as clairvoyance and
remote viewing are considered as matters of perception, and so Hella
had not perceived the target.
However, when her “failed” experiment is considered not in the
contexts of perception, but in the contexts of the signal-to-noise
ratio, her “failed” experiment can be analyzed differently.
FIRST, in response to the target,
she sketched a hot steaming teapot with a lid on it, and on top
of some kind of tripod.
SECOND, since she did not get the
target, her response could be considered as some kind of noise,
because her response generated an image that was not an image of
a nuclear reactor.
THIRD, some of the descriptors in
her drawing, i.e., hot, steaming, contained in a pot, are also
analogous descriptors of a nuclear reactor if it is on line. A
nuclear reactor is hot in several ways, produces steam, and its
rods are surrounded by some kind of containment unit.
Furthermore, such containment units are seriously supported on
foundations of metal struts fixed into cement, etc.
FOURTH, the only thing out of place
in Hella’s response is that the target had been incorrectly
identified as a teapot.
FIFTH, when asked if she had ever
seen a nuclear reactor or knew anything about them, she replied
in the negative.
SIXTH, she and others were then
exposed to study and orientation regarding facets of nuclear
SEVENTH, when in the future she was
given a nuclear reactor as a remote-viewing target, she quickly
identified it correctly.
EIGHTH, when, in discussing both RV
sessions, Hella was asked if she knew why she drew the teapot,
she replied something like: “I guess it was the next best thing
in my experience, for I had no experience of nuclear reactors.”
Put another way, her meaning-memory
banks contained no experience of nuclear reactors, but very good
experience of hot, steaming teapots.
The mix of the eight aspects outlined above now needs to be
In studies of how perception works, it has long been held that
mental images are formed first, and only then do estimations of
their meaning take place.
But, and very briefly, in signal-to-noise theory when applied to the
human nervous systems:
(1) Signals first come in
(2) The signals are then, in pre-conscious processing,
translated into information-meaning categories, usually by
some kind of comparing with meanings already stored in
(3) If memory-meanings comparable to the signals are found,
then mental images can be manufactured and rise into
(4) However, if no comparable or comparative memory-meanings
are available, then the pre-conscious systems segue over to
the next best memory-meanings – and mental perceptions and
images are then constructed in the light of those
(5) When this happens, the resulting mental-image
impressions can be at some distance from the real import of
the original signals, but can carry bits of information
contained in the original signals
Hella’s first reactor RV experiment was
an exact replica of the five steps outlined above.
RV signals had come in, but her memory banks had no comparable
meaning-memory storage, and so her pre-conscious meaning detecting
processes segued over to the next best memory comparison – which
happened to consist of a hot, steaming teapot.
Another way of putting this is that the second best pre-conscious
analysis of meaning OVERLAID the import of the original signals –
and it was this revelation that ultimately engendered the
descriptive phrase of ANALYTICAL OVERLAY within the SRI RV research
Within the contexts of that research, neither meaning nor mental
images come first.
Rather, signals come first, then meanings of them, and then mental
images based on the meanings.
Within the scope of the human nervous systems, signals in-put via
any of the sensory detectors are electronic in nature.
The electronic signals are then decoded, via pre-conscious
processes, into meaning categories and specifics, and it is the
results of this decoding that, in turn, trigger on mental perception
Save to say that signals ARE somehow translated (transduced) into
pre-conscious meaning, and then into mental awareness and
perception, no one yet exactly knows how any of this takes place.
For clarity, three steps are involved here:
(1) Signal in-put
(2) Meaning comparison within the contexts of meanings
already stored in memory
(3) Mental perceptions (feelings, images) built upon the
In any event, within the contexts of RV research at
turned out that meaning (of things and situations) was the
fulcrum of functioning BETWEEN signal in-put and mental
images of them.
This is to say that remote viewing does
not begin with mental perceptions, whether in the form of feelings
or images that are propelled into the state of conscious awareness
Rather, these are the end products of the two preceding steps, both
of which are contained in functions that are pre-conscious beneath
conscious awareness of them.
TYPES OF MEANINGS
As to types of meaning, these may be numerous. But there certainly
are at least two general types, i.e., meanings that can be deduced
about things and situations in general, and meanings that in
particular arise from meaning-memory storage at the individual
In explanation of this, it is generally thought, in philosophy
anyway, that all things are redolent with intrinsic possible
But at the individual level, any deducing of meanings is principally
confined to the contexts of meaning that have accumulated and
achieved storage in the individual’s memory banks.
Therefore, meanings outside the range of the individual’s
meaning-memory banks might have little chance of being recognized at
all, or might be interpreted only within the contexts of analogous
meanings that HAVE achieved memory storage.
Efforts to research and dissect what memory consists of have proven
to be extremely difficult.
An excellent consideration of those difficulties is described in a
fascinating book published by George Johnson in 1992 entitled
PALACES OF MEMORY, with the subtitle HOW WE BUILD THE WORLDS INSIDE
The book sums up the excruciating, but often humorous, difficulties
in researching memory, and the very little real understanding that
has downloaded from such research.
But the three major parts of the book, “Mucking Around in the
Wetware,” “A Brain in a Box,” and “The Memory Machine,” are
splendidly readable and should be studied very carefully by anyone
interested in remote viewing.
Indeed, if aspiring remote viewers were to read and study only one
book, IN THE PALACES OF MEMORY would be it.
The reason is that although it reviews memory research per se, what
is discussed in it goes on in the heads of every aspiring remote
viewer. And what goes on in the heads of each remote viewer is
directly and fully significant with respect to all attempts at
The book is an excellent clear read, easy to understand, and is
absolutely hilarious here and there.
EXISTENCE OF MEANING-MEMORY STORAGE IN OUR SPECIES
Each specimen of our species, each individual, possesses innate and
very basic hard drive functions via which “the worlds inside our
heads” are built, and are thence characterized by whatever achieves
some kind of imprint in the wetware of memory storage.
At some point, usually early in life, the imprinted contents in the
wetware begin altogether to function as a memory machine – and can
actually do so even if dimensions of the contents are, well, quite
sparse, narrow, or thin.
But even so, quite strong reality boxes are formatted within the
resulting memory machines, and these are specific to whatever
meaning-information has achieved memory storage.
MULTITUDES OF HUMAN CELLULAR RECEPTORS THAT IN-TAKE “INFORMATION”
Now, with regard to the processes of remote viewing, some issues
that are additionally important need to be pointed up.
The first of these issues is that viewers do not view a remote
“target” via their five physical senses.
Remote viewing provides information about things and situations
distant in space and time from local surroundings, and if such
information proves to have some degree of correctness, it is clearly
legitimate to wonder what senses and sensing systems have made the
distant information accessible.
Prior to the onset (in the latter three decades of the twentieth
century) of discoveries of thousands of cellular information
receptors extant throughout the biological networks of human nervous
systems, there was hardly anything that shed any light on how
interactions with distant information could be possible.
The topic of such receptors has
already been discussed at some
length in other essays. And so there is no need
repeat details here – except to mention that such receptors exist
because they are a full part of the human genome – and thus download
into all individuals of the species.
Once the combined dimensions of human information receptors are
appropriately grasped and understood, it can be seen that the human
receptor range is quite astonishing.
As but one example, sensing receptors in the pineal gland, if it is
good health, are continuously busy sensing the sun and its changing
conditions. This particular sensing is usually taking place beneath
conscious awareness of it. But apart from that, it is safe to point
up that the sun is at some great distance from Earth, and so it can
be thought that pineal gland receptors are remote viewing the sun.
In addition to pineal gland receptors (which also function at the
X-ray level), many other receptors of a similar nature have been
identified with respect to distant sensing.
And so not only are various kinds of “remote viewing” possible, but
they are already taking place throughout human nervous systems,
albeit at levels usually beneath conscious awareness of them.
And so arises the second issue mentioned above. This has to do with
what does and what does not get into conscious awareness.
This, in turn, has to do turn with how parameters of conscious
awareness are conditioned to function.
AWARENESS CAN BE FORMATTED
IN ACCORD WITH EXPERIENCE AND SOCIAL CONDITIONING
It is quite evident that the concept of conscious awareness looms
exceedingly large in our appreciation of ourselves.
However, it has been scientifically understood since the 1950s that
conscious awareness is but something like one part to a million
parts that are never incorporated into it – even though the million
parts are in constant activity beneath conscious awareness of them.
Furthermore, it has been understood (probably from the Year One of
our species) that the small conscious awareness parts of our
otherwise incredibly complex and magnificent systems, are entirely
susceptible not only to all kinds of environmental conditioning, but
also to social conditioning practices erected by humans themselves.
It is commonly thought that social conditioning results from social
force, or by selectively educating in certain areas but not others.
And it is in those contexts that people sometimes object to this or
that kind of social conditioning, and thereby seek to overthrow or
escape from them.
A good example of this consists of the “need-to-know” principle,
i.e., who needs to know what, and who doesn’t need to know it, and
then preventing the latter from ever knowing it.
But a deeper study of social conditioning easily shows that social
control of meanings is at its strategic heart – for socially
conditioned individuals can act on meanings they understand, but
cannot too much act on whatever meanings evade them.
Indeed, no one, including aspiring remote viewers, can act on
meanings that evade them. In this sense, it is not too much to say
that the meaning-less is invisible.
It thus emerges that control of meanings is the most active
principle not only within the contexts of social conditioning but
also within the contexts of whatever the individual does and does
not achieve conscious awareness of.
The reader might think that this brief discussion about social
conditioning is a needless detour with respect to remote viewing
But an in-depth study of social conditioning practices ultimately
reveals that all individuals of our species not only have scads of
information receptors, but also have inherent systems for meaning
detecting and deducing.
If this were NOT the case, then there would be no need for social
conditioning practices whose central objective is to modulate and
contain the innate existence of the meaning detection and deduction
systems that are inherent in our species.
In 1983, the very world-wise John Kenneth Galbraith published a book
THE ANATOMY OF POWER, in which he indicated two things.
First, that social conditioning is set up on behalf of achieving and
maintaining social power, and second, that the significance of
social conditioning is seriously underestimated.
What Galbraith did not point up, however, is that social
conditioning is effective only to the degree that it is successful
with respect to modulating and controlling the meaning detection
systems that are inherent not only within specific societal
groupings, but within our species itself.
Indeed, we know that our species possesses sensing systems that
access millions of bits of information, but we also attribute
intelligence to the species.
Well, one cannot exactly go directly from inherent sensing systems
to inherent intelligence in the absence of inherent meaning
detecting systems AND inherent memory-meaning storage systems that
accumulate and retrieve meaning bits.
It thus transpires that whatever meanings are imprinted into AND not
imprinted into meaning storage systems of individuals has a great
deal to do with what does or does not emerge into their conscious
CENTRAL TO REMOTE VIEWING SUCCESS
What all this boils down to in the case of remote viewing is that
absent meaning-memory storage can have serious repercussions.
This was demonstrated in the case of the Hella Hammid RV experiment
where she got a steaming teapot.
Well, it is fortunate that her RV experiment was only an experiment
– for imagine what would have happened if the effort had been an
operational one, and intelligence analysts were interested in what
was actually at the target location.
In such a case, the analysts would have been told that the remote
viewer says there is a big teapot at the location they were
As it turned out, Hella’s experiment was by no means a failed one,
because it brought to light a central problem relevant to the larger
scope of all remote viewing processes.
For when it was determined that she had no intimate
meaning-knowledge of what nuclear reactors actually looked like, it
could also be determined that her meaning-detecting systems segued
over to the next best thing her systems held meaning of.
With Hella’s help at SRI, a number of previous “failed” experiments
of her’s and of others were reevaluated. It was discovered generally
that the “failures” lay in the contexts of absent or misplaced
meaning relevant to what was being remote viewed.
In other words, the remote viewer was NOT missing remote viewing,
but his or her meaning-memory systems had pockets of absent
ABSENT MEANING PROBLEM
As one last reference here to Hella Hammid, she took a deep interest
in this problem, and one of the results was that she became very
expert in detecting absent meaning problems in target responses of
other remote viewing test subjects.
But as she, herself, first observed, she could not see her own
absent meaning contexts because they were, after all, missing in
Well, there are many remote viewing examples of this. And indeed, in
the larger picture of all things, it is difficult for individuals to
see what is missing in themselves – because whatever it is, IS
Even so, there was yet another significant development with regard
After a while in continuing RV experiments, she began to sense
elements of targets she was missing.
This enabled her to say one of two things: “I’m missing something
about this target,” or “I don’t know what the target is” – and, most
importantly, to express this BEFORE her systems segued over to the
next best analytical overlay.
There is only one way to explain this change in her pre-conscious
Because she had become consciously aware of and interested in this
problem, it had taken on meaning within her.
As a result, it is possible to think that new connections had
sprouted within and among her synapses and neurons, and a new
circuit had formatted thereby. This new circuit thence created jabs
of recognition regarding the absence of meaning-memory.
There is only one way to account for this – that the pre-conscious
meaning circuits are SELF-CORRECTING when new and meaningful
information is added into them – which they absolutely have to be in
order to function at all.
Otherwise, there would never be any additive memory growth regarding
what can emerge into conscious awareness of them.
It was this particular self-correcting aspect that made an RV
training program feasible.
So, this breakthrough of understanding placed the developmental RV
project at SRI on very solid grounds with respect to, believe it or
not, conventional terms acceptable to the project’s very serious
oversight committees. This needs a bit of explaining.
It had long been understood that a tiny portion of the brain is
always PHYSICALLY changing at its cellular levels with respect to
what is newly experienced or to new meanings that are recognized as
The physical changes involve the sprouting of new connections being
made among and between neurons and synapses, and elsewhere in the
nervous system, that end up as a new circuit that will produce a jab
of meaning recognition if and when the experience or meanings are
Something along these lines indeed turned out to be the case with
Hella after she had consumed a fair amount of written and especially
of visual information relevant to nuclear reactors.
From all of this, and specifically from the remote-viewing point of
view anyway, it was slowly understood that meaning-memory already
incorporated into individual reality boxes, although important
enough on average, was not as important as was absent
But here was a situation that had long been understood in
educational systems everywhere: i.e., absent meaning-memory can be
filled in by exposing individuals to meaning-information packages
that were absent before.
And if the exposure is sufficient enough and seen as meaningful
enough, then the synapses and neurons of the brain and nervous
systems will do the rest - and the resulting new circuits will be
incorporated into the meaning-detecting systems already innately
existing in everyone beneath conscious awareness of them.
SEVERAL LAYERS OF MEANING
Now, the whole of what has been discussed so far in this essay might
seem somewhat distant to the project of teasing seven layers of
meaning out of any given situation or thing.
But don’t count on any permanence of that distance too much, for as
will be discussed in a forthcoming essay, meaning-memories are
Therefore, meaning-memories can produce new combinations among
themselves, and do so all on their own – and which recombinant
process is one format of the superpower we presently refer to as
This aspect of our species is wondrous, indeed.
(To be continued as REMOTE VIEWING AND WHERE LAYERS OF MEANING TAKE