Dean Radin

Why is imagination important? The aspiration in science is to be critically open-minded about any claim, regardless of how outrageous it may seem at first. Many scientists can manage the delicate balance between skepticism and open-mindedness, but others cannot. These Skeptics (capital S, because they are oddly proud of their inability to think outside the box) are quick to loudly declare a claimed effect “impossible.” The history of science shows us that such declarations are almost always wrong, and they arise out of an utter failure of imagination.

The universe is vast, and we have just begun to explore it. Closing off huge swaths of reality to investigation because it stretches the imagination is more than just a pity. It threatens our very existence. If we cannot think ourselves out of a growing number of extinction events looming on our horizon, then we had better imagine a way to think outside those boxes. And soon.

In my work, I often encounter an unfortunate condition in skeptics who suffer from IDS (Imagination Deficit Syndrome). I study commonly reported human experiences labeled “psychic”: telepathy, precognition, etc. These experiences tell us that our minds are not locked inside our skulls. Minds can also transcend the everyday limitations of space and time. Those with IDS assert that all psychic experiences are due to fraud, flaws, or one or more cognitive deficits.

The problem is that these phenomena have been studied in controlled laboratory experiments for over a century, amassing a huge empirical database in the process. We now know that psychic phenomena are in fact real. Explanations still evade us, but this is where imagination saves the day. This puzzle will be solved not by blithely dismissing common experiences, but by leaping beyond today’s ideas into entirely new and exciting realms.


Dean Radin is the Chief Scientist of Institute of Noetic Sciences, Associated Distinguished Professor at California Institute of Integral Studies, Editor of the journal, Explore, Chairman of Cognigenics Inc., and the author of books such as Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe, and The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena.

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