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Reading the Enemy's Mind

Reading the Enemy's Mind

Book Summary by Dan Bales
Edited by Maggie Spilner

Atlantic University

Paul Smith's book, Reading the Enemy' s Mind,  is considered the most authoritative work on the story of the use of Remote Viewing by the United States Military. From the cold war to the Vietnam era, Smith captures the excitement as well as the frustration and disillusionment with this top-secret, military agenda from it's rocky beginnings, through experimentations and trainings,  to it's abandonment by the military as unworthy of further research and development.

The scope of the book is an exhaustive history of the development of Remote Viewing as a product specifically designed to serve the needs of the United State military. It calls attention to divergent views of those involved in the research, development and approvals of that military. Meticulously documented, this book is not a recipe for future Remote Viewing work, nor is it an exhaustive and final statement on the practice and practical applications of Remote Viewing. It provides a picture of the real-life drama of the development of Remote Viewing including the intention from which it emerged, the experimentation, training and effort to make practical use and application of the information that emerged from its use as well as the cast of characters and political and human factors that affected it's success as well as its demise as a top-secret "weapon."

Remote Viewing and Military Objectives

What remote viewing is, and what it is not, seems to be the central theme to understanding the origin and application of this extraordinary human ability to the task of protecting our nation's military interests at home and abroad, as well as understanding the nature of the design, investigation and implementation of this natural human ability in the Intelligence Community.

Not simply an administrative history, but instead a story of human drama, the development of Remote Viewing occurred within scientific, military and political structures.  Born and reared amidst bureaucracy and hierarchy, the term Remote Viewing was coined to discriminate it as a perceptual ability, rather than a phenomenon that suggested psychic ability or paranormal experience.

Beyond the accepted paradigm's of the day, Remote Viewing was constantly being shuffled from one home (department or organization) to the next, as enthusiasm for it's impact grew or waned. Affected by military funding, politics within the organization and deeply held belief systems and philosophies of all involved, Remote viewing never found a stable, comfortable and reliable place in military life.

In Remote Viewing's infancy, the paranoia of the Cold War and concomitant fear that Russia might be developing or using "psychic spies" spurred the interest of the military intelligence community to investigate what was previously considered paranormal abilities. The mood of the country during the Viet Nam war era, the impact of our nation's counter culture, and the dominant mood across colleges and universities did not create an inviting atmosphere for military involvement in, or sponsorship of research to benefit the military objectives

These factors all combined to force Remote Viewing into an underground, classified, program. One visionary army general maintained interest in the program as a means to understand the further reaches of human potential, and what that might imply to his organization, and to a nation. However, his was not the enduring vision, perhaps in part because Remote Viewing provided nuances and directions and not the clear statements and facts that military intelligence was looking for to get a leg up on it's enemies. Instead, it was deemed no better, but no worse than other forms of intelligence gathering. Though Remote Viewing results seemed incredible, its results were not uniformly seen as helpful beyond the confines of the training sessions and laboratories where day by day work was being carried out.

Hal Putoff and the Stanford Research Institute: Training to Produce Results

Hal Puthoff (A physics PHD at Stanford) was personally curious about paranormal phenomenon and this prompted his foray into what became Remote Viewing. Puthoff was fascinated by traits exhibited by the psychically gifted and with what might be the neurological explanations for it. Teaming with famed psychic, Ingo Swann, Puthoff responded to the nation's intelligence community when it came knocking on the door of the Stanford Research Institute.

First the government wanted to determine if Remote Viewing would enable effective spying on the enemy. Satisfied that such a task would be possible, Puthoff and Swann were given the second assignment: To develop a training methodology that would produce Remote Viewing skills in a person who did not even consider themselves psychic.

There was always a difference between what researchers found astounding and verifiable and what the military saw as the value of Remote Viewing. Information need not only to be accurate. It needed to convey information not gatherable by other accepted forms of intelligence.

If the information from a session was astounding in its implications of human potential, but not relevant to the stated military task, it was not considered useful.

While the members of the Remote Viewing unit were interested in all information from the sessions in order to study and better understand their craft, the larger organization to which they belonged was interested in results that moved military intelligence forward, period. For example, in Smith's first training exercise he was to view a target two other men were sent to. On their drive, the men stopped at a donut shop. This was not the planned target, so even though Smith was able to ‘See' the donut shop experience, as a military exercise this result was considered useless. His "rightness" did not count; he had missed the intended target.

Years later, another exercise involved not a target, but the instruction to just view and report "what is important to know." The session began with water, land, structure, which became battleship; then buzzing cylinders coming from the sky, moving through water; dented, smoking, screeching metal, and bewildered feelings of people. As the session progressed, foreign people, a sandy airfield were viewed. It was considered a useless session because no one had any information to relate to it. However, within fifty hours, a middle-eastern nation attacked a cruising naval vessel. Its bombs were dropped from a plane into the water, then, were propelled to target impact. Remote viewers had tapped into an military attack but no one knew how to use the information gleaned in order to plan intervention. Fascinating? Yes. Useful to the military? No. Perhaps even embarrassing. 

Researchers Create the Remote Viewing "mythology"

When Smith recalls his early RV instruction to relax and describe his ideas about emerging images, he was troubled by a self-observation. He never had considered himself good at focusing for extended periods of time, his mind easily wandered and was easily bored. Even though the training came to involve hemi-synch ( brain hemisphere synchronization) at the Monroe Institute, to integrate brain function cooperation, it began more simply, and was intended for people, who like Smith did see themselves as psychically gifted or talented. The choice of the term "Remote Viewing,"  Swann acknowledged, was to help trainees and officials see Remote Viewing as non-ordinary, but  not "extra" or "para" normal.

Before jumping into the experiential component of their training, Puthoff and Swann's knew they needed to create the myth that revealed Remote Viewing as they wanted it understood. This involved rigorous lecture and essay work involving these principal definitions:

Perception: Remote Viewing is a sensing not unlike the five accepted senses. In the evolution of consciousness, until they were understood, the five senses we now accept had been seen as mysterious.

Matrix: Part Akashic Record, part holographic universe, the matrix is the timeless, space-less, formless repository of all that exists on its own, as well as all that is a component part of any thing or idea larger than itself.

Signal Line: The  unseen cord, wave, or structure that delivers information from the matrix to a receiver (viewer).

Consciousness: The continuum ranging from unawareness (subconscious) to awareness (conscious). Remote Viewing is a method of moving what we are unaware of into our awareness.

Aperture: Like the light hole in a camera, the smaller the hole, the less light comes in. This is the suggested way the signal line enters the mind. It is hoped the opening enlarges both as the session progresses, and also as experience is gained.

Autonomic Nervous System: Subconscious stimulation produces physical impact. Beginning a session with pen on paper, a mark (ideogram) is made when the signal line is brought into focus within the aperture; this is the first burst of imagery.

Objectification: The viewer must both speak and write to reinforce back to subconscious and thereby continuously encourage more view while reducing extraneous impressions.

Mental Noise: The constant bubbling up of our histories, fears and concerns. Also environmental influences like windows, artwork, a ticking clock. This led to the development of very Spartan viewing rooms. It became part of the protocol to list inclemencies as well, at the beginning of a session. These would be those concerns such as personal health and domestic issues.

Analytical Overlay: The tendency to label or name something instead of continuing to simply describe it. In doing so, something is consciously conceptualized or contextualized and the subconscious information is then edited to conform. It is best to simply speak the words as they emerge, to see what unfolds.

Even if such structures do not exist, they provide a framework for the rational mind, giving it belief and the possibility for success.

The Experimenters Examine their Experiments to Form Protocols

As Puthoff selected undisclosed sites, or targets for Swann to view remotely, they studied Swann's mechanisms for doing so, noted the importance of feedback for the exercise, and worked to develop a methodology. Gradually, experience pointed to increased reliability of information when a monitor assisted the viewer, and when a third party- making the inquiry- was involved. With the viewer uninformed of the target, no pre-known perceptions would interfere in the session. Similarly, the most rigid and reliable protocol suggested the monitor as well and the viewer be unaware of what the task seeks to know. This way, the monitor would not lead the viewer via judgmental comments or questions, exuberant enthusiasm (or conversely, disdain), self-interest, and possibly a psychic or telepathic influence. Such an influence may not be intentional on the part of the monitor, but may simply be perceived by the viewer using the means that the viewer perceives the target information.

What the monitor's role is then, is to keep the viewer probing. For instance, if the viewer's imagery involves a truck with antennae and orbs on its roof, a monitor might ask the viewer to describe those items. If the object makes the viewer anxious or reluctant to view the impression or object, the monitor may remind the viewer that he/she is not physically there- only their point of view- and that he/she is here and safe. Further the monitor may suggest to the viewer to lower themselves through the truck roof into the contained area to continue viewing.

Somewhere amidst all of this, there is a need to deeply know, trust, and honor one's self and the process. Smith describes a training session that opened with his having an "advanced visual" even before he was given a coordinate. He told Swann and it was noted. He said it was an oil field. It was in fact the target, which he had perceived with no coordinate. To have not declared the imagery may have impacted subsequent imagery and led the session astray. It also would have denied the impulse which was perhaps a kind of direct knowing.

 Ingo Swann's methodology suggested successive stages of perceptual experience: describing imagery, then developing ever increasing awareness with the imagery. This also involved describing feelings about the imagery, sketching impressions of imagery, and finally even making models- or motions with the hands of mock modeling in order to encourage bringing tactile sensation consciously to the session; just as it might be experienced at the site using one or more of the five senses.

Development of Remote Viewing "Stages"

The initial Remote Viewing training involved practice sessions where the viewer would go only to the performance objective of a given stage, then stop. As this became integrated, practice with the next stage began. For the original group of Swann trained viewers, this took nearly two years, with training sessions separated by two weeks, and when each day's objective was met, training stopped- even if a session was two minutes. The reinforcing idea was to stop on a note of success.

Later, the program was refined until the training was satisfactorily completed in a fraction of that original time. When mastery of a task was completed, training shifted- but continued without the long stretches of integration time. This is not to say that some essential part of the training philosophy had changed. The stage protocol was still in place, it was still critical for the viewer to sense and understand the difference between being in the signal line versus simply receiving mental noise. A summary of those stages follows:

Stage 1  In a relaxed state, with pen on paper awaiting establishing contact with the signal line (and the involuntary construction of the ideogram), first imagery appears. Maybe it would be water, or sky. But one analogy is that what has emerged is a bag of groceries, they will be unpacked, sorted and put into the pantry. There are the components of an entire meal in the grocery bag.

Stage 2  Staying with the grocery bag analogy, stage two involves sensate impressions. For instance, as the green onions are put away, they have a distinct smell; there are tiny roots at one end, green tubular stalks at the other. Maybe they are damp and cool. The idea is for consciousness to retrieve the normal five sense range of experiences just as if the viewer were physically there unpacking those groceries.

Stage 3  Involves a tactile or kinetic sense, using the hand to sketch on paper impressions and feelings. There may be a curved line here, a vertical line intersecting there. Awareness grows into depth of observation, associated with feelings ranging from bliss to anxiousness. Rather than mental noise interference, one potential hazard in this stage is for the viewer to begin to shut down reporting. Relinquishing control of consciousness, the viewer may simply follow the subject wherever the imaginal goes and focus is lost. It seems this is where a trained monitor can assist in maintaining task.

Stage 4 Here it is time to start naming concrete and abstract senses. The green tubular stalks with tiny rots at one end (from stage 2 above) can now be named not only as green onion, but as dinner. Impressions become more meaningfully described here.

Stage 5  More intricate details are added here. It is suggested that the signal line becomes broken at this stage, and the mind continues to find what has already been deposited there. This is a mute point however, because even in Swann's opinion the signal line may or may not be responsible for the ever increasing detail. It may just as likely be that what the line brings is constant; it is the mind that expands the array of detail. Perhaps a different smell of the onion emerges, that of frying in oil, the sound of it hissing and popping, maybe steam rising from the pan.

Stage 6  An impression of the multi-dimensionality of the target emerges. It may be fashioned from modeling clay, or "air-modeled" with the hands as if it is being fashioned, and described all the while. This stage involves engaging the tactile sensate even more fully.

The early stage exercises may have involved something broad like a city. But as the exercises progressed, in order for detail to be maximized and specificity practiced, it was important to make target more specific, such as a park, or monument.

Although it is implied that there may be more stages, Smith's book does not elaborate. However, following his retirement from the military, he worked as a viewer for some Swann tasks (and others as well). Certain of the Swann projects involved lunar anomalies and target projects at Roswell, NM. My suspicion is that these projects may have involved the advanced stages. Perhaps in these advanced stages the waters become murky in terms of his philosophical idea versus the channeling, front loading and feedback issues that Smith constantly raises.

Remote Viewing Failures and Successes

The Iranian hostage situation at the end of the Carter presidency involved the Remote Viewing unit. While Rv'ers could see buildings, rooms, office furnishings, corridors and doorways, no left-brain imagery such as address or building markings was seen to isolate the specific locations of hostages. During this incident researchers learned that boredom effected results.  Apparently the RV'ers need rest between days of viewing routine, monotonous sites. Results were also better when targets were diverse.

There were some great successes, though, even for the military. Joe McMoneagle was given a photo of an airport hanger and asked to describe what was inside. When he was finished he had sketched and described a classified and new kind of army tank. He even described the inside of the tank, including revolutionary operating features. Joe had similar success "looking" inside a Soviet shipyard building at a new and revolutionary kind of submarine under construction. This too came from a photo with a request to know what was inside the pictured building. 

The "Real World" vs Remote Viewing and Broader Contexts of "Seeing"

A non-metaphysical overview of Remote Viewing's history and theory none the less bumps precariously up against the conventional culture; whether this is the scientific community, or the general population. The military would not recommend some sort of metaphysically arrived at intervention plan to politicians, whose accountability is to a non-metaphysically inclined population. It is obvious, then, why Remote Viewing was developed to work according to a strict protocol, for inquiry into a given range of tasks. Remote Viewing's usefulness was linked to its being able to provide outcomes of a somewhat of limited nature; those that involved its employer's military intelligence interests.

It is suggested a broader, more metaphysical notion of Remote Viewing may not be Remote Viewing at all, since it does not fit the earliest defined, rigid protocols. Instead, what is more loosely called Remote Viewing may be a blend of miracle, distortion, and the imaginal that has influenced mystics, diviners, seers and mediums through the ages. It seems difficult to separate this fully. One frustration of the work had to do with the seeming inability to bring back a building name, an address or other left-brain concerned work. Perhaps this was one reason for trying channeling and also dowsing, which the group had briefly worked with. Related to this is the question of coordinates, which were of no more value than numbers assigned to a project. Perhaps these left-brain assignment titles were given by those requesting the task to uncouple their consciousness from the intent of their target so as not to pollute telepathically the viewer's perceptions. I should note, in order to not mislead the reader, this is my idea, not one articulated by Smith.

If a person asks themselves to remotely view the future, for instance to ask what next May thirteenth looks like in their life, any truth can only be verified by the arrival of that date. It just as likely would produce some distortion or illusion created by the emotional and psychological underpinnings of the state of the person viewing, or making the inquiry.  Furthermore, since this future consists of an endless extrapolation of serendipitous events and free will choices of all humans currently and collectively existing, then Remote Viewing of the future has dubious accuracy.

 In Remote Viewing experiments of ancient and modern mysteries, UFO phenomenon and so forth, the imagery produced was difficult for the author (Smith) to accept. His unwillingness centered largely on the argument that otherworldliness would still be limited and described in language and perception of this earth as it is known and experienced. And the military was certainly not interested in metaphor and dream like imagery that could not be sorted out and measured against something known and tangible.

What then are the practical applications of Remote Viewing? If a person asks what their life looks like on next May thirteenth; or a person attempts to medically intuit a disease state- is this imagery valid? Without working blind to the inquiry, without working with a monitor, is the imagery useless? Is it possible to shift awareness to a more open and expansive view of what the imagery may represent to our soul's understanding of purpose and service? Such query is beyond the scope of the task of this book's intention.

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