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Re: Hodson (Ex: Angels & Communication)

Sep 17, 1996 02:32 PM
by Murray Stentiford


>The problem I have with Hodson is twofold.  First, I am turned off by the
>tone of his approach to things, but that is a personal matter of taste and
>I would never be so foolish as to expect anyone else to agree with me on >it.

I have no problem with ackowledging differences of taste between people. To
my mind, there are differences of style and tone within Hodson's own body of
writing too, and some reflect him as a person better than others. And none
of his writing fully reflects him as he came across when you were with him.
There's a lot that could be discussed here, but maybe later.

>The second is far more serious.  One of the things we have learned about
>how the brain functions is that the electrical activity inside it takes
>visual forms. So a piece of music, for example, will cause the optic
>nervous system, not merely the optic nerves but that part of the brain
>that sees, to have a visual experience.  This is easily provable by the
>fact that if one is meditating and is disturbed by a sudden noise one sees
>all kinds of colors for an instant.

It's not clear what you see as provable, but Hodson was well aware of
synesthesia, the experiencing of a sensory input as the effect of another
sense, and had several articles on it. He was glad that science was
beginning to find out about it but regarded the phenomenon itself, in most
people, as pretty rudimentary and far from the trained application of inner

>                                    In any event, these forms have been
>mapped to the point were computers can be programmed to duplicate emotions
>by the visual forms they produce.

That's really interesting, if you mean that the forms can be classified and
then emotions accurately deduced from a new set of forms. There's a long,
long way to go, though, before we can let ourselves think we've got
clairvoyance or other forms of inner perception sorted out on the basis of
discoveries in brain function, exciting and complex as they are, these days.

>                                 Hodson, apparently, saw these forms and
>then externalized the vision, in other words he saw them outside of
>himself rather than merely as an internal light show.

It was more like that he saw them as an external light show, but the
distinction between external and internal ceases to be straightforward and
is full of subtlety when you're considering the inner spaces of perception
and the way the focus of I consciousness can move. Also, we cannot just
assume that the forms he saw were necessarily the same as the results of
simple synesthesia. Somebody should research this.

Here's an interesting story: We had done several music research sessions and
one day decided to play a piece by a local composer and see what Hodson saw.
To our surprise (and embarrassment, somewhat), he saw nothing. He was quite
unable to see a music form and quite adamant about it. The piece was as loud
as, and as full of harmonious chords and melodic shapes as many another
piece of music, and Hodson had been seeing music forms just before and just
after that, so it wasn't the weather or a headache, and clearly not some
simple synesthesia that he was observing.

We've got to be *really* open-minded about what "form" even means, I
believe. We can't expect to simply translate from an inner experience like
this to the everyday 3-D world, even if language forever forces us, and
forced Hodson, to try.

>                                                     Now this skill can >be
learned.  It is, in fact, the visualization training that is so >important
in magick.  When it is involuntary, however, as was clearly the >case with
Hodson, it is a symptom of mental illness and in fact is part of >the
diagnoses of schizophrenia.

I've got to give it to you, Chuck. One giant leap for mankind, all over
again! :-)

Yes, it can be learned and you can train for it. Hodson trained and worked
hard to get where he was, and his training included not only the making of
images but the stilling of the image-making process. He often used to say
that he had to establish the blank white sheet of the mind, before actually
beginning to "look" at anything.

Involuntary? Well, there's a lot in there, I'd say. With Hodson, there was a
huge distinction between casual, unintended perception which happened when
he wasn't specially trying, and intentional observation. You could just see
it and feel it, apart from what he was saying he was doing.

Even regarding what we'd think was the unconscious functioning of the brain
in forming concepts and images, Hodson was evidently able to be aware of the
operation of his own brain, as well as that of others. I'm not saying *all*
the processes were open to his perception, but certainly a lot of the
activity appeared to be. This itself was a subject he investigated with at
least one of his scientific co-workers and I was present at one of the
discussions they had on it. This is a huge topic, and needs a lot more work
and insight, I believe.

Another little story: We were researching the forms produced by a solo
french horn, playing the middle movement of the Haydn horn concert which if
anybody knows that fairly remote piece of music, has a long, slow, dirgeful
melody in it. The boy's (the player) father was there too - proud dad, a
musician as well. I didn't know this work at all and, as is my wont, I began
to really try and analyse the, to me, initially incomprehensible series of
low, rather rude-sounding notes, to try and piece together what harmony
could possibly accompany it. I had been really striving to synthesize a
composite sound in my mind from the aural clues for a few minutes when
Hodson suddenly, and quite uncharacteristically, stopped his description of
the music form phenomena, and said "I am fascinated by the activity in the
brains of Murray and XXX (the father). It's as if they are playing the music
in their heads." He'd never said anything like that before. I was, indeed,
trying to play it in my head, and the father told me afterwards that he was
following every note his son played, hearing it all in his head too. Well, I
might not write a PhD on it, but it's a kind of interesting story.

>So with Hodson we have a problem because of the totally subjective nature
>of his visions.

We have a problem all right, the same as with all human inner experience.
Isn't this what you expect a vision to be?  It's also a great opportunity
for those who have what it takes to do anything about it, research-wise.

>As far as his other clairvoyant work, some of it may be
>valuable as anecdotal evidence, but the problem of repeatability still
>bedevils us and will for some time.  That is why academic type
>parapsychologists have gone to the statistical gobbledygook that makes
>their work unreadable.

Hodson only ever claimed to exploring into fields where he hoped others
would follow and provide more corroboration. Every scientific advance begins
with an individual who does lots of exploration and does lots of  things for
the first time. Even makes mistakes. Can we forgive them for those, if they

I'd really like to see repeatability explored, too. I suspect that if you
had a hundred clairvoyants looking at the same thing, you'd find
considerable differences between their observations, and that in itself is
an immensely interesting thing. The variability is not surprising either, if
you accept that this stuff is very embryonic in most people today.

Well, I've run out of time to say any more.

See you again. You do bring up some interesting subjects.


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