In the 1997 film ‘Minority Report’, based upon Philip P. Dick’s short story of the same name, a police unit, ‘Precrime’, utilizes gifted psychics to precognize crimes in time for them to intervene and prevent them from taking place. More controversially, they arrest the perpetratortobe and criminalize them just as if they had committed the crime.
The anthropologist, Charles Laughlin, noted that many societies derive their knowledge from many different states of consciousness including intuition, dreams and visions. He called these cultures ‘polyphasic’ and contrasted them with the predominantly ‘monophasic’ culture of modernism, which only credits experience gained in ‘normal’ waking consciousness (1). But even in the most modernist societies, a large, and growing, segment of society are far more willing to accept – if only in private – information derived through intuitive and empathic awareness. 80% of people claim to have experienced the more common forms of precognition and over half the US and European populations claim to have experienced telepathy, clairvoyance or contact with the dead (2). A further survey found that two thirds of the US population claim to have had a Psi or ‘mystical’ experience (3). Outside of academia, mainstream science and media, the grassroots of modernist society is still, in many ways, polyphasic. The majority of people acknowledge a variety of ways in which things can come to be known, though they tend to draw the line at information derived from the more extreme end of the spectrum of altered states, such as prophecy and divination.
(1) Laughlin, C. ‘Consciousness in Biogenetic Structural Theory’ Anthropology of Consciousness, 1992,
(2) Breen, R. ‘The Nature Incidence and Impact of Paranormal Experiences’ Monash University Survey, 2008
(3) Haraldsson, E. & Hootkouper, JM. ‘Psychic Experience in the Multinational Human Values Study: Who Reports Them?’ Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Volume 85, April 1991, 145-165