I hypothesize that what is taken by some people as “extrasensory perception” in fact refers to “inner experience,” that is, mental experience without correlates in the external world of apparent physical objects and intersubjective experience, of the contents of the mind projected outward into the external world of apparent physical objects and intersubjective experience. Such experiences are mistaken as analogous to sensory perception or even as sensory perception itself, and are thereby mistakenly believed to provide information about the external or intersubjective world. Really, all such experiences are purely subjective and, unlike both experiences of sensory perception and what I refer to as direct experiences, not consistent from person to person (judging from the accounts I am aware of).

It seems that most people never have experiences of things normally associated with extrasensory perception, such as ghosts, disembodied spirits, demons, angels, auras, etc. It also seems that most people never have experiences of what they take to be extrasensory perception. Furthermore, it seems that unlike direct experiences, no amount of mental training or conditioning can cause a person to have extrasensory perceptive experiences or facilitate the state of mind in which such experiences are likely to arise.

I would be happy to test this hypothesis scientifically, if it were possible, but unfortunately I am not sure it is. It is almost impossible to formulate any hypothesis about extrasensory perception or the things ostensibly experienced by extrasensory perception that could be falsified by any experiment or series of controlled observations, and on top of that, the only “peer review” possible would be to compare anecdotes of those who claim to have had extrasensory perceptive experiences themselves, which is not really peer review at all (at least not in the scientific sense of interpreting data to which all individuals conducting the review have access).

A corollary of this hypothesis is that experiences of extrasensory perception and the things associated with extrasensory perception are really experiences of the archetypes, that is, the images and motifs common to humanity which are normally unconscious, posited by Carl Jung.

Another corollary of this hypothesis is that the vast majority of the world’s mythologies, angelologies, demonologies, theologies, etc. are based on purely inner, subjective experiences projected outward and believed to describe facts about the external world.

These corollaries have the advantage of not ignoring a large number of experiences which some people in all cultures have today and have had in all previous epochs (again, some people, not everybody, and, if the present is any guide, not most people). But unfortunately both of these corollaries are not falsifiable by any experiment or series of controlled observations, and thus are, like my main hypothesis, also outside the scope of science. (Though again, just because an idea or theory [here obviously meant in the nonscientific sense] is outside the scope of science does not mean it is necessarily unreliable or false.)