First, an example or two, then some theoretical thinking. If you want theoretical thinking, don't worry, I'm not short of that, but for me, correct theory starts with the experience of life, with opening the eyeballs....
So let me start with a dog story.
Back in 1970-1971, I was at the thesis stage of getting a PhD from Harvard. Since I was working on a new mathematical model... I felt it would make sense for me to come back home for a year, to think in a more relaxed and human (and less expensive) environment
than the college dorms. Because my parents were recently divorced, I commuted back and forth, three days or so with my mother in Marple-Newton (a suburb of Philadelphia), and three days or so with my father along Haws Lane in Flourtown (another suburb).
One night... at Marple-Newton, in the living room, I was thinking and writing furiously into my notebook... until about 2:30 or 3AM. The whole rest of the house was
sleeping, hushed, quiet, dark. And I was certainly not making noise myself.
At a certain point... my stomach started complaining (quietly)... and I shited my thoughts for a moment to the question of food. What could I eat? I went to visualize
what I could eat, with about the same intensity as I was thinking about mathematics and brains... I visualized what might be in the refrigerator, and then.. the image of
a nice big piece of cheese came to my mind... and I decided to get up....
But before I moved even a muscle, instantly the Irish retriever of the house, Ginger, came running down at top speed down the steps from where she had been sound asleep upstairs. She went straight to me, with her tongue out, full of joy and excitement and expectation... and there was no question that the look in her face meant "yes, cheese... cheese..."
She picked the exact right moment, and she had been totally asleep.... and I had carefully been making no sounds whatsoever, down on a different floor of the house.
Other examples start to become a bit outre, but please forgive and tolerate...
Long ago, I learned that I have many dreams which I regard as "psychic assumption dreams." This means that I have a dream in which the protagonist (which always SEEMS like "I") is actually someone else... and sometimes I even check later and discover
it is partly "veridical." That means that I saw something in the dream which later turned out to be true, which I did not know at the time. (Sometimes I even remember Philip K. Dick's book, the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich...)
Back in 1975, I lived in a rented town house in Laurel, Maryland, with two cats belonging to the landlord. When I rented the place, I did not think the cats would be much of a problem, but then I learned about their habit of demanding attention at 5AM, which really did not fit my schedule at the time. Fortunately, the house had a nice finished basement, where their kitty litter was, and a nice rug, and the house TV,
and a sliding glass door to the outside; thus it seemed reasonable for me to protect myself by shooing them into that basement when it was time for me to go to bed. I remember that it wasn't always easy, that I had to use a broom one day to do it.
(A soft broom, but good enough.)
And that night... I had one of those assumption dreams, where I **WAS** a
cat. Struggling to reach the upper world, struggling courageously and defiantly against a gigantic evil army led by a broom...
Of course, this is not veridical. It only convinces me because I already had plenty of experience with assumption dreams which were veridical... and it really did feel different being a cat. And there was another one, maybe a bit more veridical, in another year, chasing a bird...
And a third one, even more outre...
For several years... perhaps 1972 to 1978... I had a habit to go to bed in a rather different way. (In November 1978, when I went to work for the federal government, I had to change my schedule.)
In those years, I was interested in experimenting with what some would call "physical qi," and also with out of body experience. As a result, every night I would turn
on the radio to a new age station (I really miss those stations!), turn off the regular light, hit the bed, and start "turning on the other lights" and moving around
and experimenting. Near the very start of this, I noticed a very regular poltergeist effect banging the walls of the room and such, which I experimented and played around with to some degree. In fact, the nightly poltergeist became a part of my daily routine even more than breakfast.
Lots of interesting things... but one thing that came on very early was...
it was like turning on a switch, consciously, soon after I hit the bed.
The poltergeist would start... and all the dogs within a block or so
would instantly start howling....
Since this is already long, I should be brief on the theoretical interpretation.
At www.werbos.com, I have posted my best efforts to understand what is going on here scientifically. I don't pretend to KNOW exactly; I can envision several possible models. I relay a lot on one model, which I have sometimes called "the standard model of the soul" to myself. (I figure it has more probability of bsing true in the end than the standard model of physics, which is a useful reference point of sorts despite that.) The idea is that we humans are all connected together in a kind of symbiosis
with some kind of collective intelligence, which some refer to as "Gaia."
When I say that humans "have souls," it means that we are each connected to that symbiosis in a way which really has information and identity specific to us as individuals embedded in that larger, more long-lived entity. Crudely. But it's not only humans. It seems clear that cats and dogs are connected there too.
(But not first trimester fetuses such as recently fertilized cells -- an absurd intellectual idea, due to the warped effect of convoluted hermeneutic word games
and a warped hunger for power by certain clerics. They remind me of what Jesus said, warning about those who "come in my name" who are basically just Pharisees in disguise.)
Enough for now.
Merry Christmas, folks!