NEWS: Analysis & Commentary
A Conversation with Paul Smith
by Dick Allgire
Paul Smith served for seven years, from 1983 until 1990 in the government's remote viewing program at Ft. Meade. In 1984, he became one of only a
handful of government personnel to be personally trained as coordinate remote viewers by Ingo Swann at SRI-International. Paul was the primary author of the government RV program's CRV training manual, and served as theory instructor for new CRV trainee personnel, as well as recruiting officer and unit security officer. He currently heads up Remote Viewing Instructional Services, Inc., a company offering remote viewing training courses to individuals and small groups.
I was able to sit down with Paul for a few minutes at the RV Conference in Mesquite, Nevada last summer. The following is from our discussion.
Do we need to do more to define remote viewing in academic terms?
Remote viewing was originally defined in academic terms. We're trying to recapture some of that ground we've lost. But we don't want to go too far in that direction either. I think the point of this conference and the organization we're supporting- IRVA International Remote Viewer's Association) to act as an interface, a clutch plate so to speak between the scientists and the rest of the interested people out in the general public, where the two come together. The general public can provide subjects, can provide people who are untrained and later trained provide data, scientists can provide interpretation, innovation and new developments and research. To me this can be a synchronistic relationship if this all works out. Of course there's a tension there. There's bound to be a tension between scientists who are very rigorous, who are meant to be skeptical, and they have to be for scientific method to work, and the general public which tend to want to believe. They don't want to be fooled, but they want to find what is true so they can accept it. And so there is bound to be some conflict there. We would like to see this organization (IRVA) work toward managing that conflict and helping both sides to work together.
Do you see an inherent conflict in the public's mind between the scientific view of remote viewing and say the right brain metaphysical view of remote viewing?
Well of course the right brain perspective is really based on scientific view. The metaphysical perspective of course, science doesn't answer metaphysical questions. That's not its purpose. And of course metaphysical interpretations are very subjective and you won't find any two people agreeing exactly what the metaphysics are. So they'll come out with different perspectives and there is no way of ever resolving that. What we do is try and present what we understand as the reality of remote viewing here in the material world so to speak and then people have to attach their own interpretations to it. We don't try to interpret what this means in a metaphysical perspective. We try and present it as close to reality as we can. Whatever reality is. [laughs]
Can you talk a bit about the problems of getting RV accepted by the public, skeptics? It has been six years since it went public, and there is so much noise. People claiming to remote view aliens, the end of the world. And on the other end skeptics like James Randi.
It is tough to find a middle ground. This is not a new situation. As long as there have been people there have been issues like this that have been devisive. You get extremists on both sides trying to represent their side, trying to present their perspective, trying to defend their own particular turf and extremism in itself breeds extremism. So you get exaggerated claims. And of course that's difficult. In all this morass of claims to sort out what the reality of it is.
The solution to it first of all is mild skepticism. Everybody ought to be skeptical to some degree in an honest sense. Where you doubt all claims until you feel you have reason to believe them, reasonable evidence to support it. And that requires education. That requires knowing the principle that if it sounds too good to be true it is. And based on that you can work your way through the field and find out what is legitimate.
What are your thoughts on working targets with some ground truth and some unverifiable components?
What you are talking about is an operational type target. That's the kind of thing you encounter all the time in operations. There's a problem identifying something or an intelligence problem. We know certain facts about it but the unknown is what we need. Obviously that is a legitimate type of target to work. To work that type of target and rely on the viewer requires that the viewer have a pretty strong track record and quite a bit of experience working targets and being accurate where ALL the ground truth is known. So practice first then when their reliability can be judged put them against a target that has partial ground truth. You'll never fully know without further corroboration whether the unknown elements they report are accurate or not, but you can increase the probability that its accurate by increasing the accuracy of the viewer through training and practice over time. Even in normal intelligence methodology that's what's involved.
What about when multiple viewers are involved?
You do have an enhancing effect when multi viewers are involved.
You have a company that's geared toward remote viewing. What does your company offer?
Its called Remote Viewing Instructional Services, Inc. And its main mission is to train people who want to pay the cost to learn how to do it. It has a secondary mission of educating people. That's mostly accomplished through the web page right now. There is educational material, support for people doing documentaries and things like that. We do have the capability of doing operational remote viewing projects, but right now that's on hold because of other projects.
You're still under a non disclosure agreement aren't you? I mean what if I asked you what's the best target that was remote viewed at the Ft. Meade unit?
We are sort of are. Some of the non disclosure agreements are still in effect, but the units and organizations they represent are declassified. And so we have to exercise judgement about what we can talk about and what we can't. Most of us have a pretty good grasp on what's still classified and what isn't, and those areas where its still shady, even if we're not sure we tend not to talk about those things. There are things that are legitimately classified and will stay classified because they have an
impact on national security and that's what we have the most interest in. We don't want to damage national security but we would like to see this stuff get out because we think we can enhance peoples' experience and it can enhance society in some way.
Back in you days as an operational remote viewer how many targets would you work in a day?
For the long haul they tried to keep us to one, maybe two a day. Because if you work 2 or 3 per day for five days straight by the time you're done you're bumping into trees and stuff, you forget to open the door when you go through it. Just because you're so right brained you're off in you know kind scatter brained. So they found that one session per day was about right. That didn't mean if there was a real crunch period we wouldn't work more. And during training we usually worked more as well. But over the long haul its better not to work so many.
What about cool down?
Different people approach it different ways. My own way to do it was I liked to listen to some real rousing music. You know- some of it was heavy metal some was country western, new age. Whatever got my pulse rate going, got me excited. I used it kind of like a pep talk, like the high school football coach told his guys, "Get out there and get 'em!" Wound up and ready to go, and that's how I used it. Other people didn't need that. They preferred to relax and almost go into a meditation thing. Other people didn't do anything. They just went in cold turkey and did it.
Do people tend to do better if it is an important, operational target?
Well yeah, cause there's emotion. Get an emotional high going. It helps increase the contact with the target because you get not just your normal sensory elements involved and your cognitive resources. You get your emotions more involved as well. But you know not every target is going to have that that's important to do. And so a lot of remote viewers in training will seek out emotional targets because they're really more fun. Even the negative ones are more fun because you have this real experience. But sometimes the boring ones are the most important. And so its really important to work on things that have no emotional content to them. Like remote viewing your neighbor's front porch. Its boring as heck, but still what you learn by doing a target like that is useful if you are going to be useful operationally.
Are some viewers better at people and others better at locations?
Yeah, although everyone can generally address most targets. Some people are "people people." You get negative feelings, intentions, that kind of thing from people. They just seem to home in on individuals at a target. Others are technology freaks. They go in and describe the guts of an apparatus, what it does, how it does it and that kind of stuff. And you do find people that are ideal for certain types of targets.
You do remote view much these days?
No. I do demonstration targets for my students. Once in a while someone will come up with a hot operational target they need help with I'll do that, but in the last year I have not done a lot. That's not because there aren't opportunities. I just have too many commitments right now. I anticipate in a year or two I'll be back where I can be able to fairly extensive operational remote viewing.
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