I Only Have Eyes For You
A tale of my firsthand experience of ESP and the rising tide of world synchronicity

I recently finished reading Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger, an autobiographical account of the author's first-hand experiences with synchronicity (23), ESP, communication with extraterrestrial intelligence, and other sorts of paranormal phenomena. Though these topics are more typically the subjects of crackpot, pseudo-scientific, New Age-type authors, RAW is a rare individual who will examine any phenomenon with an open mind without discarding the highly analytical scientific perspective--minus the unscientific preconceptions and prejudice that most "scientists" hold against extraordinary phenomena. So when this sincere rationalist began to experience blatantly paranormal events in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was forced to explore the many possible explanations, most of them metaphysical. To give a simple example, Wilson was once looking for his teenage son in the city of Berkeley, California, having no idea where he might be. In the University park, he ran into a mystical Sufi juggler, who told Wilson knowingly, "You'll find him." Instantly a vision appeared in Wilson's mind of his son eating lunch with three friends in a particular coffee shop across town. Having to convince his companions to make the spontaneous trek, they arrived at the shop only to find Wilson's son just arriving with three friends. A similar thing occured when Wilson was attending a seminar on biofeedback when he suddenly felt the firm conviction that his son would soon die. Over the next couple of weeks, Wilson simultaneously tried to ensure the protection of his family and mentally prepare himself for the grief of losing a child. Soon thereafter, his youngest daughter, 15 year-old Luna, was beaten to death in a robbery attempt at the market she worked for. RAW had similarly convincing experiential evidence that he was being communicated to by a "higher intelligence"--whether an external extraterrestrial or an internal Soul, both belief systems are entertained by Wilson.

I discovered, upon reading his book, that RAW and I are like-minded both in our perpetual rational discourse on metaphysical phenomena and in our actual subjective experiences of same. Reading the sincere, objective accounts of ESP and communication with "higher intelligence" effected a definite change in my psyche such that I became even more open to the possibility of experiencing this myself. Which brings us to tonight's page from the history of my life:

As a preface: a few days ago, my friend Thomas and I were looking at our old junior high school yearbook from 1994. He pointed out a pie chart giving the results of a poll that asked students what their favorite brand of shoe was. Vans was a high-ranking answer and Thomas had said, "I didn't know they were so popular back then." Now tonight, I'm sitting in the living room of my friends' house, watching Seinfeld on TV with Allen and August, when Thomas comes into the room and sits down behind me. I turn my back to the tv screen and start talking with him. Having noticed he's wearing a Vans t-shirt, I'm reminded of that scene a few days ago and say knowingly, "I didn't know they were so popular back then." So in response to my comment Thomas says, "Oh yeah, like that pie chart we saw in the yearbook."

Something very strange occurs within my cognitive apparatus as Thomas speaks those words because as he says "pie chart", I hear him make those sounds but in my mind's eye what I see instead is a periodic table of the atomic elements. At first I literally think Thomas said "periodic table", which confuses me because I don't remember anything about a periodic table in the yearbook, but then I realize what really happened--that he said one thing and I heard it but understood it as something else. I tell Thomas about it and he laughs at my semantic blunder but is cut short by August who exclaims, "There's a periodic table!" and points at the TV where Jerry Seinfeld is standing in a laboratory with the periodic table hanging inconspicuously on the wall behind his head. I am overcome with astonishment and make an idiotic gesture of stalking around the living room before settling down to think about this objectively.

Remember that I've had my back to the television this entire time and there are no mirrors to reflect the image to me. Also, the dialogue makes no reference at all to the periodic table or anything related to it (verified via Tivo) so I didn't subconsciously pick up the idea from the tv audio. From my point of view it appears to be a clear case of ESP, this supported both by the clean accuracy of the perception (it was a periodic table, not a ping pong table) in concurrence with an abnormal cognitive event (hearing a word clearly but visualizing something completely different). Of course it could be just a meaningless coincidence...I'll leave it to the reader to judge the probabilities involved.

Later on this evening, August, Allen and I are leaving my friend Adam's house. I look up at the wonderfully clear night sky hanging above Santa Cruz and suddenly a line from an old 50s tune comes into my mind--Are the stars out tonight?--which I then speak plainly to August and Allen. They don't respond to my strange-sounding rhetorical question. I'm sitting in the back seat as we drive up the hill to the campus of UC Santa Cruz, thinking about coincidence, synchronicity and ESP in general and the "periodic table experience" in particular. The idea occurs to me that I could be in communication with a higher intelligence. As an open-minded rationalist I decide that I'm willing to temporarily entertain that belief system to better allow the accumulation of new evidence. (In logic, this is just a form of proof by contradiction where you assume something to be true and then look for a contradicting counter-example.)

So I mentally speak directly to the hypothetical intelligence, asking by what manner or method it communicates to me. Before I can even finish articulating the question's words in my mind, we drive past a sign with a big 23 on it. Any readers of RAW will instantly recognize this number as the most often cited example of synchronicity. Wilson (and anyone who learns of the 23 phenomenon) seems subject to strange coincidences of this number 23 appearing at significant times and places, especially when discussing or thinking about 23 in this context. So seeing 23 on the sign was, to me, a clear and unambiguous answer from the hypothetical intelligence that it communicates to me by directly orchestrating synchronicity and meaningful coincidences in my life. Remember that I'm merely entertaining a belief in higher intelligence for the sake of argument--but this instant and clear (to me) answer serves to intensify my provisional faith. Yet the rationalist in me is still not convinced and would like some repeatability expressed by the experimental results. A soft jazz ballad comes on the radio at this point with a slow, bossa nova rhythm and a woman vocalist's wordless humming. So the cynical Rationalist says to the hypothetical intelligence, "If you have so much control over events, then sing me a song. To be precise: communicate to me via the lyrics to this song that just came on the radio."

I relax back in my seat and wait for the singer to begin the words. The Rationalist is smug and sarcastic, certain that nothing concrete will come across but that it'll probably be ambiguous enough to keep me guessing. The Mystic is calm and energized, holding back any limiting prejudgements. The Human is a little nervous standing at what seems to be a great epistemological crossroads. The singer's sweet voice comes in...

My love must be a kind of blind love,
I can't see anyone but you.

Are the stars out tonight?
I don't know if it's cloudy or bright.

I only have eyes for you, Dear.

The moon may be high
but I can't see a thing in the sky,
'Cause I only have eyes for you.

I don't know if we're in a garden
or on a crowded avenue.

You are here
So am I

Maybe millions of people go by,
but they all disappear from view.
And I only have eyes for you.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" - by Al Dubin, 1932
recorded by The Flamingos on The Sound of the Flamingos, 1959