If you could predict the future, how would you help change it? Well, your body may aid you in predicting the future, even if it’s only a couple of seconds. This all may sound familiar to you, especially if you’ve read the short story Minority Report, by Philip K. Dick.
Minority Report is a science fiction, action-police thriller set in Washington, D.C., in 2054. Police utilize a psychic technology to arrest and convict criminals before they commit violent crimes. The story follows John Anderton, a pre-crime police detective who is on the run because the “psychic technology” predicts John will commit a murder. “Precognitive” or strong psychic humans are the main source of power of the pre-crime unit. These psychic humans receive stimuli throughout the mind and body which manifest into a vision. This vision is usually of a future serious crime for which one is arrested and charged, thus creating a Minority Report.
Precognition is a huge element of the story. In Minority Report, Hollywood makes precognition seem like a magical power bestowed only to a chosen few. However, according to modern science, precognition is an ability all humans possess. Researchers and scientists are looking further into this phenomenon, and how it manifests within each person.
According to Psychology Today, precognition is “a psychic ability that allows you to know about future events before they happen. It is different from clairvoyance because it deals with the future rather than the present.” These responses or “visions” can come in several forms. In Minority Report, the precognitive humans are conscious of their fortune telling abilities; they are aware of their visions and they are able to interpret exactly what these visions mean. In the real world, most information is received through the unconscious mind — where one is totally unaware of their ability.
It seems that Philip K. Dick may have been on to something as precognitive biological responses have drawn interest from the world’s top researchers and social scientists. Cognitive evolution states that over the last 36 years, various experiments have been conducted to prove that this phenomenon is not just in your mind, but something that happens in the body as well. Science journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience published an article in 2014 titled: “Predicting the Unpredictable: Critical Analysis And Practical Implications Of Predictive Anticipatory Activity.”
The article examines, in-depth, several experiments that took place at various laboratories around the world in the last 30 years. What scientists found was that the human body can detect randomly delivered stimuli one to 10 seconds in advance. Although the subject is unaware that the changes are happening, the stimuli manifest in the form of physiological changes to the autonomic nervous system such as muscle twitches, sweating, or rapid heart rate.
This information presents a remarkable discovery about us. In Minority Report, science and technology have merged with the human body. Philip K. Dick was an author way ahead of his time. His books have the habit of predicting human and technological milestones. This new information about precognition can help scientists form a better understanding of the human mind, and the human body, with a wider analysis of how precognition works. Since human beings are unaware of the small amount of psychic power they possess, there is no way to tell how one would react, or how one would access that power automatically. But maybe Philip K. Dick was on to something. He was able to imagine a future where humans are much more evolved. We can’t predict the far future, so it seems humanity will have to wait for scientists to catch up.
[Image via Dreamworks Pictures]