The Problem with Prescience: How Observer Effect muddies up the water

Picture copyright Taylor Ellwood 2017

Picture copyright Taylor Ellwood 2017

I was recently re-reading Dune Messiah and what fascinated me about the book is how the character relies on prescience to direct his actions, but also how he recognizes that prescience can be problematic. With prescience the character is always scanning the possibilities and trying to choose the best path forward, but the very path becomes the trap that takes away all his choices.

In my own spiritual practice I've used a variety of tools that can have prescient applications. Those tools include Tarot cards, writing, and collages. I've also used meditation as a way to access prescient probabilities.

What I've discovered with prescience of any type is that its a double edged sword. On the one hand it can provide you some awareness of probabilities, and even allow you to set up and manifest those probabilities. On the other hand it can also lock you into probabilities that been perceived through observer effect.

Observer effect recognizes that if you observe something you have already effected it. It recognizes that the act of observation isn't a passive act, but rather is an active one, which can have an effect on the observed, but also the observer.

And it's the effect on the latter I'm interested in, because when we are observing something we are effectively allowing what is observed to have some effect on us. In the case of prescience we're allowing the probabilities we observe to effect us, to embed themselves in our conscious and subconscious awareness, which embodies them and can lock them in.

At this point you might aptly say, "Well that's just great Taylor! Should I just stop reading tarot cards or using other oracle methods to avoid this?"

And my answer isn't that you should necessarily stop using your favorite divination method but rather that you consider 2 points that can be useful to have in your back pocket that can help you with observer effect.

1. Be aware of observer effect and either put it to use or factor it when doing a divination. Simply being aware of observer effect can help you plan for it. You can use it in your divination to lock into place the favorable readings, or you can recognize that the observer effect may be leading you into something you don't want and choose to focus on alternate possibilities that you'd prefer over what you divined for. 

If you take the latter option, what's required is some visualization of an alternate possibility. Use that visualization to replace the reading for your observer effect and lock into place the preferred possibility.

2. Change what you read by turning it into an an enchantment. The other approach I like to take is to turn the divination into an enchantment. For example if I choose to do a tarot reading for myself, and I don't like what the reading has revealed, I'll start adding other cards into the mix or change the positioning of the existing cards to modify the reading. I turn the reading into an enchantment that allows me to focus on turning a desired possibility into reality, as opposed to just accepting whatever the reading is displaying.

By modifying what is read we turn observer effect into an active tool that allows us to embed the changes we've deliberately created into our conscious and subconscious awareness. We turn observer effect into a tool that helps us get what we want instead of being saddled with what we don't want.