Some nonfiction book reviews are more like CliffsNotes – they provide the reader with a well-packaged synopsis of a book. After reading this kind of a review, I never feel the need to buy the book. You, dear reader, will be spared that fate. If I don’t make you want to buy Time Loops, I’ve failed. This book can hardly be summarized in any way that will serve the work. The whole point of the book seems to be to spark new ideas and challenge old ones.
Wargo’s effort recruits the full spectrum of academic disciplines from psychology to physics, providing everything imaginable from a lucid argument about the role of emotion in precognition to a discussion about how Philip K. Dick’s name may have caused, through the intersection of culture and retrocausality, the very precognitive experiences that the science-fiction writer documented.
With his well-researched magnum opus Time Loops, it seems that Wargo hopes to drive forward the field of parapsychology from a scholarly position, but one that is well outside experimental science. His training is in anthropology and he has held a lifelong interest in the gifts and pitfalls of psychoanalytic thought. For an empiricist like me, the book could have been easy to dismiss. I admit that at first, my ego was affronted. I found myself asking, “Who is this guy who wants to tell me how to think about the science of time and precognition?” However, by page 11 I was hooked on the personal nature of Wargo’s intellectual exploration of the topic. There he writes, “Although precognition often surfaces to awareness in the context of stress and trauma, even death in many cases, I will argue that it really orients us ultimately to life, and to a renewed, intensified awareness of being alive.”
While I’ve been a student of the scientific aspects of precognition for about a decade and a half, I’ve been a student of the personal experience of precognition since I was about seven years old. This sentence showed me that Wargo knows the intimate and mystical pleasure of precognitive experience – the growing sense of connection with oneself over time that is experienced by those of us who take precognition seriously – but not so seriously we fret about our predictions. Wargo’s insight – that precognition is life-directed – felt intuitively correct, both based on my personal experiences as well as on the scientific idea that any common human experience likely exists because it orients us in some way toward survival. After this realization, my ego settled down and I’m grateful to say I kept reading after page 11.
As with any great work, some elements caused irritation followed by inspiration. I’ll briefly describe my irritations and the resulting inspirations, with the wish that you have the pleasure of finding yours.
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