Complying with the scientific rule that such paradigms are to be connected to frameworks of explanation, Honorton grounded Ganzfeld on the cognitivistic noise-reduction model he had developed to describe the empirical relation between psi and altered states of consciousness (Honorton, 1977). Opposing this rule, we would like to think of psi phenomena as 'experiental reminders' of the constructed nature of consciousness in general (in the sense that they appear to transcend restrictions that shape our thinking), and of the artificiality of theoretical explanations and experimental operationalizations in parapsychology in particular.
The annoyingly regular elusiveness and non-repeatability of psi could be regarded as meaningful indications of this relativity. Also, the current meta-analytical approach marks the success of the sort of conceptual replication that is relatively less bound to specific questions of linear causality within a 'tight' system. Furthermore, the 'assimilation' by the system of the meta-analytical technique itself apparently results in the Meta-Analysis Demolition effect (MAD, Houtkooper, 1994).
Therefore, we would like to question the value of any experiment devised to answer in terms of 'the' definite cause of psi. Our Eigensender experiment (ES), a special version of the Ganzfeld experiment, consists of a differentiation and manipulation of individual variables, yet it no longer allows for the attribution of observed effects to these variables as isolated 'sources' of psi. In other words, we do not regard psi to be a function of individual variables, rather the total of the experimental situation will be considered an 'organic' system, a texture within which, given deconstructive ingredients like Ganzfeld stimulation, anomalies may be expressed as a sort of 'compound psi' which can no longer be converted to the traditional, conditioned categories.
Although such a reformulated research question may not count as 'scientific' in the proper conventional sense, it is in line with a 'new' aesthetic for science that is prophesied e.g. by Keller (1985), Harman (1991), Kirchoff (1995), and Berman (1981). Our methodological choice is also the consequence of our critique on the limitations of the idea of competition between diverse theories in an explanatory role. As an alternative, we propose the flexible and eclectical use of multiple metaphorically based frameworks that complement each other in giving directions for coherent research (see some notes on the philosophy of science, see also e.g. Feyerabend, 1975).
As is suggested elsewhere (Wezelman et al., 1996), in trying to develop such research it would be unwise not to look back and consider traditions that have long been paternalistically repressed in our culture. Ganzfeld research is embedded in the western frame of mind; it has evolved according to scientific rules and concepts. Nonetheless, in a way one could think of the Ganzfeld procedure as a modern presentation of some of the principles that underlie certain magical rituals. This idea will be expounded in some notes on the use of magic.