A few days after the death of her grandmother, cognitive neuroscientist, futurist, and author Julia Mossbridge had a dream. In the dream, her grandmother said to her, “You know Julia, I always read the book from right to left.”
“This is how little I knew about Judaism at the time,” Mossbridge tells The Times of Israel in a recent video interview during a US book tour. “I didn’t know Hebrew was written right to left. But I told my mother about the dream and she said, ‘Oh interesting. Hebrew is written right to left. Your grandmother wasn’t Jewish, but that’s interesting.’”
It wasn’t too long after the dream that the family came upon an heirloom her grandmother had been in possession of: a small scroll stored in a plastic baggie. The scroll had been in Mossbridge’s father’s family for generations.
Accompanying it was a handwritten note: “I am pretty sure this is a Chinese scroll passed down from one of our missionary relatives.”
Mossbridge took one look at the scroll and knew it was not written in Chinese. She was pretty sure, in fact, it was written in Hebrew. It would be a few more years, and a few more strange but poignant, unexplainable occurrences connected to Judaism, before Mossbridge would understand that she was, in her words, “being called” to the religion. She would convert at age 30 — after accidentally stumbling upon a weekday Yom Kippur service in an auditorium at Northwestern University and being moved to tears by the rabbi’s sermon on oneness.
Now 20 years later, Mossbridge, a fellow at the Institute for Noetic Sciences, located not far from her home in Northern California, and a visiting scholar in the psychology department at Northwestern, has co-authored a book that some might say is about strange unexplainable occurrences. Mossbridge would likely disagree.
“The Premonition Code: The Science of Precognition” — co-written by Mossbridge with bestselling author Theresa Cheung, and praised by Deepak Chopra and Eben Alexander — is about ordinary human beings having seemingly extraordinary experiences. “Have you ever had a feeling something was going to happen and it did?” the jacket copy inquires. “Have you had a dream and then seen it play out in your waking life?”
While most people dismiss these premonitions as coincidences, more and more scientific evidence indicates precognition is actually a learned skill we all may practice and hone, rather than a power possessed by a few exceptional modern-day oracles.
“Precognition is put into two bins, depending on if you’re a scientist or not,” Mossbridge explains. “But neither of the bins is accurate. Non-scientists tend to put precognition — even if they think it’s real — in the bin of ‘Wow, that’s weird.’ Whereas most scientists think the pop culture belief in this stuff is misguided. Most don’t know how rigorous these studies are, don’t read the literature, and my least favorite are not even willing to take the time to talk to someone who does research on it.”
Mossbridge is passionate about what she researches, writes, and lectures on — the subjects of time, artificial intelligence, controlled precognition, and unconditional love.
Involved in a variety of cutting-edge projects, including Hanson Robotics’ research project “loving AI,” Mossbridge very much wants to share with the world what she’s learned about how “grappling with the mysteries of time leads people to change their lives for the better.”
“There’s evidence for precognition and in physics for retrocausality [things in the future causing effects in the past]. Given that people email me constantly saying, ‘I have this problem where I am predicting future events and I don’t know what to do,’ or ‘I wish I could predict future events,’ I wanted to write a book that helps people get this under control in a way that’s positive and puts a frame around it that says you could do this in a way that’s ethical, in a way that helps the world, in a way that’s consistent with your religious beliefs, in a way that enriches your life,” Mossbridge says.
To help the world by serving up scientifically-backed exercises and techniques for knowing the future requires some careful examination of one’s own ethical stance on precognition. To this end, part of the book is dedicated to cultivating a “Positive Precog” community, a global group of individuals developing their precognitive skills toward the betterment of society. Positive Precogs strive to learn and evolve, as well as embody five “REACH” principles outlined in the book and on the “Premonition Code” research, training, and community website:
- Respect for the unknown
- Ethics in our use of precognition
- Accuracy of our precognitive skills
- Compassion for ourselves and others
- Honesty in all our dealings
The “Premonition Code” website also features videos of Mossbridge demonstrating some of the exercises outlined in the book. But the display for the video wasn’t a one-time thing. Mossbridge herself is a Positive Precog.
“My controlled precognition practice is like a meditation practice: It’s a way of knowing what’s in my soul, and knowing myself over time,” she says.
“I think of each of the events of our life like beads on a necklace and controlled precognition is like making the necklace, making the connection between our past and future selves. There’s something extremely strengthening and powerful about connecting with yourself over time,” Mossbridge says.
“It reminds me of the shofar on the high holidays when you go from doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo [the nine staccato notes of teruah tone] to the dooooooooo [of the teki’ah]. It’s the connection of those two,” she says.
Mossbridge has had a profound relationship with God since she was a small child, she says. And, she’s been deeply engaged in scientific investigation since then, as well.
“I see science as a spiritual path, as a mystical path,” she says. “With science, there are unknowns, but there are also these rituals for finding the answers. You don’t know if the rituals are going to work or even if they’re the right rituals, but they’re all you’ve got.”
“It’s the same thing with Judaism. I think that’s why we have so many Jewish scientists. It’s easy to go from ‘I am trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe and these are my rituals for doing it,’ to ‘I’m trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe and these are my rituals for doing it,’” Mossbridge laughs. “It’s the same thing, but just different rituals.”
Mossbridge says all these years later, her family still hasn’t solved the mystery of her grandmother’s Hebrew scroll. However, thanks to science, another significant unknown recently became known to the neuroscientist. She does, it turns out, come from a genetically Jewish lineage.
A few years ago, Mossbridge did 23andMe DNA testing. The report, says Mossbridge, indicated her maternal haplotype — the DNA sequence of one’s mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from one’s mother and passed on mother to daughter — shows Ashkenazic Jewish ancestry.
“I knew I was 100% Scottish-Irish, but I’ve found out I was Scottish-Irish-Jewish,” she says.