Georgiana Houghton (1814–1884) was a British artist and spiritualist medium. Houghton was born in Las Palmas but later moved to London. She began producing 'spirit' drawings in 1859 at private séances. She produced her watercolour drawings to the public at an exhibition at the New British Gallery in Bond Street, London in 1871. Houghton became associated with the fraudulent spirit photographer Frederick Hudson to sell reproductions of his photographs. In 1882, Houghton published Chronicles of the Photographs of Spiritual Beings and Phenomena Invisible to the Material Eye. The book included alleged spirit photographs from Hudson and other photographers featuring mediums such as Agnes Guppy-Volckman, Stainton Moses and spiritualists Alfred Russel Wallace and William Howitt. The photographs in the book were criticized by magic historian Albert A. Hopkins. He noted how the photographs looked dubious and could easily be produced by fraudulent methods.
Inspiration (from the Latin inspirare, meaning "to breathe into") refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. The concept has origins in both Hellenism and Hebraism. The Greeks believed that inspiration or "enthusiasm" came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and Dionysus. Similarly, in the Ancient Norse religions, inspiration derives from the gods, such as Odin. Inspiration is also a divine matter in Hebrew poetics. In the Book of Amos the prophet speaks of being overwhelmed by God's voice and compelled to speak. In Christianity, inspiration is a gift of the Holy Spirit. In the 18th century philosopherJohn Locke proposed a model of the human mind in which ideas associate or resonate with one another in the mind. In the 19th century, Romantic poets such as Coleridge and Shelley believed that inspiration came to a poet because the poet was attuned to the (divine or mystical) "winds" and because the soul of the poet was able to receive such visions. In the early 20th century, PsychoanalystSigmund Freud located inspiration in the inner psyche of the artist. PsychiatristCarl Gustav Jung's theory of inspiration suggests that an artist is one who was attuned to racial memory, which encoded the archetypes of the human mind. The Marxist theory of art sees it as the expression of the friction between economic base and economic superstructural positions, or as an unaware dialog of competing ideologies, or as an exploitation of a "fissure" in the ruling class's ideology. In modern psychology inspiration is not frequently studied, but it is generally seen as an entirely internal process.
In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the poet or artist would go into ecstasy or furor poeticus, the divine frenzy or poetic madness. He or she would be transported beyond his own mind and given the gods' or goddesses own thoughts to embody. Inspiration is prior to consciousness and outside of skill (ingenium in Latin). Technique and performance are independent of inspiration, and therefore it is possible for the non-poet to be inspired and for a poet or painter's skill to be insufficient to the inspiration. In Hebrew poetics, inspiration is similarly a divine matter. In the Book of Amos, 3:8 the prophet speaks of being overwhelmed by God's voice and compelled to speak. However, inspiration is also a matter of revelation for the prophets, and the two concepts are intermixed to some degree. Revelation is a conscious process, where the writer or painter is aware and interactive with the vision, while inspiration is involuntary and received without any complete understanding. In Christianity, inspiration is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul said that all scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy) and the account of Pentecost records the Holy Spirit descending with the sound of a mighty wind. This understanding of "inspiration" is vital for those who maintain Biblical literalism, for the authors of the scriptures would, if possessed by the voice of God, not "filter" or interpose their personal visions onto the text. For church fathers like Saint Jerome, David was the perfect poet, for he best negotiated between the divine impulse and the human consciousness. In northern societies, such as Old Norse, inspiration was likewise associated with a gift of the gods. As with the Greek, Latin, and Romance literatures, Norse bards were inspired by a magical and divine state and then shaped the words with their conscious minds. Their training was an attempt to learn to shape forces beyond the human. In the Venerable Bede's account of Cædmon, the Christian and later Germanic traditions combine. Cædmon was a herder with no training or skill at verse. One night, he had a dream where Jesus asked him to sing. He then composed Cædmon's Hymn, and from then on was a great poet. Inspiration in the story is the product of grace: it is unsought (though desired), uncontrolled, and irresistible, and the poet's performance involves his whole mind and body, but it is fundamentally a gift.
The Greco-Latin doctrine of the divine origin of poetry was available to medieval authors through the writings of Horace (on Orpheus) and others, but it was the Latin translations and commentaries by the neo-platonic author Marsilio Ficino of Plato's dialogues Ion and (especially) Phaedrus at the end of the 15th century that led to a significant return of the conception of furor poeticus. Ficino's commentaries explained how gods inspired the poets, and how this frenzy was subsequently transmitted to the poet's auditors through his rhapsodic poetry, allowing the listener to come into contact with the divine through a chain of inspiration. Ficino himself sought to experience ecstatic rapture in rhapsodic performances of Orphic-Platonic hymns accompanied by a lyre. The doctrine was also an important part of the poetic program of the French Renaissance poets collectively referred to as La Pléiade (Pierre de Ronsard, Joachim du Bellay, etc.); a full theory of divine fury / enthusiasm was elaborated by Pontus de Tyard in his Solitaire Premier, ou Prose des Muses, et de la fureur poétique (Tyard classified four kinds of divine inspiration: (1) poetic fury, gift of the Muses; (2) knowledge of religious mysteries, through Bacchus; (3) prophecy and divination through Apollo; (4) inspiration brought on by Venus/Eros.)
In the 18th century in England, nascent psychology competed with a renascent celebration of the mystical nature of inspiration. John Locke's model of the human mind suggested that ideas associate with one another and that a string in the mind can be struck by a resonant idea. Therefore, inspiration was a somewhat random but wholly natural association of ideas and sudden unison of thought. Additionally, Lockean psychology suggested that a natural sense or quality of mind allowed persons to see unity in perceptions and to discern differences in groups. This "fancy" and "wit," as they were later called, were both natural and developed faculties that could account for greater or lesser insight and inspiration in poets and painters. The musical model was satirized, along with the afflatus, and "fancy" models of inspiration, by Jonathan Swift in A Tale of a Tub. Swift's narrator suggests that madness is contagious because it is a ringing note that strikes "chords" in the minds of followers and that the difference between an inmate of Bedlam and an emperor was what pitch the insane idea was. At the same time, he satirized "inspired" radical Protestant ministers who preached through "direct inspiration." In his prefatory materials, he describes the ideal dissenter's pulpit as a barrel with a tube running from the minister's posterior to a set of bellows at the bottom, whereby the minister could be inflated to such an extent that he could shout out his inspiration to the congregation. Furthermore, Swift saw fancy as an antirational, mad quality, where, "once a man's fancy gets astride his reason, common sense is kick't out of doors." The divergent theories of inspiration that Swift satirized would continue, side by side, through the 18th and 19th centuries. Edward Young's Conjectures on Original Composition was pivotal in the formulation of Romantic notions of inspiration. He said that genius is "the god within" the poet who provides the inspiration. Thus, Young agreed with psychologists who were locating inspiration within the personal mind (and significantly away from the realm either of the divine or demonic) and yet still positing a supernatural quality. Genius was an inexplicable, possibly spiritual and possibly external, font of inspiration. In Young's scheme, the genius was still somewhat external in its origin, but Romantic poets would soon locate its origin wholly within the poet. Romantic writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Poet), and Percy Bysshe Shelley saw inspiration in terms similar to the Greeks: it was a matter of madness and irrationality. Inspiration came because the poet tuned himself to the (divine or mystical) "winds" and because he was made in such a way as to receive such visions. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's accounts of inspiration were the most dramatic, and his The Eolian Harp was only the best of the many poems Romantics would write comparing poetry to a passive reception and natural channelling of the divine winds. The story he told about the composition of Kubla Khan has the poet reduced to the level of scribe. William Butler Yeats would later experiment and value automatic writing. Inspiration was evidence of genius, and genius was a thing that the poet could take pride in, even though he could not claim to have created it himself.
Sigmund Freud and other later psychologists located inspiration in the inner psyche of the artist. The artist's inspiration came out of unresolved psychological conflict or childhood trauma. Further, inspiration could come directly from the subconscious. Like the Romantic genius theory and the revived notion of "poetic phrenzy," Freud saw artists as fundamentally special, and fundamentally wounded. Because Freud situated inspiration in the subconscious mind, Surrealist artists sought out this form of inspiration by turning to dream diaries and automatic writing, the use of Ouija boards and found poetry to try to tap into what they saw as the true source of art. Carl Gustav Jung's theory of inspiration reiterated the other side of the Romantic notion of inspiration indirectly by suggesting that an artist is one who was attuned to something impersonal, something outside of the individual experience: racial memory. Materialist theories of inspiration again diverge between purely internal and purely external sources. Karl Marx did not treat the subject directly, but the Marxist theory of art sees it as the expression of the friction between economic base and economic superstructural positions, or as an unaware dialog of competing ideologies, or as an exploitation of a "fissure" in the ruling class's ideology. Therefore, where there have been fully Marxist schools of art, such as Soviet Realism, the "inspired" painter or poet was also the most class-conscious painter or poet, and "formalism" was explicitly rejected as decadent (e.g. Sergei Eisenstein's late films condemned as "formalist error"). Outside of state-sponsored Marxist schools, Marxism has retained its emphasis on the class consciousness of the inspired painter or poet, but it has made room for what Frederic Jameson called a "political unconscious" that might be present in the artwork. However, in each of these cases, inspiration comes from the artist being particularly attuned to receive the signals from an external crisis. In modern psychology, inspiration is not frequently studied, but it is generally seen as an entirely internal process. In each view, however, whether empiricist or mystical, inspiration is, by its nature, beyond control.
Jacob's Ladder (Hebrew: Sulam Yaakovסולם יעקב) is the colloquial name for a connection between the earth and heaven that the biblical PatriarchJacob dreams about during his flight from his brother Esau, as described in the Book of Genesis. The significance of the dream has been somewhat debated, but most interpretations agree that it identified Jacob with the obligations and inheritance of the ethnic people chosen by God, as understood in the Judeo-Christian-Islam panoply. It has since been used as a symbolic reference in various other contexts.
Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to the place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it [or "beside him"] and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you." Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it." And he was afraid, and said, "This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
Afterwards, Jacob names the place, "Bethel" (literally, "House of God").
The classic Torah commentaries offer several interpretations of Jacob's ladder. According to the Midrash, the ladder signified the exiles which the Jewish people would suffer before the coming of the Messiah. First the angel representing the 70-year exile of Babylonia climbed "up" 70 rungs, and then fell "down". Then the angel representing the exile of Persia went up a number of steps, and fell, as did the angel representing the exile of Greece. Only the fourth angel, which represented the final exile of Rome/Edom (whose guardian angel was Esau himself), kept climbing higher and higher into the clouds. Jacob feared that his children would never be free of Esau's domination, but God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom too would come falling down. Another interpretation of the ladder keys into the fact that the angels first "ascended" and then "descended". The Midrash explains that Jacob, as a holy man, was always accompanied by angels. When he reached the border of the land of Canaan (the future land of Israel), the angels who were assigned to the Holy Land went back up to Heaven and the angels assigned to other lands came down to meet Jacob. When Jacob returned to Canaan he was greeted by the angels who were assigned to the Holy Land. Yet another interpretation is this: The place at which Jacob stopped for the night was in reality Mount Moriah, the future home of the Temple in Jerusalem. The ladder therefore signifies the "bridge" between Heaven and earth, as prayers and sacrifices offered in the Holy Temple soldered a connection between God and the Jewish people. Moreover, the ladder alludes to the giving of the Torah as another connection between heaven and earth. In this interpretation, it is also significant that the Hebrew word for ladder, sulam (סלם) and the name for the mountain on which the Torah was given, Sinai (סיני) have the same gematria (numerical value of the letters). The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo, born in Alexandria, (d. ca. 50 CE) presents his allegorical interpretation of the ladder in the first book of his De somniis. There he gives four interpretations, which are not mutually exclusive:
The angels represent souls descending to and ascending from bodies (some consider this to be Philo's clearest reference to the doctrine of reincarnation).
In the second interpretation the ladder is the human soul and the angels are God's logoi, pulling the soul up in distress and descending in compassion.
In the third view the dream depicts the ups and downs of the life of the "practiser" (of virtue vs. sin).
Finally the angels represent the continually changing affairs of men.
A hilltop overlooking the Israeli settlement of Beit El north of Jerusalem that is believed by some to be the site of Jacob's dream is a tourist destination during the holiday of Sukkot.
Jesus said in John 1:51 "And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." This statement has been interpreted as associating or implicating Jesus with the mythical ladder. The theme of a ladder to heaven is often used by the Church Fathers. Irenaeus in the second century describes the Christian Church as the "ladder of ascent to God". In the third century, Origen explains that there are two ladders in the life of a Christian, the ascetic ladder that the soul climbs on the earth, by way of—and resulting in—an increase in virtue, and the soul's travel after death, climbing up the heavens towards the light of God. In the fourth century, Gregory of Nazianzus speaks of ascending Jacob's Ladder by successive steps towards excellence, interpreting the ladder as an ascetic path, while Saint Gregory of Nyssa narrates that Moses climbed on Jacob's Ladder to reach the heavens where he entered the tabernacle not made with hands, thus giving the Ladder a clear mystical meaning. The ascetic interpretation is found also in Saint John Chrysostom, who writes:
"And so mounting as it were by steps, let us get to heaven by a Jacob’s ladder. For the ladder seems to me to signify in a riddle by that vision the gradual ascent by means of virtue, by which it is possible for us to ascend from earth to heaven, not using material steps, but improvement and correction of manners."
Jacob's Ladder as an analogy for the spiritual ascetic of life had a large diffusion through the classical work The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus. Furthermore, Jesus can be seen as being the ladder, in that Christ bridges the gap between Heaven and Earth. Jesus presents himself as the reality to which the ladder points; as Jacob saw in a dream the reunion of Heaven and Earth, Jesus brought this reunion, metaphorically the ladder, into reality. Adam Clarke, an early 19th-century Methodist theologian and Bible scholar, elaborates:
That by the angels of God ascending and descending, is to be understood, that a perpetual intercourse should now be opened between heaven and earth, through the medium of Christ, who was God manifested in the flesh. Our blessed Lord is represented in his mediatorial capacity as the ambassador of God to men; and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, is a metaphor taken from the custom of dispatching couriers or messengers from the prince to his ambassador in a foreign court, and from the ambassador back to the prince.
Jacob is revered in Islam as a prophet and patriarch. Muslim scholars, especially of the perennialisttradition,[clarification needed] drew a parallel with Jacob's vision of the ladder and Muhammad's event of the Mi'raj. The ladder of Jacob was interpreted by Muslims to be one of the many symbols of God, and many saw Jacob's ladder as representing in its form the essence of Islam, which emphasizes following the "straight path". The twentieth-century scholar Martin Lings described the significance of the ladder in the Islamic mystic perspective:
The ladder of the created Universe is the ladder which appeared in a dream to Jacob, who saw it stretching from Heaven to earth, with Angels going up and down upon it; and it is also the "straight path", for indeed the way of religion is none other than the way of creation itself retraced from its end back to its Beginning.
Jacob's Ladder has been depicted in many artworks the largest of which is the facade of Bath Abbey in England where sculptures depict angels climbing up and down ladders on either side of the main window on the west front. The name has also been applied to a number of outdoor public staircases throughout the world noted for their steepness where the religious derivation is not immediately obvious.
Auckland and Saint Clair, in Dunedin New Zealand.
Brisbane, Townsville, Cockburn, Perth and Castle Hill, Queensland in Australia.
Ramsgate, Sidmouth, Falmouth, York Castle, Kinder Scout in Derbyshire, Wenlock Edge at Eaton-under-Heywood, Shropshire, Alton Towers & the Cheddar Gorge in England
Edinburgh, Newtyle, Oban, West Dunbartonshire & Finnich Glen in Scotland.
Devil's Bridgea, Ceredigion, in Wales.
Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Cape Town, South Africa
Waco, Texas, Chester in western Massachusetts, Mount Washington Cog Railway, New Hampshire and a State Park in New York, USA.
Jamestown on the island of St Helena - this example has 699 steps, it is 900 ft in length, and ascends 600 ft (183m). It is the longest straight staircase in the world.
Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
There are also several songs derived from Jacob's Ladder, a number of toys, video games, two novels and at least one motion picture. A type of plant (a Polemonium) is commonly called Jacob's Ladder. The term is also used for a type of nautical rigging, a type of obstacle course involving rope ladders as well as at least two mathematical problems. Most poetic, and closest to the Biblical source, is the use of the term to describe the Crepuscular rays shining down a hole in the clouds.
Though an exhaustive list would be difficult to produce, there are several main themes which together form the core of the spirituality that Corbin defends. The Imagination plays a crucial role in the human and divine orders. It is the primary means by which we engage with Creation and provides the link “without which the worlds are put out of joint.” Prayer is the supreme form of the creative imagination, and as such is the ultimate exercise of human freedom. Opposing the imagination is rigid literalism in its myriad forms. Corbin presents a vehement triple critique of idolatry, dogma and the institutionalization of religion, coupled with a radical assessment of the doctrine of the Incarnation. He considered himself a Protestant Christian but he abandoned a Christocentric view of history. The grand sweep of his theology of the Holy Spirit embraces Judaism, Christianity and Islam as manifestations of a single coherent story of the ongoing relationship between the individual and God. He pleaded for recognition of the over-arching unity of the religions of Abraham. He was a passionate defender of the central role of the individual as the finite image of the Unique Divine. It is the bond between the human soul and the face of the Heavenly Twin, the Angel Holy Spirit, who appears uniquely to each of us, which is the ethical bond par excellence. This mystical spirituality depends upon the capacity of the human soul to travel a path towards the Angel, and towards perfection. The status of Person is not simply bestowed upon us at birth – it is a goal to be achieved. The true journey of our lives is measured on a vertical scale. Our progress on this path is gauged by our capacity for love and, linked to this, our ability to perceive beauty. His mysticism is no world-denying asceticism but regards all of Creation as a theophany of the divine. Beauty is the supreme theophany, and human love for a being of beauty is not a hindrance to our union with the Divine, but a threshold to Divine Passion. This vision has much in common with what has become known as Creation Spirituality, and the figure of the Angel Holy Spirit is similar to what is sometimes called the Cosmic Christ. Some who desire a future for the prophetic tradition which transcends mutual suspicion, hatred and violence postulate one in which Corbin’s work can play an important role. An example of Corbin's lucid articulation of metaphysical concepts, which is not unrelated to his own spiritual hermeneutics, is finely demonstrated in his Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi. Despite the fact that much of the information- both historical and doctrinal- presented in this book has been corrected and updated in more recent Ibn Arabi scholarship- particularly the works of William Chittick, Michel Chodkiewicz, Claude Addas, James Morris, and Gerald Elmore- Corbin's elucidations of such concepts as the metaphysics of the heart and the function of imagination are phenomenal. In a chapter entitled "Theophanic Imagination and Creativity of the Heart", Corbin makes a sharp distinction between two functions of imagination. On the one hand, it deals specifically with "theogony", that is, the Divinization of the Cosmos through the Divine Names. Corbin distinguishes theogony from creatio ex nihilo, which understands the cosmogonic process as beginning in one point in time, and which insists on maintaining some type of a ‘distance’ between the Principle and Its creation. Corbin uses the phase "theogony of the cosmos" to refers specifically to cosmology, but that type of cosmology which takes place within the Primordial Cloud (the linguistic place where words become articulated or ‘existentiated’), in which the Principle and Its manifestation are not separate from one another, except from the standpoint of the manifestations’ multiple levels of being as descents from their Principle. Since reason can only understand creatio ex nihilo, imagination is required in order to understand the cosmos as theophany. The other function of imagination which Corbin identifies is its purely spiritual/psychological role as “an imaginative potency in man”. The purely psychological functions of the imagination also play a ‘creative’ role in that the imaginal faculty allows for certain modes of ‘creation’ to come about. How this takes places is related to the fundamental distinction between the two types of imagination (to be distinguished from the two functions of imagination mentioned above) articulated by Ibn Arabi: "conjoined imagination" (al-khayal al-muttasil) and dissociable or, as Corbin suggests, autonomous imagination (al-khayal al-munfasil). The former denotes the existence of an imagination connected to the imagining subject, whereas the latter denotes an imagination which is entirely separate from the subject, subsisting in its own right in the World of Images or the Imaginal World (‘alam al-mithal). It is the autonomous imagination that allows the emergence of the images which present themselves to the "conjoined imagination". The way in which imagination is ‘creative’ is intimately related to an understanding of these two types of imagination. When an image from the World of Images presents itself to the subject, its (re)presentation takes place in the imagining subject’s imaginal faculty (Phenomenological reality), thus allowing for the significance of the image proceeding from the World of Images to emerge, that is, the significance that that image holds for the imagining subject. The (re)presentation of the image depends entirely on two concepts, that of the heart (qalb)- which Corbin astutely refers to as the ‘organ of mystic physiology’- and that of spiritual will (himma), or, perhaps more accurately in this context (Corbin does not translate the term), ‘creative imaginal potency’. But it is important to keep in mind that when the Image from the World of Images represents itself to the imagining subject, it reflects in his ‘heart’ which itself functions like a mirror. The mirror of the heart reflects that Image which is cast upon it, thus producing a purely imaginal representation of the Image’s true ‘mode’ of being. Objects in mirrors are both real and unreal. They are real because they convey to us, rather accurately, the reality of that image which is reflected in it, yet they are also unreal in that the image is, actually, not ‘there’, and is, in fact, non-existent. Images in mirrors are, therefore, at once existent and non-existent, which is precisely the way Ibn Arabi envisions the ‘situation’ of the cosmos. When the Image from the World of Images reflects into the heart of the mystic, it is the mystic’s imaginal faculty, his Active Imagination as governed by his himma, which can then ‘create’ that image into a ‘representation’ or ‘apparition’ of the Image itself, thus reproducing the Image in a purely ‘imaginal’ way which stands ‘outside’ of the imagining subject. It is with this important concept in mind that the notion of ‘theophanic prayer’ may be understood, and which Corbin discusses in detail in the following chapter. Theophanic prayer refers to a method in which God reveals Himself to the mystic in the mystic’s ‘act’ of prayer, or, rather, how the mystic ‘creates’ an Image of God for himself in prayer. The formless form of God is made manifest to the mystic by virtue of his himma, thus producing an Image of the Divinity to whose qiblah he has turned his attention. But it is through the Image of the Divine produced in the heart of the mystic that this can, in fact, take place. God at this point is reminiscent of the vaporware of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is actually God who reveals Himself to Himself in the act of prayer, but it is to the degree of the purity of the mystic’s heart (read ‘spiritual consciousness’), that he will have a vision of God’s Image and, by the same token, that God will have a vision of Himself, His own Image. Thus prayer is a purely ‘creative’ act for the Gnostic because it allows him to recast the Image of the Divine presented to his heart by virtue of the creative power of his himma. This imaginal power creates a mode of presence of the Divine which simply would be unperceivable without recourse to imagination. It should also be noted that Corbin looks at how the notion of creative imagination plays itself out in several key events related in the Qur’an and hadith. For example, the Qur’an mentions one of Prophet Solomon’s companions (someone who had “Knowledge of the Book”) who was able to reproduce, in an instant, the throne of the Queen of Sheba. What happened was “that the “transfer” of the throne took place on the plane of Imaginative Presence…”. This example finely illustrates the importance of the power of imagination in producing images instantaneously, but which can only take place on the plane of Imagination itself, the possibility of which is entirely determined by one’s himma.
I was watching a TV programme yesterday and the characters were discussing how “hypoxia” created powerful “hallucinations” and this was used a an “explanation” of various Near-Death perceptions …. in other words, hypoxia causes the hallucinations and therefore explains them using a simple application of materialist-reductionist science. Neat, tidy, rational and convincing. Problem solved. There is nothing at all odd or strange about the NDE, nor its associated perceptions of an OBE state and vivid visual, tactile and auditory experiences. But let’s deconstruct this. Hypoxia is simply a decrease of oxygen in the brain. Why should a lack of a gas create hallucinations? One is a physical substance reacting with chemical and electrical impulses in the neurons of the brain. The latter are images and perceptual sensations that are non-physical in nature and are “perceived” by somethings similarly non-physical (consciousness). So by what known scientific process can a physical reaction between chemicals “create” a whole non-physical narrative that is so effective that it convinces the perceiver that way they are experiencing is absolutely real? Furthermore this “hallucinatory” state creates its own inner narrative and story line. How can this be? It is simply chemicals and electricity, unthinking inanimate processes. Something most decide that particular images and sensations must be generated by the brain. If this was not the case then surely any “hallucinations” would be a miss-match of unconnected visual, aural, vestibular and tactile stimuli thrown together in a random series of sensations. These should not create a narrative …. a narrative that is DIRECTLY related to the external world as it exists at the time of the NDE. The NDEr feels that they are floating outside of their body. The hallucination is so powerful that it renders an inner picture that fools the NDEr into believing that what they are perceiving is absolutely real. There is no sensation of dreaming, none of the disjointed inconsistencies of the dream state. In fact it is so identical to a normal waking-state that the NDEr, on their return to “normal” consciousness remembers the OBE state in exactly the same way that he or she remembers memories generated in a normal waking state. The “hallucination” accurately renders the external environment so accurately that the NDEr genuinely believes that they are floating round in consensual space. The accuracy of this illusion most be total. The NDEr at no stage thinks, “I am dreaming this” or “I am imagining this.” They are convinced that they really are viewing events from a point consciousness looking down at their own body and the events surrounding their potential death scene. This “hallucination” (which remember is randomly “created” by unthinking, inanimate and therefore unmotivated chemicals and electrical impulses) scripts this amazingly accurate scenario and also populates it with facsimiles of the actual doctors, nurses, paramedics, police, and any other people actively involved in the potential death circumstances. Doctors and nurses are perceived going through medical processes that would be unknown to the NDEr, these process are accurately described afterwards. They are heard discussing these processes ….. sometimes the NDEr floats away from the scene and perceives events taking place miles away and therefore out of any natural perceptual field of the dying persons body. They witness events and discussions that they could not have seen or heard from the scene of their potential demise. But again all these events are simply an “hallucination” created by hypoxia. I for one agree totally that these experiences are created by these chemical “hallucinations.” I believe that there is a direct relationship between hypoxia (and all the other neurological and neuro-chemical explanations). However, in doing so I then take things one step further and as the next question, the elephant I the room that materialist-reductionist apologists carefully avoid and don’t want the general public to ask …. and that is what exactly is an “hallucination? and, more importantly, why are these hallucinations so powerful and accurate? These are the questions I attempt to answer in my forthcoming book. I don’t hide behind clever-sounding labels. I attempt REAL answers to these mysteries, not platitudes. These “hallucinations” can tell us a great deal about the true nature of reality, but these answers can only be found if we accept that “hallucinations” are no different to our everyday perceptions of consensual reality …. they are all brain-generated renderings within a greater perceptual universe
Anthony Peake thinks so. In this stunning new book Anthony Peake takes the work of Aldous Huxley and updates it using the latest information from such seemingly unrelated fields as quantum mechanics, neurochemistry and consciousness studies.This work follows on from Peake’s groundbreaking books This work follows on from Peake’s groundbreaking books The Out-of-Body Experience and The Infinite Mindfield. Be ready to be amazed. After reading thus book you will never see ‘reality’ in the same way again. Anthony’s ninth book Opening the Doors of Perception will be published on the 13th of September 2016. However, a limited number of copies are now available for exclusive purchase direct from Anthony.
Can the etheric and astral planes can be understood from the viewpoint of physics?
What is the mathematical relationship between these and the physical realm?
To take a shot at these questions, we must examine what physics says of the physical and see if that can be mathematically extended to produce predictions matching anecdotal observations of the etheric and astral.
To clear up semantic confusion, “etheric” can refer to either of two things: first is the “etheric realm” of occultism which is a luminescent mirror world interpenetrating the physical, and second is the “ether” of archaic science which is the medium in which everything exists.
Perhaps the two are identical, but for this article I will be referring to the “etheric realm” of occultism since that is where we have empirical data.
Etheric Realm What is the etheric?
Minerals, plants, animals, and people have physical bodies, but what makes them alive is something beyond the physical. Without that extra factor, entropy would cause disintegration of the physical as happens after death. Tracing the physical processes of the body down to the smallest scales brings us into the quantum domain. Processes that seem mechanical and predictable on the large scale have their origins in quantum jumps that are neither predictable by physical science nor controllable by physical means.
So that extra factor is something that biases these quantum jumps at the small scale to offset the forces of entropy at the large scale. This is the etheric body, a subtle energy body interpenetrating the physical and shaping the quantum processes that give rise to its biological activities. In other words, the etheric body is an energy template that biases the probability of acausal biological events to produce ordered and intelligent life. It is a formative field made of coarse life-force energy.
Using the terminology of chaos theory, it is an attractor field (a structured field made of strange attractors).
Since the physical body resides in a physical environment, the etheric body must reside in an etheric environment. And just as a physical body can exist without an etheric (as is the case with a corpse) so can the etheric exist without the physical. This means etheric life-forms may exist around us who, because they lack physical bodies, are imperceptible to our physical senses.
Occult perception (known as second sight) lets one view the local etheric environment.
For beginners this requires entering a trance state in between sleeping and waking, where the mind is decoupled from linear time and mechanized thoughts. It happens naturally in hypnagogic and hypnopompic states while going to sleep and waking up, although advanced occultists and shamans can switch into this while walking around and talking.
In this state, one can observe etheric life-forms, the etheric field around living things, and also etheric thought-forms which are produced by mental/emotional energy cast off by people throughout the day that continue in the ether like eddies in water until running out of energy and fading.
It is also known that alien/hyper-dimensional entities can hang around in the etheric, not fully materializing into the physical, in order to quietly observe. This is also true of time travelers who are unable or unwilling to fully lock phase with our particular time stream and thus can only observe us. All these can be seen with second sight, however. The etheric realm is therefore a superset of the physical, and the parts we can see through second sight is just the close halo of the physical extending into the etheric realm.
From a quantum viewpoint, the etheric state appears to involve partial delocalization of the wave function, as will be discussed below. And it takes delocalization of your own consciousness to view it through second sight.
While the physical realm and our normal waking consciousness are both highly localized or collapsed into a single sharp focal point, the etheric plane is more diffuse, like the tranced consciousness needed to perceive it. That diffuseness is what allows the etheric body to shape quantum events, to bias probability, because it is a structure diffused across multiple possibilities instead of being localized to just one as our physical body is.
Other clairvoyants have described the etheric realm as a mirror world, not only in mirroring the physical when, say, the etheric body has similar morphology to the physical it enlivens, but that very often perception shows things as reversed - reversed in time, reversed in space. I’m getting ahead of myself, but that phenomenon appears to involve more the parts of the etheric that blend into the astral, complicated by the fact that what we see with second sight is what our mind decodes of the energy patterns constituting etheric life-forms, and it is therefore biased by our own personal lexicon of symbolic visuals.
Although relatively speaking, what you see of the etheric is closer to its actual reality than what you would see in the astral.
Another thing to notice is that if the etheric realm is indeed a mirror world in every sense of the term, where time intervals do run opposite those of the physical, then it sheds further light on how it can bias probability. Probabilities deal with probable futures and to shape quantum events means to have these be attracted toward certain probable futures and repelled from others.
So it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this attraction and repulsion seems to come from those probable futures. Some type of resonant action between the current quantum system and the most strongly attracted probable future helps that future manifest. This resonance is encoded in the etheric field, and it acts upon the physical by pulling on it from the direction of the future - meaning it is an influence that originates in our perceived future and flows backward in time.
To illustrate this, if you are given five choices then you have five probable futures all sending their influences back in time and intersecting you in the present. The choice you most feel a tug toward is the probable future with the strongest reverse-time attraction force. You still have freewill and can choose one of the lesser alternatives, which is especially important if that strongest future is a bad one and willpower is needed to get you toward the healthier alternative. Etherically you are resonant with the strongest of your immediate probable futures.
In addition to being mere psychology, habit also has an etheric basis because repeated behaviors set up a type of momentum in the etheric that biases probability toward continuation of that behavior. And not only behavior, but for instance the type of activity that goes on in a house can imprint the etheric to attract similar activity in whoever moves in next.
So a transfer of etheric patterns can take place. You could receive the pattern of illness or bad luck from someone else’s etheric field through close interaction and thus start attracting those. In fact, etheric entities (and devices built by aliens) can be latched onto you in order to alter your behavior, health, and probability of experience.
Certain schools of occultism teach how to create your own etheric thought-forms to accomplish tasks, and the darker of those schools teach how a thought-form programmed to start a fire in your enemy’s home will do just that. Of course, it won’t start a fire by heating the carpet until it smolders, rather it heightens the probability that an accident causing a fire will occur.
All this shows that the etheric is intimately involved in probability.
So the etheric is closely associated with the physical realm, loosely mirroring its shape and diffusing outward in all spatiotemporal directions. It is the seat of raw life-force energy and influencer of probability. In contrast, the astral is as far removed from the etheric as the etheric is from the physical, and is thus two orders different from the physical. It is more reflective of internal psychic space than an external physical space.
The astral body is the seat of soul-based emotions. Whereas the etheric pulls on physical quantum events, the astral seems to pull on mental and emotional events. The astral realm, instead of mirroring physical form, symbolically mirrors emotional and psychic energy patterns.
Second sight also allows perception of the astral when an astral entity blends into the etheric environment. But to fully enter an astral realm requires that consciousness shift completely out of the physical and etheric environment and enter into something that is more like shared mind-space rather than space-time.
Astral beings are not defined by structure and form, but by abstract symbolic meaning and conscious signature.
An astral traveler can still decode all this into an internally recreated visual environment, but the real reality behind it isn’t comprehensible in terms of distance and time.
What Physics Says About Spacetime
To relate the physical to etheric and astral, we can examine what is known about the physical at its most fundamental level. That would be the structure of flat space-time.
Brief background: the Theory of Special Relativity gives a mathematical framework describing how time stretches and length contracts depending on velocity relative to an observer. Space and time are shown to not be independent of each other, but part of a single structure called space-time. Two observers traveling at different velocities perceive each other’s length and rate of time as different compared to when they were at rest.
Why? Because each are rotated at different angles in space-time.
To have two observers measure two different values of distance and time and both be right was thought impossible under the old physics. This comes with treating time as mere ticks on a clock.
Relativity treats time as a fourth spatial dimension, however, where the separation between two events is measured between two points in the four-dimensional space-time. That four dimensional separation stays constant no matter the velocity of the observers, and everything works out. Two observers are just looking at the same thing from two angles.
That interval of flat four dimensional space-time is written like this:
c = speed of light
(I left out the ∆ for the sake of simplicity)
This is just a four dimensional version of the Pythagorean Theorem. The Pythagorean Theorem gives distance between two points in an orthogonal coordinate system (right-angled measuring grid).
For instance, the two and three dimensional versions of the Pythagorean theorem are:
(Where x and y are sides of a rectangle, and z is the height of a cube or rectangular prism)
The time component of space-time can only be treated as a physical dimension if its squared value is meaning that the unsquared value is where is an imaginary number .
While space is real, time has an imaginary direction. Literally, the fourth dimension has units of “imaginary meters” or “imaginary light seconds”. The coordinate system of space-time (physical realm) therefore looks like this:
At low velocities where there is barely any rotation into the fourth dimension, we can get by doing all our physics with real time. But in truth, time is imaginary compared to space.
What does this mean, that time is imaginary?
Quantum Physics and Time Relativity treats time in a strange way.
Quantum physics does as well. How the two relate, and how that ties into the etheric and astral realms, is the focus of the rest of this article.
In quantum physics, time is treated as the changing phase of a wave function. Phase is the alignment of a wave relative to some starting point, and the wave function is the diffuse set of probabilities of which one slice we perceive as a tangible manifested reality.
The wave function is written like so:
This definition states that the total wave function is simply a time-dependent phase factor multiplying a space-dependent wave function. If you compare this to Relativity, you’ll see that what in space-time is imaginary (the time component) becomes here a phase factor, while what was real (the space component) becomes a wave function depending on that component only.
The phase factor is really important. What we observe as particles and atoms (and by that logic everything in the universe) is just a fuzzy wave of possibilities before observation.
What happens upon observation is that we, as points of consciousness, lock phase with one “frame” of that wave function so that, with both now having the same wave alignment, both share the same reality, both are tangible to each other, and other possibilities not phase-locked get shut out.
(As stated earlier, if you diffuse your consciousness to something other than a sharp point, you can likewise perceive things in their fuzzier probabilistic state).
There is absolutely no way for science to mathematically predict what particular tangible state a wave-function will collapse into; that is decided by consciousness and the etheric template, not the physical.
When two things (even two people) have the same quantum phase, their phase difference is zero and they are completely real to each other. The only reason you and I would be able to shake hands is because we have the same quantum phase, which in this case is the same time-dependent phase factor. This means we are both occupying the same moment in time. Upon meeting we would be near the same position in space as well, and this allows us to solidly interact. If our phase difference is slightly different, our interaction will be less tangible.
That time for us is a mere quantum phase factor, that it has an imaginary direction, goes hand in hand with our being pulled along the river of time collectively even against our wishes, while we retain total freedom to move around in space. What is real to us, we have complete freedom to move around within.
What is imaginary, we can only navigate to the degree that our consciousness changes.
Etheric and Astral Physics
With this background in Relativity and quantum physics, we can now take a shot at interpreting how the etheric and astral realms relate to the physical. Whatever the relation, it should be simple and explain the empirical observations regarding these while still matching up with the physics of space-time and quantum mechanics.
The major clue is that time is imaginary while space is real… interesting that time can be imaginary… could space become imaginary too? What about other imaginary numbers beside ?
These were the questions I asked. And it leads straight into quaternions, which are an extension of imaginary numbers. Instead of just being the square root of minus one, the other imaginary numbers j and k relate to each other in similarly odd ways.
The rules for quaternions are as follows:
The difference between real and imaginary numbers is basically a ninety degree rotation into a dimension of impossibility. By that I mean, if you ask a fifth grader what is the square root of negative one, they’ll say it is impossible since no number times itself can give a negative value. But that is what happens to be defined as, something that exists and can be worked with despite seeming impossible.
The same goes for the etheric relative to the physical - tell any scientist of the etheric realm and he will find it impossible, yet the influence of the etheric hides right behind the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the unpredictable phase-locking of the wave functions. It exists and can be worked with, but is impossible under thinking of conventional physics which treats the intelligent and ordered biasing of phase-locks as mere “randomness” that can only be analyzed statistically like a game of Plinko.
And for this same reason, science still does not know what time truly is - they know space very well, because it is real, but time is imaginary and we move along it mysteriously at a steady pace.
All the above points to the etheric having a relationship with the physical what imaginary numbers have with the real numbers. And to convert from real to imaginary, you just multiply by .
That is what must be done, to take the coordinates of space-time times an and thus “operate” upon it a virtual ninety degree rotation:
So whereas the physical realm has imaginary time and real space, the etheric realm has real time and imaginary space. We can take it further and multiply by to theoretically get the astral:
And if we operate upon the astral coordinates with the third imaginary number we get back the physical:
Summarizing the structure of the coordinates:
Physical Realm: (imaginary time, real space)
Etheric Realm: (negative real time, imaginary space)
Astral Realm: (negative j-imaginary time, negative k-imaginary space)
These are the raw coordinates. The Pythagorean space-time intervals are as follows:
These two are just opposite in sign.
This implies that,
whereas events in space-time progress from past to future along a path
etheric influences manifesting in space-time progress from future to past backward along that same path
Of course, at moments of quantum choice multiple paths open up into the future, and thus multiple futures have paths tracing back to the present moment.
This precisely matches what was stated earlier about probable futures exerting influences via the etheric that go backward in time and intersect the present. So the etheric is indeed associated with some kind of “reverse time” phenomenon, at least as far as its interactions with our physical realm is concerned.
As for the raw coordinates of the etheric, time is real instead of imaginary and space is imaginary instead of real. In that sense it is more like time-space instead of space-time. I’m not sure how to interpret this exactly. But to make an educated guess, this implies that within the etheric, one has total freedom to move forward or backward in time just as we physical beings have total freedom to move around in space.
Inversely, our consciousness is quantum phase-locked into a collective rate of time and mobility in time is limited, while for the etheric entity it would be spatial geometry, form, path, and position would be the restrictors instead of time.
Maybe that explains why etheric phenomena depend so much on geometry:
the etheric energies of a room being dependent on furniture arrangement
shape of pyramids and domes being concentrators of etheric energy
ghosts being tied down to particular locations and sometimes seen doing the same thing or walking the same path over and over
the use of specially arranged items and repeated motions in rituals to invoke etheric entities
spatially periodic arrangement of atoms in a crystal lattice making it function as an amplifier and transducer of etheric energies
We can take a closer look at the quantum physics of the etheric plane, if that is even possible. Earlier it was shown how space-time coordinates related to the wave function, where imaginary components became a phase factor multiplying another wave function depending only on the real components.
Applying this to the etheric case:
And continuing onto the astral case:
I’m not sure whether the etheric wave function should have the last part be or but in either case that wave function is a function of time, and if periodic would be a frequency. Therefore the etheric wave function is a spatial phase factor times a frequency factor. That may be where the resonance phenomenon of the etheric body comes into play.
I wrote of this in Ether Body and FRV where the resonance spectrum of your etheric body (aka aura) determines what probable futures you resonate with and are mutually attracted toward. The aura has spatial characteristics, not only localized to your body and varying in frequency over different regions of the body, but also extending outward a certain distance, which is why cities have certain vibes due to everyone’s auras contributing to the collective aura of the city.
It is also why you can get bad reactions to people with bad vibes if you get too close to them, or say, why having a roommate of bad vibes can drag you down as well (aside from the psychological osmosis) including bringing you the same mishaps and misfortunes that are resonant with him or her.
I should also mention that the physical wave function shown earlier is, in realistic cases, just one of many wave functions comprising the totality of a particle, atom, molecule, substance. Likewise, there are many etheric frequencies making up a rich spectrum unique to each individual (unless the individual is not an individual but some artificial humanoid construct cast from the same mold and thus carrying identical energy signature as others like it - see Human Simulacra for more on that idea).
That sums up my interpretation of the etheric wave function.
The astral case is interesting because all components of the astral coordinates are imaginary and thus the wave function consists purely of phase. This shows that, as required, the astral realm is completely different from the physical. Whereas the etheric somewhat mirrors the physical, the astral is perpendicular to both the physical and the etheric. Its wave function has no spatial or temporal wave function component, just pure phase. It is beyond space-time and time-space.
From a Relativistic point of view, the astral realms would reside exactly on the event horizon of existence, on the light cone, in a timeless state of eternity and zero space.
This is evident from the following Special Relativity equations:
Or the General Relativity equations, in terms of the gravitational potential :
When or then time goes to infinity and length goes to zero, both losing their meaning.
Those conditions happen at the event horizon, at the speed of light, on the light-cone in space-time diagrams. All quantum wave functions would, in that state, lose their real spatial and temporal dependence and the only thing left would be phase.
And that is why existence in the true astral realms is so abstract, symbolic, timeless and spaceless.
The astral is the phase space, phase time, within the bubble of eternity. And from this state, physical realms are accessible by simply rotating into them via transformation through k, though only in accordance with the phase pattern one holds in the astral state. This may very well be the process of incarnation.
Reincarnation would involve consciousness first rotating out of the physical, then out of the etheric, and finally into the upper strata of the astral before doing the reverse and entering into a new fetus.
When or then time and space return - with Real and Imaginary flipped. Talk about going through the looking glass! That is the multiplication of spacetime by which is how the etheric realm was derived. The physical plane exists under the light barrier, etheric beyond the light barrier, and astral at the light barrier.
This is another reason etheric processes act acausally instead of causally - they operate in a region of reality that are not causally connected to us (in the same way one domino knocking down another are causally connected) but rather acausally by “unpredictably” affecting the phase of the physical wave function.
Complex Spacetime We can combine the physical, etheric, and astral into one coordinate system if coordinates are made complex instead of purely real or purely imaginary.
If so, it would look like this:
This is to allow for entities occupying multiple realms. For instance, the coordinate (ic3 – c5, 2+4i, 0, 0) is located neither entirely in the physical nor in the etheric, but has projections onto each. We would observe this point located at 2 meters and 3 imaginary light-seconds, while in the etheric realm it appears to be at 4 imaginary meters and -5 light-seconds.
But in truth this point is neither in the physical nor in the etheric, but in between.
The coordinate can also be represented in polar form with magnitude and phase, where a 45° phase angle means being halfway between physical and etheric, 0° fully physical, and 90° fully etheric.
This is probably the same phase discussed earlier in connection with the quantum wave function:
As mentioned earlier, 0° quantum phase difference means phase lock or full tangibility between two beings (or a system and its observer) and just now 0° polar phase was defined as the physical plane - the plane of tangibility.
This also suggests, however, that if another collective reality is at 23° and everyone in it were also at 23° then those people would be fully tangible to each other, yet phased out from us at 0° and thus imperceptible. Aliens who hang around invisibly to observe us are probably phased out in this manner to varying degrees, although that they can see us without us seeing them must then be due to our being focused on just one special phase while they can see multiple phases at once.
Aside from the phase angle associated with there are also phases for j and k in the astral realm, though my interpretation of those is left for another research note.
What separates one timeline from another?
Consider two moments in time, both occurring at noon on the same day but located in parallel timelines. In the first you have spaghetti for lunch, the other you have curry.
Where are these two moments relative to each other?
Well, they both have the same physical time since they both happen at noon. But if time is complex, then they must have different complex time values despite having the same imaginary one. One could be (.435c + ic12) and the other (.482c + ic12).
This shows that choices we face each split off into different complex time values. If ten minutes before lunch I can think of three places to go, then my timeline splits into three timelines with unique complex time values. The space-time diagrams of Relativity (with light cones) only show and not – they don’t allow for real time and therefore parallel timelines.
Although that could be easily added by layering light-cones or having them be joined at the axis with rotation from light cone to light cone signifying changing phase angles.
I would go so far as to say that, to represent all this more accurately, the light cone has to be folded up into a light bundle containing our reality similar to how a fiber optic cable can carry the video data of a movie, and that reality would thus consist of an intricate network of these light bundles intersecting and diverging at nodes, the nodes representing choice points where one can switch from one causal time segment to an array of others.
It should be clear that all these phase angles, realms, and the complex regions between them make for a vast and mind-boggling hyper-dimensional game board.
The complex spaces may even have a fractal structure, which would make opportunities for experience and evolution of life truly infinite. That is assuming any of this math speculation is even correct, and given that I only received these ideas less than a week ago there is plenty of room for error.
If nothing else, consider this research note an exercise in creative thinking.
Quantum physicists in the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK have confirmed in the lab that the weird instant correlations between remote “entangled” particles are real. The question that comes to mind is, can quantum weirdness be used to send instant message across space-time, faster than light? The new experimental conformation of instant entanglement – not the first, but the strongest to date – is published on arXiv with the title “Experimental loophole-free violation of a Bell inequality using entangled electron spins separated by 1.3 km.” See also my summary and Zeeya Merali’s summaries published at Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) website and Nature News.
The researchers measured the spins of hundred of entangled particles in two University of Delft labs, located 1.3 km apart, and confirmed that the entangled correlations are still observed when there is not enough time for light to travel from the first lab to the second, which means that entanglement isn’t limited by the speed of light. If the correlations between entangled particles aren’t limited by the speed of light, is it possible to send instant messages faster than light (FTL), or across time, or do even weirder forms of quantum magic? The cover image is taken from the scientific documentary “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” – a controversial “quantum mysticism” cult film that intriguingly hints at the possibility that quantum weirdness might eventually provide a solid scientific framework for spiritual beliefs. To be entirely honest, I want quantum physics to be weird. In “The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul,” Rudy Rucker astutely observes that many people find quantum mysticism appealing because it seems to offer a scientific escape from death. “If the world is fundamentally random, then surely I’m not a robotic machine, and if I’m not a machine, then perhaps I have an immortal soul, so death isn’t so frightening.” I plead guilty as charged – and why not? I realize that the universe doesn’t have to agree with my hopeful thinking… but perhaps it does. Time will tell. Faster than light communications based on entanglement: No Can Do The awesome scientific history book “How the Hippies Saved Physics,” by David Kaiser, tells the fascinating story of the Fundamental Fysiks Group– quantum physics and the psychedelic youth culture of the seventies rolled together – and shows some of the colorful scientists who dedicated years to developing schemes for FTL messaging via entanglement.
“Nick Herbert and Jack Sarfatti [liked] to talk about the quantum physics and the possibilities of time travel,” wrote R.U. Sirius in his book review. “It is clear that hip young scientists in the 1970s broke through an extant taboo against exploring theoretical physics. And even if some may find their theories flakey in the extreme, we can thank them for busting open the exploration of big physics ideas.” “And who knows. Maybe Jack Sarfatti will yet build that time machine.” Nick Herbert’s (highly recommended) book Quantum Reality, acclaimed as one of the best popular books on quantum physics, is still very much worth reading 30 years after its first publication in 1985. Contrary to some books by other members of the Fundamental Fysiks Group, such as the very successful The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, Herbert’s book doesn’t emphasize quantum mysticism but sticks to solid – though open-minded and imaginative – physics, including a very clear explanation of Bell’s theorem. Kaiser tells the story of Herbert’s imaginative and apparently solid – but ultimately unsuccessful – schemes with names like QUICK and FLASH to use entanglement for FTL communications. John G. Cramer, a professor of physics at the University of Washington in Seattle, who also authored the excellent science fiction novels Twistor and Einstein’s Bridge, proposed schemes for spacetime communication via quantum entanglement, often discussed in his Alternate View columns on Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine. Unfortunately, according to our current understanding of quantum physics, entanglement can’t be used to send FTL instant messages. Measuring the spin of one of a pair of entangled particles always gives a random result – even if the results of the two measurements are correlated – and any attempt to preset the spin of a particle would break the entanglement. A good analogy is two decks of “magic” cards that are always in the same order, but the magic only works if both decks are well shuffled first, and cheating breaks the magic.
In the image above I illustrate another good analogy, due to physicist David Bohm. Two screens in different places seem to show two fishes that exhibit weird, instantly correlated behaviors – when one turns left the other also turns left – but the screens are really showing two images of the same fish. Of course, an observer at one screen can’t send an instant message to an observer at the other screen. Nothing – zooming in, increasing the luminosity, switching the screen off – will work short of persuading the real fish to turn in one direction, which the observer can’t do. It’s interesting that, despite the simple no-can-do analogies above, the FTL schemes devised by Herbert and Cramer seem solid and almost correct. Spotting the design flaws requires subtle reasoning, giving the impression that the universe tries to protect itself from FTL signaling. Recently, Cramer and Herbert wrote a joint paper titled “An Inquiry into the Possibility of Nonlocal Quantum Communication” with a negative conclusion. A few days ago, Herbert criticized yet another new scheme for FTL messaging via entanglement, and concluded: “Despite the FTL nature of the Theory that represents the World, despite the FTL nature of the Reality which underlies the World, the World Herself displays not a speck of evidence for any FTL connections. In summary, according to our best (current) understanding of the quantum world, entanglement can’t be used to send instant FTL messages. Non-linear quantum physics to the rescue? FTL fans and adepts of quantum mysticism can still hope that future non-linear versions of quantum physics might allow for FTL communications, and who knows what else. “This idea was studied in the early 1990s as a consequence of a particular nonlinear variant of quantum mechanics due to [Steven] Weinberg,” explained Barak Shoshany, a graduate student at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. “Later it was argued that any nonlinear formulation of quantum mechanics (not only in Weinberg’s framework) necessarily leads to the possibility of superluminal communication.” Shoshany gives a list of references, all easy to find online in full text. “I show that Weinberg’s nonlinear quantum mechanics leads either to communication via Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations, or to communications between branches of the wave function,” reads the abstract of one of the references, by Joseph Polchinski. In other words, either FTL instant messages to the stars, or messages to parallel universes. “Any attempt to generalize quantum mechanics by allowing small nonlinearities in the evolution of state vectors risks the introduction of instantaneous communication between separated observers,” noted Weinberg in his “Lectures on Quantum Mechanics.” Time will tell, and experiment will decide. In the meantime, I certainly want to read more about these fascinating topics.
Image from “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” and a PPT presentation by the author.
Giulio Prisco is a writer, technology expert, futurist and transhumanist. A former manager in European science and technology centers, he writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including science, information technology, emerging technologies, virtual worlds, space exploration and future studies. He serves as President of the Italian Transhumanist Association. Print• Email• permalink• (11) Comments• (9087) Hits • subscribe• • • • •
State-Specific Sciences: Altered State Origin of the Proposal Charles T. Tart Perhaps the most important and creative idea I’ve had in my half-century career as a psychologist has been the establishment of state-specific sciences. The basic idea is to greatly expand our ability to gain knowledge by practicing the essence of science in a variety of states of consciousness, instead of just one, and to be able to study and eventually use the unusual experiences of altered states more clearly. Little has been done by others to actually establish such sciences as of this time (2015), and I believe that, for a variety of reasons, the idea is still ahead of its time, but I have high hopes for it. I’m also aware that just because an idea seems exciting and plausible does not necessarily mean it is correct, so it may turn out to be an idea that is false, as some people said at the time, but we shall see… Note on Eye Candy: Various charts from my systems approach to understanding and using Altered States of Consciousness, taken from my States of Consciousness book.
Here’s how it came about. By the early 1970s, I had finished my graduate degree and spent a decade focusing my empirical research primarily on the nature of hypnosis and on using posthypnotic suggestion to influence the content and processing of stage I-REM dreaming during the night. I had also been a subject while in graduate school of a psychiatrist colleague’s (Martin Keeler) experiments with psychedelic drugs, particularly LSD and psilocybin, so I had some personal experience of the drastic changes that these kind of drugs could make to mental functioning. And although consciousness per se was still largely a taboo topic in science back then, I was familiar with a very wide variety of early studies and reports on things like creative states, what little was known of meditation at the time, lucid dreams, and the like. I had also, through the kindness of Michael Murphy, the founder of Esalen Institute, attended a number of human potential programs at Esalen. One of the growth techniques I became aware of was Structural Integration, commonly known as Rolfing. This was a therapy developed by New York physiologists Ida Rolf. To greatly oversimplify, she observed that, probably as a result of various physical traumas through life, our body became poorly aligned within the Earth’s gravitational field, connective tissue grew into permanent tensions to try to compensate for this, and as a result a lot of physical energy was wasted or took pathological directions. She developed a form of therapy (10 sessions) in which a Rolfing therapist, using intense physical manipulation techniques (not just fingers but elbows with full body weight behind them, e.g.) softened and broke hardened connective tissue until the body was optimally aligned vertically in the gravitational field. Some of the Rolfing practitioners also felt that this released many psychological traumas that had been incorporated in chronic bodily tensions and practices. I could look in the mirror and see that my posture was not all that good, and decided to go through the standard 10 sessions of Rolfing. I was ambivalent about this, already knowing that it was usually a quite painful procedure, and I’ve always been afraid of pain.
Pain-Induced Altered States: I was living in Davis in 1971, so drove down to San Francisco for my first Rolfing session with Seymour Carter. My expectations of it being extremely painful work were, unfortunately, repeatedly confirmed throughout the approximately 90 minute session! I tried to be a strong, silent manly type, but I’m sure I let out a fair number of moans and groans! When I stood up at the end of the session, though, I felt taller and many of my bodily motions felt smoother, as if my joints had been rusty and now the rust had been removed and my joints had been oiled. I drove straight back to Davis, and in that hour of driving all of the ideas that later came out in my proposal for establishing state-specific sciences arose in my mind, in a comprehensible and orderly manner. I got home, grabbed my portable electric typewriter and took it to a table in my back yard (it was a pleasant afternoon) and began typing. Almost all of the proposal came out within the hour, with no corrections or editing, and by three days later I had run off more than 100 mimeographed copies of the proposal to distribute at the Council Grove conference on consciousness that I was going to attend in Kansas in a few days. So what was my proposal for state-specific sciences? Stripping it down to the barest of essentials, if you ask what science is, it’s a set of procedures for (1) better observation of what happens in reality and (2) for creating, testing, and refining theories, explanations, as to why things happen the way you observed. What is usually left out in thinking about science, though, is that the process of essential science is done by a human being, done by a creature with characteristics, both innate and acquired, that can make it more sensitive to some kinds of things, less sensitive or blind other kinds of things, able to reason and see clearly about some kinds of relationships, but not about others. Besides characteristics inherent to all human beings, each of us has been socialized into a particular culture and so is biased to observe things and think about things in accordance with the values of that culture. But when you look at the way the mind can change its functioning in various altered states of consciousness (ASCs), you realize that the “ordinary” or “normal” state for any particular culture has many semi-arbitrary characteristics. So doing science in one’s ordinary state of consciousness is doing it with, as it were, a specialized instrument. It would be, by analogy, as if all astronomy were done through telescopes whose lenses were made from a kind of glass that was inherently red. Those telescopes would be more sensitive to certain kinds of light, less sensitive to other. There’s nothing wrong with the observations and theories based on them made with the red-biased telescopes, of course, but it’s wrong to assume that they are the complete picture. So what I basically proposed is that we develop detailed knowledge of various ASC’s, the strengths and weaknesses of each of those, and then practice science within each of those. That would give us a variety of “instruments,” and so give us additional ways of observing and thinking. Note on Eye Candy: Various charts from my systems approach to understanding and using Altered States of Consciousness, taken from my States of Consciousness book. Creative Flow in the Wisdom of Hindsight: I’ve been a student of my own, as well as others’ mental processes my whole life, and knew what had happened was quite amazing. I was not that fluent a writer, and to have a complex proposal like that just pour out of my fingertips on to the typed page in practically final form was very unusual. I had never experienced creativity like that, and I later reasoned that some combination of the strong physical pain from the Rolfing session, my attempts to lie still on the worktable so I could be worked on, and the many brief ASCs induced by the pain, states centered around the painful stimulation and my efforts to be quiet and manly, must have shaken up and eliminated all sorts of mental blocks in my mind. (Induction procedures for ASC are discussed in the systems approach to consciousness in my States of Consciousness book) As I thought about what I’d written about in the proposal, I could see that practically each individual item was something I had thought about the some extent at some time or another in my past, but these had been isolated, unconnected thoughts. The creative miracle was them just pouring out.
I spoke briefly at the 1971 Council Grove conference on this material, and many attendees (researchers interested in consciousness) made encouraging comments, so I did a little bit of editing and submitted it to Science. Since this was about expanding our potential uses of science in general, not just in terms of properties of ASCs, I thought it deserved to get as wider distribution in the scientific community as possible. I feared it would be too far out for the editors of Science, but they accepted it. Their acceptance letter included comments from two anonymous referees. One of these referees clearly understood the revolutionary import of the proposal and thought it was an excellent idea. Years later I found out that this referee was Elmer Green, who was uniquely knowledgeable for understanding the state-specific sciences proposal. The second referee was, I concluded from the tenor of his remarks, probably a professor of agriculture or something pretty irrelevant to my proposal, but he went along with publishing the paper. The paper appeared as a feature article (seven pages) in a 1973 issue of Science.
Reaction: Brilliant or Crazy? As most of us who have published scientific articles know, the vast majority of these articles disappear with scarcely a trace, perhaps a few citations in passing in some specialty journal, and that’s it. To my amazement, and I assume the amazement of the editor of Science, my proposal drew over 100 letters to the editor! With journal space always being considered precious, Science only published four of them, with some balance between letters stating it was a good idea and those saying the idea was nonsense. They sent all the rest of the letters to me, and these were not anonymous like refereeing reports, but showed the writers names and affiliations. These letters to the editor were very interesting. Roughly half of them said state-specific sciences were a good idea, let’s get on with developing them, we will learn a lot. The other half said science depended on the scientist being in a normal, sane state of consciousness, any and all ASCs were obviously inferior and crazy states, you couldn’t possibly do science in any ASC, Science should not have published the article. I recognized the names of many of the writers in the “This is crazy” category: they were prominent senior scientists in a variety of fields. From what I could trace down of the names of the writers in the “This is wonderful” category, these were younger scientists. The most interesting letter, or actually pair of letters, submitted to the editor, was from a psychiatrist I had met once at a conference who was just a little older than me. His first letter was like the letters from the older scientists, this whole idea was, to use the appropriate psychiatric term, nuts! His second letter, written a few days later, reported that he was in an altered state of consciousness one evening and he thought about the state-specific science proposal, and it made perfect sense! He was embarrassed at having to contradict his own position, but his scientific integrity compelled him to… This proposal for state specific sciences has been widely reprinted in many journals and books. I was also invited to write an updated version of it for a journal I was told was the South American equivalent of Science, Ciencia e Cultura, Journal of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science, and I was happy to report that I could see the possible beginnings of state specific sciences in several fields. One was in mathematics, were a number of mathematicians I spoke or corresponded with about their mental state when they were actually doing creative mathematics strongly suggested they were in altered states of consciousness, and that they needed to be in that kind of state to fully comprehend other mathematicians work at times. This was the state specific communication I talked about in the proposal. Another was the extensive information exchanges that were going on between lucid dreamers on the World Wide Web,. In lucid dreams a person’s state of consciousness changes drastically within a nocturnal dream, so they feel as if their mind is sharp, lucid, knowing that they are dreaming, but they can then deliberately experiment with the qualities of the state. As I concluded in that article, It is difficult to predict what the chances are of developing state-specific sciences. Our knowledge is still too diffuse and dependent on our normal SoCs. Yet I think it is probable that state-specific sciences can be developed for such SoCs as auto-hypnosis, various meditative states20, marijuana intoxication, LSD intoxication, self-remembering, reverie, various emotional states, and biofeedback-induced states , in addition to lucid dreaming. In all of these SoCs, volition seems to be retained, so that the observer can indeed carry out experiments on herself or others or both. Some SoCs, in which the wish to experiment during the state may disappear, but in which some experimentation can be carried out if special conditions are prepared before the state is entered, might be alcohol intoxication, ordinary dreaming, hypnagogic states, and high dreams . Some SoCs, like those associated with NDEs, may simply be too dangerous to deliberately experiment
If one defines the occult as the unseen (which is technically is) then it would be easier (and less lengthy) to write an article on times that music was not affected by the unseen world than on the times it was. In the world music tradition, we have rather extensive history (extending all the way back to the Greeks) of the use of music to induce certain states- modes were thought to have certain qualities. There is even some evidence to suggest that the Egyptians used music as a healing tool This anticipated the later utilization of these techniques by figures as diverse as Sun Ra, Jimi Hendrix, the Misunderstood, Rudolph Steiner, various "new age practitioners" such as Stephen Levine and the biased experiments tying plant growth to listening to classical music.1These types of customs are utilized in Africa, India, South America and within most native cultures (shamanic cultures from Russia to the Americas to the Pacific) have some kind of tradition of sacred song to them. The links run from the Russian shamanic traditions, the Australian aborigines to East Indian Gandharva Veda and Karnatak musics to Hawaiian chanting, to perhaps the most infamous occult music tradition of all, the Yoruban culture in Africa which found its expression as Voudon (Voodoo) in Haiti and Santeria throughout most of the remainder of South America. This tradition has found its way into contemporary culture through jazz, tango, Cuban music, and of course, blues and rock and roll (more on this later). 2 Getting back to tradition, in the more mainstream religions, it is valuable to know that Moslem, Hindu and Hebrew prayer is usually chanted, not spoken, and there are literally hundreds of books in all these cultures regarding the power of chanted prayer. Balinese and Javanese Gamelan and African Joujouka are vessels for worship. And the Western church also has a tradition of its own of this type—plainsong or proportional chant, which later evolved into Gregorian chant, was one of the basic building blocks of the Western music tradition. Also, as the years progressed, every major composer from the Renaissance onward (and even before) devoted most of their output to sacred work, up to and including 20th century composers like Stravinsky (occasionally) and Messiaen (mostly). A great many composers also chose subject matter of a more obscure occult/spiritual tilt. Mozart wrote overtly about Masonic principles in his opera "The Magic Flute"; Scriabin seemed under the influence of the Theosophical movement of his day with his Prometheus Symphony; Richard Strauss "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is a piece dedicated to Nietzche but also to the misunderstood principles of the founder of the Zoroastrian religion (considered to be the first continuous monotheistic religion; in its current state it is a realtively small religion practiced pretty much exclusively in Iran and in a small colony (Parsi) in Bombay, India); Erik Satie was a Rosicrusian who applied some of the principles of this secret society to his piano pieces; Dane Rudhyar and Gustav Holst were astrologers; Olivier Messiaen wrote numerous pieces dedicated to his unique form of Roman Catholic mysticism, but borrowed from Indian ragas and birds (St. Francis of Assisi being the Catholic link) and also wrote huge works drawing on Indian and Japanese works; and Schoenberg's most ambitious work was the unfinished opera Moses and Aron. The most anti-mystical composer of the 20th century (he claimed that the imagery of the Rite of Spring was derived from the music, and the large pagan gathering that was this major piece's program was inspired by the music, not vice versa) Stravinsky, wrote at least two major sacred works—the Canticum Sacrum and the Symphony of Psalms.Among more contemporary composers, Stockhausen has written works about mantra, the creation and the archangel Michael; Penderecki has written religious works and mystical works, as has Ligeti ("Lux Eterna"), John Cage was directly inspired by Zen and Indian thought about music, while the minimal trio (Riley, Reich, and Glass) are well known for their interest in Indian music, African and Hebrew traditions, and Tibetan Buddhism, respectively. As George Crumb wrote the piece "Black Angels," there was definitely an air of foreboding in the late 1960's and early 1970- like "Tubular Bells," this piece did not start out as an "occult" piece but became one by association by virtue of its inclusion in the soundtrack to the Exorcist (an overtly occult piece like Stairway to Heaven was only marginally associated with occultism, by contrast). The mystical tradition that inspired Wagner is well-known. His finest work (also his last) is a opera called "The Comedy at the End of Time" in which the world comes to an end, prophesied by Sibyls and Anchorite monks and Lucifer is finally forgiven by God for his transgressions and accepted back into God's hands. Even Glenn Branca talks about angels and devils in his Symphonies (and I have left out a ton of composers, I know, from Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" to Handel, Haydyn, Bruckner, well…it never ends.) We'll talk about blues, jazz and rock further on. Where do these people come up with this stuff? First of all, as one of my friends remarked to me long ago, music, being an auditory phenomenon, is not visible, save as a representation on sheet music. It is an occult (unseen) science. It seems to come from everywhere. We interpret it in a congregation (the audience) and it has a wide variety of "secret messages" to it. We can go all the way from the meanings that people derive from lyrics or music to the truly insipid interpretation of lyrics by the "Paul is dead" mania of the late 1960's to Geraldo Rivera hearing the words "Son of Sam" in Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" to the even more stupid "backwards masked" lyrics of Led Zeppelin, among others. Before any of you ever reads too much into a song lyric again, I strongly encourage you to read Julian Jaynes'Origins of Consciousness in the Bicameral Brain. In it, he discusses the cross talk of schizophrenics as the model for messages from the Gods to early cultures. It is a fascinating bit of work and one that should give pause to any one who thinks they hear a message from anywhere—be it from a grizzled singer who can barely pronounce the words he is singing because of a drug-addled state or a "blues" affectation.Thankfully, apart from Geraldo and a few Beatles-maniacs in the 1960's (they are back, by the way and on the Internet), most of us don't pay too much attention to words we can't understand on records. Also, this diatribe should not be taken to mean that 1) their isn't real occult or spiritual significance to the music we enjoy or 2) that music can not be a consciousness altering experience for some people, even from sources that I would not necessarily like. Both exist; but like anything else unseen, interpretation must be made with caution. Blues, rock, and jazz, it must be noted, are many times made in the presence of mind-altering substances. To get to the essence of this, it is always useful to recall that alcohol is called "spirits" for a reason. It has a potency that opens us up to very positive or very negative experiences. Also, the grandfather of these musics is a blend of two musics that have profound occult roots—the Yoruban and the Celtic cultures, for blues came out of Africa, jazz came out of Europe and Africa (adding sex from the whorehouses – in the old days there used to be sacred sex temples in various cultures)– and rock coming out of blues and old country. And country came out of the old Celtic folks who settled in Tennessee. Ever wonder why groups like Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull had such an easy time blending rock rhythms into these weird little English folk pieces?The blues certainly had its share of occult imagery working for it. There is of course the Robert Johnson legend of him going to the crossroads. This is a place in most cultures where demons gather or the devil appears. According to one sensationalistic television special I saw, the Allman Brothers Band used to spend time at Johnson's grave and apparently picked up some kind of a curse by hanging out there- hence the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. Pieces like "Got My Mojo Workin" or even Screamin' Jay Hawkins'"I Put A Spell on You" are obviously huge parts of the history of rock and roll. Even the sex and drugs part of rock represent a sacred tradition, because sex, if used properly, can lead to enlightenment or power, as can alcohol or drugs—but they are considered rather dangerous for unprepared individuals, so a variety of spiritual traditions—in the far east (India with Tantra and Aghora), Shamanic cultures, and even, from what I know of the Santerian—require long periods of preparation before these substances are used for spiritual purposes. Here in the United States, all you need is a fake ID, a drug connection, and (maybe) a condom and you're all set.3Anyone who has ever been to a rock concert sober knows the sense of power you feel from seeing thousands of fans masses… and most of us have been witness to the power of sex, either in our own lives or through proximity. Jim Jones (and many sect leaders) slept with his female devotees not only for pleasure, but for power and dominance. The Hare Krishnas (ISKCON) also had stories of rogue Western gurus who abused their positions for sexual dominance.4 The organization has made major changes over the past twenty years to ensure that the power struggles and corruption that plagued certain parts of the organization in the 1980's do not recur). And think to the recent Heaven's Gate cult—the leader, plagued by guilt or fear over his homosexuality, convinced many cult members to become Eunuchs—actually, somewhat perversely following a pattern that exists in the early Western church of eunuchs (Origen, one of the truly great early church thinkers and founders, was a Eunuch.Moving into music, it was a well-known custom in certain circles to castrate male choirboys in order to retain the high pitched purity of their voices, although this was apparently, done more for aesthetic reasons than spritual—if only they had been blessed with the falsetto control of, say, Frankie Valli. It happens in certain pagan traditions also- according to one who claimed to belong to a family of witches, Alex Sanders, ritual castration was once part of becoming a witch (he got away with a nicked scrotum, though). In India, certain dovotees of Shiva engage in surgery to eliminate sexual desire to this day, and a very bizarre group—the Harridan—go from village to village looking for male children with either deformed sexual organs or with hermaphroditic tendencies, and claim these children as part of their group. The group dress in women's clothes and have a reputation for being powerful magicians. It is rare that parents refuse their demand for a child, because of the fear of a curse. These individuals take the child, cut away all vestiges of maleness and travel the country, telling fortunes and offering magic remedies to villagers—while seeking new recruits. Power, intoxication and the creative energy of the universe (sex) are difficult to withstand. Many sects call for abstinence, for similar reasons—abstinence builds up energy in most people, which can be transmuted to satisfy the goals of the group or given proper guidance, can be channeled through the body to create higher states of consciousness.
Watch an evangelical meeting sometime (or better yet a snake handling session—watch this on TV!)---you'll see, in many cases, the kind of fervor connected with a rock concert, If you witness a coven meeting (which is not as tough to do now as in the past) you will notice the same kind of energy. I have seen cabalistic and Santerian rituals (no animal sacrifice) that have similar energy. I have been part of Hindu rituals that have the same energy as a great musical experience, and I have been at concerts that have a truly sanctified feeling to them. But the experiences range from the ecstatic (Mahavishnu, Alice Coltrane, Magma, Cecil Taylor) to the oddly detached (Leo Smith and Marion Brown, or ZAJ, led by Walter Marchetti and Juan Hidalgo, two Cage disciples) to the traditional (Korean Ah Ahk Theatre, Gamelan, Hare Krishna temple celebrations, chanting, church). Some included the desire to communicate and make more money in the process- Chick Corea's move to fusion, starting with the Moreira-Purim Return to Forever through the Mahavishnu-inspired groups, coincided with his involvement in Scientology. Although it is not known how deeply involved Coryell was with spirituality after he left Sri Chinmoy's tutelage, his most successful band, the Eleventh House, was named for an astrological term. Some of the classical pieces that were inspired by spiritual concepts, like Messiaen's work ("Quartet for the End of Time" comes to mind, but there are so many more), Dane Rudhyar's pieces, Bach's religious works, Stravinsky's pieces, Penderecki (The Passion of St. Luke), Michael Tippett's The Vision of St. Augustine and King Priam (in both pieces the lead character has a vision of the totality of creation all at once; this is similar to some Hindu concept of God realization); Stockhausen's Hymnen and Mantra, and even Cage pieces inspired by Zen, are truly amazing—they are great pieces of art no matter what the context and I am not even touching upon one tenth of all the great religious pieces. Oddly enough, because spirituality and overindulgence in sex and drugs have both produced some great music, it is tempting to look for a link—and there is. Both elements involve a loss of identity and surrender to something else… God, wine, bliss. Certain types of reggae (such as dub) and certain varieties of psychedelic (and later) rock and jazz showed some extraordinary music that would probably not have been made without the influence of intoxicants. Sometimes intoxicants precipitated a crisis that led to other things. We are all familiar of the various stories of how drugs (particularly alcohol, psychedelics, speed, and the harder drugs -- cocaine and heroin in particular have wreaked havoc on people's lived. This has brought on death (Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Keith Moon to name a select few), ruined or interrupted careers (Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson, Peter Green, Skip Spence, Ginger Baker, and David O'List) or led to lame music (Eric Clapton and Lou Reed)—to name the two people I wished hadn't performed when they were on drugs) and animal abuse (accidentally on Ozzie Osbourne's part, intentionally—for which my estimation of him went down enormously—on the part of John Cale). But Santeria and Voodoo regularly engage in animal sacrifice, and many religions around the world, including Biblical Judaism and certain older sects of Hinduism, engaged in animal sacrifice. But these seem to be used for the release of energy, which I think is totally unnecessary and to be honest, repellant.Linking the pattern back to spirituality, part of the myth of Syd Barrett relates how he was interested in joining a sect of mid-Eastern mystics who practiced astral travel to planets—also practiced in India—but the group felt he was too immature to handle it. He resorted to a diet of LSD in order to produce the effect—explaining the emphasis on the first two Floyd LP's—but burned himself out from chronic use of LSD, from which he has apparently still not recovered. Syd sacrificed himself to his spiritual and material ambitions in a pattern not very different from martyrs and hasn't rock has its share of "martyrs" to its life style, such as Hendrix, Morrison, Moon, Cobain and Laughner, to name just a few? But there are also stories of marvelous second chances, like John Coltrane's incredible rebirth and spiritual awakening in the 1960's. But these are very rare and Coltrane only had a short span of time in which to spread his new gospel. Disciples like Pharaoh Sanders and his wife Alice Coltrane, despite great initial popularity, vanished into obscurity by the late 1970's (although they re-emerged) and the ones who exceeded Coltrane's spirituality (like Ayler) were found dead in the East River in the late 1960's under bizarre circumstances. Although Coltrane really got into some incredibly mystical places (albums included titles like the churning "Meditations" (this piece sounds like one of the foundation stones for the German Free Jazz scene of Brotzmann and the late Peter Kowald), Om, Interstellar Space (homages to the planets in duets with drummer Rashied Ali) and the comparatively tame classic A Love Supreme. Ayler's entire set of work was spiritually based., from his earliest to his last lame rock-based work. Titles like "Witches and Devils,""Ghosts" and "Universal Indians" barely hint at Ayler's ecstatic virtuosity. Anybody who just thinks he was blowing straight simple themes should listen with care to, for example, "Ghost" on his Love Cry LP in which he dances in and out of the melody, dropping notes and catching them intentionally like he was using the silences as a type of spiritual counterpoint, while Milford Graves does everything he can to avoid keeping a beat and Alan Silva keens to the higher consciousness. It's an amazing, ECSTATIC performance—quite startling. Are the missing notes being played by the Ghosts?And Sun Ra's interest in Egypt, and spirituality was not just for show. When I met him and spoke with him in 1973 (it was an interview in only the loosest sense of the word—more of a Sun Ra lecture), one of the things he told me to do was to look up a book that I would be interested in at the University of California at Berkeley. The book Urantia has to be one of the strangest books ever written—it was written through a technique that would later be called "channeling" but was composed in the early twentieth century by a spirit possessing a well-placed man in an apparently well-placed group of people. If such a thing were to happen today, there would be a rush to record it or make a television series about it. But, being "well-placed" at that time meant that you would not want anyone else to know of this, so a group met and recorded the book in secret. The book purports to be a history of the universe told from the creation, and Ra was fascinated by it. In one of the chapters of the book, it spoke of Green, blue, orange people—so much so that Ra felt this was why people had distinct color preferences throughout their lives. Somebody who liked green clothing was probably a green person in previous lifetime. He also spoke freely about angels and UFO abductions he had experienced. This was in 1973, long before this kind of thing became popular. Albert Ayler also had a famous vision in which he and his brother were zapped by a flying saucer but were immune to its negative effects because they possessed holy marks. This type of dream is not dissimilar to the belief in certain Indian sects that UFO's represent highly evolved spiritual beings who are intent on deceiving humanity for their own ends the one populated by faerie, vampires, ghosts and all the occult mischief makers.5 Interestingly enough, in some meditation circles, some folks seem to encounter UFO-like characters when they start to make spiritual progress, but these characters are considered distractions, not helpers.My meeting with Sun Ra marked a time (1973) during which interest in the metaphysical and the occult was just about as strong as it is now, but most of us tend to have relatively short memories, so we tend to forget that the sixties and its expansion into drugs also led to a major concurrent interest in the occult and the spiritual life. For example, astrology was HUGELY popular in the 1960's; interest in Eastern Gurus, thanks in no small measure to the Beatles involvement with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Hare Krishna, was enormous. I can recall kids in college leaving to join spiritual groups—and interest in Wicca or White Magic was also quite high. So we had a major influence of different gurus affecting musicians who had come out of the drug culture, or even who needed a refuge. Among the folks who were disciples of different gurus were of course, the Beatles who aligned themselves with TM and ISKCON—the International Society for Krishna Consciousness appealed to John for a brief while, George died an adherent to ISKCON. "The Fool on the Hill" was originally, the story goes, dedicated to the Maharishi and most of The White Album was written in retreat in India). The Doors were into TM though Morrison was initiated into TM before the Beatles involvement: Morrison was the shaman who sacrificed himself for his vision, too in love with living on the edge to see the danger. The Beach Boys were also TM devotees, but it was too late for poor Brian Wilson, who stopped work on Smile because he was sure that his music caused some of the Topanga Canyon fires. Other followers were The Rascals whose song "It's Wonderful" is their TM tribute. There was also Pete Townshend, who devoted himself to Meher Baba- "Baba O'Riley" on Who's Next name checks him and Townshend's first solo album Who Came First was almost entirely written in dedication to him.The jazz-rock contingent seemed drawn to Sri Chinmoy as John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana, Larry Coryell and Brian Auger were all devotees at one point in their lives. Chinmoy seemed to attract instrumental virtuosos while he himself is known for the thousands of songs and paintings he completed, as well as his feats of strength). And of course, there was Alice Coltrane (whose best work, Universal Consciousness, was inspired by her spiritual interests and other musicians, like the late Larry Young (Khalid Yasin) went over to Islam (as did Cat Stevens). And many AACM musicians (from Muhal Richard Abrams to Kalapurusha Maurice McIntyre) were drawn to African and Jewish spirituality. Other folks were drawn to Western Magick, like Graham Bond (who committed suicide in 1975), Robert Fripp (in the early 1970's before his involvement with Western guru J. G. Bennett and the Gurdjieff group), and of course, folks like Stevie Nicks. But what of the heavy metal tradition—the one most intimately (and publicly) connected to the "darker forces"?6But the interest in the weird extra forces of the progressive rock world came to a head between 1971 and 1975, when : 1) Magma came to pre-eminence; 2) King Crimson became interested in Wicca (the Wetton-Cross-Bruford Group); 3) Yes composed titanic works dedicated to Theosophy (followed by Todd Rundgren just a little later.7 These are only the three most obvious. Vander actually developed his own language based upon a time when he was playing free jazz in a club. As the story goes, he was playing to an unappreciative audience; and he thought about the people who were dying to play this music (think Coltrane—Vander viewed Coltrane as his major hero according to the press of the time) and he wished the audience dead—and he was going to tell them. What came out of his mouth, if we are to believe him, was the foundation of Kobaian, the language of all of the Magma music. This concept is quite a bit like "Glossalia," or speaking in tongues when possessed by the Holy Spirit, a phenomenon documented in every religion in the world. Also, I can recall a hell of a lot of apocalyptic thinking at the time—one of the reasons that Fripp gave for disbanding King Crimson in 1975 was because he thought the world was going to undergo massive disasters in 25 years and the idea of running a group seemed frivolous to him; the story changed shortly after, to the "small mobile intelligent units" concept favored by Fripp, Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, but apocalyptic thinking was the first reason I saw in print. Not tough to see why—escalating energy prices and unemployment were starting to worry folks, and there was a real feeling of doom (perhaps fed by too much drug consumption) in the mid-1970's. The advent of Punk and Disco only seemed to make people more convinced that things would get worse and that it was time to get spiritual—in time for a variety of Gurus (eastern and Western) to fill the gaps that the cessation of drugs and partying brought. Also, pieces that had no occult origins like Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" acquired satanic connotations because of its lifting of Terry Riley's trance ideas, and, of course, its use in the film The Exorcist. In certain areas, (mainly industrial England and heartland USA) groups with huge Marshall Amplifers, and distorted guitars realized how ominous such sounds could be. They took the basic concept of Cream, the Who and Hendrix, slowed down the beat and voila, Satanic heavy metal is born. The forerunner is probably Black Widow, an obscure English group from the late 1960's who teamed up with our friend Alex Sanders (see above) caused a minor sensation with their live shows (featuring a nude female celebrant at the end) and releasing one album which faded into obscurity because their record company wanted to push Simon and Garfunkel instead of them! So much for their association with Sanders (according to them, the most powerful man in England). Many groups, like the Crazy World of Arthur Brown (who Ritchie Unterburger correctly identified as the daddy and grand daddy of all the latter "Satanic" rockers), Atomic Rooster, Black Sabbath, Kiss, and Alice Cooper, that were essentially Hammer studios and Hollywood visions of the occult world—accidentally evil or occult at best, but entertaining for the spectacle. The Stones, you will recall, were also involved in their earlier years—of course they had a certain number of songs and album titles in their early years.8 And of course, there was "Dancing With Mr. D" and "Sympathy for the Devil" but their real involvement was with the films of Kenneth Anger, author of Hollywood Babylon. Anger was a Luciferian satanist and also a devotee of Alesiter Crowley (who was not a Satanist) and the movies he mad with the Stones help were a bit bizarre, disturbing, and ultimately incoherent, like Bunuel/Dali on a bad day. This interest lasted a very short while for the Stones (probably 1968-1971) but the stigma stuck. But they were the bad boys- it was expected. The other fellow who exploits in this area are best known is our friend Jimmy Page.Jimmy Page was fascinated with Aleister Crowley and eastern mysticism (remember "Kashmir"?), but the interest with Crowley lasted for more than a few years. The late Aleister Crowley (aka "the Beast" because, as he remarked, his mother called him that) was born into a fundamentalist Christian family who also owned a brewing company. In his early college years, he essentially started tapping into his family's fortune and quickly spent it all. He was involved in the Golden Dawn, a group of occultists from turn of the century England who also included W. B. Yeats among its members. Crowley was invited in by McGregor Mathers one of the founders of the organization who perceived Crowley as brilliant, and tried to enlist his assistance in a battle for control of the group. After a long series of disputes within the group, Crowley was out, and formed his own lodge (Mathers was disgraced and died soon after), and the Golden Dawn turned more introspective and cautious. But Crowley was convinced of his special role in the world, engaging in sex magick, drugs, esoteric rituals and demonic possession. Although he still exhibited a high level of influence through the late 1930's (and a great deal of press as "the Most Evil Man in the World"), his influence waned through the 1940's and he passed away in 1947. Although it sounds like he was just a profligate junkie, his contributions to the "new age" movement and occultism were considerable—he was quite brilliant (although incredibly egotistical, nasty and arrogant). He wrote and "ghosted" wrote many significant works of occultism, including jobs for Evangeline Adams (who made headlines as an astrologer in the early twentieth century) and Gerald Gardner (this was the man generally regarded as leading the Wiccan revival in England in the late 1940's, when it was still against the law to be a witch). Crowley's general decline can be seen as starting when he started to get addicted to opium and heroin, among other substances. Israel Regardie, who served as his personal secretary, allegedly said that Crowley was a genius with the emotional development of a ten year old boy—which, when you come to think of it, is a good description for a great many famous rock performers.Page's involvement with the Crowley legacy extended to the purchase of one of Crowley's homes, and the symbols that adorned Led Zeppelin IV. "Stairway to Heaven" was certainly a mystical piece of music (it was praised by Kenneth Anger as being the most "luciferian" pieces of Page's work—a definite compliment if you view Lucifer, as Anger did, as a representation of truth and beauty), but Page never made it to the stage of finishing a soundtrack to Anger's movies. There are allegations that some members of the group blamed the death of John Bonham and other untoward events upon Page's involvement with Crowley; but Bonham's drinking was getting out of hand even before Page's involvement with Crowley. The break up of Led Zeppelin probably didn't end Page's involvement with Crowley, but the public knowledge and interest in this probably declined at that stage.The interesting thing is, in the late 1970's, especially with the advent of punk, a lot of groups seemed to back away from occult (particularly positive occult) involvement, but the advent of "Death Rock" or occult rock, which developed in s slow pattern through the following bands: Black Widow - Atomic Rooster - Black Sabbath Angel Witch - Venom - Pagan Altar - Widow - Witchfynde - Hell Satan - Cloven Hoof – Warhammer- Onslaught - Sabbat – Antichrist-Ragnarok - Cradle Of Filth - Megiddo Bal Sagoth - December Moon – Ewigkeit - Adorior - Hecate - Enthroned - Phantasia - Forefather - Meads Of Asphodel - Reign Of Erebus Thus Defiled - Old Forest - Annal Nathrakh. They all showed a steady but consistent interest in the underworld as a source of inspiration, although, as I indicated earlier, the evolution is part occult interest, part show biz. Throbbing Gristle even had a bit of a run in occult circles and Genesis P. Orridge has an interest in the works of Austin Osman Spare, a contemporary of Crowley's who established the foundation of a system called Chaos magic, which draws heavily on tapping into the patterns of nature (such as repeating sets) and partially on Shamanic-inspired altered states of consciousness—which sort of fits in well with techno and other dance systems as a metaphysical delivery agent. In the progressive world, Fripp continued his involvement with discipline, Art Ensemble founder Joseph Jarman got more deeply involved with his dojo, and the Belgian groups Present and Univers Zero put out gloomy CD after gloomy CD with strong senses of foreboding.The 1980's also saw a great deal of interest in H.P. Lovecraft's work. Lovecraft was a writer from Providence, RI who was active in the 1920's and who developed intense and foreboding mythologies about the elder gods who ruled the earth before the advent of humans and who waited to seize it again. Their worshippers were snake-like races who seemed more inspired by the influx of Southern European immigrants into the Northeast during Lovecraft's time than by any recorded legends. (Lovecraft was an introverted xenophobe. But Lovecraft inspired more than a few groups, including Caravan (!), Magma, and Univers Zero. Other groups, that emerged in the 1980's, such as Megadeath, Ministry and Slayer, had a stronger connection with the instrumental posture of groups like Black Sabbath, but the instrumental prowess greatly exceeded that of the earlier groups. Slayer, in particular, in their earlier albums, played with a frenzy close to that of free jazz, and a truly threatening vocal style that inspired folks like Rob Zombie (from the old industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts), but that lost a lot of its bite when you see folks like Trey Parker (creator of South Park) imitating it pretty flawlessly. The difficult part of the late 1980's was that, with the advent of the PMRC and various Christian fundamental groups, and police looking for scapegoats, ANYTHING connected with mysticism or the occult was automatically tagged as SATANIC—even folks like Rush and Alan Parsons show up under the Satanic heading, much to my (and their) astonishment. The 1980's was also the period in which New Age music, a combination of ECM, Terry Riley, ethnic music, and a sprinkling of light electronics. This started to gain an enormous audience of over-stressed former hippies and baby boomers trying to find music that would transport them, but not force their heads to work harder than they already were. It was, in some ways, a search for a nice refuge from the hyper-materialistic eighties. In the 1990's, interest in the occult and spirituality seemed to skyrocket to heights not seen since the mid-1970's. The introduction of drugs into a culture among youth seems to generate interest in alternative spirituality, but interest in Wicca seemed to run high in the 1990's—there are more Wiccans than Unitarians at this point—and the increasing diverse environment of the United States and Western Europe are bringing in many more religious traditions, including areas as diverse and dissimilar as Santero, Voodoo, Hinduism and Buddhism, these often having houses of worship or outlets in the same community.9Millennium fever probably fueled a lot of interest in the occult, and disenchantment with mainstream religions also seemed at a peak in the mid to late 1990's. Prosperity in the United States always has seen us experimenting—we find that money doesn't buy happiness, or we start looking for new things to entertain us. Also, the Goth scene started to develop with a new intensity, becoming the hippie movement of the 1990's. This started to develop interest in alternative religions.10 In the later 1990's, as groups like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson (who is allegedly, a minister in the Church of Satan) started to gain in popularity, the middle class and fundamentalist Christianity started to get very concerned again, but the ability to confine this stuff is less easy than in the days before the internet (there must have been a great deal of gnashing of teeth when Tool thanked Satan for its Grammy award!). The ultimate ramifications of the September 11, 2001 attacks have had the interesting effect of both increasing animosity towards foreign cultures and increasing interest, while the Church's recent spate of sexual molestation cases all around the United States have increased interest in alternative religion. Madonna, for instance, is interested in the Cabala and has had a Hindu (Indian) astrology reading done for her (this is the system of astrology that I myself practice). There has been an enormous upsurge in interest in the more metaphysically oriented music of the late 1960's and early 1970's (Gong, Magma, Hawkwind, Terry Riley, etc.).But people are also a bit insecure and afraid now—it would only take one more successful terrorist attack to turn the U.S. into raging xenophobes. What does that have to do with music? Nothing and everything. Basically, even though I am not a big fan of some of the music I've discussed here, it does make the entire musical scene a whole lot more interesting. And I really don't want to listen to either basic rock'n'roll or Christian rock (although some of it sounds OK to me) or even new age stuff. I grew up in a time when virtually everything was possible in music. One of the biggest disappointments in the world as it exists today is the fact that the music scene has remained as fragmented as it was in the mid-1970's onward with segregated markets. The thing that we all have to fight is the belief that we have nothing in common with the rest of the world. The universal undercurrent in every spiritual teaching stresses our similarities—the differences are for spice and flavor, not evil. Footnotes: 1. Many of you may recall these experiments, conducted as far back as the early seventies, in which various experimenters "demonstrated" that plants responded more positively to Mozart than, let's say Megadeath. The hidden factor that was not explained up front, was that the first lady who conducted these experiments hated loud rock, indicating the distinct possibility of bias. Recent experiments have been less conclusive—I seem to recall that now country and western music is the best—but research also tends to indicate that plants seem to thrive if the researcher likes the music being used—so plants could, and mine have, thrive on a diet of free jazz, art rock, and noise. [BACK TO TEXT] 2. The more insidious side of this is that science, our new religion, is expanding on the "classical" experiments and has produced "studies" that show that learners learn better to the music of Mozart—which is odd, considering the fact that Mozart was more of a burnt out party boy than Ozzy Osboune—and many subliminal learning tapes have modeled their music on a certain number of beats oer minute that are supposed to optimize learning. In fact, a friend of mine who programs funk jazz—you know, like the Yellow Jackets, and various other fusack entities—has told me that many of the lighter (yes, Virginia, there is lighter jazz than the Yellow Jackets—all kidding aside, they are good musicians whose combination of elements just happen to annoy ME) jazz stations and producers have the music calculated so it hits a certain number of beats per minute, etc. in the theory that it will sell products better. On the surface of it, it makes sense, but, IF IT WERE TRUE, we would expect, let's say, Kenny G. to be more popular than Bruce Springsteen or the Rolling Stones and this is clearly not the case. But we will be stuck with lame jazz on the airwaves because of this misconception. And we won't even get into Scientology's take on this (refer to the section on jazz rock and Chick Corea's desire to reach people). [BACK TO TEXT]3. There is a story circulating that Shree Rajneesh, the Rolls Royce Guru, used to preside over ecstatic dancing and (allegedly) even sexual acts performed by his disciples and, in so doing, gathered tremendous Siddhi or power. [BACK TO TEXT] 4. See the interesting book Monkey on a Stick for an interesting—though some would say biased—expose of the abuses of power in this organization, especially after Srila Prabhupada passed away. [BACK TO TEXT] 5. This theory is not dissimilar to a theory put forth by John Keel , a veteran UFO and occult investigator, who sometimes felt that UFO's were the latest manifestation of history's contact with the unseen occult world. [BACK TO TEXT] 6. An odd bit of musical trivia is that the occult connection with music can be traced to the most bizarre of connections—Desi Arnaz. It seems Desi was allegedly involved in an offshoot of Santeria in Cuba and was a devotee of one of the deities in his native Cuba. "Babalu" was apparently a tribute to this deity and one Santero (Santerian Priest) I know claimed that the conga rhythms in the "I Love Lucy" theme were actually used in worship to this deity. And they were worried about Led Zeppelin and Ozzy in the seventies! (Note to lawyers in the audience: I am not claiming that Desi was a Satanist! [BACK TO TEXT] 7. Things like the success of "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac and "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright showed mainstream acceptance of these themes. But I think "Rhiannon" in particular, pales in comparison to pieces like "Tam Lin" from Fairport Convention, a song about the evil side of the faerie folk that sent chills through me when I saw them perform it without Sandy Denny. [BACK TO TEXT] 8. I can remember innocently doing a public relations flyer in my high school that stated "Their Satanic Majesties Request Your Presence at Our Spring Dance" and it was a spring dance for two Catholic high schools. Went over like a lead balloon but I was Episcopalian and forgiven for my error. [BACK TO TEXT] 9. There have been increased attempts at Christian conversion in other cultures—the underhanded shenanigans that have occurred in India with the intention of drawing Hindus away from their native religion are extraordinary, deceitful, and reprehensible—but we are living in a time of cultural exchange unparalleled since the late 1800's, personally and through the use of the Internet. [BACK TO TEXT] 10. You haven't lived until you've gone to a Goth club and been approached by somebody who hands you a card that advertises fake vampire fangs and yellow contact lenses—then flashes his fangs at you. It's an interesting experience. [BACK TO TEXT]
Posted by Greg at 12:40, 30 Apr 2004/ From the Daily Grail
GT: Today we've managed to have a chat with one of the world's most respected researchers and commentators on altered states of consciousness (ASCs), Dr Charles Tart. I thought we might start off by "filling in the blanks" for those not familiar with his work, or even with the research into ASCs over the years. Dr Tart was born in 1937 and grew up in Trenton, New Jersey. He was active in amateur radio and worked as a radio engineer while a teenager. He studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before electing to become a psychologist. He received his doctoral degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963, and then received postdoctoral training in hypnosis research with Professor Ernest R. Hilgard at Stanford University. Dr Tart is internationally known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness (particularly altered states of consciousness), for his research in scientific parapsychology, and as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology. His two classic books, ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS (1969) and TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGIES (1975), became widely used texts that were instrumental in allowing these areas to become part of modern psychology. He is currently a Core Faculty Member at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Palo Alto, California) and a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (Sausalito, California), as well as Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Davis campus of the University of California, where he served for 28 years. Thanks for joining us Dr Tart. First off, a little history - considering where it has led, I'd be interested in knowing what inspired the change in your early study pursuits, from Electrical Engineering to Psychology? CT: As a teenager, electronics was my hobby and a burning interest. I was a ham radio operator, enjoying learning about and building the equipment more than the actual talking on the air with other hams, and I taught myself enough electronics to pass the government tests for a First Class Radio Telephone license. That allowed me to work as an engineer in various radio stations, responsible for keeping the equipment tuned and running. It was a great way of working my way through college, as my main job was to be there and log the meter readings every half hour, so I could study in between. Of course if anything happened that took the station off the air, I had to work fast and furious to put it back on - no broadcast, no commercials, no income! So it was natural for me to plan to become an electrical engineer. Also, I was really interested in parapsychology, but it never occurred to me that I could make a living in it - most people still can't, actually, given the lack of money in the field and the prejudice against it - nor did I realize I could become a psychologist, which would be close and fit in with all my interest in the human mind generally. I don't think my high school had anything like vocational counseling when I was there in the early 50s, or, if they did, I was already so set on electrical engineering that I paid no attention to it. Once I became a student at MIT, though, several things happened. On the positive side, some other students and I formed a parapsychology club and I got to personally meet and correspond with some of the leading figures in the field, like J. B. Rhine, Gardner Murphy, and Eileen J. Garrett, so my interest went up enormously. Mrs. Garrett introduced me to Andrija Puharich, a parapsychologist who was "far out" even by parapsychological standards, but he seemed to have found a way to use electronic equipment (a Faraday cage system) to enhance ESP functioning, and that kind of enhancement was exactly what the field needed (and still needs). I was able to spend the summer of my sophomore year working with him as a research assistant. On the negative side, I found I didn't really have the very mathematical kind of mind that was needed for engineering, so I put these things together, found out I could become a psychologist and, with the assistance of J. B. Rhine, transferred to Duke University after my sophomore year. All in all, a very good move! GT: That's quite an incredible list of influential contacts so early in your career, and I didn't know that you worked with Andrija Puharich. Do you think that the revolutionary work undertaken by individuals and groups in the 1950's (such as the Round Table Foundation) had an influence on the rise of the experimental "counter-culture" of the 1960's and 70's...or were they simply parts of a larger trend in the way humans thought about themselves? CT: No, I'm sorry to say that Puharich's research has been almost totally ignored by scientific parapsychologists at the time and since then. I fear this has been a big loss. Puharich had a lot of influence in more fringy, "New Agey" circles, but that has not resulted, to my knowledge, in any solid scientific discoveries. As to the counter-culture, that was created by a combination of existential discontent with a shallow, materialistic culture, plus a desire for actual spiritual experience, not just being told what to believe, plus the introduction of oriental meditation techniques - something you could actually *do* instead of just believe - plus psychedelic drugs, which showed many, many people that there were more profound experiences possible than consumerism - to vastly oversimplify a complex historical phenomena, of course. GT: In your work you seem to have covered basically the whole range of subjects that come under the banner 'ASC', from remote viewing, to OBEs, Psi and hallucinogens. Amongst these, do you have a favourite area of study? CT: First an important correction. Psi, the study of telepathy, clairvoyance, etc. does not normally come under the ASC banner. You can study consciousness and ASCs without knowing anything about psi, and it's a lot "safer" careerwise because ASCs are fairly accepted in science while parapsychology, the study of psi, is strongly rejected. When I created my ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS book (1969), e.g., I deliberately avoided psi as much as possible as I knew I was pushing the prejudices of the establishment back then to think about ASCs, and if I'd done more than mention psi in passing, the automatic rejection of psi would have resulted in the ASC material being rejected, instead of it being accepted so widely. Now personally and scientifically, I know psi is an important aspect of consciousness, but I still generally keep them distinct for tactical reasons - I want to be effective in communicating, not uselessly rouse people's prejudices. Within the ASC field, my initial research for a number of years was with hypnosis and dreams, then psychedelics, then meditation, to oversimplify a complex career. But the interesting thing is that I'm now much less interested in "exotic" altered states than in ordinary consciousness! This is because we spend most of our time in ordinary consciousness (consensus consciousness is the technical name I coined for it) and so it has enormous importance - that's usually where we mess up! - and because our understanding of ASCs implicitly assumes we already understand ordinary consciousness, which is not at all the case! My most recent book, MIND SCIENCE: MEDITATION TRAINING FOR PRACTICAL PEOPLE, teaches people the classical concentrative and insight meditation practices, but then mainly goes into how to be more mindful in the course of everyday life. I've seldom heard of anyone getting in trouble because their thoughts on the meditation cushion weren't mindful, but we sure get in trouble through mindlessness in everyday life! GT: I know from your writings that you are a great fan of the scientific process, but you also do criticise the philosophy of physicalism, ie. the belief that reality is all reducible to certain kinds of physical entities. In the past you have suggested State Specific Sciences as a "scientific way" of researching ASCs further. Could you give a quick recap on SSS, and I would also like to ask whether you truly think that matters of consciousness can be answered by science? CT: Science, to me, is a commitment to put DATA, what actually happens and can be observed, internal experiences as well as external observations, ahead of all your theories and beliefs, no matter how much you like them and are attached to them. That's a hard commitment to live up to, we do so fall in love with our clever ideas! Putting that on the spiritual level, one of my favorite sayings is that "There is no God but Reality. To seek Him elsewhere is the action of the Fall." Seek the highest, yes, but if you let your ideas, desires and beliefs about the highest get in the way of learning from actual experience, you have fallen into ignorance. So a basically scientific - not the scientistic approach of physicalism, but genuine science - approach to life is quite applicable to one's spiritual search. Be open to experience, try to observe it as mindfully and openly as possible, form tentative beliefs about what is, but always keep checking those tentative, working beliefs back against direct experience. Spiritual teachers I really admire, like the Buddha and Gurdjieff, have given this advice - don't believe blindly, keep open and figure things out. One of the categories of experience is experience in various ASCs - dreaming, meditative states, emotional states, etc. That kind of experience should neither be dismissed as irrational and so ignored, nor as automatically being THE TRUTH. It's data, it's experience, and as such, just like the data of ordinary life, you form tentative, working interpretations and beliefs about it, but you keep testing these against further experience. Humility, in a big way! It's not easy. Even with ordinary experiences, when we form a belief that makes us feel good or special, we easily tend to fix that belief into THE TRUTH and defend it from new experience. With ASC experience, which can be more intense than ordinary experience, it's easy to get fixated, so we have to be open to it - some kinds of things only make "sense" in an ASC - but not get overly attached and forget our basic humility. My proposal for state-specific sciences, in a nutshell, is to systematically apply the basic procedures of essential science (and common sense) to the unusual experiences that happen in various ASCs. The idea is still, I'm afraid, ahead of its time. Lots of people have thought it a great idea, but few have even begun the work to make it real. Science has worked very well in many other areas, so let's try it! After all, as Henry Ford said, "Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both right." If we don't try, or try with a defeatist attitude, of course we'll get nowhere. I don't know that we'll get all the answers from science, but let's see how far we can go! GT: You've written about this tension between science and consciousness research as a paradigm clash, which you say have historically been characterised "by bitter emotional antagonisms, and total rejection of the opponent". Is this part of the reason why you created the website journal TASTE ("The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences")? CT: Yes. One major reason is to provide an outlet for scientists who've had transcendent experiences to express them and get the social support of being on a site with others who've had similar experiences. A second reason, why I hope as many people as possible read the experiences on TASTE, is that I want to destroy the stereotype that scientists, as it were, have no souls……. If I can help destroy that stereotype, more scientists will be able to look at these kind of experiences and help us learn more about them. GT: Viewing TASTE, it certainly seems that a lot of scientists do have transcendent experiences, but do not talk about them publicly for fear of being ostracised. In the same respect, do you find that a larger number of scientists support the research on ASCs privately, while staying removed from the debate on a public level? CT: Right. There can be very real consequences of "coming out" with personal transcendent experiences for a scientist, ranging from mild social ostracism at the least consequential end to losing her job (she must be a little crazy, we can't have her teaching students...) at the more consequential end of the spectrum. GT: And as a final question: You've been at the center of consciousness and parapsychology research for around 40 years now - any thoughts of slowing down? Or is this all just too engaging to leave alone? CT: Why would I want to stop doing something that I enjoy doing and that I think is of some service to helping others understand the mind? As long as this body holds up, there are so many interesting things to think about, research, write about, and encourage others to think about, research, and write about! GT: Dr Tart, reading through your work has certainly inspired me not only to research further into areas of consciousness, but has also changed the way I think about myself and the world around me. Personally I'd like to thank you for all the great research you have contributed to a number of fields, and on behalf of TDG readers I'd like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for us. [Attached is more information about the TASTE website, as well as a small description of one of the awards that TASTE has been honoured with. More information on Dr Tart, as well as other content including free publications, can be found at his personal website] The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences (TASTE) http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/tart/taste/ or www.issc-taste.org Over the years many scientists, once they've realized I'm a safe person to talk to, have told me about unusual and transcendent experiences they've had. Too often I'm the first and only person they've ever spoken to about their experiences, for fear of ridicule from their colleagues and adverse, prejudicial effects on their careers. Such fears have, unfortunately, too much of a basis in fact. It's not that there are a lot of scientists with nasty intentions deliberately trying to suppress their colleagues; it's just the social conditioning of our times. I want to change that, and I ask your help in doing so. Scientists today often occupy a social role of "high priests," telling laypeople and each other what is and isn't "real," and, consequently, what is and isn't valuable and sane. Unfortunately, the dominant materialistic and reductionistic psychosocial climate of contemporary science (what sociologists long ago named scientism, an attitude different from the essential process of science), rejects and suppresses a priori both having and sharing transcendent, transpersonal and altered states (or "spiritual" and "psychic," to use common words, in spite of their too vague connotations) experiences. From my perspective as a psychologist, though, this prejudicial suppression and rejection psychologically harms and distorts the transcendent (and other) potentials of both scientists and non-scientists, and also inhibits the development of a genuine scientific understanding of the full potentials of consciousness. Denial of any aspects of our nature, whatever their ultimate ontological status, is never psychologically or socially healthy. The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences (TASTE) site that I have opened is intended to help change this restricted and pathological climate through the operation of a World Wide Web site in journal form that allows scientists from all fields - from anthropology through botany through mathematics through physics through psychology through zoology, to name just a few - to share their personal, transcendent experiences in a safe, anonymous, but quality controlled space that many people have ready access to. TASTE:
Allows individual psychological growth in the contributing scientists by providing a safe means of expression of vital experiences;
Leads toward a more receptive climate to the full range of our humanity in the scientific professions, which, in turn, will benefit our world culture at large;
Provides research data on transcendent experiences in a highly articulate and conscientious population, scientists;
Facilitates the development of a full spectrum science of consciousness by providing both data and psychological support for the study of transcendent experiences;
Helps bridge the unfortunate gaps between science and the rest of culture by illustrating the humanity of scientists.
Please take a look at TASTE: the URL is http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/tart/taste or www.issc-taste.org. If you find it valuable, please pass this information on to friends and colleagues. I have no budget for advertising, so must depend on word of mouth to get this information around. If you have a web site of your own and can add a link to TASTE, thank you! Feel free to copy one of the TASTE experiences as an example on your web site, if you like. In terms of conventional, slower publicity, if you can recommend any journals I should send notices to, please let me know. If you are the editor of any publication, you have my permission (and thanks!) to print this notice in your publication. And if you value The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences as much as I do and would like to make a financial contribution to help support it, email me about it. TASTE is sponsored by the Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness Inc., and all contributions are fully tax deductible. Thank you! Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., Editor Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of California at Davis Professor, Core Faculty, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA "BEST SCIENCE SOCIAL INNOVATION OF 2000 The Science Social Innovations Award 2000 goes to Professor Tart in California for The Archives of Scientist's Transcendent Experiences (TASTE) on the web (at www.issc-taste.org). Professor Tart believes that the materialistic and reductionist psychosocial climate of contemporary science has rejected and suppressed both the having and the sharing of transcendent, transpersonal, spiritual or psychic states and experiences. The website is a safe and anonymous, quality-controlled space that scientists can contribute to and that the general public can have access to. It will lead, he hopes, to a more receptive climate within the scientific profession to the full range of our humanity. [The Institute for Social Inventions is an educational charity founded in 1985 and based in London, with as patrons, inter alia, Brian Eno, Anita Roddick, Sir Peter Parker and Fay Weldon. Schemes around the world are drawn to the Institute's attention by its international correspondents and are judged by the directors of the Institute.]"
Consciousness isn’t something scientists like to talk about much. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, and despite the best efforts of certain researchers, you can’t quantify it. And in science, if you can’t measure something, you’re going to have a tough time explaining it.
But consciousness exists, and it’s one of the most fundamental aspects of what makes us human. And just like dark matter and dark energy have been used to fill some otherwise gaping holes in the standard model of physics, researchers have also proposed that it’s possible to consider consciousness as a new state of matter.
To be clear, this is just a hypothesis, and one to be taken with a huge grain of salt, because we’re squarely in the realm of the hypothetical here, and there's plenty of room for holes to be poked. But it’s part of a quietly bubbling movement within theoretical physics and neuroscience to try and attach certain basic principles to consciousness in order to make it more observable. The hypothesis was first put forward in 2014 by cosmologist and theoretical physicist Max Tegmark from MIT, who proposed that there’s a state of matter - just like a solid, liquid, or gas - in which atoms are arranged to process information and give rise to subjectivity, and ultimately, consciousness. The name of this proposed state of matter? Perceptronium, of course. As Tegmark explains in his pre-print paper:
"Generations of physicists and chemists have studied what happens when you group together vast numbers of atoms, finding that their collective behaviour depends on the pattern in which they are arranged: the key difference between a solid, a liquid, and a gas lies not in the types of atoms, but in their arrangement. In this paper, I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness. However, this should not preclude us from identifying, quantifying, modelling, and ultimately understanding the characteristic properties that all liquid forms of matter (or all conscious forms of matter) share."
In other words, Tegmark isn’t suggesting that there are physical clumps of perceptronium sitting somewhere in your brain and coursing through your veins to impart a sense of self-awareness. Rather, he proposes that consciousness can be interpreted as a mathematical pattern - the result of a particular set of mathematical conditions.
Just as there are certain conditions under which various states of matter - such as steam, water, and ice - can arise, so too can various forms of consciousness, he argues.
Figuring out what it takes to produce these various states of consciousness according to observable and measurable conditions could help us get a grip on what it actually is, and what that means for a human, a monkey, a flea, or a supercomputer. The idea was inspired by the work of neuroscientist Giulio Tononi from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who proposed in 2008 that if you wanted to prove that something had consciousness, you had to demonstrate two specific traits. According to his integrated information theory (IIT), the first of these traits is that a conscious being must be capable of storing, processing, and recalling large amounts of information. "And second,"explains the arXiv.org blog,"this information must be integrated in a unified whole, so that it is impossible to divide into independent parts." This means that consciousness has to be taken as a whole, and cannot be broken down into separate components. A conscious being or system has to not only be able to store and process information, but it must do so in a way that forms a complete, indivisible whole, Tononi argued. If it occurred to you that a supercomputer could potentially have these traits, that’s sort of what Tononi was getting at. As George Johnson writes for The New York Times, Tononi’s hypothesis predicted - with a whole lot of maths - that "devices as simple as a thermostat or a photoelectric diode might have glimmers of consciousness - a subjective self". In Tononi’s calculations, those "glimmers of consciousness" do not necessarily equal a conscious system, and he even came up with a unit, called phi or Φ, which he said could be used to measure how conscious a particular entity is. Six years later, Tegmark proposed that there are two types of matter that could be considered according to the integrated information theory. The first is 'computronium', which meets the requirements of the first trait of being able to store, process, and recall large amounts of information. And the second is 'perceptronium', which does all of the above, but in a way that forms the indivisible whole Tononi described. In his 2014 paper, Tegmark explores what he identifies as the five basic principles that could be used to distinguish conscious matter from other physical systems such as solids, liquids, and gases - "the information, integration, independence, dynamics, and utility principles". He then spends 30 pages or so trying to explain how his new way of thinking about consciousness could explain the unique human perspective on the Universe. As the arXiv.org blog explains, "When we look at a glass of iced water, we perceive the liquid and the solid ice cubes as independent things even though they are intimately linked as part of the same system. How does this happen? Out of all possible outcomes, why do we perceive this solution?" It's an incomplete thought, because Tegmark doesn't have a solution. And as you might have guessed, it's not something that his peers have been eager to take up and run with. Tegmark himself might have even hit a brick wall with it, because he's never managed to take it beyond his pre-print, non-peer-reviewed paper. That's the problem with something like consciousness - if you can't measure your attempts to measure it, how can you be sure you've measured it at all? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ More recently, scientists have attempted to explain how human consciousness could be transferred into an artificial body - seriously, there's a start-up that wants to do this - and one group of Swiss physicists have suggested consciousness occurs in 'time slices' that are hundreds of milliseconds apart. As Matthew Davidson, who studies the neuroscience of consciousness at Monash University in Australia, explains over at The Conversation, we still don't know much about what consciousness actually is, but it's looking more and more likely that it's something we need to consider outside the realm of humans. "If consciousness is indeed an emergent feature of a highly integrated network, as IIT suggests, then probably all complex systems - certainly all creatures with brains - have some minimal form of consciousness,"he says. "By extension, if consciousness is defined by the amount of integrated information in a system, then we may also need to move away from any form of human exceptionalism that says consciousness is exclusive to us." Here's Tegmark's TED talk on consciousness as a mathematical pattern:
A debate persists on criteria which would easily differentiate a substance which is 'psychedelic' from one 'hallucinogenic'. Sir Thomas Browne in 1646 coined the term 'hallucination' from the Latin word "alucinari" meaning "to wander in the mind". The term 'psychedelic' is derived from the Ancient Greek words psychē (ψυχή, "mind") and dēloun (δηλοῦν, "to make visible, to reveal"), or "mind-revealing". 'A hallucinogen' and 'a psychedelic' may refer correctly to the same substance. 'Hallucinations' and 'psychedelia' may both refer to the same aspects of subjective experience in a given instance. The term psychedelia carries an added reference to psychedelic substance culture, and 'psychedelics' are considered by many to be the 'traditional' or 'classical hallucinogens' including DMT, Psilocybin, Mescaline, and LSD. 'A hallucinogen' in this sense broadly refers to any substance which causes changes in perception or hallucinations, while psychedelics carry a positive connotation of general perceptual enhancement. In contrast to Hollister's original criteria, adverse effects may predominate with some hallucinogens with this application of the term.
The word psychedelic (From Ancient Greekψυχή (psychê) mind, soul + δηλος (dêlos) manifest, reveal + -ic) was coined to express the idea of a drug that makes manifest a hidden but real aspect of the mind. It is commonly applied to any drug with perception-altering effects such as LSD and other ergotamine derivatives, DMT and other tryptamines including the alkaloids of Psilocybin spp., mescaline and other phenethylamines. The term "psychedelic" is applied somewhat interchangeably with "psychotomimetic" and "hallucinogen", The classical hallucinogens are considered to be the representative psychedelics and LSD is generally considered the prototypical psychedelic. In order to refer to the LSD-like psychedelics, scientific authors have used the term "classical hallucinogen" in the sense defined by Glennon (1999): "The classical hallucinogens are agents that meet Hollister's original definition, but are also agents that: (a) bind at 5-HT2 serotonin receptors, and (b) are recognized by animals trained to discriminate 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylphenyl)-2-aminopropane (DOM) from vehicle. Otherwise, when the term "psychedelic" is used to refer only to the LSD-like psychedelics (a.k.a. the classical hallucinogens), authors explicitly point that they intend "psychedelic" to be understood according to this more restrictive interpretation (e.g. see Nichols, 2004). One explanatory model for the experiences provoked by psychedelics is the "reducing valve" concept, first articulated in Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception. In this view, the drugs disable the brain's "filtering" ability to selectively prevent certain perceptions, emotions, memories and thoughts from ever reaching the conscious mind. This effect has been described as mind expanding, or consciousness expanding, for the drug "expands" the realm of experience available to conscious awareness.
A designer drug is a structural or functional analog of a controlled substance that has been designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug while at the same time avoid being classified as illegal (by specification as a research chemical) and/or avoid detection in standard drug tests. Many designer drugs and research chemicals are hallucinogenic in nature, such as those in the 2C and NBOMe families.
Dissociatives produce analgesia, amnesia and catalepsy at anesthetic doses. They also produce a sense of detachment from the surrounding environment, hence "the state has been designated as dissociative anesthesia since the patient truly seems disassociated from his environment." Dissociative symptoms include the disruption or compartmentalization of "...the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity or perception."p. 523 Dissociation of sensory input can cause derealization, the perception of the outside world as being dream-like or unreal. Other dissociative experiences include depersonalization, which includes feeling detached from one's body; feeling unreal; feeling able to observe one's actions but not actively take control; being unable to recognize one's self in the mirror while maintaining rational awareness that the image in the mirror is the same person. Simeon (2004) offered "...common descriptions of depersonalisation experiences: watching oneself from a distance (similar to watching a movie); candid out-of-body experiences; a sense of just going through the motions; one part of the self acting/participating while the other part is observing;...." The primary dissociatives achieve their effect through blocking the signals received by the NMDA receptor set (NMDA receptor antagonism) and include ketamine, methoxetamine (MXE), phencyclidine (PCP), dextromethorphan (DXM), and nitrous oxide. However, dissociation is also remarkably administered by salvinorin A's (the active constituent in Salvia divinorum shown to the left) potent κ-opioid receptor agonism. Some dissociatives can have CNSdepressant effects, thereby carrying similar risks as opioids, which can slow breathing or heart rate to levels resulting in death (when using very high doses). DXM in higher doses can increase heart rate and blood pressure and still depress respiration. Inversely, PCP can have more unpredictable effects and has often been classified as a stimulant and a depressant in some texts along with being as a dissociative. While many have reported that they "feel no pain" while under the effects of PCP, DXM and Ketamine, this does not fall under the usual classification of anesthetics in recreational doses (anesthetic doses of DXM may be dangerous). Rather, true to their name, they process pain as a kind of "far away" sensation; pain, although present, becomes a disembodied experience and there is much less emotion associated with it. As for probably the most common dissociative, nitrous oxide, the principal risk seems to be due to oxygen deprivation. Injury from falling is also a danger, as nitrous oxide may cause sudden loss of consciousness, an effect of oxygen deprivation. Because of the high level of physical activity and relative imperviousness to pain induced by PCP, some deaths have been reported due to the release of myoglobin from ruptured muscle cells. High amounts of myoglobin can induce renal shutdown. Many users of dissociatives have been concerned about the possibility of NMDA antagonist neurotoxicity (NAN). This concern is partly due to William E. White, the author of the DXM FAQ, who claimed that dissociatives definitely cause brain damage. The argument was criticized on the basis of lack of evidence and White retracted his claim. White's claims and the ensuing criticism surrounded original research by John Olney. In 1989, John Olney discovered that neuronal vacuolation and other cytotoxic changes ("lesions") occurred in brains of rats administered NMDA antagonists, including PCP and ketamine. Repeated doses of NMDA antagonists led to cellular tolerance and hence continuous exposure to NMDA antagonists did not lead to cumulative neurotoxic effects. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, barbiturates and even diazepam have been found to prevent NAN.LSD and DOB have also been found to prevent NAN.
Deliriants, as their name implies, induce a state of delirium in the user, characterized by extreme confusion and an inability to control one's actions. They are called deliriants because their subjective effects are similar to the experiences of people with delirious fevers. Included in this group are such plants as Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Brugmansia species (Angel's Trumpet), Datura stramonium (Jimson weed), Hyoscyamus niger (henbane), Mandragora officinarum (mandrake), and Myristica fragrans (nutmeg), as well as a number of pharmaceutical drugs, when taken in very high doses, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and its close relative dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). Uncured tobacco is also a deliriant due to its intoxicatingly high levels of nicotine. In addition to the dangers of being far more distracted from or unable to distinguish reality than with other drugs and retaining a truly fragmented dissociation from regular consciousness without being immobilized, the anticholinergics are toxic, carry the risk of death by overdose, and also include a number of uncomfortable side effects. These side effects usually include dehydration and mydriasis (dilation of the pupils). Most modern-day psychonauts who use deliriants report similar or identical hallucinations and challenges. For example, diphenhydramine, as well as dimenhydrinate, when taken in a high enough dosage, often are reported to evoke vivid, dark, and entity-like hallucinations, peripheral disturbances, feelings of being alone but simultaneously of being watched, and hallucinations of real things ceasing to exist. Deliriants also may cause confusion or even rage, and thus have been used by ancient peoples as a stimulant before going into battle.
Psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants have a long history of use within medicinal and religious traditions around the world including shamanic forms of ritual healing and divination, initiation rites, and rituals of syncretistic movements such as União do Vegetal, Santo Daime, and the Native American Church. In the context of religious practice, psychedelic drug use, as well as other substances such as tobacco (hypnotic), are referred to as entheogens. In some places peyote is classified as 'sacrament' for part of religious ceremonies, and is legally condoned for such use. Hallucinogenic substances are among the oldest drugs used by human kind, as hallucinogenic substances naturally occur in mushrooms, cacti and a variety of other plants. Numerous cultures worldwide have endorsed the use of hallucinogens in medicine, religion and recreation, to varying extents, while some cultures have regulated or outright prohibited their use. In most developed countries today, the possession of many hallucinogens, even those found commonly in nature, is considered a crime punishable by fines, imprisonment or even death. In some countries, such as the United States and the Netherlands, partial deference may be granted to traditional religious use by members of indigenous ethnic minorities such as the Native American Church and the Santo Daime Church. Recently the União do Vegetal, a Christian-based religious sect whose composition is not primarily ethnicity-based, won a United States Supreme Court decision authorizing its use of ayahuasca. However, in Brazil, ayahuasca use in a religious context has been legal since 1987. In fact, it is a common belief among members of the União do Vegetal that ayahuasca presents no risk for adolescents within the church, as long as they take it within a religious context.
Historically, hallucinogens have been commonly used in religious or shamanicrituals. In this context they are referred to as entheogens, and they are used to facilitate healing, divination, communication with spirits, and coming-of-age ceremonies. Evidence exists for the use of entheogens in prehistoric times, as well as in numerous ancient cultures, including the Rus', Ancient Egyptian, Mycenaean, Ancient Greek, Vedic, Maya, Inca and Aztec cultures. The Upper Amazon is home to the strongest extant entheogenic tradition; the Urarina of PeruvianAmazonia, for instance, continue to practice an elaborate system of Ayahuascashamanism, coupled with an animistic belief system. Shamans consume hallucinogenic substances in order to induce a trance. Once in this trance, shamans believe that they are able to communicate with the spirit world, and can see what is causing their patients' illness. The Aguaruna of Peru believe that many illnesses are caused by the darts of sorcerers. Under the influence of yaji, a hallucinogenic drink, Aguaruna shamans try to discover and remove the darts from their patients.
Although natural hallucinogenic drugs have been known to mankind for millennia, it was not until the early 20th century that they received extensive attention from Westernscience. Earlier beginnings include scientific studies of nitrous oxide in the late 18th century, and initial studies of the constituents of the peyote cactus in the late 19th century. Starting in 1927 with Kurt Beringer's Der Meskalinrausch (The Mescaline Intoxication), more intensive effort began to be focused on studies of psychoactive plants. Around the same time, Louis Lewin published his extensive survey of psychoactive plants, Phantastica (1928). Important developments in the years that followed included the re-discovery of Mexicanpsilocybin mushrooms (in 1936 by Robert J. Weitlaner) and Christmas vine (in 1939 by Richard Evans Schultes). Arguably the most important pre-World War II development was by Albert Hofmann's 1938 discovery of the semi-synthetic drug LSD, which was later discovered to produce hallucinogenic effects in 1943.
After World War II there was an explosion of interest in hallucinogenic drugs in psychiatry, owing mainly to the invention of LSD. Interest in the drugs tended to focus on either the potential for psychotherapeutic applications of the drugs (see psychedelic psychotherapy), or on the use of hallucinogens to produce a "controlled psychosis", in order to understand psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. By 1951, more than 100 articles on LSD had appeared in medical journals, and by 1961, the number had increased to more than 1000 articles. Hallucinogens were also researched in several countries for their potential as agents of chemical warfare. Most famously, several incidents associated with the CIA's MK-ULTRAmind control research project have been the topic of media attention and lawsuits. At the beginning of the 1950s, the existence of hallucinogenic drugs was virtually unknown to the general public in the West. However this soon changed as several influential figures were introduced to the hallucinogenic experience. Aldous Huxley's 1953 essay The Doors of Perception, describing his experiences with mescaline, and R. Gordon Wasson's 1957 Life magazine article (Seeking the Magic Mushroom) brought the topic into the public limelight. In the early 1960s, counterculture icons such as Jerry Garcia, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey advocated the drugs for their psychedelic effects, and a large subculture of psychedelic drug users was spawned. Psychedelic drugs played a major role in catalyzing the vast social changes initiated in the 1960s. As a result of the growing popularity of LSD and disdain for the hippies with whom it was heavily associated, LSD was banned in the United States in 1967. This greatly reduced the clinical research about LSD, although limited experiments continued to take place, such as those conducted by Reese Jones in San Francisco. As early as the 1960s, research into the medicinal properties of LSD was being conducted. It has been found that LSD is a fairly effective treatment for mental disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). "Savage et al. (1962) provided the earliest report of efficacy for a hallucinogen in OCD, where after two doses of LSD, a patient who suffered from depression and violent obsessive sexual thoughts experienced dramatic and permanent improvement (Nichols 2004: 164)." LSD, along with other hallucinogens, possesses a considerable amount of medicinal properties, which is why further research on the medical uses of hallucinogens is paramount. Starting in the mid-20th century, psychedelic drugs have been the object of extensive attention in the Western world. They have been and are being explored as potential therapeutic agents in treating depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction,cluster headaches, and other ailments. Early military research focused on their use as incapacitating agents. Intelligence agencies tested these drugs in the hope that they would provide an effective means of interrogation, with little success. Yet the most popular, and at the same time most stigmatized, use of psychedelics in Western culture has been associated with the search for direct religious experience, enhanced creativity, personal development, and "mind expansion". The use of psychedelic drugs was a major element of the 1960s counterculture, where it became associated with various social movements and a general atmosphere of rebellion and strife between generations. Despite prohibition, the recreational, spiritual, and medical use of psychedelics continues today. Organizations, such as MAPS and the Heffter Research Institute, have arisen to foster research into their safety and efficacy, while advocacy groups such as the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics push for their legalization. In addition to this activity by proponents, hallucinogens are also widely used in basic science research to understand the mind and brain. However, ever since hallucinogenic experimentation was discontinued in the late 1960s, research into the therapeutic applications of such drugs have been almost nonexistent, that is until this last decade where research has finally been allowed to resume.
In Canada, mescaline is listed as prohibited under schedule III of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Acts, but peyote is specifically exempt and legally available in Canada. As of 2008, most well-known hallucinogens (aside from dextromethorphan, diphenhydramine and dimenhydrinate) are illegal in most Western countries. In the United States hallucinogens are classified as a schedule 1 drug. The 3-pronged test for schedule 1 drugs is as follows: the drug has no currently accepted medical use, there is a lack of safety for the use of the drug under medical supervision, and the substance has a high potential for abuse. One notable exception to the current criminalization trend is in parts of Western Europe, especially in the Netherlands, where cannabis is considered to be a "soft drug". Previously included were hallucinogenic mushrooms, but as of October 2007 the Netherlands officials have moved to ban their sale following several widely publicized incidents involving tourists. While the possession of soft drugs is technically illegal, the Dutch government has decided that using law enforcement to combat their use is largely a waste of resources. As a result, public "coffeeshops" in the Netherlands openly sell cannabis for personal use, and "smart shops" sell drugs like Salvia divinorum, and until the ban of psilocybin mushrooms took effect, they were still available for purchase in smartshops as well. (See Drug policy of the Netherlands). Despite being scheduled as a controlled substance in the mid-1980s, MDMA's popularity has been growing since that time in western Europe and in the United States. Attitudes towards hallucinogens other than cannabis have been slower to change. Several attempts to change the law on the grounds of freedom of religion have been made. Some of these have been successful, for example the Native American Church in the United States, and Santo Daime in Brazil. Some people argue that a religious setting should not be necessary for the legitimacy of hallucinogenic drug use, and for this reason also criticize the euphemistic use of the term "entheogen". Non-religious reasons for the use of hallucinogens including spiritual, introspective, psychotherapeutic, recreational and even hedonistic motives, each subject to some degree of social disapproval, have all been defended as the legitimate exercising of civil liberties and freedom of thought. Several medical and scientific experts, including the late Albert Hofmann, advocate the drugs should not be banned, but should be strongly regulated and warn they can be dangerous without proper psychological supervision.
Psychedelics and mental illnesses in long-term users
Most psychedelics are not known to have long-term physical toxicity. However, entactogens such as MDMA that release neurotransmitters may stimulate increased formation of free radicals possibly formed from neurotransmitters released from the synaptic vesicle. Free radicals are associated with cell damage in other contexts, and have been suggested to be involved in many types of mental conditions including Parkinson's disease, senility, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's. Research on this question has not reached a firm conclusion. The same concerns do not apply to psychedelics that do not release neurotransmitters, such as LSD, nor to dissociatives or deliriants. No clear connection has been made between psychedelic drugs and organic brain damage. However, hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a diagnosed condition wherein certain visual effects of drugs persist for a long time, sometimes permanently, although science and medicine have yet to determine what causes the condition.
LSD, mescalin, psilocybin, and PCP are drugs that cause hallucinations, which can alter a person’s perception of reality. LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin cause their effects by initially disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is distributed throughout the brain and spinal cord, where the serotonin system is involved with controlling of the behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems. This also includes mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. Certain hallucinogens, such as PCP, act through a glutamate receptor in the brain which is important for perception of pain, responses to the environment, and learning and memory. Thus far, there have been no properly controlled research studies on the specific effects of these drugs on the human brain, but smaller studies have shown some of the documented effects associated with the use of hallucinogens.
The class of drugs described in this article has been described by a profusion of names, most of which are associated with a particular theory of their nature. Louis Lewin started out in 1928 by using the word phantastica as the title of his ground-breaking monograph about plants that, in his words, "bring about evident cerebral excitation in the form of hallucinations, illusions and visions [...] followed by unconsciousness or other symptoms of altered cerebral functioning". But no sooner had the term been invented, or Lewin complained that the word "does not cover all that I should wish it to convey", and indeed with the proliferation of research following the discovery of LSD came numerous attempts to improve on it, such as hallucinogen, phanerothyme, psychedelic, psychotomimetic, psychogenic, schizophrenogenic, cataleptogenic, mysticomimetic, psychodysleptic, and entheogenic. The word psychotomimetic, meaning "mimicking psychosis", reflects the hypothesis of early researchers that the effects of psychedelic drugs are similar to naturally-occurring symptoms of schizophrenia, though it has since been discovered that some psychedelics resemble endogenous psychoses better than others. PCP and ketamine are known to better resemble endogenous psychoses because they reproduce both positive and negative symptoms of psychoses, while psilocybin and related hallucinogens typically produce effects resembling only the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. While the serotonergic psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, etc.) do produce subjective effects distinct from NMDA antagonist dissociatives (PCP, ketamine, dextrorphan), there is obvious overlap in the mental processes that these drugs affect and research has discovered that there is overlap in the mechanisms by which both types of psychedelics mimic psychotic symptoms. One double-blind study examining the differences between DMT and ketamine hypothesized that classically psychedelic drugs most resemble paranoid schizophrenia while dissociative drugs best mimicked catatonic subtypes or otherwise undifferentiated schizophrenia. The researchers expressed the view that "a heterogeneous disorder like schizophrenia is unlikely to be modeled accurately by a single pharmacological agent." The word psychedelic was coined by Humphrey Osmond and has the rather mysterious but at least somewhat value-neutral meaning of "mind manifesting". The word entheogen, on the other hand, which is often used to describe the religious and ritual use of psychedelic drugs in anthropological studies, is associated with the idea that it could be relevant to religion. The words entactogen, empathogen, dissociative and deliriant, at last, have all been coined to refer to classes of drugs similar to the classical psychedelics that seemed deserving of a name of their own.
Many different names have been proposed over the years for this drug class. The famous German toxicologist Louis Lewin used the name phantastica earlier in this century, and as we shall see later, such a descriptor is not so farfetched. The most popular names—hallucinogen, psychotomimetic, and psychedelic ("mind manifesting")—have often been used interchangeably. Hallucinogen is now, however, the most common designation in the scientific literature, although it is an inaccurate descriptor of the actual effects of these drugs. In the lay press, the term psychedelic is still the most popular and has held sway for nearly four decades. Most recently, there has been a movement in nonscientific circles to recognize the ability of these substances to provoke mystical experiences and evoke feelings of spiritual significance. Thus, the term entheogen, derived from the Greek word entheos, which means "god within", was introduced by Ruck et al. and has seen increasing use. This term suggests that these substances reveal or allow a connection to the "divine within". Although it seems unlikely that this name will ever be accepted in formal scientific circles, its use has dramatically increased in the popular media and on internet sites. Indeed, in much of the counterculture that uses these substances, entheogen has replaced psychedelic as the name of choice and we may expect to see this trend continue.
Hallucinogens can be classified by their subjective effects, mechanisms of action, and chemical structure. These classifications often correlate to some extent. In this article, they are classified as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants, preferably entirely to the exclusion of the inaccurate word hallucinogen, but the reader is well advised to consider that this particular classification is not universally accepted. The taxonomy used here attempts to blend these three approaches in order to provide as clear and accessible an overview as possible. Almost all hallucinogens contain nitrogen and are therefore classified as alkaloids. THC and salvinorin A are exceptions. Many hallucinogens have chemical structures similar to those of human neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, and temporarily modify the action of neurotransmitters and/or receptor sites.
A classical classification, mainly of historical interest, is that of Lewin (Phantastica, 1928):
Class I Phantastica roughly correspond to the psychedelics, which is a more modern term usually used as synonym to "hallucinogen" by people with positive attitudes towards them. Here the term is used a bit differently to discriminate one particular class of hallucinogens which it seems to describe best. They typically have no sedative effects (sometimes the opposite) and there is usually a clearcut memory to their effects. These drugs have also been referred to as the "classical" hallucinogens.
Class II Phantastica correspond to the other classes in our scheme. They tend to sedate in addition to their hallucinogenic properties and there often is an impaired memory trace after the effects wear off.
Problems with structure-based frameworks is that the same structural motif can include a wide variety of drugs which have substantially different effects. For example, both methamphetamine and MDMA are substituted amphetamines, but methamphetamine has a much stronger stimulant action than MDMA, with none of the latter's empathogenic effects. Also, drugs commonly act on more than one receptor; DXM, for instance, is primarily dissociative in high doses, but also acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, similar to many phenethylamines and in fact, the phenethylamine moiety is embedded in the structure of DXM. LSD also contains both the indole backbone and the phenethylamine moiety. Even so, in many cases structure-based frameworks are still very useful, and the identification of a biologically active pharmacophore and synthesis of analogues of known active substances remains an integral part of modern medicinal chemistry.
Jump up ^Herling, Seymore; Coale, Edward H.; Hein, David W.; Winger, Gail; Woods, James H. (1981). "Similarity of the discriminative stimulus effects of ketamine, cyclazocine, and dextrorphan in the pigeon". Psychopharmacology. 73 (3): 286–91. doi:10.1007/BF00422419. PMID6787651.
Jump up ^Nicholson, Katherine L.; Hayes, Belinda A.; Balster, R. L. (1999). "Evaluation of the reinforcing properties and phencyclidine-like discriminative stimulus effects of dextromethorphan and dextrorphan in rats and rhesus monkeys". Psychopharmacology. 146 (1): 49–59. doi:10.1007/s002130051087. PMID10485964.
Jump up ^Price, William A.; Giannini, Matthew C.; Giannini, A. James (1984). "Antidotal Strategies in Phencyclidine Intoxication". The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. 14 (4): 315–21. doi:10.2190/KKAW-PWGF-W7RQ-23GN.
Jump up ^Farber, N B; Kim, S H; Dikranian, K; Jiang, X P; Heinkel, C (2002). "Receptor mechanisms and circuitry underlying NMDA antagonist neurotoxicity". Molecular Psychiatry. 7 (1): 32–43. doi:10.1038/sj/mp/4000912. PMID11803444.
Jump up ^Ken Goffman. Counterculture through the Ages; from Abraham to Acid House. New York: Villard, 2004. Chapters 11–13.
Jump up ^Brink Lindsey. The Age of Abundance; How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture. New York: Collins, 2007. p.156: "...pot and psychedelics revealed to their users wildly different visions of reality from the "straight" one everybody took for granted. ... Guided into those transcendent realms, many young andimpressionable minds were set aflame with visions of radical change. ... Antiwar protesters, feminists, student rebels, environmentalists, and gays all took their turns marching to the solemn strains of "We Shall Overcome"..."
Jump up ^Goffman, ibidem, p.266–7: "By normative social standards, something unseemly was going on, but since LSD, the catalyst that was unleashing the celebratory chaos, was still legal [in 1966], there was little [the authorities] could do... [That year, a]cross the nation, states started passing laws prohibiting LSD. .... By their panic, as expressed through their prohibitionary legislation, the conservative forces teased out what was perhaps the central countercultural progression for this epoch."
Jump up ^Francom P; Andrenyak D; Lim HK; Bridges RR; Foltz RL; Jones RT (January–February 1988). "Determination of LSD in urine by capillary column gas chromatography and electron impact mass spectrometry". Journal of analytical toxicology. 12 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1093/jat/12.1.1. PMID3352236.
Jump up ^Bogenschutz, M.P. (2013). Studying the Effects of Classic Hallucinogens in the Treatment of Alcoholism: Rationale, Methodology, and Current Research with Psilocybin. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. Jun 18;6(1):17-29.DOI: 10.2174/15733998113099990002 http://eurekaselect.com/111921/article
Jump up ^Thomas G, Lucas P, Capler NR, Tupper KW, Martin G. (2013) Ayahuasca-assisted therapy for addiction: results from a preliminary observational study in Canada. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. Jun 18;6(1):30-42. http://eurekaselect.com/111922/article
Jump up ^Gouzoulis-Mayfrank, E.; Heekeren, K.; Neukirch, A.; Stoll, M.; Stock, C.; Obradovic, M.; Kovar, K.-A. (2005). "Psychological Effects of (S)-Ketamine and N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): A Double-Blind, Cross-Over Study in Healthy Volunteers". Pharmacopsychiatry. 38 (6): 301–11. doi:10.1055/s-2005-916185. PMID16342002.
Erowid is a web site dedicated entirely to providing information about psychoactive drugs, with an impressive collection of trip reports, materials collected from the web and usenet, and a bibliography of scientific literature
Evidence: Academic resources on hallucinogens- and MDMA research, relapse prevention and harm reduction.
The Shroomery has detailed information about magic mushrooms including identification, cultivation and spores, psychedelic images, trip reports and an active community.
Trips Beyond Addiction | Living Hero Radio Show and Podcast special. With Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis, Bovenga Na Muduma, Clare S. Wilkins, Brad Burge, Tom Kingsley Brown, Susan Thesenga, Bruce K. Alexander, PhD ~ the voices of ex-addicts, researchers from The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and Ibogaine/Iboga/Ayahuasca treatment providers sharing their experiences in breaking addiction with native medicines. Jan 2013
Charles Tart was born on April 29, 1937 in Morrisville, Pennsylvania and grew up in Trenton, New Jersey. He was active in amateur radio and worked as a radio engineer (with a First Class Radiotelephone License from the Federal Communications Commission) while a teenager. As an undergraduate, Tart first studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before transferring to Duke University to study psychology, on the advice of Dr Rhine of Duke. He received his doctoral degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963, and then received postdoctoral training in hypnosis research with Professor Ernest R. Hilgard at Stanford University. His first books, Altered States of Consciousness (editor, 1969) and Transpersonal Psychologies (1975), became widely used texts that were instrumental in allowing these areas to become part of modern psychology. He is currently (2005) a Core Faculty Member at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Palo Alto, California) and a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (Sausalito, California), as well as Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, where he served for 28 years, and emeritus member of the Monroe Institute board of advisors. Tart was the holder of the Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and has served as a Visiting Professor in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, as an Instructor in Psychiatry at the School of Medicine of the University of Virginia, and a consultant on government funded parapsychological research at the Stanford Research Institute (now known as SRI International). He was also integral in the theorizing and construction of the automatic ESP testing device the ESPATEACHER machine that was built at the University of Virginia. He supports Joseph McMoneagle's claim of having remote viewed into the past, present, and future and has predicted future events. As well as a laboratory researcher, Tart has been a student of the Japanesemartial art of Aikido (in which he holds a black belt), of meditation, of Gurdjieff's work, of Buddhism, and of other psychological and spiritual growth disciplines. Tart believes that the evidence of the paranormal is bringing science and spirit together. His primary goal is to build bridges between the scientific and spiritual communities, and to help bring about a refinement and integration of Western and Eastern approaches for knowing the world and for personal and social growth. In his 1986 book Waking Up, he introduced the phrase "consensus trance" to the lexicon. Tart likened normal waking consciousness to hypnotic trance. He discussed how each of us is from birth inducted to the trance of the society around us. Tart noted both similarities and differences between hypnotic trance induction and consensus trance induction. He emphasized the enormous and pervasive power of parents, teachers, religious leaders, political figures, and others to compel induction. Referring to the work of Gurdjieff and others he outlines a path to awakening based upon self-observation.
In 1968, Tart conducted an OBE experiment with a subject known as Miss Z for four nights in his sleep laboratory. The subject was attached to an EEG machine and a five-digit code was placed on a shelf above her bed. She did not claim to see the number on the first three nights but on fourth gave the number correctly. During the experiment Tart monitored the equipment in the next room, behind an observation window, however, he admitted he had occasionally dozed during the night. The psychologists Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones have written that the possibility of the subject having obtained the number through ordinary sensory means was not ruled out during the experiment. For example when light fell on the code it was reflected from the surface of a clock located on the wall above the shelf. The subject was not constantly observed and it was also suggested she may have read the number when she was being attached to the EEG machine. According to the magician Milbourne Christopher"If she had held a mirror with a handle in her right hand, by tilting the mirror and looking up she could have seen a reflection of the paper on the shelf... The woman had not been searched prior to the experiment, nor had an observer been in the sleep chamber with her — precautions that should have been taken." The psychologist James Alcock criticized the experiment for inadequate controls and questioned why the subject was not visually monitored by a video camera.Martin Gardner has written the experiment was not evidence for an OBE and suggested that whilst Tart was "snoring behind the window, Miss Z simply stood up in bed, without detaching the electrodes, and peeked."Susan Blackmore wrote "If Miss Z had tried to climb up, the brain-wave record would have showed a pattern of interference. And that was exactly what it did show." The experiment was not repeated at the laboratory, Tart wrote this was because Miss Z moved from the area where the laboratory was located.
Tart has drawn criticism from the scientific community for his comments on a failed psychokinesis (PK) experiment. The targets from the random number generator that were used in the experiment were not random. Tart responded by claiming the nonrandomness was due to a PK effect. Terence Hines has written that a procedural flaw in the experiment itself was used by Tart as evidence for psi and that this is an example of the use of a nonfalsifiable hypothesis in parapsychology. In 1980, Tart claimed that a rejudging of the transcripts from one of Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff’s remote viewing experiments revealed an above-chance result. Targ and Puthoff refused to provide copies of the transcripts and it was not until July 1985 that they were made available for study when it was discovered they still contained sensory cues. The psychologist David Marks and Christopher Scott (1986) wrote "considering the importance for the remote viewing hypothesis of adequate cue removal, Tart’s failure to perform this basic task seems beyond comprehension. As previously concluded, remote viewing has not been demonstrated in the experiments conducted by Puthoff and Targ, only the repeated failure of the investigators to remove sensory cues." Tart has also been criticized by the skeptic Robert Todd Carroll for ignoring Occam's razor (advocating the paranormal instead of naturalistic explanations) and for ignoring the known laws of physics. Tart's book about marijuanaOn Being Stoned has received mixed reviews. Harris Chaiklin wrote the book rejected medical evidence and laboratory experiments in favor for the opinions of marijuana users and probability statistics were inappropriately used. In his book Learning to Use Extrasensory Perception, Tart endorsed experimental methods from learning theory and the results from card guessing experiments in support for ESP. Richard Land wrote that Tart's data was unconvincing but concluded "the book will be enjoyed by believers in ESP, and sceptics will regard it as a curiosity". In 1981, Tart received the James Randi Educational Foundation Media Pigasus Award"for discovering that the further in the future events are, the more difficult it is to predict them."
Abraham Maslow Award (given to an individual for an outstanding and lasting contribution to the exploration of the farther reaches of human spirit), The Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of APA), 2004.
^ Jump up to: abMilbourne Christopher. (1979). Search For The Soul: An Insider's Report On The Continuing Quest By Psychics and Scientists For Evidence Of Life After Death. Crowell. pp. 90-91. ISBN 978-0690017601"Dr. Tart himself noted in his article, which was revised for Edgar D. Mitchell's Psychic Exploration (1974): that the woman "might have concealed a mirror and telescoping rod in her pajamas" and peeked at the shelf "when she thought I might not be looking through the observation window." The woman had not been searched prior to the experiment, nor had an observer been in the sleep chamber with her — precautions that should have been taken. Dr. Tart admitted in his article, but not in the book, that "occasionally I dozed during the night beside the equipment." Could the subject have known when the parapsychologist was napping? Yes — the room in which he sat was lit, and she could see, as he himself did, through the partially open slats of the venetian blind on the window between the two rooms. It should be noted that Dr. Tart wrote the target digits about two inches high "with a black marking pen." The large size would make it easier for the subject to see them — if trickery was used. Another possibility for cheating — mentioned in Dr. Tart's article but excluded from the book — was that the number might have been reflected by the glass face of the wall clock above the shelf."
Jump up ^Terence Hines. (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 141. ISBN 1-57392-979-4"Parapsychologist Charles Tart (1976) used a random number generator to study the possibility of training people to use psi. Subjects were given feedback on whether or not their responses were correct following each trial. In standard learning theory, such feedback is extremely important and enhances learning greatly. Positive results were initially found, as subjects came to be able to match their responses to the numbers generated by the machine. It turned out, however, that the sequence of targets generated by the random number generator was not random. This finding renders highly problematic the contention that the experiment demonstrated psi. Tart’s response to the discovery of nonrandomness was to suggest that it was partly due to PK. Thus, a serious procedural flaw in an experiment has itself been claimed as evidence for psi, in yet another example of the use of a nonfalsifiable hypothesis."
It is not every day you get the opportunity to watch a person literally fade out of sight in front of you, but the day I actually saw it happen changed the way I look at the world forever.
The psychic development of such a "exciting" ability as invisibility may seem far-fetched, but there are actually an amazing number of well documented examples of spontaneous human invisibility on record. There are also a great many people who have learned how to produce this effect at will.
To understand how psychic invisibility can work, we first need to appreciate exactly how we see.
There are two parts to seeing. The first is that light needs to reflect off an object and then arrive at our eyes. Once this happens, the reflected light is transformed into electrical impulses which are sent via the optic nerve to the brain. This is an important step in the mechanics, but the real art of seeing is what happens next.
The second step needed to actually see something is for our brains to actively decipher those electrical impulses and reconstruct them into a mental image.
Since there are two discrete parts needed in order to see something, it makes sense that there are two basic ways to become invisible. Each method interferes with one of these parts of how we recognize something.
The first method is a kind of telekinesis. It is a way to use your psychic abilities to curve light so that what reflects off you never reaches the eye of the beholder. With no reflected light, the eye has no signals to send to the brain so there is nothing to see.
The second method is a way of deceiving the brain of the viewer so it doesn't bother to decode the visual information that the eye sent.
There are actually two ways to bring this about. The first is a kind of telepathic suggestion that works on the mind very much like hypnosis. It essentially tells the brain of the viewer "you did not see anything" and so the brain simply ignores the stuff "it didn't see".
The other method is a way of creating an external cloud of psychic energy that is right on the edge of what the human eye can perceive. Its appearance is so subtle and so strange that the brain assumes that it must have gotten bad information from the eye and so it removes the information out of its mental image, just as it automatically does for your "blind spot.
The method of summoning the cloud of psychic energy is like certain methods of making a "psi-ball" but the volume of energy is much bigger, and the energy must be "tuned" into the "quasi-viewable" frequencies that confuse the eye, which is an art in itself!
With a lot of practice, the "Cloud Method" actually becomes the foundation of many other fascinating psychic skills, including the ability to create spontaneous psychic light, and even psychic illusions!
There are actually a number of other methods for achieving psychic invisibility, but in one way or another each one boils down to either interfering with how the eye makes and sends information to the brain, or by tricking the brain into not processing the visual data it got from the eye.
If you are interested in the idea of creating a psychic effect that is objectively verifiable by other people, invisibility is actually a great skill to begin with. It takes a lot of practice, but it is intensely rewarding and is within the grasp of anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort.
As a child, Thomas Hardy heard various stories of supernatural occurrences from the family servants, rustics from the village, and his own mother who believed she once saw a ghost. Thus, Hardy learned to believe in the supernatural and to accept the superstitious ways of the rustic people. During an interview with William Archer, Hardy expressed, "when I was a younger man, I would cheerfully have given ten years of my life to see a ghost, - an authentic, indubitable spectre". Because of the superstitious influence of his upbringing and his own desire to believe, elements of weirdness, superstition, and magic play an interesting role in Hardy's works. Specifically, Hardy incorporated aspects of superstition and witchcraft into his writings. Such elements provide the reader with an understanding of how Hardy perceived his world.
Many small aspects of superstition exist within the writings of Hardy. In Return of the Native, the reader is introduced to Diggory Venn, the Reddleman. A reddleman unearths red clay which is used as a dye for sheep's wool. Because the reddleman works so much with this substance, his skin takes on a reddish hue and thus, red associating him with the devil, he becomes the "boogeyman " of the rustic people. Other examples of superstition include the evil eye, the magic of a sixpence, and dairy witchcraft. In his 1901 interview with Archer, Hardy stated that "The belief in the evil eye subsists in full force." Johnny Nunsuch of The Return of the Native felt safe as he carried his sixpence because the coin was supposed to bring good luck and protect against witchcraft. Johnny becomes frightened when he happens upon Diggory Venn, the Reddleman, because the child realizes that he has lost his guardian sixpence. The country people held many superstitions regarding the production of milk and cheese. The "magic" that these superstitions are based on is known as dairy witchcraft. For example, in Tess of the d'Urbervilles after Tess arrives at Talbothays, the cows cease to produce milk. The milkers blame this unexplainable phenomena on the newcomer, believing that the milk went directly to the horns of the cows. They thus resort to song as a device to start the cows milking again. Hardy uses slight witch imagery when describing his strong female characters because, according to Gayla Steel, he is hiding his examination of their independence and sexuality within these images. Unlike the stereotypical, Victorian "Angel in the House", Bathsheba, Eustacia, and Rhoda are strong, tall, and dark. For example, in The Return of the Native Hardy calls Eustacia "Queen of the Night" and describes her as having a "dark beauty." Because these women are strong, passionate, and set apart from society, their neighbors denounce them as witches. An example of this fear of the different occurs in The Return of the Native when Susan Nunsuch accuses Eustacia as being in league with the "dark one." As a retaliation against the supposed witch, Eustacia, Susan pricks her in church and creates a wax effigy (a voo-doo doll) in her likeness. Susan pricks Eustacia to see if she bleeds; it was said that if a woman did not bleed when pricked, she was a witch.
Although the self-sufficient women of Hardy's world are branded as witches, the men who possess special knowledge and skills are looked upon favorably. Some of these "conjurors" have a bond with nature that gives them an innate sense of time and weather. Specifically, Reverend Swancourt in A Pair of Blue Eyes claims that the farmers of Endelstow can tell time to the fraction of an hour by looking at shadows, winds, clouds, the movements of sheep and oxen, the singing of birds, the crowing of cocks (ch. 14). Similarly, Gabriel Oak of Far From the Madding Crowd maintains a closeness to the land and has the ability to observe all that surrounds him. These skills give Oak a great understanding of natural forces which, in chapter thirty-seven, he uses to predict an oncoming storm. Oak notices a garden-slug that has crept inside, "It was Nature's second way of hinting to him that he was to prepare for foul weather" (ch. 37). Diggory Venn of The Return of the Native is another man close to nature whose "isolated and weird character" (book 6, ch. 3) has such a great tie with the heath that he seems to be an extension of it. In addition to Oak and Venn, Hardy creates two characters who are literally conjurors practicing "white magic." Conjuror Trendle appears in the short story "The Withered Arm" and the other conjuror, Fall, appears in The Mayor of Casterbridge. Both men are looked upon by their communities as wise, talented, and helpful. Although they practice "magic", Trendle and Fall are never humiliated by a test of pricking, nor are they ever associated with the devil. Unlike the strong women characters, Oak, Venn, Conjuror Trendle and Conjuror Fall are praised and rewarded by Hardy for their talents. Bibliography Archer, William. "Real Conversations: Conversation 1. - With Mr. Thomas Hardy."The Critic, 38 (April, 1901), 309-318. Steel, Gayla R. Sexual Tyranny in Wessex. New York: Peter Long Publishing Inc., 1993.
The following may be of some interest. However, with the development of Multi-Dimensional Science surveys, or rather questionnaires per se would become progressively far more detailed. Moreover, the overall data from "psychic" experiencers could be turned into images using Virtual Reality tools, and converted into "scientific" diagrams with the possibility of them being changed into mathemtatical models. In the light of this MDS is far more advanced than the following, and represents a truly holistic approach. See the Bloggers Ref http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Multi-Dimensional_Science
The Kundalini Profile Survey is part of the Emerging Sciences Foundation's Kundalini Experimental Project hosted on the Brilliano collaboration tool. The survey contains 268 5-point likert scale questions, open text fields, and questions about the impact of a person's spiritual experiences. The analysis documented on this page is being conducted by the Emerging Sciences Foundation's Kundalini Data Insights team. The complete source code for all analysis presented here can be found on the Kundalini Discover project in GitHub. To participate in the Kundalini Experimental Project and contribute important research data, please visit the Kundalini Experimental Project page on the ESF website.
The Kundalini Profile Survey was created to document the types of spiritual experiences people are having, and associated physical and psychological experiences. Analysis on the Kundalini Profile Survey has a few basic goals:
Discover groupings of Kundalini experiences that occur together.
Explore the relationship between different experience types and other physical and psychological experiences.
Create an empirical, data-driven way of classifying a person's spiritual experiences.
Lay the groundwork for future experimentation on Kundalini by providing important measures that can be used to track progress. Future research will focus on potential ways to enhance or accelerate the Kundalini process. Kundalini is seen as the biological basis of all spiritual experiences.
To date, 338 people from all walks of life and from across the globe have participated in the Kundalini Profile Survey.
Age and Sex
There has been broadly an equal participation from men and women, although there were slightly more women who took part. People of all ages have taken part in the survey with the majority of respondants being around the age of 30.
Sex of Survey Participants
Age of Survey Participants
Core Experience Summary
The survey contains a list of 66 "core experience" questions describing classical Kundalini awakening indicators. The list was derived from previous surveys and existing literature, and respondents reported the strength of their experiences along a 5-point likert scale. The survey contains three categories of experiences:
Mystical indicators are those that typically transcend the normal bounds of human experience.
Spiritual indicators are those that, although they may have sublime characteristics, might not be as radical as mystical experiences.
Psychophysiological indicators are those that affect the body and mind through some not yet understood connecting medium.
In the data, these are represented as the mystical, spiritual, and psyphys (psychophysiolocical) question categories. In general, the data shows a very common occurrence of powerful, transformative experiences among respondents. Prevalent experiences in each category include:
Mystical experiencies associated with the perception of unity and consciousness.
Spiritual indicators associated with wisdom and intuition.
Psychophysiolocal experiences associated with energy vibrating or moving in the body.
Factor analysis was conducted on the 66 primary experience questions. Factor analysis is a technique of identifying groups of correlated variables that correspond to latent categories of experiences. Principal Axis Factoring with Promax rotation was used, which is a technique used in a psychological research setting. The mystical, spiritual, and psychophysiological question categories were analyzed. The number of factors to be determined per category was determined using an empirical technique known as parallel analysis. This was used to maximize reproducibility of our results and to avoid researcher bias. One key observation was the prominence of a single factor, labeled "Higher Consciousness," which accounted for a very large portion of explained variance in the data. To illustrate this point, all 66 questions were used in the following scree plot, in which Higher Consciousness is shown as the first factor:
According to the Kundalini Hypothesis, Higher Consciousness is the goal of the Kundalini biological mechanism, and all other manifestations of Kundalini are secondary effects. In our analysis, Higher Consciousness was characterized by:
The direct perception of consciousness.
Unity and the personal identification with all of creation
Factor analysis yielded the resulting factors in each major experience category. The questions listed below have a factor loading > ~0.6. This threshold was selected for interpretability of the data:
Mystical Question Factors
Experience of Higher consciousness/cosmic consciousness
Intense feeling of peace
Tasting sacred nectar dripping from the roof of mouth or back of throat (amrita or soma)
Expansion of consciousness
Overwhelming sense of love
Experiences or visions of deities, gurus, icons, saints or mystics or other religious prophets, religious icons or universal archetypes
Revelation: Knowledge that comes from a divine source where the individual becomes aware of the source of that knowledge
Overwhelming sense of bliss, joy and or contentment
Receiving instructions from the divine
New knowledge / awareness of the unbounded intelligence behind universe
Overwhelming sense of wonder and awe
Feeling sacred touch (wind, presence, touch)
Personal identification with all of creation
Visions of glowing geometric shapes
Expanded comprehension of reality
Experience of deep unity and expansive consciousness
Union with Life Energy
All sense of separateness disappears
An experience of union with the Divine-God or universal consciousness
Spiritual Question Factors
Out of Body
New understanding of spiritual truths/Insight into the inner meaning of spiritual teachings
Feeling of connection with a spiritual guide or lineage
Spontaneously going into a deep meditative experience
Out of body experiences
Sacred auditions (of teachings, mantras, music)
Spiritual rebirth - spontaneous religious conversion or dramatic spiritual awakening, including a major reorientation of spiritual beliefs.
Receiving inner instruction
Increased experience of unsual synchronistic events
Astral/time travel experiences
Glossalalia (spontaneously reciting phonemes, mantras, prayers, or poems, singing hymns, or speaking foreign languages unknown to the individual)
An unshakable conviction about the reality of the experience