Development of a philosophical aberration,
by Esko Rintala
Quoted from http://www.earth-association.org/Aberration.htm
The rapid accumulation of articles on Spirit Releasement published in the internet and a number of books presuppose that discarnate spirits really exist and that it is possible to perceive such entities. In our Western cultural milieu, however, it is customary to treat such statements and opinions with derision and scorn. This emotional attitude is extremely widespread both among the self appointed cultural elite and the population at large. There is an obvious need to have a closer look at the origins of this position.
In the early tribal stage of the development of humanity, the multitude of shamanistic religions shared many common features. People in almost every culture believed that the physical level is surrounded and penetrated by a sphere of existence that man enters in death, and in benevolent and malevolent spiritual beings residing there. The emergence of higher religions did not eliminate this basic religious world view. Belief in discarnate, conscious spirit beings, which are able to influence living people, was shared by a multitude of cultures. "Every era and culture has known the state of possession, in which a discarnate entity enters a living human being, either wholly or in part. In about 90 per cent of the cultures of humanity, there are records of possession phenomena" (Edward Foulks, 1985). One of these records is, of course, our Bible. Even in our modern Western sphere of culture, many people have various "paranormal" experiences. They are often subjected to a powerful negative norm pressure, even ridicule. In several countries, even associations for the defense of materialistic conviction have been founded. Their line of action is to pass public mockery awards to publishers and TV-channels for violating materialistic principles.
The world view and the anthropology, view of man, have obviously drifted far away from those held by the majority of humanity. How did this happen? In Europe, the received world view underwent a deep crisis notably since the 17th century. Philosopher René Descartes experienced on 10th of March 1619, at Neuburg on the Danube, an ecstatic vision which convinced him that the universe, with its countless stars and planets, is an immense mathematical system of moving matter. A few decades later, Isaac Newton created his grand synthesis by combining the antique concept of atomism to the idea of eternal mathematical laws. The eternal, unchanging matter moves obeying eternal, immaterial laws. He invented integral and differential calculus, the theory of gravity, and explained the kinetic mechanism of the heavenly bodies. A new concept of nature emerged. It was understood to be an automaton obeying kinetic laws.
Soon even God, the human spirit, and the meaning of life were thought to be meaningless and superfluous. Cosmos was considered to be a giant clockwork – this was the simile used by Johannes Kepler. From Physics, the mechanistic fundamental presuppositions were adopted to a number of other sciences. Julien de La Mettrie applied them to the concept of man in his book L'Homme Machine, Man – a Machine. The mechanistic and atheistic concept of man and the world view became a formidable force in the Western culture. The French Neo-Darwinist and Nobel Laureate Jacques Monod expressed his concept of science and his concept of man in his famous work Le hasard et la nécessité (1970). In his inaugural speech at Collège de France Monod declared: "Of the conclusions of science, this one is the most difficult for us to accept: man has no importance in the universe, and he has appeared in the world only by chance."
How did we arrive at this? Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) was acquainted with the system of British empiricist David Hume (1711 –1776), adopted most of it and rejected rationalism. Hume recognised only the knowledge mediated by the five senses: Nihil est in intellectu quid non prius fuerit in sensu: man receives all knowledge exclusively through his senses. Following Aristotle, British scepticism held that the human being, at birth, is tabula rasa: he brings no experiences to this life. (This postulate held by the sceptic philosophers John Locke and David Hume has been definitely disproved by consciousness research and primal psychotherapy. The net pages www.birthpsychology.com and www.primals.org offer abundant convincing materials on this for the interested reader.)
The radical sceptic David Hume even believed that the causal relation cannot be philosophically justified, as man is able to perceive empirically only succession, but no causal effect. Kant, however, had adopted Isaac Newton's theory of the universe, which was based on the causal law, and valued it. In his work Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1781) he undertook to reconcile these conflicting viewpoints with each other. His epistemological solution was that the human consciousness perceiving its objects does not receive the impressions passively, but projects into them its own aprioristic order. Nature answers questions that have been asked! (Richard Tarnas: The Passion of the Western Mind, 1991, 341-344).
Immanuel Kant was thus able to release the natural sciences from the pressure of radical scepticism. He wanted also to liberate religion and morality from the pressure of the science governed by the determinism of kinetic mechanism. According to Will Durant, he wanted to save, for himself and for humanity, at least a core element of the Christian faith his mother had implanted in him (Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, 1926-1953). As religion, in Kant's opinion, cannot be based on theoretical reason, it must be based on the foundation of moral sense, which cannot be shaken by the changing world views nor intellectual concepts. Kant wanted to base even the existence of the immortal soul on the moral sense. Kant, and his theological successors, believed that they were able to find a protective shelter for the soul in the inner value experience. The "categorical imperative", moral law, demands perfection. As perfection cannot be attained during this life on earth, there must be after death a continuation, during which perfection can be reached. Kant's intention was laudable, but he reduced religion to mere morality.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), a member of the Upper House of Sweden and Assessor at the College of Mines, author of more than 50 books and able to speak eleven languages, was an internationally famous clairvoyant. One widely known event happened during a dinner in Gothenburg in 1759, when Swedenborg excitedly told the party that there was a fire in Stockholm which was consuming his neighbour's home and was threatening his own. Two hours later, he exclaimed with relief that the fire stopped three doors from his home. Two days later, reports confirmed every statement of his.
Immanuel Kant was first impressed by Swedenborg’s fame in 1763, and made inquiries to find out if they were true. In 1766, however, he published his book Die Träume eines Geistersehers (Dreams of a Spirit Seer) where he stated that Swedenborg was an “Arch-Phantast of all Phantasts” and that he ought to be confined in a lunatic asylum. It is preposterous to assert that there could exist other perceptive faculties in addition to the five accepted senses! Thus Kant, who is considered to be the most genial of all philosophers of the modern times and even the Church Father of Protestantism, created – inadvertently – excellent conditions for the development of materialistic paradigm of science. He also passed a paralyzing epistemological poison into the subsequent development of theology. One of the victims was Rudolf Bultmann, who resembles Kant in that he also wanted to do his utmost to save at least a remnant of the Christian heritage from the chilling negative winds of modernity.
John Locke's and David Hume's philosophical heritage, modified by Kant, exerted an immense influence in later Western thinking. Their philosophical empiricism demanded that all knowledge must be based on experience – but they recognised only the five senses – the physiological organs of which protrude from our body. We have been taught that only what we see, hear, feel, taste, or smell is really existent. From this viewpoint, all other perceptions some people report are hallucinations, even symptoms of severe psychopathology. Scepticism, which recognises of all perceptual faculties only those five which do not severely threaten the materialistic world view and concept of man, has exerted a strong influence on various later philosophical schools, most notably on logical empiricism and on the thought systems of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx. The benefits of dialectical materialism are well known to us (Richard Tarnas, 1991, s. 353-354).
The epistemological scepticism has strongly influenced even theology. Several theologians have endeavoured to create an interpretation of the Christian faith which recognises only knowledge derived from the immanent sphere of experience by means of the five senses. The most famous are the "God is dead" theologians, e.g. Gabriel Vahanian, The Death of God, 1957, Paul van Buren, The Secular Meaning of the Gospel, 1963, and the immensely influential Rudolf Bultmann. According to Bultmann, the spirit entities mentioned in the New Testament do not exist, and the healing of people attributed to Jesus that the scientifically educated modern man cannot possibly believe, did not happen. However, Bultmann emphasised, such "mythical" stories express deep truths, the meaning of which can be apprehended by means of "existential interpretation" for the modern man to understand them. It seems, however, that only very few people are capable of that.
According to Neo-Protestant systematic theology, no souls surviving the death of the physical body, exist. Neither are there any other discarnate spirit entities. At death, nothing is left of man. Karl Barth, the highly esteemed representative of the dialectical theology, was a determined supporter of Ganztodtheorie, ‘total death doctrine’. He writes derisively that the belief, according to which, after death, "some kind of little soul flutters up over the grave and survives somewhere, to live on, immortal", is a pagan idea (Dogmatik im Grundriss, 1947, 180). Emil Brunner, in tome II of his Dogmatics, pp. 81-82, writes: "It has been proven solidly and unambiguously on Biblical arguments that the idea of the immortality of the soul does not belong to the Christian message, but to the philosophy of Plato."
Gerhard Ebeling, another prominent systematic theologian, writes in his Dogmatics, tome I, p. 409: "The concept of the immortality of the soul, which is based on the philosophy of Aristotle, is in any case a misconception." And Werner Elert, in his work Der Christliche Glaube, p. 508: "The death of our body is the definitive and total destruction of our existence here on this earth. It is not in our power to detach from it something which could go on living after that." The professor of New Testament exegetics, later Bishop of the Helsinki diocese, Dr Aimo T. Nikolainen, with his book Ihminen evankeliumien valossa (1941, Man in the Light of the Gospels) has been teaching the Finnish clergy that the soul does not exist. And the German systematic theologian Paul Althaus writes: "The primitives understand the illnesses and mental disturbances to be caused by possessing demons. We do not understand illnesses nor mental disturbances demonologically" (Die Christliche Wahrheit, p. 390.)
There are several passages in the New Testament which presuppose that our conscious life continues even shortly after the destruction of our mortal body in death, as e. g. the words of Jesus to the brigand hanging on the adjacent cross (Luke 23:43), his parable on the rich man and Lazarus who was at Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:19-31), St. Paul's longing to be with Jesus (2 Cor. 5). But Paul Althaus gets over them by explaining that these passages show "the influence of surrounding religiosity" (Die letzten Dinge, p. 94). He does not directly suggest, however, that the New Testament ought to be rewritten to harmonize it to the total death doctrine.
German theologian Siegfried Kettling, in his article Wo sind unsere Toten? (Where are our dead relatives?) (www.rgav.de/akzente/alteHefte/87-6.doc.) set out to study this belief, which has penetrated the Protestant theology in the 20th century, that no souls nor any other discarnate beings exist. He quotes H. G. Pöhlmann: "The 'total death belief' is materialistic, not Christian" (Abriß der Dogmatik, 1980, 3. A., p. 328). This belief has been adopted by a number of the Protestant clergy not only in the German speaking countries, but also in Finland.
The Helsinki parish newspaper Kirkko ja Kaupunki, in its issue of 39/1996, published an article on the appearances of deceased people to their relatives, and comments by a scientist of religion and two pastors. The scientist – and the pastors, one PhD and later professor of the theological faculty, and the other, director in the Church Pastoral Care Centre, explained that these experiences are hallucinations caused by grief. Both pastors had obviously adopted the total death doctrine, according to which it would be impossible that deceased people could come to console their dear ones. But they tried to word their opinions as sympathetically as possible.
Professor of Sociology Ian Currie, in his book You Cannot Die (1978), reports on a study undertaken by Chicago sociologist Andrew Greeley in 1973. He asked a representative sample of 1467 Americans: "Have you ever felt that you really were in touch with someone who had died?" 27 percent answered that they had. A similar study has been conducted in Iceland: 31 percent answered in the affirmative. (Several of my relatives have had encounters with their deceased dear ones.)
A number of the most prominent Protestant theologians of the 20th century teach that when we die, we are totally annihilated. They are surprisingly resistant against the increasing mass of evidence on human survival (e.g.: Scientific evidence for survival of consciousness after death: http://www.near-death.com/evidence.html ). Space permits only a couple of reported experiences. In his book You Cannot Die Ian Currie tells the experience of Lord Brougham, who was travelling in Sweden with his friends. They stopped at an inn where Brougham took a hot bath before going to bed. "I turned my head around, looking toward the chair on which I had deposited my clothes. On the chair sat 'G', looking calmly at me…. on recovering my senses I found myself sprawling on the floor."
'G' was his friend from the university, with whom he had written an agreement that whoever died first, should appear to the other. G had taken a Civil Service job in India. After Brougham’s return to Edinburgh, a letter arrived from India announcing G's death on the very day of the apparition, the 19th of December.
Frederick Myers was a professor of classics at Cambridge University in England. With some of his Cambridge colleagues, he founded the Society for Psychical Research in 1882. Myers was intensively interested in human survival. Having researched the problem for twenty years, he finally published his classical work Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. But he was still not quite satisfied. He thought he had not solved this problem definitely. But he solved it after he died.
Within a few weeks of Myers' death in 1901, communications in automatic writing were received by a total of a dozen psychics in England, the United States and India. These messages continued for a period of thirty years. More than three thousand scripts were transmitted over thirty years. Some of them were more than forty typed pages long. The messages were to be sent to other psychics involved, and also to the Society for Psychical Research. The fragments were combined together. Most of these scripts consisted of references to and quotations from classical literature in Latin and Greek. Myers had survived physical death, and now he was desperately eager to communicate this fact in a fashion which would convince his colleagues still living on earth.
Art therapist Merja Niemi describes in her book Valon maailmassa (In the World of Light, 1996) her near-death experience she had during a surgical operation in 1986. She writes:
"... I was detached from my body by a jerk, speeding rapidly through a light tunnel as if flying. I felt a rushing suction drawing me upwards. Far, at the end of the tunnel, I saw a brilliant light growing in intensity as I approached it. I saw a dazzling bright being receiving me. Because of his brightness, I was able to see only his outstretched hands embracing me. I did not see his eyes nor his mouth, but somehow I received a vision of a being resembling Jesus. His Christ-spirit received me into his all-understanding, gracious, absolute love. I felt I was bursting of delight. I was part of that love. I had arrived home. I was part of that brightness..."
After telling in a TV-program in 1994 of her experience Merja Niemi received from the listeners many letters, in which they described their similar experiences which some of them had not dared to tell even to their closest relatives. About one hundred of these letters Niemi used in her book mentioned above. Some of the experiencers wrote to Niemi that they had tried to tell of their deep experience to the hospital chaplain. He, however, had not been able to understand it nor to accept it as real.
Professor Ian Currie quotes a number of studies on out of the body experiences. In 1952, sociologist Hornell Hart asked 155 students at Duke University the following question: "Have you actually seen your physical body from the viewpoint outside that body, like standing beside the bed and looking at yourself lying in bed, or floating in the air near your body?" Twenty percent said yes. In a similar study at Oxford, 34 percent of 350 undergraduates admitted having had the experience. According to the studies, from 19 to 45 percent of the subjects had answered in the affirmative. Ian Currie concludes: "As the weight of orthodox scientific opinion holds that such experiences are impossible, most people prefer to keep quiet about them."
Since the 1970's, NDE and OOBE experiences have been subjected to intensive study. They have been reported by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Raymond Moody, Michael Sabom, Kenneth Ring, and others. Most of the experiences are spontaneous, but a few learn to leave and return at will. I have met one, a Finnish businessman. One of the most famous is Robert Monroe, who has written of his experiences the books Journeys Out of the Body (1971), Far Journeys (1985) and Ultimate Journey (1994). He has founded The Monroe Institute for the research of this phenomenon.
The death experience is often an extremely liberating homecoming. Sometimes it is outright dreadful. Upon death, the discarnate may go astray and spend a long time in coma, get caught in states of darkness which resemble chaotic dreams, or rove about aimlessly. Some of them get stuck in the location of their painful death – even for centuries! – and rant and rave as poltergeists, or possess a living human being. One of the most famous is Lord Mackenzie of Edinburgh. In 1679, he locked up hundreds of covenanters in the Covenanters’ Prison, where most of them died of hunger. Those surviving, Mackenzie executed. He was buried near the prison. He is still extremely violent and cruel. According to the records kept, he has violently assaulted at least 470 people visiting his grave.
Spirit Releasement is a fast growing psychotherapeutic method, on which abundant information is available in the Internet. The condition of spirit possession – takeover of a living human by a discarnate being – has been recognised in every era and every culture. According to clinical evidence, discarnate beings, the spirits of deceased humans, can influence living people by forming an attachment, and imposing detrimental physical or emotional conditions and symptoms. This condition has been called the "possession state", "spirit obsession", or "spirit attachment".
According to William J. Baldwin, one of the foremost representatives of spirit releasement, earthbound spirits of deceased humans (EBS) are the most prevalent possessing entities to be found. The disembodied consciousness seems to attach itself and merge fully or partially with the subconscious mind of a living person, exerting some degree of influence on thought processes, emotions, behaviour and the physical body. Other kinds of possessors are the Dark Force Entities (DFE), the Aliens, and the Nature Spirits.
A spirit can be bound to the earth plane by the emotions connected with a sudden traumatic death. Anger, fear, jealousy, resentment, guilt, remorse, even strong ties of love can interfere with the normal transition. Erroneous religious beliefs about the afterlife can prevent a spirit from moving into the Light because the after death experience does not coincide with false expectations of the way it is supposed to be.
Following death by drug overdose, a newly deceased spirit maintains a strong appetite for the drug. Many drug users are controlled by the attached spirit of a deceased drug addict. Surgery or blood transfusion can lead to an entity attachment. In the case of an organ transplant, the spirit of the organ donor can literally follow the transplanted organ into the new body.
An attachment can be benevolent in nature, malevolent, or completely neutral. Attachment to a living person may be completely random, even accidental. Most people are vulnerable to spirit attachment on many occasions in the normal course of life. Some investigators in this field estimate that between 70 and 100 percent of the population are affected or influenced by one or more discarnate spirit entities at some time in their life. Spirit Releasement Therapy and Past Life Therapy are closely linked in clinical application. The interaction which led to the spirit attachment is often discovered in a past life of the client. This must be explored through the techniques of past life therapy.
An illuminating report of spirit releasement work was written by Dr. Alan Lindsay Sanderson of London. From Clara, a neurotic young woman, he released four spirits in two sessions. One was her great aunt, who had penetrated Clara to help her, but had spoiled her relations with men. Another was Tony, died in his alcoholic stupor, who visited in his discarnate state a pub, penetrated her there, and made of her an alcoholic. Clara was completely healed, and very fast (www.spiritrelease.com/clara).
The Neo-Protestant theology, which has, since the beginning of the 20th century tried to adapt itself to the epistemology of Scepticism, its world view and concept of man, has gone dangerously astray. Although many pastors are perplexed by the 'total death doctrine' and avoid preaching it, deep uncertainty of what awaits us at death weakens the conviction of their message.
During the first generations, the mission of the Christian Church proceeded like a stormwind into the Mediterranean coastal lands, until it slowed down somewhat in the fourth century AD. Such fast expansions have been experienced even during the last century in West and East Africa, Madagascar, Korea, and China. But in Continental Europe, the churches lose their members at a rapid, disquieting pace. In 1962, World Council of Churches started a programme The Missionary Structure of the Congregation. Intensive study work was undertaken by many churches, and reports were addressed to the WCC Uppsala Assembly in 1968. There the program was ignored. It was simply forgotten.
Bishop Morris Maddocks estimates that one central factor in the rapid missionary expansion of the early church was the Ministry of Healing – until the edict of Milan in 313. "During the first three hundred years of its history, the Church continued its proclamation of the risen Lord through its preaching and healing. The healing of physical illness, at any rate in the early period, was seen as evidence of the Spirit's work and presence among Christians and was a constant ingredient of the Christian life."
Several factors contributed to the decline of healing. Sickness and sin became connected. It was important not to ensure healing in this life, but a good existence in the next. Even the New Testament word for ’heal’, sōzō, was translated ’save’. Still, during the centuries, some Churches experienced revivals of the ministry of healing. One such period of convalescence was afforded to the British churches in the last century.
In 1912, Dorothy Kerin, 23, after having suffered for five years of invalidism, was miraculously healed. Tubercular peritonitis had brought her to the gates of death on 17th February. She had been deaf and blind for the past fortnight, for the most part unconscious. In the evening of the next day she seemed to breathe her last. Her heart stopped beating for eight minutes. Then she sat up and opened her eyes. She spoke: “I am well now. I want my dressing-gown. I want to walk!“ She then got up and walked, and asked for supper.
Dorothy told later that she had seen a beautiful Light, out of which an angel of the Lord had called to her: “Dorothy, your sufferings are over. Get up and walk!“ Her healing led to detailed medical examination. X-ray examination revealed that new lungs had replaced the old ones wasted away with consumption. Many doctors attested the cure. On June 30th the same year she gave a message to the Church and world which was given the whole of the first page in one of the national newspapers. She had been entrusted with a message to the whole world, ’a promise of healing to the sick, comfort to the sorrowing, and faith to the faithless.’
Dorothy dedicated her whole life, further 51 years, to the Ministry of Healing and founded the community and church of Christ the Healer at Burrswood where healers and the medical profession work side by side. Bishop Morris Maddocks then describes the rapid strengthening of this ministry not only in the Anglican Church, but also in the Methodist, Reformed, Baptist and Roman Catholic Churches – and overseas. (Morris Maddocks, The Christian Healing Ministry, pp. 101,102). In Finland, the Christian Healing Ministry depends mostly on the initiative of charismatic groups and individuals. An article on the revival of the healing ministry in Britain I offered to the Church newspaper Kotimaa, in October 2000, the chief editor refused to publish as he considered the description by Bishop Maddocks impossible to believe.
According to the New Testament, about one fourth of the cures effected by Jesus were releasements of spirit entities from people. These cures the Continental European Protestant theology, damaged by philosophical scepticism, empties of all concrete meaning by metaphorising, and brands Jesus as a victim of the superstition of his time, but the pastors are usually cautious enough not to admit this openly in their sermons. Before his ascension, however, Jesus entrusted to his disciples the task of healing, and the releasing spirit entities from people (Mark 16:14-20). But are even consecrated pastors busy in offering this service? Spirit releasement is not even mentioned in their curriculum.
Francis McNutt, a pioneer of the Christian Healing Ministry, writes: "A symbolic understanding of Jesus' driving out demons argues that these exorcisms are metaphors for His victory over evil, pictured in a way that would appeal to a Christian of the first century. But where is the evidence to convince us that there are no demons? On what basis should we interpret Jesus' exorcism ministry in a symbolic or poetic way? The reason is the acceptance by the Western world, beginning with the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, of a rationalistic, scientific worldview that assumed there is no reality beyond the natural, material universe. If something cannot be measured and observed in a laboratory, it does not exist. This materialistic worldview has so affected Western Christianity that we automatically regard the work of the supernatural with scepticism and rule out the world of angels and demons with no further need for discussion (Francis McNutt, Deliverance from Evil Spirits, 1995, pp. 42-43).
Charles H. Kraft, professor of anthropology and intercultural communication at Fuller Theological Seminary, writes: “It is interesting (and discouraging) to note that even though we are Christians, our basic assumptions are usually more like those of the non-Christian Westerners around us than we would like to admit . . . Even though there is a wide discrepancy between the teaching of the Scripture and the common Western assumptions, we often find ourselves more Western than scriptural” (Charles H. Kraft, Christianity with Power, 1989, s. 26).
We have been surveying the Babylonian captivity of the Church imprisoned by the epistemological fallacy of the philosophy of scepticism. Next we shall direct our attention to the senses, or perceptive faculties, the existence of which scepticism denies. When such faculties are opened up in somebody – or if he is convinced of their reality when this happens to his friends – the spiritual view of man and the world opens up for him. He is convinced that monistic materialism, which still holds powerful positions in our Western culture, is a fallacy.
In addition to the five senses which are recognised by scepticism, there are a number of others: telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition, retrocognition, psychometry, remote viewing (or farsight), and higher sense perception (deepsight). Space does not allow to write on each of them at length. Google, or Altavista, will offer on them abundant materials for any interested reader. But because remote viewing and higher sense perception, which are probably different names for the same faculty, are being used in spirit releasement work, it is necessary to give a brief description of them. Higher sense perception makes it possible to perceive the energy fields of humans, and eventual spiritual entities attached to them. The remote viewing ability makes distant healing possible. For the materialistic concept of man these faculties prepare insurmountable difficulties – but it is hardly our task to protect it.
“The king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his officers and chose a place to set up his camp. But Elisha sent a word to the king of Israel, warning him not to go near that place, because the Syrians were waiting in ambush there. So the king of Israel warned the men who lived in that place, and they were on guard. This happened several times.
“The Syrian king became greatly upset over this; he called in his officers and asked them, ‘Which one of you is on the side of the king of Israel?’ One of them answered, ‘No one is, Your Majesty. The prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel what you say even in the privacy of your own room.’ ‘Find out where he is’ the king ordered, and I will capture him.’ When he was told that Elisha was in Dothan, he sent a large force there with horses and chariots surrounding the town“ (GNB).
If you read the rest of the sixth chapter of the 2nd book of Kings, you will learn how Elisha, using “paranormal“ means, led the Syrian army astray and at the mercy of the Israelite army. At Elishas’s advice, the king of Israel provided a great feast to the Syrians, and sent them back to the king of Syria.
The ability of prophet Elisha to receive information on the deliberations of the Syrian king with his officers and on the movements of the Syrian military forces is called remote viewing. This faculty was put to important use during the 2nd World War. One of the most talented remote viewers of the British Secret Service was a woman by the codename ‘Anne’. She contacted Secret Service and offered her services for obtaining information on German military forces. After thoroughgoing tests lasting several weeks, it was finally concluded that she mastered this faculty. One of Anne’s most remarkable successes was to penetrate her vision to the German high command in Berlin, to read top secret documents, and to report to the Secret Service (Michael Howard: The Occult Conspiracy, 1989, 138).
In the anniversary celebration of Lenin’s death in 22 April, 1976, Director of KGB Yuri Andropov emphasised the importance of reconnaissance work and the use of parapsychological means, psychokinesia and remote viewing, in obtaining information. The Soviet Union followed with keen interest the telepathy experiments conducted in the nuclear submarine Nautilus, and the experiments by astronaut Edgar Mitchell during the flight of Apollo 14 to the Moon (Martin Ebon: Psychic Warfare, 1983, 136).
The research on remote viewing was initiated by the American Society of Psychic Research by experiments with the talented remote viewer Ingo Swann. Soon the Central Intelligence Agency was involved, because it was suspected that the Soviet Union was experimenting with psychic abilities, and CIA wanted to receive information on this alleged threat to the security of the USA. Its representatives tested Ingo Swann and Pat Price, another remote viewer. The results were convincing.
Also the US Army researched and used remote viewing during the cold war in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The programs were called by the code names Sun Streak and Star Gate. Some of the researchers were Russell Targ, Harold Puthoff, Leonard Buchanan, Joe McMoneagle, Janet Mitchell, Karlis Osis, Gertrude Schmeidler, and Ingo Swann, who was, in 1973, able to perceive that even Jupiter was surrounded by rings, although they were much thinner than Saturn’s. This was confirmed during the Voyager probe's visit there in 1979.
In the 1970’s, CIA was involved in scandals and was compelled to restrict its programs. The program using and studying remote viewing was transferred to the Defense Intelligence Agency, and it was renamed Grill Flame. It included a program to ascertain whether the military secrets were in danger to be revealed to an alien power using psychic means of espionage.
Within the army and among the politicians, the programs were met with suspicious opposition. In 1980, their funding was suspended. The director of DIA, major general Bert Stubblebine, however, was able to restart the program in 1983. The remote viewing unit gathered much information on many objects such as strategic missile systems and other weapons systems, political leaders, drug smuggling routes, and terrorist groups. The detailed information and drawings Pat Price was able to obtain on the nuclear weapons installations in Semipalatinsk are spectacular.
After the cold war was over, President Bill Clinton resolved in 1995 that the program be declassified. Its initiator and chairman Harold Puthoff has written a detailed report on the program. It is to be found at http://www.remoteviewinghistory.com/cia-remote-viewing-at-stanford-research-institute.html .
The opponents of the program finally succeeded to put an end to it using the arguments presented by a well known sceptic. The research and use of remote viewing continue. Although some remote viewing experts have been trained by CIA, the activities have no contacts to CIA nor to any other Federal establishment. Knowing this, the accomplishments of the US military intelligence on the alleged mass destruction weapons of Iraq do not surprise us.
Physicist Russell Targ, who has been working for 30 years studying remote viewing, writes: "The physics of nonlocality is fundamental to quantum theory. The most exciting research in physics today is the investigation of what physicist David Bohm calls "quantum interconnectedness," or nonlocal correlations. This idea was first proposed in 1935 in a paper by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen (EPR) as evidence of a "defect" in quantum theory. In this paper, Einstein called nonlocal correlation a "ghostly" action at a distance. The seeming paradox of EPR was later formulated as a mathematical proof by J. S. Bell. It has now been repeatedly demonstrated that two quanta of light, given off from a single source and travelling at the speed of light in opposite directions, can maintain their connection to one another. We find that such photons are affected by what happens to their twins, even many miles away.
“Bell further emphasizes: ‘No theory of reality compatible with quantum theory can require spatially separate events to be independent.’ That is to say, the measurement of the polarization of one photon determines the polarization of the other photon at its distant measurement site. This surprising coherence between distant entities is called "nonlocality" by Bell, Bohm, Clauser, and others. Physicist Henry Stapp of the University of California at Berkeley states that these quantum connections could be the ‘most profound discovery in all of science.’
"I know, based on experimental data from psi research in my laboratory at SRI, that a viewer can focus attention at a specific location anywhere on the planet (or off of it) and often describe what is there. The SRI experiments showed that the viewer is not bound by present time. In contemporary physics, we call this ability to focus attention on distant points in space-time "nonlocal awareness." Data from the past twenty-five years have shown that a remote viewer can answer any question about events anywhere in the past, present, or future, and be correct more than two-thirds of the time. For an experienced viewer, the rate of correct answers can be much higher.
"Physicist David Bohm argues that we greatly misunderstand the illusion of separation in space and time. In his textbook, The Undivided Universe, he defuses the illusion of separation as he writes about quantum interconnectedness: "The essential features of the implicate order are that the whole universe is in some way enfolded in everything, and that each thing is enfolded in the whole" (Russell Targ: Limitless Mind, 2004, p. 5).
In the 1940’s it was generally believed that memories were localised in the brain in the sc. engrams, but the mechanism was not known. Neuropsychologist Karl Lashley worked for over thirty years to find that mechanism. To locate the engrams recorded by rats running a maze, he surgically removed portions of their brains and retested them. But no matter what portion of their brains he cut out, he could not eradicate their memories. Similar experiments were later performed by the Biologist Paul Pietsch in the University of Indiana. He performed more than 700 operations to salamanders. Neurophysiologist Karl Pribram concluded that memories were not localised at specific brain sites, but were distributed throughout the brain, but he knew no mechanism that could account for such a state of affairs – until he read in an article in Scientific American on holography.
The question which began to bother him was, if the picture in our brains is not a picture but a hologram, what is it a hologram of? Which is the true reality, the seemingly objective world experienced by the observer – or the blur of interference patterns recorded by the brain? If this was taken to its logical conclusions, it opened the door on the possibility that objective reality might not even exist, or at least not exist in the way we believe it exist. Was it possible, that what the mystics had been saying for centuries was true, reality was maya, an illusion? Pribram contacted David Bohm, who had discovered the explanatory power of holographic analogy on another field, the quantum physics. The vistas were dazzling. He had been convinced that the universe actually employed holographic principles in its operations, was itself a kind of giant, flowing hologram, and the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects of our physical world in the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate order, and our own level of existence as the explicate, or unfolded, order. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980; Michael Talbot: The Holographic Universe, 1991; Stanislav Grof: Beyond the Brain, 1985; The Holotropic Mind, 1993).
A practical way to present this mind-boggling theory is to quote the Introduction written by Michael Talbot to his book The Holographic Universe mentioned above: "there is evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it – from snowflakes to maple trees to falling stars and spinning electrons – are also only ghostly images, projections from a level of reality so beyond our own it is literally beyond both space and time.
"The main architects of this astonishing idea are two of the world's most eminent thinkers: University of London physicist David Bohm, a protegé of Einstein's and one of the world's most respected quantum physicists; and Karl Pribram, a neurophysiologist at Stanford University and author of the classic neuropsychological textbook Languages of the Brain. Intriguingly, Bohm and Pribram arrived at their conclusions independently and while working from two very different directions. Bohm became convinced of the universe's holographic nature only after years of dissatisfaction with standard theories' inability to explain all of the phenomena encountered in quantum physics. Pribram became convinced because of the failure of standard theories of the brain to explain various neurophysiological puzzles.
"However, after arriving at their views, Bohm and Pribram quickly realised the holographic model explained a number of other mysteries as well, including the apparent inability of any theory, no matter how comprehensive, ever to account for all the phenomena encountered in nature; the ability of individuals with hearing in only one ear to determine the direction from which a sound originates; and our ability to recognise the face of someone we have not seen for many years even if that person has changed considerably in the interim.
"But the most staggering thing about the holographic model was that it suddenly made sense of a wide range of phenomena so elusive they generally have been categorised outside the province of scientific understanding. These include telepathy, precognition, mystical feelings of oneness with the universe, and even psychokinesis, or the ability of the mind to move physical objects without anyone touching them.
"Indeed, it quickly became apparent to the ever growing number of scientists who came to embrace the holographic model that it helped explain virtually all paranormal and mystical experiences, and in the last half-dozen years or so it has continued to galvanise researchers and shed light on an increasing number of previously inexplicable phenomena."
After being acquainted with this view on reality, consciousness researcher and psychotherapist Stanislav Grof was convinced that we are witnessing a breakthrough: “After years of conceptual struggle and confusion, I have concluded that the data from LSD research indicate an urgent need for a drastic revision of the existing paradigms for psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and possibly science in general. . . Bohm’s concept of the unfolded and enfolded orders and the idea that certain important aspects of reality are not accessible to experience and study under ordinary circumstances are of direct relevance for the understanding of unusual states of consciousness. Individuals who have experienced various non-ordinary states of consciousness, including well-educated and sophisticated scientists from various disciplines, frequently report that they had entered hidden domains of reality that seemed to be authentic and in some sense implicit in, and supraordinated to, everyday reality” (Beyond the Brain, 1985, pp. 31, 89).
The perceptive ability of psychic diagnosticians is probably essentially identical with the remote viewing capacity described above. In his mentioned book, Michael Talbot presents us some developers of this “deepsight” which is often called “higher sense perception”. One of the most prominent is Dr. Barbara Brennan, who, after working as physicist for NASA for a number of years, became a psychotherapist. When working with his clients, she began seeing halos of colourful light surrounding her clients’ heads. After overcoming her initial suspicions, she realised that she had a highly developed ability of healer. She started to develop this ability. Brennan is able to perceive the auras and chakras of energy fields surrounding people, using these observations for detailed diagnoses and, by influencing the fields, to heal her clients.
The orthodox medical community, restricted by the materialistic frame of reference, is not ready to recognise the existence of the human energy fields although they can be seen and, by Kirlian photography, even photographed. Neurologist and psychiatrist Shafica Karagulla, however, began studying the higher sense perception. She interviewed many doctors who possessed this faculty – usually keeping it secret from their colleagues – and wrote a book Breakthrough to Creativity. Most of the doctors she interviewed for the book did not know that there were also others who possessed this faculty. They believed they were unique and peculiar, and usually kept their talent secret because they feared that the rumour could damage their professional reputation.
What they saw they described as an “energy field” or a “moving web of frequency” around the body and interpenetrating the body. Some of them saw also chakras, but because they did not know this word, they described them as “vortices of energy at certain points along the spine, connected with or influencing the endocrine system.” According the research, the chakras are sense organs of the energy body, the seven most important of which are situated on the central line of the spinal column and head. The sixth chakra, in the forehead between the eyebrows, the “Third Eye”, is probably the organ for remote viewing, higher sense perception, and intuition.
Professor of nursing at New York University Dr. Dolores Krieger became interested in the human energy field after participating in a study of the abilities of Oskar Estebany, a Hungarian healer. After discovering that Estebany was able to raise the haemoglobin levels in ill patients by manipulating their fields, Krieger set out to learn more about these mysterious energies. She began studying prana, the chakras and the aura, became a student of Dora Kunz, a well known clairvoyant, and learned how to feel the blockages in the human energy field and to heal it by manipulating the field with her hands.
The epistemology and world view of metaphysical materialism are nearing their demise
What conclusions, for some us even very disquieting, we have to make from the facts presented? The scepticistic epistemology of David Hume and Immanuel Kant became a system of basic assumptions for almost every one of the later philosophical and theological schools. It is perplexing to hear that it is dangerously deceptive. They have been hailed as the sharpest minds of their time! They were convinced that their theory of knowledge was "empirical", that is, firmly based on sense perceptions. That was their central mistake, as they had accepted as perceptive faculties only those five recognised by their contemporaneous scientific community – and rejected the rest. In fact, there are many more of them than five. We have briefly presented only remote viewing, and deepsight, or "higher sense perception", which renders it possible to see energy fields and discarnate entities.
It is probably very difficult for many to admit that recognising these additional perceptive faculties will totally disrupt the very foundations and structures of these post-Kantian "empirical" philosophical – and theological! – systems. As an ideological exercise I propose to any interested reader to analyse the philosophical “positivism” of Auguste Comte (1798-1857) (which effectively strengthened the hegemony of materialism in the 19th century) – but using the theoretical tools suggested by this article. According to Comte, the world view of humanity has progressed through three stages, mythological, metaphysical, and positivistic. Positivism, obviously, is the one which recognises only the sphere of reality accessible for the five senses.
Isaac Newton’s theory to explain the movements of the heavenly bodies by means of gravitational forces became a formidable force for the Western conception of the world. Although Newton himself was not a materialist – he has even been called the last mystic – his kinetic world view was soon understood to be the materialistic basic model of the totality of events. A new concept of nature emerged. It was understood to be an automaton obeying kinetic laws. Cosmos was considered to be a giant clockwork – this was the simile used by Johannes Kepler. From Astronomy and Physics, the mechanistic fundamental presuppositions were adopted to a number of other sciences. The mechanistic and atheistic concept of man and the world exerted a powerful influence in the Western culture. Pierre Simon de Laplace postulated that if we were able to perceive all material bodies and powers active in the universe at a certain moment, we could, by differential calculus, reconstruct all situations of the past – and also predict everything that will happen in the future. This view is called determinism. De Laplace was indubitably right. On the basis of kinetic mechanism, determinism is inevitable.
We are, however, confronted by an extremely difficult problem. Is reliable knowledge possible, if also all the functions of our brains are determined? How is it possible to prefer one opinion to another, if they both are determined? I gave Google the words determinism and epistemology. Google answered at once having found both terms in about 436 000 documents. Most probably this reveals that there is an intensive discussion and argument going on to solve this epistemological problem. Without even starting to study this immense material it comes to mind that perhaps some materialists are trying to prove that even if their thougths are mechanically determined, they are still much better than their opponents’ thougths. Richard Tarnas characterises the impasse of our Western materialism leading to epistemological determinism in the following:
”The more modern man strove to control nature by understanding its principles, to free himself from nature’s power, to separate himself from nature’s necessity and rise above it, the more completely his science metaphysically submerged man into nature, and thus into its mechanistic and impersonal character as well. For if man lived in an impersonal universe, and if his existence was entirely grounded in and subsumed by that universe, then man too was essentially impersonal, his private experience of personhood a psychological fiction. In such a light, man was little more than a genetic strategy for the continuance of his species, and as the twentieth century progressed that strategy’s success was becoming yearly more uncertain. Thus it was the irony of of modern intellectual progress that man’s genius discovered successive principles of determinism – Cartesian, Newtonian, Darwinian, Marxist, Freudian, behaviorist, genetic, neurophysiological, sociobiological – that stedily attenuated belief in his own rational and volitional freedom, while eliminating his sense of being anything more than a peripheral and transient accident of material evolution." (Richard Tarnas: The Passion of the Western Mind, 332.)
Neal Grossman, professor of psychology at Illinois University, in his paper Materialism as a dogma of Science (www.ufoskeptic.org/grossman.html), asserts that materialism has been shown to be empirically false; and hence, what needs to be explained is the academic establishment's collective refusal to examine the evidence and to see it for what it is. According to him, the academic establishment is in the same position today as were the cardinals who refused to look through Galileo's telescope. Why is this the case?
Cook, Greyson, and Stevenson describe three features of Near Death Experiences – enhanced mentation, the experience of seeing the physical body from a different position in space, and paranormal perception – which they believe might provide convergent evidence supporting the survival hypothesis. In Grossman’s estimate, the most important, from the epistemological viewpoint, is the third criterion, paranormal perception.
“The materialist can, in principle, give no account of how a person acquires veridical information about events remote from his or her body. Consider, for example, the kind of case where the NDEer accurately reports the conversation occurring in the waiting room while his body is unconscious in the operating room. There is no way for the relevant information, conveyed in sound waves or light waves, to travel from the waiting room, through corridors and up elevators, to reach the sense organs of the unconscious person. Yet the person wakes from the operation with the information. This kind of case – and there are lots of them – shows quite straightforwardly that there are non-physical ways in which the mind can acquire information. Hence materialism is false.
“Michael Sabom, in his recent book, presents a case in which a patient had her NDE while her body temperature was lowered to 15˚ C degrees, and all the blood was drained from her body. "Her electroencephalogram was silent, her brain-stem response was absent, and no blood flowed through her brain." A brain in this state cannot create any kind of experience. Yet the patient experienced a profound NDE. Those materialists who believe that consciousness is secreted by the brain, or that the brain is necessary for conscious experience to exist, cannot possibly explain cases such as this. An impartial observer would have to conclude that not all experience is produced by the brain and that therefore, the falsity of materialism has been empirically demonstrated. Thus, what needs to be explained is the abysmal failure of the academic establishment to examine this evidence and to embrace the conclusion: materialism is false, and consciousness can and does exist independently of the body.
Moreover, the evidence against materialism comes from other areas of research as well. Both mediumship, which has been extensively investigated since the time of William James, and Stevenson-type cases of children who have verified true memories of past lives, offer an abundance evidence against materialism.
Several experiences gained from encounters with convinces materialists taught Grossman that it is important to distinguish between (a) materialism as an empirical hypothesis about the nature of the world, which is amenable to evidence one way or the other (this is the hallmark of a scientific hypothesis – that evidence is relevant for its truth or falsity) and (b) materialism as an ideology, or paradigm, about how things "must" be, which is impervious to evidence (this is the hallmark of an unscientific hypothesis – that evidence is not relevant for its truth). His colleagues believed in materialism not as a scientific hypothesis which, qua scientific hypothesis might be false, but rather as dogma and ideology which "must" be true, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. For them, materialism is the fundamental paradigm in terms of which everything else is explained, but which is not itself open to doubt. He coined the term fundamaterialist to refer to those who believe that materialism is a necessary truth, not amenable to empirical evidence.
With respect to (a) materialism held as an empirical hypothesis about the world, the evidence against it is overwhelming. With respect to (b) materialism held as an ideology, evidence against it is logically impossible. A complicating factor is that the fundamaterialist typically holds the metabelief that his belief in materialism is not ideological, but empirical. That is, he misclassifies himself under (a), while his behaviour clearly falls under (b). The debunker and sceptic believes that he is being "scientific" in ignoring and rejecting the evidence against materialism.
Science is a methodological process of discovering truths about reality. Insofar as science is an objective process of discovery, it is, and must be, metaphysically neutral. Insofar as science is not metaphysically neutral, but instead weds itself to a particular metaphysical theory, such as materialism, it cannot be an objective process for discovery. There is much confusion on this point, because many people equate science with materialist metaphysics, and phenomena which fall outside the scope of such metaphysics, and hence cannot be explained in physical terms, are called "unscientific". For if souls and spirits are in fact a part of reality, and science is conceived epistemologically as a systematic investigation of reality, then there is no reason why science cannot devise appropriate methods to investigate souls and spirits. But if science is defined in terms of materialist metaphysics, then, if souls and spirits are real, science, thus defined, will not be able to deal with them.
If souls, etc. are real, that is if non-material objects exist, then it should be possible to study them, to acquire data about them, to construct generalisations and theories about them, etc., which is to say, it should be possible to study them scientifically. Hence science ought to be construed as a method of inquiry only, not as a metaphysical theory which stipulates by definition what there is, and what can or cannot exist.
Since their materialism is not empirically based, Grossman calls it fundamaterialism, to make explicit comparison with fundamentalism in religion. Fundamentalism connotes an attitude of certainty towards one's core belief. Just as the fundamentalist Christian is absolutely certain that the world was created in the manner described by the Bible (fossil evidence notwithstanding), so also the fundamaterialist is absolutely certain that there exists nothing that is not made up of matter, evidence notwithstanding. In fact, and this is the crucial point, their respective beliefs have nothing to do with evidence. As his fundamaterialist colleague put it, "there can't be evidence for something that's false."
Consciousness researcher and psychotherapist Stanislav Grof directs another devastating attack against materialism:
“The most serious of these conceptual challenges concerns the claim of materialistic science that matter is the only reality and that consciousness is its product. This thesis has often been presented with great authority as a scientific fact that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt (Dennett 1991, Crick 1994). However, when it is subjected to closer scrutiny, it becomes obvious that it is not and never was a serious scientific statement, but a metaphysical assumption masquerading as one. The gap between matter and consciousness is so radical and profound that it is hard to imagine that consciousness could simply emerge as an epiphenomenon out of the complexity of material processes in the central nervous system.
“We have ample clinical and experimental evidence showing deep correlations between the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the brain and conscious processes. However, none of these findings provides a clear indication that consciousness is actually generated by the brain. The origin of consciousness from matter is simply assumed as an obvious and self-evident fact based on the belief in the primacy of matter in the universe. In the entire history of science, nobody has ever offered a plausible explanation how consciousness could be generated by material processes, or even suggested a viable approach to the problem.
“The idea that consciousness is a product of the brain naturally is not completely arbitrary. Its proponents usually refer to the results of many neurological and psychiatric experiments and to a vast body of very specific clinical observations from neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, to support their position. When we challenge this deeply ingrained belief, does it mean that we doubt the correctness of these observations? The evidence for a close connection between the anatomy of the brain, neurophysiology, and consciousness is unquestionable and overwhelming. What is problematic is not the nature of the presented evidence but the interpretation of the results, the logic of the argument, and the conclusions that are drawn from these observations.
“While these experiments clearly show that consciousness is closely connected with the neurophysiological and biochemical processes in the brain, they have very little bearing on the nature and origin of consciousness. Let us now take a closer look at the relevant clinical observations and laboratory experiments, as well as the interpretations of the evidence provided by traditional science. There is no doubt that various processes in the brain are closely associated and correlated with specific changes in consciousness. A blow on the head leading to brain concussion or compression of the carotid arteries limiting the oxygen supply to the brain can cause loss of consciousness. A lesion or tumor in the temporal lobe of the brain is often associated with very characteristic changes of consciousness that are strikingly different from those observed in persons with a pathological process in the prefrontal lobe.
“The symptoms associated with various lesions of the brain are often so distinct that they can help the neurologist to identify the area afflicted by the pathological process. Sometimes a successful neurosurgical intervention can correct the problem and the conscious experience returns to normal. These facts are usually presented as conclusive evidence that the brain is the source of human consciousness. At first glance, these observations might appear impressive and convincing. However, they do not hold up when we subject them to closer scrutiny. Strictly speaking, all that these data unequivocally demonstrate is that changes in the brain function are closely and quite specifically connected with changes in consciousness. They say very little about the nature of consciousness and about its origin; they leave these problems wide open. It is certainly possible to think about an alternative interpretation that would use the same data, but come to very different conclusions.
“This can be illustrated by looking at the relationship between the TV set and the TV program. The situation here is much clearer, since it involves a system that is human-made and incomparably simpler. The final reception of the TV program, the quality of the picture and of the sound, depends in a very critical way on proper functioning of the TV set and on the integrity of its components. Malfunctions of its various parts result in very distinct and specific changes of the quality of the program. Some of them lead to distortions of form, color, or sound, others to interference between the channels. Like the neurologist who uses changes in consciousness as a diagnostic tool, a television mechanic can infer from the nature of these anomalies which parts of the set and which specific components are malfunctioning. When the problem is identified, repairing or replacing these elements will correct the distortions.
“Since we know the basic principles of the television technology, it is clear to us that the set simply mediates the program and that it does not generate it or contribute anything to it. We would laugh at somebody who would try to examine and scrutinise all the transistors, relays, and circuits of the TV set and analyse all its wires in an attempt to figure out how it creates the programs. Even if we carry this misguided effort to the molecular, atomic, or subatomic level, we will have absolutely no clue why, at a particular time, a Mickey Mouse cartoon, a Star Trek sequence, or a Hollywood classic appear on the screen. The fact that there is such a close correlation between the functioning of the TV set and the quality of the program does not necessarily mean that the entire secret of the program is in the set itself. Yet this is exactly the kind of conclusion that traditional materialistic science drew from comparable data about the brain and its relation to consciousness.
“Western materialistic science has thus not been able to produce any convincing evidence that consciousness is a product of the neurophysiological processes in the brain. As a matter of fact, it has been able to maintain its present position only by resisting, censoring, and even ridiculing a vast body of observations indicating that consciousness can exist and function independently of the body and of the physical senses. This evidence comes from parapsychology, anthropology, LSD research, experiential psychotherapy, thanatology, and the study of spontaneously occurring holotropic states of consciousness.
“All these disciplines have amassed impressive data demonstrating clearly that human consciousness is capable of doing many things that the brain (as understood by mainstream science) could not possibly do. There exists, for example, ample evidence suggesting that consciousness has access to information that is not and cannot possibly be stored in the brain. Discussing the characteristics of transpersonal experiences, I referred to various situations, in which visionary states provided access to accurate aspects of the universe that were previously unknown to the subject and could not have been acquired through the conventional channels. Specific case histories illustrating this phenomenon can be found in many of my books (Grof 1975, 1985, 1988, 1992, 1998).
“However, let me focus on some even more striking evidence suggesting that consciousness can under certain circumstances perform functions that reach far beyond the capacities of the brain. What I have in mind is the existence of out-of-body experiences (OOBEs) with accurate perception of the environment. These can occur spontaneously, or in a variety of facilitating situations which include shamanic trance, psychedelic sessions, hypnosis, experiential psychotherapy, and particularly near-death experiences (NDE) (Moody 1975, Ring 1982 and 1985, Sabom 1982). In all these situations consciousness can separate from the body and maintain its sensory capacity, while moving freely to various close and remote locations.
“Of particular interest are 'veridical OOBEs,' where independent verification proves the accuracy of perception of the environment under these circumstances. Recently, thanatologists Ring and Cooper (1997) published a fascinating study indicating that such experiences can occur even in people who are congenitally blind. Repeated reports confirming the possibility of this 'apparent eyeless vision,' as Ring calls it, should alone give mainstream scientists sufficient reason to seriously question their beliefs concerning the relationship between consciousness and the brain and, more generally, consciousness and matter” (Conceptual Challenges to Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy, 6. The nature of reality (http://webpages.charter.net/jspeyrer/sgrof.htm ).
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