Sep 302017

September 30, 2017


As someone who has been around for a while, long enough to have experienced the Viet Nam anti-war movement from start to finish as both an observer and as a focus of the movement, I may have a slightly different frame of reference than many for evaluating today’s political climate with respect to its effects on the culture and the stability of the governmental system that we live within.

Perhaps more importantly to those in our community, (although practicing Metaphysicians are just as subject to being influenced by the Collective Unconscious/Group Soul as anyone,} we have some options that are not available to the general public for interpreting events and actions, and it is from that perspective that I am approaching the subject of today’s political climate in what follows.

In the political arena today, debate on policy differences has become almost non-existent. Instead, what we are seeing in place of debate are personal attacks upon individuals, their families, and associates, attacks that follow along the lines of the tactics outlined in the book; “Rules For Radicals”[1].

If you have read this book and are familiar with its author, then it will not be surprising to you that it is the political movements characteristically labeled as the left, along with the bulk of the media, which are presently shaping their messages in ways meant to provoke an emotional response best defined as “hatred” rather than a response based upon rational analysis. As a result, what we are experiencing is a rapid spread of ideas and positions that are based almost entirely upon that emotion.

Why the individuals using these tactics are doing what they are doing can be a subject for debate itself, but what is pertinent to this discussion is not the “why” of these attacks, but the realization that most people caught up in this as protagonists are honestly unaware of why they feel the way they do. If questioned on the source of the emotions that they feel so strongly, most can only regurgitate the talking points and personal attacks levied by their party/group without offering any rational arguments to justify their position.  But even though they cannot articulate why they feel so strongly, they are absolutely sure that what they feel are valid and reasonable emotions, and that what they believe is based on fact.

So, since I have traditionally tended to steer SMOP away from political discussions, why am I even considering the subject of how the Group Soul affects politics for a topic?

When a number of writers were predicting that California was going to slide off into the ocean a couple of decades ago, I did a series of meditations in which I asked my Guides for any feedback they might have on coming cataclysms. Over all the responses that I received indicated that yes, cataclysms were in our near future, but they would not be geophysical, rather they would be geopolitical.  Geopolitical in the sense of political cataclysms scattered across the entire globe.

It appears to me that we have reached the beginning timeframe for these geopolitical upheavals that my guides were projecting, and that an analysis of current events from the perspective of the Science of Metaphysics might be appropriate at this time to assist in enabling us to decide how best we can conduct ourselves during this period, rather than allowing ourselves to become unwilling and unwitting participants in current events.

The geopolitical cataclysms that are building seem predominantly to be driven by group emotion, similar to a mob mind, and can be viewed to a large extent within the context of the collective unconscious paradigm.

The Collective Unconscious or Group Soul is the driving force behind most of our instinctual responses to external stimuli. As an important source of group species knowledge, beneficial for an incarnate individual’s survival, most of the responses implanted by the Group Soul in the incarnate individual are meant to provide a way to deal with perceived dangers. These responses may range from preprogrammed reactions to such common everyday events as a sudden noise, to the fear/caution emotion that is felt when encountering someone not from your tribal group. This last one is being used very effectively in today’s political movements to break us up into groups of victims, or groups that should be fearful of becoming victims, and will be expounded on more fully later.

To begin the discussion though, it would probably be appropriate to start with a review of the several forms of consciousness involved, and how they can be intentionally used by knowledgeable individuals and organizations to shape emotions such as fear in large groups of people.

Jung’s Collective Unconscious

In Jungian psychology, the Collective Unconscious is the part of the unconscious mind that is the product of ancestral experience, and is shared at various levels by a society, a people, and/or all of humankind. It is the part of the unconscious mind that incorporates patterns of memories, instincts, and experiences common to all of our species. “These patterns are inherited, may be arranged into archetypes, and are observable through their effects on dreams, behavior, etc.”

Although as a psychological theory, these shared memories, instincts, etc., are thought to come with birth, I have found no indication that this theory postulates a continued sharing of experiences, thoughts or emotions in the life that follows the moment of birth.

Group Soul, Collective Consciousness

Although inclusive of Jung’s Collective Unconscious theory, the early Theosophical Society’s representation of the Group Soul goes well beyond Jung’s view of the Collective Unconscious as being just something that is inherited at birth. It expands the theory by exploring the functioning of the Group Soul during the incarnate period of the individual, particularly with respect to the real time sharing of experiences of both sub-groups and of the Group as a whole.

In the early Theosophical writings, while incarnate, the Group Soul Consciousness is possessed in addition to the Discreet Consciousness or individualized consciousness (soul) of the incarnate person. The Discreet Consciousness (soul) is unique to the incarnate individual and separate from the Collective Unconscious, referred to as the “Personal Unconscious” by Jung.

In addition to Jung’s model of inheriting knowledge and species memories at birth, in the Group Soul concept the incarnate individual continues the sharing post birth of experiences, memories, etc. with the other members of its species, both incarnate and discarnate, but the level of sharing is not uniform throughout the entire human race. The more that an individual has in common with others through nationality, culture, past lives, even social interests, the greater the likelihood of sharing of those thoughts, emotions, and experiences of that subgroup will be.  Which means, in the case of political affiliations which are a focal point of this discussion, the more that one is aligned with a particular political movement; the greater the influence of the group emotions will have on that individual’s emotions.

Note: The New Age Movement’s definition for the concept of a Group Soul has changed dramatically from the description provided above, and seems to have moved over to a concept limited to a Group or Hive Mind as it relates to human interpersonal relationships, as opposed to a sharing of information by a common species (the Group Soul concept in Theosophy applies to all species, whether animal, vegetable or mineral).

Morphic Resonance

A modern approach to the concept of group souls is Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance, the means by which information or an activity-pattern is transferred from a previous to a subsequent system of the same kind. In a given morphic system an animal tunes into consciousness’s of both the members of that species that are living at that moment, and the previously living but presently discarnate member of its species.

Morphic resonance thus involves the influence of like upon like, the influence of patterns of activity on subsequent similar patterns of activity. This is an influence that passes across space and time from past to present, and does not to fall off with respect to distance in either space or time. The greater the degree of similarity of the systems involved, the greater the influence of morphic resonance.  The example that is usually provided to illustrate this concept is the “Hundredth Monkey Theory,” which is based upon a study of monkeys done in Japan a number of years ago.

Morphic resonance provides for an inherent memory embedded in energy fields at all levels of complexity. In the case of squirrels for example, each individual squirrel draws upon, and in turn contributes to, a collective or pooled memory of its species. In the human realm, this kind of collective memory corresponds to what the psychologist C.G. Jung called the Collective Unconscious.

Mob or Crowd Psychology

Crowd psychology, also known as mob psychology, is a branch of social psychology. Social psychologists have developed several theories for explaining the ways in which the psychology of a crowd differs from and interacts with that of the individuals within it. Major theorists in crowd psychology include Gustave Le Bon, Gabriel Tarde, Sigmund Freud, and Steve Reicher. This field relates to the behaviors and thought processes of both the individual crowd members and the crowd as an entity. Crowd behavior is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual and the impression of universality of behavior, both of which increase with the size of the crowd (Excerpted from Wikipedia, but emphasis mine)

Mob or Crowd Psychology is basically a subset of the Group Soul Collective Consciousness, where the emotion of the subset, the mob, overrides the intellect or Discreet Consciousness of the individual and takes control of the individual’s actions. Each one in the mob begins to act based upon the feelings of the mob as a whole, as opposed to acting based on individual rational analysis of the situation.

Why is any of this important?

Group Consciousness can be very helpful to human survival, but not always. If a group concept becomes strong that is based on false narratives, rather than as the result of successful survival enhancing experiences, the impact upon a group, large or small, can be devastating.  In great part, today’s cultures seem to be driven primarily by fear, a topic I addressed a few years ago in an article titled: The Contagion of Fear in Today’s Culture[3], which I have included a link to below.  This tendency towards being fearful of nearly everything, particularly the fear of those not of one’s tribe, is what is being exploited by the left and the media as they continue to try to divide the country up in to groups, each group being presented as victims of the other groups.  What we are experiencing today within our political discourse does not appear to be making us stronger as a culture; rather it seems to be tearing the culture apart.

This tendency towards a fear mentality is what is being capitalized on by the political movements to trigger hatred towards specific groups by amplifying the natural apprehension of those outside the tribal group that comes as part of the Group Soul experience base. When an individual can be convinced that those in a group identity other than that that the individual identifies with wishes them harm, the fear of harm that can be done by members of that group can be intensified utilizing a number of different means to the point that fear becomes hatred. Once that point is reached all reason can be dispensed with and any defense, including violence, can be justified in the mind of the individual that has been maneuvered into that mindset.

The prime methodology being used to imbed this fear modality is known as a Disinformation Campaign. For information purposes I have included a link to an article titled: What are the elements of a successful disinformation campaign?[3], but basically, a Disinformation Campaign, developed originally by the old Soviet Union in the 1930s and adopted by other nations in the years since, is a form of propaganda where typically, bits of truth are taken out of context and presented in ways to promote things, events, that are not true, but what is being presented is always based upon a truth, just not a whole truth.

What Can, Could, or Should We Do?

I am no Guru, I have no enlightened answer to give for any of this, but I think that the most important responsibility for the practicing metaphysician is to simply be aware. That is to say that we need to not take anything that we are being presented with at face value, whether we are in agreement with it or not. And particularly if we are feeling very strong emotions being generated by what is happening in our culture today, stop for a moment and attempt to analyze what we are feeling, and in general, we should attempt to do an intellectual analysis of everything that is happening around us, responding to nothing based upon an emotional response, but rationally, as is outlined by Sun Tzu, in The Art of War[4].

© John R. DeLorez


[1] Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky

[2] The Contagion of Fear in Today’s Culture

[3] What are the elements of a successful disinformation campaign?

[4]  The Art of War by Sun Tzu (I prefer the translation by Thomas Cleary)

Oct 082013

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

The “Litany against Fear” above was used by the Bene Gesserit Priestesses in Frank Herbert”s Science Fiction Novel Dune. Recognizing that Fear [1] is the prime motivator in people’s lives[2] the Litany was not meant to discount fear, but to control its effect on the individual and to prevent Panic[3] from setting in.  A person in control of their fears is formidable in the arena of human interaction, and the Bene Gesserits were all about developing formidable personal power.   Fear is a natural emotion and fundamental to the survival of the physical body.  How we deal with fear, whether through reason or emotion, is a key formative factor in the development of both individual consciousness and the culture as a whole.  It matters a great deal in determining what form the culture takes if the governing factor in people’s lives is the emotion of fear rather than knowledge and reason. 

What drives a culture is not necessarily the big things, but more often it is shaped by what I call the “little fears”.  In Western Culture today there are groups declaring that there is much to be feared about just about everything you can think of including; all forms of energy generation, all forms of transportation that use fossil fuels, food (GMOs, meat, sugar, non-organic, etc.), the decimation of bio-diversity, manmade global warming, even growing up.  Historically, the Western Culture thrived precisely because individuals dared to take calculated risks with their health and their lives in order to achieve economic and personal freedom, but in just a few decades we have become a culture that is so afraid of everything that the old “Can Do” attitude has been replaced by “Better Not”. 

To take a look at how much of this fear factor that has entered our culture is due to just causes, and just how much of it is a form of group panic, we need to understand the differences in the kinds of fear that are normally encountered in life.  For the purposes of this discussion, we can look at fears as falling into one of three classes, with the third being the one most relevant to the topic listed at the top of this page:

1.  Instinctual Fear
2.  Cautionary or Calculated Fear (typically thought of as Prudence)
3.  Learned ? Emotional Fear

Instinctual Fear comes from what is generally referred to as our “Animal Instincts”, more aptly named than I think most people realize. In the Human Triad Model this comes primarily from our Animal Group Soul Consciousness, although it may also be an attribute of our Discreet Consciousness.  It’s our tendency to IMMEDIATELY look for what caused that snap of a stick that we hear, whether we are deep in the woods or just in our own back yard.  We are conditioned to respond in this way just in case it is an indication that some predator, enemy or other danger is present.  The prime trigger of our Flight-or-Fight Response, when Instinctual Fear is activated it will at a minimum produce physiological changes to the body such as a surge of adrenalin and a heightened level of awareness. 

In contrast, Cautionary or Calculated Fear is an anticipatory rather than a response type of consciousness process.  Where Instinctual Fear triggers an immediate response as the result of an external stimulus, a Cautionary or Calculated Fear is one in which a conscious choice is made based upon available data.  It would probably not be considered a Fear at all by most people who would instead label it as just being sensible, but it still falls under the category of Fear as defined in part [2]6 in the definition of Fear provided below as “anticipation”.

An example of a Cautionary fear would be when we avoid touching the hot skillet on the stove without some form of protection. It is probably because we either learned in the past that doing so will result in a burn, or because we possess the presence of mind to know that the temperature of the skillet is such that touching it without using a potholder will result in a burn.  It is an intellectual process rather than one of emotion and generally does not involve any automatic physiological changes to the body.

The third class of fear, Learned ? Emotional is shown this way to indicate that this type of fear can range across a spectrum from one end based entirely upon reason to an opposite end that is based entirely upon emotion.  A Calculated or Cautionary Fear based upon observed data combined with an analytical ability to calculate risks and to determine what the right action/response is generally beneficial.  Conversely, the emotion driven end of the Learned ? Emotional Fear spectrum can become detrimental if it is strong enough to override natural instincts.  An Emotional Fear may become so strong that data, reason, and intellect are no longer part of the equation; the Fear in question is absolutely real to the person involved and just is, regardless of any evidence to the contrary that there is no real danger.

For instance, when a baby is born it exhibits no fear of being submerged in water.  Its natural instinct is to hold its breath and swim to the surface making the swimming motions needed to do so, as has been demonstrated in the Russian underwater birth modality.  However, if later in life a person has had an unpleasant experience in water, such as a near drowning, a Learned Fear of water may be developed that makes the person reluctant to be around water, although not panicked by its presence. But it is also possible that if the Learned Fear of water becomes so imbedded in the sub-consciousness that it shifts to the Emotional Fear end of the spectrum.  When that happens even a small amount of water splashed in the face or poured over the head can result in immediate and complete panic.

In most of the forms of Fear discussed here they are the result of personal experience, but others, particularly the Instinctual, subconscious fears are the result of “sharing” through the Group Soul.  In the case of Emotional Fears though they can also be viewed as being “caught”, in much the same way that one can catch a cold. To explain how this can occur I must digress for a moment and provide a brief review of how our Consciousness both transmits and receives information in ways that are in addition to conventional physical means of communication.

In the Human Triad Model Consciousness exists in a ten-dimensional energy form that, although roughly in the spatial shape and size of the physical body is in most ways not limited to it.  For most people, every thought process and every emotion felt generates transmissions in the nature of very high frequency wave forms, in many ways similar to radio or television waves.  Since they vary in strength based upon the intensity of the thought expressed or the emotion felt, and fear is frequently a very strong emotion, it is therefore one of the more intense types of transmissions generated. 

Once a transmission of an emotion or thought process has occurred, any consciousness that encounters the transmitted wave form will be stimulated by it, resulting in the receiving consciousness experiencing the same emotion and/or thought. 

To illustrate, if you place two tuning forks side by side and strike one of them, the energy transmitted through the air by the one struck will cause the second tuning fork to begin to vibrate also.  The same thing happens to our consciousness.  When a fear pattern has been generated it can be sensed by others who will recognize the pattern of fear, and at least sub-consciously and depending upon the strength of the fear pattern, be affected by it to some extent. 

If the emotion pattern of a shared fear is being transmitted by a few million individuals, then in all likelihood most of the culture will share some level of apprehension relating to that fear, accepting it as conventional wisdom and will stop performing data analysis, instead moving into the “it just is” mode of Emotional Fear mentioned earlier.  But it’s prudent to never accept conventional wisdom at face value without first looking closely at the source of said conventional wisdom.  Archie Bunker’s “It’s a well-known fact” almost always turns out to be based upon spurious data at best.   

Actual analysis of any core data related to whether cultural fears are valid or not is almost never directly undertaken by individuals (including such Cultural Fears as the present growing fear of vaccinations, which is causing parents to not vaccinate and which at present is resulting in an increase in outbreaks of near epidemic proportions of whooping cough[4] in children in some areas). If the average person looks into the background of a cultural fear at all it will most likely only be to the level of reading articles written by others who share the same fear and who are in turn summarizing their understanding of the writings of still others who were in turn expressing their opinions of the research done by still others. 

In this situation too, the dangers perceived by the person “catching” the fear are absolutely real to them because they “just know” the danger to be real.  If they do an honest analysis of why they fear something they will probably be unable to find a source for the fear that would fit into the process of developing a Learned Fear, i.e. personal experience and/or knowledge, and the best they will probably come up with is because someone said they should be afraid.

Often when the claims made by the groups promoting the danger of (insert favorite fear) are carefully analyzed by looking directly at the data and not just the conclusions reached by activists, the justification for these fears are nearly always found to be flawed.  For example, When Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring which resulted in the effective ban of DDT[5] in 1972; she claimed that birds ingesting DDT tended to lay thin-shelled eggs which would break prematurely in the nest thus reducing bird populations.  I remember well the near-hysteria with which her claims were met in the media and which went along the lines of “we’re all going to die!”

As a result of the DDT ban malaria, which had been under control in most of the Third World, up to that time, came back with a vengeance.  It is estimated that the ban has caused on the order of 50 million deaths[6] over the last 30+ years that would have otherwise been prevented.  Additionally, researchers who have recently attempted to verify the thin egg shell theory have found the claim “to be without merit”, in other words, false.  Emotional Fear resulted in the ban of DDT, not Prudence or justified Caution, or even good science.

In the current dominant Emotional Fear area of Man Made Global Warming, recent studies have shown[6] that 36 (nearly all) of the climate models being used by members in good standing of the “climate community” have overestimated warming over the past 20 years by a lot, and yet even though there has been NO MEASURABLE WARMING for the last 15 years, we are continuing to ban sources of energy and regulate businesses out of business based on an unfounded fear that fossil fuels and industrial emissions are resulting in increased global temperatures.

For Centuries we have been a culture not afraid to tackle challenges.  In just a few decades we have become a culture that demands to be protected from everything.  If a culture becomes so afraid of living that all of their conscious decisions are driven by fear then, unlike the Bene Gesserit, they can be easily led in any direction by both overt and covert actions of individuals desirous of shaping that culture, including directions that ultimately will result in the loss of life and/or freedom.

Why would people seek to trigger fears in large segments of the population?  In a word, Power.  Take the case of manmade global warming and its championing by the U.N.  The U.N. has been attempting to get its members to give them the ok to tax the industrialized nations so they can give the money to the underdeveloped nations to do what? In order to save them from the effects of global warming somehow.

There are real dangers in the world today, but they are for the most part being ignored while people are allowing themselves to be unnecessarily driven by the fears of the Group Soul and the Collective Consciousness Movement.  The challenge of course comes in knowing which fear is based on reality and which is based upon emotion.

Do I think what I think, Because I think it? Or do I think what I think, Because I just think, That I think it?

The SMOP Litany against Control


[1] Fear (From

1.  a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Synonyms: foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm. Antonyms: courage, security, calm, intrepidity.

2.  a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights. Synonyms: phobia, aversion; bête noire, bogy, bogey, bugbear. Antonyms: liking, fondness, penchant, predilection.

3.  concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.

4.  reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God. Synonyms: awe, respect, reverence, veneration.

5.  something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.

6.  anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur: Having grown up during the Great Depression, he had a constant fear of running out of money.

[2] Psychology Today

The Most Powerful Motivator, How fear is etched into our brains.

Published on September 23, 2009 by Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. in The Main Ingredient

[3] Panic (From
1. a sudden overwhelming fear with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

2. an instance, outbreak, or period of such fear.

The following links are for starting points only if someone wishes to explore further.  I recommend that no one accepts any of my points on any of these subjects without doing their own research first.

[4] Whooping cough reaches epidemic proportions in Texas and could hit 50-year high

By Kevin Murphy, Reuters

Sep. 05, 2013 6:28PM PDTSep. 05, 2013 6:28PM PDT


[5] On DDT


[6] THE DDT BAN TURNS 30 — Millions Dead of Malaria Because of Ban, More Deaths Likely

American Council on Science and Health

By Todd Seavey, Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2002


[7] World’s top climate scientists confess: Global warming is just QUARTER what we thought – and computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong 

UK Mail Online–computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html

Jul 222013

After reading Jack Hunter’s excellent E-Book; “Why People Believe in Spirits, Gods and Magic”[1] recently, the use of the word “Believe” in its title, as well as its appearance, and that of the word belief, in the text reminded me of something that I have been pondering for some time.  Other than in Jack Hunter’s book, I have noted a trend in papers and on-line discussions relating to such areas as Consciousness and Parapsychology to break everything down into one or the other of two classifications, that of either being grounded in material science (read true), or if not in agreement with the Materialists views of the Universe, as being based upon belief (read unproven or a fantasy).  The thing that has surprised me recently though is that I am also beginning to see a trend where even the proponents of the non-material science explanations for observations made in these areas have begun to accept a pre-assigned position as “believer” in discussions, as opposed to demanding recognition as someone dealing in facts and reality, albeit a alternative one.

For example, if a published paper deals with a review of events experienced by people who “believe” that they have had interaction with a ghostly presence, details of the interaction are never stated in a form that would indicate even the possibility that what was related by the individual as their personal experience was in fact what the individual had experienced.  Instead, words and phrases like; may have, believed to be, possibility, unexplained, etc., are used throughout the paper to describe their experience, leaving one with the impression that “while this may be what happened, they may have also just been imagining it”. Even if the incident is not fully understood by the author, by going so far in the effort to never state anything in terms that would indicate that the event being reported was a “paranormal event”, the author is in effect capitulating to the Science and/or Skeptic’s position that no matter what kind or quality of evidence is produced it will be inadequate as proof of anything. 

Of course there is a definite need and place for an approach that involves a healthy skepticism on the part of anyone studying or researching such areas as Consciousness and Parapsychology, but to place all of the data collected into the realm of belief rather than experience, personal or otherwise, predetermines the outcome of the research with respect to its lack of acceptance by the academic community.  To illustrate why I feel this is so I would like to review the connotations that come with the use of the word “belief”.


1. acceptance of truth of something: acceptance by the mind that something is true or real, often underpinned by an emotional or spiritual sense of certainty.

2. trust: confidence that somebody or something is good or will be effective.

3. something that somebody believes in: a statement, principle, or doctrine that a person or group accepts as true.

*from the Bing online dictionary

You will note that there is no mention in the definition above of any relationship between belief and fact.  More exactly, it points out that belief is based upon the mere acceptance that something is true.  Therefore, when the word belief is used to label a person’s understanding of a causal factor relating to an experience it implies that their understanding is not based upon any fact, just an acceptance without proof that something is, and consequently their conclusions related to the causality of the event should not be taken as of any consequence.

As I said in the opening, it seems at present that much of Academia and all of the Skeptic Community seem to divide personal knowledge into being based either upon “Science” or “Belief”.  Frequently they deride the latter group through the use of such descriptive words as superstition, delusion and fantasy.  But why must all reality that cannot be explained by current science be categorized only as a belief?

While it is true that societies in general, and we as individuals, all hold some personal beliefs that may not be possible to assign proofs to, at least some beliefs have been formed as a result of personal experience.

In some areas of science it is taught that all “knowing” (read personal reality) comes from one of only two sources: either through “Agreement Reality or through “Experiential Reality”. 

Agreement Reality is reality that is based upon an acceptance of what we have been told, not what we have experienced ourselves.  This form of reality matches the definition of belief very well.  It would seem to me than that agreement reality is what is in operation when most people refer to science to explain something; we accept that something is true and real because science says it is.  For example, we can accept that it is electricity that is lighting a room when we flip a light switch, and not magic, because we are told that it is electricity at work and not through any personal knowledge of the physics of electricity.

For another example, I doubt that anyone would use the word “belief” to describe their personal relationship with gravity, even though science is not able to explain what gravity is, or what produces the effect that we call gravity.  I think that most people’s acceptance of the existence of gravity comes from both a form of “Agreement Reality” and from a form of “Experiential Reality.

Why?  Because although we experience the effects of gravity all of our lives and can predict and make use of these effects, no one, including scientists, actually knows what the source of gravity is.  Is it a wave form of undetectable energy that is generated by atoms, or are there something like gravity particles that are undetectable except by their effect?  And although we know that gravity affects a beam of light, if gravity is a relationship between a mass and a mass, then how can there be a gravitational effect upon light which is a wave and not a mass (this is pretty much why the concept of the photon was developed, to offer an explanation for the inconvenient fact that light acts both like a wave, and like a particle with mass).  So, although we accept gravity as being true with a sense of certainty, because we cannot define in terms of science just what gravity is, only describe what it does based upon personal experience, then by using the logic of some of Academia and the Skeptic Community, gravity should be dismissed as being merely a belief, not a fact. 

But of course in the practical world of most people, gravity just is.  There is no need to deal with the philosophical aspects of its effects on our lives.  That is because in the “real world” the primary form of reality is “Experiential Reality”, a reality based upon or pertaining to, or derived from, experience.  But when branches of science, such as Anthropology, study what they refer to as “primitive societies” they tend to classify the reality that governs the lives of the members of these societies as beliefs.  In fact, they generally take it a step further and dismiss those beliefs as superstitions.  But to truly understand such a culture it is first necessary to accept that these people’s lives are based at least as much upon experiential reality as through agreement reality.

For instance, the person being studied may have a life experience where they have witnessed a local person who is a healer curing people of injuries or illnesses through use of techniques that are in no way related to modern western medicine.  Or they may well have at some point in their life experienced the healing process themselves.  For them the healing process is an experiential reality based upon personal experience.  For those from outside the culture that are studying the society to automatically label an experiential reality of this type as a belief or superstition is questionable science at best, and arrogance at worst.

What I propose is that those who study either these Primitive Societies or the field of Parapsychology in the modern Western World consider substituting something similar to the phase “experiential reality” for the word “belief” in evaluating the lives and personal experiences of the individuals in these cultures

[1] “Why People Believe in Spirits, Gods and Magic” by Jack Hunter

Available from at:

And from at:

Oct 242011

Words are important, they have meaning, and when their meanings change, awareness of the change is important too.  Words that have been in use in the Metaphysical and Spiritual Communities for centuries are being applied today in ways never anticipated or intended.  Some, such as “occult”, have been so bastardized in modern practice as to render them unwise to use.  Others, capitalized on for their acceptance within the community as part of the Spirituality lexicon, are being used in subtly altered ways to promote a philosophy significantly different from that originally associated with the word.

Two words undergoing such a change in meaning are Consciousness and Spirituality.  These words play an essential role in any discussion relating to the Western Spiritual Movement generally referred to as New Age, endowing with a veneer of Spiritual authenticity concepts developed within the paradigms of Psychology and Sociology.  As a result, a rapidly expanding segment of Western Spiritualism, known under such labels as a “Global Consciousness Movement”, display all of the characteristics of a sociopolitical activism organization, rather than a search for the mystical.  If you doubt for a moment that this is becoming a significant faction, consider that when I did a search today on the Internet using the phrase “global consciousness movement” it produced 5,870,000 results, and the phrase “global consciousness” produced 22,000,000.  A search for “Spiritualism” produced 5,980,000 results and the word “Metaphysics” 17,400,000.  That would indicate that there is at least as much interest in the concept of a global consciousness as there is in the broad categories of spiritualism and metaphysics.

The word “Spiritual” had a very clear definition as it was initially used in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Everything in the world, and the universe as a whole, was divided into one of two classifications, either “material” or “spiritual”. Material pertained to that which was of the physical world, the realm of conventional science. Spiritual was the classification for all things not of the physical, everything outside of the realm of the material.  Spiritualism was therefore simply the study of the non-material.

Consciousness was viewed as the spiritual progenitor of material life.  That is, consciousness was a form of energy that existed primarily within the spiritual world and was the animating force for material life, the soul in conventional religion.  Material life did not exist without the presence of consciousness.

The study of Metaphysics became focused primarily on human consciousness and its role in both the Spiritual and the Material worlds.  That meant attempting to determine the source, energy properties and make up of human consciousness, and its form of existence when not associated with a physical body.  It also involved the study of the possibility of the existence of non-physical (spiritual) planes possessing other evolutionary realms of life besides that of the physical realm, and most of all, the study and practice of how the individual could learn to actively participate in these other, non-material, planes of existence. The early Metaphysical study of the emotional/mind component of human consciousness later became the field of psychology.

Before I go further let me state that I am not questioning the usefulness of the field of Psychology when applied as a healing modality.  I may question the wisdom of some of the aspects of the discipline as they are applied, but not the benefit that many people can obtain from working with a qualified practitioner of this profession.

But what happens when Psychology and Sociology becomes the dominant force in Western Spiritualism?  The common thread I see running through the Global Consciousness groups is a focus on the belief that a world changed for the better can be brought about through the development of a group consensus on what constitutes an appropriate world view.   The group consensus is presented as a Group Consciousness, but here we see the reassigning of the meaning of the word consciousness to a very different one than that given above.  I discussed this shift of focus and meaning in an earlier article, Towards a Consciousness of Oneness, or Not which was in turn a response to the article “Toward a Consciousness of Oneness” by Robert Atkinson, PhD which asserted that “the ultimate outcome of human evolution would be the development of a Consciousness of Oneness”.

The substitution of the Psychology Community’s definition of consciousness for the one originally applied in the field of Spiritualism profoundly alters the modern approach to Spirituality.  In studying peer review papers being published in these disciplines today, the fields of Psychology, Parapsychology and Cognitive Science limit any discussion of the source of consciousness to the confines of the biological brain mass.  Consciousness then by definition can only exist so long as the organism, the human brain, is fully functional, in other words, alive.  I also discussed some of the ways that this has affected research in these areas in an earlier article, A Personal Opinion of the Present State of Popular Paranormal Research.

By limiting consciousness to the realm of the living brain, the Spirit portion of the Body, Mind, Spirit model is by default removed from consideration, and the research done by the Metaphysical and Spiritual Communities over the last 150 years relating to the question “is there life after death?” is summarily dismissed.  The barrier that is being artificially erected by limiting research to the biological brain mass prevents even the consideration of any possibility that consciousness may possess a form of existence outside of the physical boundaries of the human brain, and will, in my opinion, prevent these fields from ever fully understanding human consciousness.

Before this barrier was erected though, early pioneers in the study of human consciousness became aware of the mind’s ability to access information that was “unexplainable wholly in terms of physical principles”, what Freud called “archaic remnants” and Jung called the “collective unconscious”, that part of the unconscious that possesses the shared experiences of the entire human race. Jung also put forward that there was a “personal unconscious”, which possessed only those experiences that had been accumulated by the individual.  That there exists the ability to access and share a collective consciousness continues to be the subject of much study and is the cornerstone of the Global Consciousness Movement today.

So, are there any fine distinctions between the meaning of the word consciousness  as used by the early Metaphysicians and in the way Freud and Jung viewed it, and it’s meaning when used in conjunction with the Global Consciousness Movement, and why should we care?  Studies conducted by both the Spiritual and Science communities show that (1) there is a great deal of evidence that a group consciousness does exist, and (2) that shifts in the group consciousness result in effects that are global in nature (see Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s work). The concerns that I have with the differences between the “Spiritualist” and the “Global Consciousness” movement’s models relating to a “group consciousness” lies not in the end result, but in how it is arrived at. 

In the study of Metaphysics, the focus is on consciousness in the form of an individual’s discreet consciousness, the “personal consciousness” of Jung. It is believed that positive change in the human race is brought about as the result of a community of people working on themselves individually to accomplish commonly shared Spirituality based goals.  Those working on personal development have to first deal with their own issues, attitudes, strengths and weaknesses, and then, and only then can they, through the example of a life well lived and an improved personal energy, help others, the “doctor heal thyself” principle.  The emphasis is on a life lived by doing what is perceived as “spiritually” right, not on what is considered as either socially acceptable or desirable, as is the case in the development of a group consciousness.

On the other hand, following a spiritual path within the Global Consciousness Movement works with Jung’s “collective unconscious”, calling for each individual’s efforts to be focused on doing everything they can to encourage others to adopt a mindset identical to theirs, one based on “we” in place of “I” placing a priority on a “world view” rather than viewing things through a local perspective.  In this system of belief, the individual’s prime reason for existence is to help bring to the world “harmony through conformity”.  It is a movement predicated upon the shared conviction that a point in human social evolution can be reached where universal peace is the norm, once enough people have been conditioned to develop the same “We in place of I” mindset.  Then, through some ability of the human mind that they do not completely understand (ESP?), all other minds will be triggered to unconsciously reprogram for similarly acceptable world view mindsets. 

The key to understanding the Global Consciousness Movement is to understand that the whole process works not with developing a better understanding of the overall human consciousness of Metaphysics, but with the human mind of the fields of Psychology and Sociology. This shift away from studying the development of consciousness as an aspect of the spiritual, meaning the nonphysical, to a shift towards identifying group consciousness in terms of a group consensus of human minds is, I believe, a result of the heavy preponderance of people in leadership positions of the movement who earned their degrees, and pursue careers, within the field of psychology and or medicine.   I can see where there would be a tendency on their part to shape a course in the pursuit of spirituality that would follow a path of least resistance by remaining within the province of the study of the Mind.  To hold as a belief that independent minds can be programmed for commonality of thought does not require any consideration of the existence of thought or consciousness outside of the boundaries of the human brain, allowing them to remain within the comfort zone of the definition of consciousness as a byproduct of the organic based mind that they were taught as students of psychology.

This is obviously not the same thing as believing in the existence of the group soul consciousness of Metaphysics, one whose existence is of a realm not of the physical, and that exists outside of the boundaries of the brain cavity, sharing information and experiences through non-physical means. It is this difference in beliefs that make me feel that a Global Consciousness developed through the programming of a group consensus of minds creates several issues of concern:

  • Who determines the definition of the correct world view, what form does proper group thinking take on, and how is what is the acceptable form of morality, personal actions, means of livelihood, etc., determined?
  • In a consensus consciousness the individual is relieved of all personal responsibility for their actions, so long as they are complying with the group consciousness’s outline of proper modes of conduct.  Any deed is defined as proper so long as the group consensus dictates that it is a right action.  In the extreme, this could even include such actions as the extermination of an entire segment of the population, if the group consciousness said it was the right thing to do, then so be it.
  • Critical thinking cannot be allowed because it would tend to disrupt the group consensus by interjecting a discordant note in the group energy.

When any consideration of consciousness is limited to its being a biological function of the human brain, and group consciousness refers to the individual “minds” of a group being in consensus with respect to social and political issues, then the form of Spirituality that is associated with such a movement also falls within the realm of the mind, becoming just a form of “right thinking”, as defined by the leadership of the Global Consciousness Movement.  This type of group or collective consciousness falls under the definition of a hive mind, a form of slave mentality.

I do not think that this is something that we should aspire to.

Jun 272011

Politics is Spirituality Made Manifest. Kinda makes one wonder about the state of both about now.

One’s Spirituality, whether it takes the form of a religion, a moral code, a belief system, even atheism, must consist of absolutes. Something is true or it is untrue, it is right or it is wrong, something exists or it doesn’t exist, etc. The absolutes may change over time as a person learns and grows, but there has to be a foundation to work from, based on our best understanding at the moment, or there is no system of Spirituality present and the person drifts through life rudderless.

Politics, on the other hand, is based upon a process of negotiation rooted in the practice of compromise. There are no absolutes, only the “what do I have to give up to get what I think I want or need?”

In their pure form these two are polar opposites. The present fashion, purportedly derived from an interpretation of the First Amendment, of declaring that a person’s personal Spiritual belief system has no place in politics is a perversion of both what the First Amendment states, and of what was intended by the framers of the Constitution. The First Amendment starts out: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING the free exercise thereof:” (emphasis mine). The amendment was intended to ensure that we would have the ability to practice whatever form of Spirituality we choose, without interference from the government. It grants freedom OF religion, NOT freedom FROM religion, and nowhere is anyone granted the right to not be offended. For those who enthusiastically support the efforts of those in our culture today who have targeted several specific religions using all means at their disposal to block their free practice, it would behoove them to remember that restrictions imposed on others today, once put in place,can be used to restrict the practice of their own spiritual belief systems in the future.

The system laid out in the Constitution was designed with the understanding that when new laws were up for debate a person was expected to fight in congress for a final version of the law that would reflect their personal belief systems, or, if they disagreed with the law, to fight for not passing it at all. The compromise that was required of members of congress was not a compromise of their belief systems, their personal Spirituality, but an acceptance of the need to comply with the final version of any law that was passed by majority vote. Similarly, the population of each state agreed to abide by the majority vote that put a law into force. If a individual citizen did not like or agree with a law, they were required to comply with it regardless, but they also had the right to fight for the repeal or re-writing of any law they opposed, so long as it was done through the legislative process, working for change through persuasion, not through judicial coercion.

The actions of the court system over the last 60 years has changed our system of government from one of majority rule, to one of a tyranny of the minority. When judges, as in the recent case in Texas where a suit was filed by one student who is offended by expressions relating to religious belief, in the name of enforcing the First Amendment has forbidden the participants of an entire graduation class to make any reference to God or religion in their speeches at the graduation or else face arrest, the courts are doing precisely what the First Amendment forbids, i.e. “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

So, when a person is forced to be politic in how they practice their personal form of Spirituality, they are forced to compromise the basics of their belief system. As a result, if they acquiesce, their old form of Spirituality eventually morphs into a new politically correct version. In this case, you could say that Spirituality is Politics made manifest. But, since it is their new model of Spirituality Lite (their original Spirituality with some portions removed) that is now the driving force in their politics, it becomes “Politics is Spirituality made manifest” once again.

To demand that a person deny their personal belief system in order to run for office demands that they either must lie to get elected, or else abandon that personal belief system entirely in order to serve. Why then are we surprised, when once they have assumed the office, that they no longer display a well defined personal code of conduct, working from a sense of expediency rather than from any form of Spirituality?

For a couple of examples where politics seems to have overridden an individual’s previous fundamental form of Spirituality, resulting in a “new and improved version” you might want to check out the following links.

  1. When I read Deepak Chopra’s latest blog I was shocked and dismayed to see so much hatred and acrimony displayed from someone who has been positioned as a Spiritual Leader of the New Age Community for the last 30 years:

    Compare the sentiments expressed in the blog above to those he expressed in a recent interview by the President of Institute Of Noetic Science in which Chopra, along with numerous other things relating to consciousness expansion, is promoting a transformation of self that “would automatically transform us into more loving and compassionate human beings”.
  2. “In speaking to a group of students in Minnesota last week, the Dalai Lama cleared up any uncertainty regarding his political views. “…As far as socio-political beliefs are concerned, I consider myself a Marxist,” he told the audience.”

    It takes a lot of compromise to accept a belief system that has been the source of the destruction of the very people that the Dalai Lama is the Spiritual Leader of.
Jan 112011

Would love to hear your thoughts on the difficulties Elders are having in passing on their traditions, John. Any chance you could use that as your next topic?

Over the years in the course of conversations with people I respect from the Teacher/Author/Elder segment of our community, I have often found the subject of our discussion turning to the shift they are witnessing in the mindset of the general student population. The first time was with my own Teacher some 30+ years ago, the most recent was in a conversation with an old friend just a few months past. These discussions are not of the “students were different back in the good old days” genre, but rather focus on observed changes in the average student’s expectations regarding the learning process.

The Public’s interest has varied greatly over the last few centuries with respect to studying subjects typically labeled as Metaphysical, Arcane, or the Occult (not the Hollywood version).  More recent additions to this area of interest have been labeled as Paganism, Wiccan, Goddess Religion, or New Age. 

Up until the mid-nineteenth century, for an individual to be open at all about having an interest in any of these areas would be hazardous to them socially, and could put them personally at risk with the local authorities and/or religious organizations. Under these circumstances an individual persistent enough to seek out a teacher or an organization where learning was available was a personage who took the entire process seriously, one who was willing to perform whatever level of exertion was required in order to acquire access to these teachings.

In the United States the Spiritualist Movement, which began with the Fox sisters in 1848, launched the general public’s more tolerant acceptance of people’s interests in these subjects.  By the Civil War, just a decade and a half later, Mary Todd Lincoln was hosting séances in the White House. Organizations began to appear that were open to the public, albeit with some membership restrictions, whose purpose was to promote the study and practice of Eastern and Occult Philosophies.  Progenies of two such organizations of the period are still in operation today, The Theosophical Society, which was founded in 1875 in New York City, and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which was founded in 1888 in London.

From this point on, and lasting through the first half of the 20th Century, there was a steady growth of organizations throughout the Western World that provided access to learning within a wide range of subjects related to the Mystery Traditions.  The focus of these organizations varied widely, but they all had a common approach to learning, the student was expected to do all the work.  What I mean by that is the Teachers and Elders in the organizations were there to assist the student as much as possible, directing them to the texts they needed to study, helping them to learn exercises that would aid them in their personal development, and teaching them the traditions of their particular belief system, etc., but the student was expected to do the reading of the texts, to learn and to practice the exercises and the traditions, and to process the information personally and internally. Although there were initiations for the student at various levels of attainments that would provide an occasional boost for the novice, all accomplishment came as the result of personal participation and accomplishments. 

The novice started with access to the exoteric form of the tradition, learning what was available to pretty much anyone who was willing to search for books and writings on the subjects.  But in order to gain access to the esoteric portion of the teachings, those held from the general public to prevent their misuse, the student had to show that they had acquired a sufficient level of the basics in knowledge and principles. They also had to demonstrate that they possessed a work ethic that would make it possible for them to stick with a learning process that could at times be daunting.

The section that follows is not meant to be an evaluation of the merits or failings of the changes that will be discussed, nor an endorsement or a criticism of them; rather in order to understand how we got to where we are today, and to speculate upon where we are going in the future, the time period considered will be discussed in terms of “cause and effect”.

With roots that started in the 1950’s, and clearly visible in the 1960’s, we saw a major paradigm shift in the West whose influence was most predominant among the younger members of society.  In every culture you looked at, the existing values of the “Elders” were suddenly being brought into question.  As many of the traditional values were rejected, new ways of viewing the world and interacting with others were sought out.  At the time, these changes were viewed as a positive thing for our community.  Interest in numerous Magickal, Pagan and Wiccan Traditions increased, as well as in the traditions of the East, particularly those originating in India.  The upsurge in attraction for studying these areas saw a measured but consistent rate of growth from the mid-sixties up through the mid-eighties.

Then, in February of 1987, a mini-series appeared on TV based on Shirley MacLaine’s book Out On A Limb and the New Age Movement took off.

Overnight the demand for classes in crystals, healing, meditation, and yoga snowballed.  Additionally, during the decade following there was an upsurge in interest in all things Pagan, Wiccan, Magick and Goddess oriented, followed very quickly by Angels and Fairies.  The demand was so great that it almost immediately exceeded the supply of experienced teachers and Elders. 

Where demand exceeds supply there will always be some who will step forward to fill the gap.  Soon we had new teachers teaching the classes that they had just taken themselves.  The new scholars did not see any problem with this lack of breadth in their teacher’s range of knowledge, because most of them only had an interest in the one subject being covered in the particular class that they were enrolled in.

Some of these new teachers from two plus decades ago went on to expand their breadth of knowledge, found Elders to study under, become successful authors, and are now becoming Elders themselves.  Others went on to become “personalities” and became a Westernized version of the Eastern Guru.

For most of the new members of the community the paradigm shift in the culture alluded to earlier, coupled with the new student’s realization that much of the time they found themselves taking instruction from individuals less knowledgeable about the subject at hand than they were, produced an attitude that experience in a teacher was not to be valued all that much, and Traditions that outlined a specific way of living or of practicing ritual were not all that necessary either. 

The word Eclectic entered the community and became a code for one who preferred to not limit themselves to a single Tradition or belief system.  The Eclectic chose their Gods, Goddesses, meditation practices, rituals and tools from whatever Tradition they came across, making their selections like choosing from a menu in a restaurant.  An Eclectic did not need an Elder, nor saw any need to follow an established Tradition.  Instead, groups of Eclectics that had made similar choices from the menu began to form their own, new, Traditions.  Most of these groups had very short life spans, soon breaking up with the former members gravitating to other new Traditions, until those too dissolved.

In any culture when the need for a position in that culture fades, the position itself also vanishes.  I grew up on the Northern edge of the Missouri Ozarks which had a rich tradition of folk healers and herbalists up through the first half of the twentieth century.  When conventional medical care became more widely available in the rural areas of the state in the 1950’s, the use of the services of the folk healers and herbalists disappeared, as did with time, the folk healers and herbalists themselves.

Our community has become part of the cultural mainstream.  You can now buy your books, tools and jewelry at any large department store.  There is no longer a perceived need for a specialty shop or learning center.  Nor is there a perceived need in the majority of the community for an Elder to pass on a Tradition, and because of that, soon the younger members of the community may not be able to find an Elder to study under, even if they decide they want to.

Interest in the extensive range of topics that fall under the headings of New Age, Paganism and Wicca continues to expand, at least on the surface.  And I think that that is a good thing.  My observation and concern though, is that most of the interest seems to be more social oriented, than spiritual.  I’m certainly not opposed to a teacher doing whatever they can to maximize attendance, teachers have bills to pay just like everyone else, but when I see group rituals being scheduled for the nearest weekend preceding an occasion such as a solstice, rather than for the actual date of the event to maximize attendance, I can’t help but wonder if anyone involved really understands why the ancients performed their rites on specific days?

The “purpose” for the ritual celebration on a specific date originally was so that the ritual would have access to the maximum amount of natural energy possible, which could then be tapped into to facilitate the bringing about of a desired result for the individual and/or the community.  In the case of a Solstice Celebration, the “purpose” of the ritual was to bring about the most favorable conditions possible for the survival of the tribal group for the next six months. 

The “purpose” today for many for the enactment of a ritual celebration is simply a social gathering and becomes an end unto itself.  The timing becomes inconsequential. To choose convenience over substance contributes to the growing superficial approach to these subjects, an approach that also contributes to the perceived lack of need for experienced teachers and Elders. It is not so much a case of the students not trusting in the wisdom of the Elders as much as it is that the average student today does not know what an Elder is, or the function or value of having an Elder within a cultural system. 

The title of this piece is the opening line from the book of Ecclesiastes in the King James Version of the Old Testament, Chapter III: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.  It may be that the surge in interest in all things mystical by mainstream culture has resulted in the mystical becoming mundane.  The study of the Metaphysical and Occult has been a core element of human growth for as long as there have been humans.  Occult means hidden, and so too was its study up to 150 years ago.  Perhaps the “season” for its in-depth study being readily available to all is coming to a close, and the cycle is returning once more to where the knowledgeable teachers and Elders are not so easily accessible to the general public.  To use terms from the period of the previous cycle, the public will still have open access to the “exoteric”, but only a few will have access to the “esoteric”, the real heart of the teachings.  

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
                       and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
                       a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes III

Dec 052010

John R. DeLorez

I am always baffled by “Researchers of the Paranormal” when they mock those with personal experience of the very subject that the researcher professes to be studying, personal experience acquired as a result of an individual’s possession of any number of forms and degrees of psychic abilities.  For the paranormal researcher to discount or make light of the use of Psychics and/or Mediums indicates a lack of knowledge of the subject matter being investigated.

My guess is that by doing so they are attempting to create the perception that they are approaching the subject from a real world “scientific” point of view, and therefore should be accorded the appropriate level of respect customary for one who is involved in “scientific research”.  It has always had just the opposite effect on me, leading me to wonder just how qualified the researcher is, and do they even understand what it is that they are attempting to do research on?

To do “serious” research one is expected to use the scientific method. By definition, when using the scientific method, one is not supposed to allow oneself to be influenced by preconceived biases, in this case, a bias against data collected through the human psychic.  The research is, ideally, to be based upon a starting theoretical model that is modified over time as data is collected and analyzed.  The parts of the model that can be verified, or at least not discredited, are kept in the model.  The parts of the model that are demonstrated to not be accurate are discarded or modified.

To develop the initial model and then to be able to do data analysis requires at least some knowledge of the field being investigated.  For example, I would not expect to find a Mechanical Engineer doing research in the field of Molecular Biology.  The individual might have an excellent education and be a very good Mechanical Engineer, but their ability to develop models, devise experiment protocols and then do data collection and analysis in the area of Molecular Biology, would not be consistent with their education or life experience.

It has been my observation that most of those who I have come in contact with who are interested in Paranormal Research are sincere, enthusiastic individuals with, at best, some background in either the popular culture’s fascination with meters, recorders and other Paranormal Research Equipment, or some background or belief in Psychic phenomena.   It is rare that I find anyone who has much of a background in the physical sciences.

As far as I can tell with only limited knowledge of their organizations and methods, of the various Paranormal groups that I am at least somewhat familiar with today, including the ones with the most popular shows on TV, none of them have, or at least do not state that they have, a working model to start with or use in their investigations, have no experimental protocols, and focus their entire efforts on the setting up of people and equipment for the collection of data.  The data analysis seems to consist of no more than reviewing the tapes/recordings afterwards to see if any anomalies show up, and then they stop at the point where they recognize that they “got something”.

I have no wish to discourage anyone from joining any of these groups.  I do understand the interest many people have in participating in events that might allow them to have a personal experience with a paranormal event, therefore gaining some assurance that there is “Life After Death”.  Many of the organizations I have looked at in my research have a common mission statement that recognizes this as their specific main function, “To find proof that there is life after death”.  At the same time, to let my sarcastic side out for the moment, the requirements for being a qualified Paranormal Investigator today seem to revolve around not much more than having a catchy name and logo for the group, and it helps if everyone has matching tee-shirts and or jackets with the logo printed on them.

But to be fair about it though, where can the sincere individual find a means of obtaining a solid background education in this discipline?  Although there are many individuals who I respect in this field from whom one could learn much within the specific area of their expertise, I am not aware of any school or group that has a program that could provide the basics in the all of the following areas: (1) basic scientific methods, (2) basic material world science/physics, (3) a beginning model for the non-physical portion of the universe that is supposed to be the area of origin of Paranormal phenomena, and (4) the development in the individual of any of the many forms of psychic abilities such as Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Clairsentience, Empathic Abilities, Medium, Trance Medium, Psychometry, etc., any or all of which would be useful in Paranormal Research.  To understand why this split exists between the study of the non-physical realm (paranormal) and the working with this same realm (psychics) some history would be helpful.

When using phrases like Researchers of the Paranormal, Paranormal Investigator or Parapsychologist (or Ghost Hunter or Ghost Buster) it should be clearly understood that the root source for all of these phrases, “Parapsychology” has two very different meanings in Western Culture.  Professional Psychologists and Therapists have one definition for the word, and popular culture, thanks mainly to the entertainment industry, has a very different understanding of what the word suggests.  I believe that the divergence in meaning between these two areas came about to a large extent as a result of something as basic as how one obtains funding for their research.  Is the researcher working within classical academia where they must “publish or perish”, or within the entertainment industry, where one must both entertain, and if possible, thrill their audience, if one is to be able to obtain funding from the sale of books and/or from having their own TV show?

University Psychology Departments in the 1950’s recognized that an unexplored area existed within their field which they could no longer ignore.  Although still not willing to officially investigate any phenomena that fell outside of preset fixed boundaries that discounted any suggestion of the possibility of life in any form other than physical, or of an intelligence that resided somewhere other than the human brain, still, colleges and universities began adding courses in Parapsychology to their curriculums.  By the late 1970’s, for a short period of time, there were even a number of US Universities that were offering degrees in Parapsychology.

In what was probably an attempt to present an aura of scientific respectability about the subject, the fathers of modern parapsychology rejected the study of any area that could not be first demonstrated as valid using the “scientific method” in a laboratory setting.  By doing so, Parapsychology research in the University environment became restricted to only that which could be documented using statistical analysis.  Observational Data, no matter how ground breaking in the field, which could not be reproduced over and over again in the lab (the classic ESP Zener Card experiments) was rejected out of hand.  Field work to investigate such anomalies as hauntings were completely out of the question.  Funding for research in an academic environment is dependent upon the kind of physical results that can be produced as a result of the research, mainly in the form of statistical data reports and scholarly papers submitted for peer review.  One’s funding was likely to dry up if all you had to show for your research was some audio tapes of a onetime event where a haunting was being investigated.

A college text of that period by two professors at Duke University, titled PARAPSYCHOLOGY, FRONTIER SCIENCE OF THE MIND, A Survey of the Field, the Methods, and the Facts of ESP and PK Research, by J. B. Rhine and J. G. Pratt[1], pretty well summed up the attitude of mainstream science in the title.  The boundaries set by science at that time placed parapsychology exclusively within the realm of the “mind,” and dealt almost singularly with ESP (Extrasensory Perception, non-physical communications between individuals) and PK (Psychokinesis, the ability to move objects with the mind).  Some excerpts from this textbook follow:

“It should from the very beginning be made clear that the phenomena with which parapsychology deals are all, without exception, events of nature. In other words, the field of problems belongs entirely to natural science. As the next chapter will indicate, the observations and experiments are dealt with strictly in the established manner of scientific inquiry. Accordingly, whatever comes out of the investigations of this field belongs, just as in any other branch of science, to the body of organized knowledge known as natural law.

What, then, identifies a psychical phenomenon as parapsychical? It is an occurrence that has been shown by experimental investigation to be unexplainable wholly in terms of physical principles. It is, in fact, the manifestly nonphysical character of parapsychical phenomena that for the present constitutes their only general identifying feature and marks them off from the rest of general psychology. This does not, of course, alter the fact that the data of parapsychology are natural. As a matter of fact, our concept of what is “natural” is built up out of just such discoveries of science as they are made; accordingly it goes on growing, and will continue to do so, with each added bit of knowledge. It is now clear that, contrary to some of the limiting philosophies that currently prevail, nature extends beyond the domain of purely physical law.

The distinction of these parapsychical occurrences from physics is not, however, an absolute one. Rather, they usually involve physical events or objects, either as stimuli or as effects. But there is always some distinct point at which a completely physical interpretation is manifestly inadequate. To illustrate, the direct influence of human volition on a moving object without the use of any kind of physical energy to achieve the effect would constitute a phenomenon for parapsychological study. Or again, an individual may obtain knowledge of an event occurring beyond the range of his senses and his reasoning abilities. If there should be no transfer of physical energy from the event to the individual, no sensory function could convey the knowledge and the experience would be parapsychical.”

The last paragraph would seem to provide justification for the categorizing as Paranormal Researchers those groups that go under the modern label of “Ghost Hunters”.  A common thread for these groups is the collection of data in the form of video and/or audio recordings of images/sounds that cannot be traced to a mundane physical source.

The naysayers claim that the study of Parapsychology using the Scientific Method has never produced a result indicative of any actual phenomena, and the enthusiasts tend to ignore the collection of hard data using the Scientific Method in favor of experiential data that by its’ nature cannot be replicated, thereby invalidating it to the mainstream scientific community (a Sensitive is used to experience discarnate entities).  It is my belief that the study of Parapsychology and Paranormal Phenomena can and should be undertaken within the standards of the Scientific Method, but absolutely also requires the inclusion of those areas of experience generally labeled as psychic or spiritualist.

Using the Scientific Method to prove a theory in Parapsychology, or to demonstrate that someone has actual ability to cause Parapsychological Phenomena such as PK to occur, would require that all variables be maintained at a consistent value for each test, and that by doing so identical results can be obtained each time the test is run.  For example, placing an individual in an identical environment for each test, and using the same deck of Zener cards each time for an ESP experiment, would theoretically result in obtaining identical test scores each time, something that researchers have not been able to accomplish.  The challenge that the researcher runs up against in using the scientific method is determining what constitutes an identical environment, and then being able to replicate it.

The disadvantage placed on the researcher in doing this type of research, compared to standard physical sciences research, are the restrictions placed upon the tester’s ability to identify the variables involved.  To be able to know what the variables are to such a degree that there is a high probability of their being either controlled in order to prevent variability between tests, or where their variability can at least be monitored and recorded for each test is an absolute must.

For most researchers though, if the testing is of a phenomenon that is tied to non-physical world events, such as a haunting, it may be not only impossible for them to identify the variables, but in mainstream science they are not even allowed to accept the possibility of the existence of such variables, much less be able to ensure that they are the maintained the same for each event.  Taking it a step further, when mainstream science refuses to even allow for the possibility that there may be non-physical variables involved, then their tests are in fact, not based on the Scientific Method, with the end result being that the tests are being rigged to always provide them with a negative answer which is the only answer that they can accept.

How is it that researchers in the academic environment cannot even speculate on the possibility of other, non-measurable variables in this field, let us take a look at another excerpt from this textbook:

“Parapsychology needs also to be distinguished from popular concepts connected with certain areas of practice or belief which are sometimes confused or associated with it. Occultism is one of these. This term designating the study of hidden arts or principles does not apply to the scientific type of approach that characterizes parapsychology. Spiritualism is another term that has been widely associated with parapsychology. Spiritualism, however, is a religion, having for its central emphasis belief in the existence of a world of discarnate personalities supposedly able to communicate with the living, mainly through mediumship. They are also believed capable of manifestations such as hauntings and poltergeist phenomena (a sort of rough?housing attributed to noisy spirits). As with all religious systems of belief, there are certain doctrines in Spiritualism based upon the assumption of capacities that have not been verified by scientific method in parapsychology. The relationship of parapsychology to areas possibly involving its principles is, in general, something like that of a pure to an applied science area. There is the important difference, however, that in no instance in parapsychology as yet has such application grown out of preceding laboratory discovery.

Certain of the terms more commonly associated with spiritualism have come into widespread popular usage; for example, the terms medium and mediumship. Strictly speaking, the term medium implies a theory of spirit survival and of communication of discarnate personalities with the living through the intermediation of persons known as mediums. This is a doctrine in the Spiritualist faith and is not a scientifically established fact in parapsychology. It is, however, correct to say that the investigation of the hypothesis of spirit survival and communication would be a parapsychological one (see Chapter 6).”

By definition, according to this textbook then, if the source of phenomena cannot be found in the manifest physical world, then variables associated with experiments involving the phenomena cannot be taken into consideration, must be assumed to not exist, and therefore cannot be included in the research.  Makes it kind of hard to do research in the area of Paranormal Phenomena, which is also defined in this textbook as phenomena that has no discernable physical source, if one is forbidden to look to the non-physical for collecting data.  Any data collected that might be related to the possibility the existence of Life after Death is regulated to the religion of Spiritualism and consequently cannot even be considered in Parapsychological Research.  If it cannot be considered in research by the academic community, then it certainly cannot be included in any curriculum that the school might develop related to Parapsychology either.

I have worked with, been exposed to, and felt driven to reconcile the seeming contradictions between the areas of non-physical phenomena and hard science all of my six plus decades.  Although I didn’t know then that I was doing paranormal research, my first project lasted for a period of ten years, running from the age of 7 to 17.  My education and means of earning an income have primarily been oriented around the hard sciences.  My avocation has been the study and personal development of an understanding of the area the textbook above labels as Spiritualism, and how it relates to the area of knowledge generally referred to as “hard science”.

During the forty years or so that I have worked with the local Southern California community of those involved in the field of Metaphysics, New Age and “Psychic” philosophies, it has become apparent to me that there is a need in this type of research for both the hard science equipment operator and the psychic sensitive if the research is going to generate the greatest amount of usable data.   The most sensitive instrument that can be used to detect paranormal phenomena is the human instrument; it is also unfortunately an instrument that can be of fluctuating reliability with results from the same individual varying from investigation to investigation (there are a number of reasons for this variation that do not compromise the value of the human instrument, but it is far too an extensive area of study to go into here).

As I stated in the opening, for the researcher to discount the use of Psychics or Mediums in the field of Paranormal Research I feel indicates a lack of knowledge of the subject matter being investigated, and will more importantly, limit the researcher’s ability to produce much in the way of new insights into science of paranormal phenomena.

Despite the official academic position regarding the reality of areas of life that are not measurable by yard stick or oscilloscope, it is my hope that those who are interested in doing research in the full field of Parapsychology, not just ESP or Hauntings, will do all they can to expand their personal range of knowledge in all of the areas of science and psychics, not just in one or the other.

[1] This text was first published in 1957 and went through a total of five printings, with the last reprint done in 1974, a respectable length of time for any college text to be in use.  If you wish to view this text, PARAPSYCHOLOGY, FRONTIER SCIENCE OF THE MIND is available in its’ entirety on-line at: