13. The Field of Psychology
It happened suddenly. The Dean was shocked but very happy to discover that Professor Kornberg has proposed to Professor Benedict. Linus and Margaret say that they are planning to be life-long “partners,” not married, but their friends notice that he has given her an engagement ring, suggesting a wedding. They are off to the mountains to celebrate the new partnership and will miss class today.
Kathleen had her baby, successfully, and talked with an attorney about adoption procedures. Her parents came to pay hospital expenses and to help her adjust. Also, a national organization of “birth mothers” sent a counselor to talk with her. The counselor talked about having lost her own baby, about the grief and pain, her own anguish, worry, shame, and guilt. She said that adoption can be paralyzing for mothers, because it also includes the loss of parental rights. Kathleen will not be in class today.
The Dean does not know what is causing his fatigue but has scheduled a test for sleep apnea, which will require an overnight stay in a hospital.
He spoke last week with Carl Mowrer, an emeritus professor who had been chair of the psychology department before his retirement. They had two meetings which were the most unusual the Dean has ever had with a faculty member. And Professor Mowrer spoke of personal matters he had never shared before with his colleagues.
The Dean knew that Professor Mowrer had had an extraordinary career in behavioral psychology and had been elected president of the American Psychological Association, but he did not know that Carl had suffered from serious bouts with depression. Carl told the Dean that he has lived with, in his words, a “nameless terror” so deep that he could never speak of it to anyone except psychiatrists. He has nightmares that give him indescribably awful feelings. One night he dreamed of a nuclear bomb going off in his neighborhood and saw a severed head that sickened him. He has no words to describe these emotions that linger with him, and no psychiatrists know the cause. He has never mentioned his condition to the administration, but in his retirement he is now confessing his case to the Dean.
Carl told him that his life is like a perpetual holocaust and that many times he had considered ending it. When his wife asks him what the feeling is like he has no words, and yet he constantly feels nauseated and panicked. Walls close in on him from all sides, and his fearful mind tells him that he will experience sensations of compression like this for the rest of his life. He experiences a sickness that at different stages turns to horror, fright, panic, grief, rage, and unexplainable despair, with no clear cause. His doctor has given him pills to ease his condition, but the suffering, with somewhat lessened intensity, remains.
The Dean feels honored to be included in this personal sharing. Carl taught for many decades, yet no one on campus has known about his condition. His distinguished career, with book awards and a fine record of teaching, made the Dean proud to have him on campus. And now the Dean is asking Carl to lecture in his seminar on evolution.
Yet one more thing surprised the Dean that led to another evening talking with this emeritus professor. Carl told the Dean of his research on paranormal psychology, which includes clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences. He does not talk about these subjects on campus, nor is he able to publish his research. The subject is too difficult to verify by scientific procedures.
The Dean says that he wants Carl to speak of his personal investigations and to show how they might connect with science and evolution. In addition, the Dean wants Carl to speak about the history of psychology. “Talk with Derek in the seminar,” the Dean suggests. “He is majoring in psychology. Derek could prepare a chart on this history as part of his homework assignment.” Professor Mowrer knows Derek, and they spend a few hours together talking about how to present the history. Derek agrees to complete the work and present it in class.
Dean: Welcome everyone.
We have with us today Professor Carl Mowrer who has had a distinguished career in psychology. He has an outlook that is not limited to what you would be given in your psychology classes. So we are in for a special treat.
Dr. Mowrer has a remarkable record of research on the behavior of laboratory rats and has published four books on that subject. His laboratory studies are too technical for our purposes, but he has also studied paranormal behavior and will speak to us about this. And we want him to tell us about the emergence of psychology in history. How does this apply to evolution?
So with this ambitious program, Professor Mowrer, how would you like to start?
Professor Mowrer: Well. You all know Derek in this seminar. He and I talked about putting together a timeline that could be the background for our discussion of evolution. (Looking to Derek.) Could you start us off on that history?
Derek: Yes, I made copies for everyone (handing out copies of the timeline to the class).
This selection of events, names, and dates are just for purposes of our discussion. (Already looking ahead, the Dean wishes that Professor Benedict were here to talk about disorders in primitive society.)
The History of Psychology: A Basis for Discussion.
A.D. 705 - The first insane asylums were set up in
750 - Mental hospitals were introduced in
800 – The same type of mental hospitals began in
850 - Al-Kindi (Alkindus) developed the use of psychotherapy and music therapy in treating mentally ill patients.
900 - Ahmed ibn Sahl al-Balkhi recognized that illnesses could have both psychological and physiological causes.
1025 - In The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna recognized the treatment of illnesses involving emotions, and developed a system for associating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings; he described a number of conditions, including hallucinations, insomnia, mania, nightmare, melancholia, dementia, epilepsy, paralysis, stroke, vertigo and tremor.
1270 -Mental hospitals were built in
1590 - Philosopher Rudolph Goclenius used the term psychology.
1672 – In Thomas Willis's anatomical treatise "De Anima Brutorum," psychology was described in terms of brain function.
1844 - Søren Kierkegaard published The Concept of Anxiety, the first exposition on anxiety.
1849 - Søren Kierkegaard published The Sickness Unto Death, a psychological treatise on despair from a Christian perspective.
1860 - Gustav Theodor Fechner wrote Elements of Psychophysics, establishing this subject.
1861 - Paul Broca discovered an area in the left cerebral hemisphere important for speech production now known as “Broca's Area.”
1874 - Wilhelm Wundt published his Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie, which is the first textbook of experimental psychology.
1875 - William James opened the first experimental psychology
laboratory in the
1879 - Wilhelm Wundt opened the first experimental psychology
1883 - G. Stanley Hall opened the first American experimental
psychology research laboratory at
1885 - Hermann Ebbinghaus published Über das Gedächtnis describing experiments on himself.
1886 - Sigmund Freud opened private practice in
1887 - Georg Elias Müller opened the second German experimental psychology research laboratory in Göttingen.
1887 - George Trumbull Ladd (Yale) published Elements of Physiological Psychology.
1887 - G. Stanley Hall founded the American Journal of Psychology.
1889 - James Mark Baldwin published his Handbook of Psychology.
1890 - William James published Principles of Psychology.
1892 - G. Stanley Hall founded the American Psychological Association.
1894 - James McKeen Cattell and James Mark Baldwin established the Psychological Review.
1896 – Lightner Witmer opened the first psychological clinic at
1896 - Edward B. Titchener published his An Outline of Psychology.
1900 - Sigmund Freud published Interpretation of Dreams.
1905 - Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon created the Binet-Simon scale, marking the start of standardized psychological testing.
1906 - The Journal of Abnormal Psychology founded by Morton Prince
1909 - Sigmund Freud lectured at
1911 - Alfred Adler left Freud's Psychoanalytic Group to form his own school.
1912 - Max Wertheimer published Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement, the founding article of Gestalt psychology.
1913 - Carl Jung departed from Freudian views with his new school of thought known as “Analytical Psychology.”
1913 - Jacob L. Moreno applied Group Psychotherapy methods in
1914 - Boris Sidis publishes The
1920 - John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner conducted the Little Albert experiment, using classical conditioning to make a young boy afraid of white rats.
1922 - Boris Sidis publishes Nervous Ills: Their Cause and a Cure.
1923 – [[Is something missing from this date?—ed]].
1928 - Jean Piaget's book Judgement and Reasoning in the Child is published.
1934 - Lev Vygotsky's Thought and Language published in Russian.
1935 - John Ridley Stroop developed a color-word task.
1938 - B. F. Skinner published The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis, introducing behavior analysis.
1942 - Carl Rogers published Counseling and Psychotherapy.
1943 - Leo Kanner published Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact.
1943 - Abraham Maslow publishes “A Theory of Human Motivation,” in Psychological Review.
1945 - The Journal of Clinical Psychology was founded.
1949 - Donald Hebb published The Organization of Behavior.
1949 - David Wechsler presented the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), the first edition of the Wechsler-test for children.
1950 - Rollo May published The Meaning of Anxiety.
1951 - Carl Rogers published Client-Centered Therapy.
1952 - The American Psychiatric Association published The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), marking the beginning of modern mental illness classification.
1952 - Hans Eysenck started a debate on psychotherapy claiming that psychotherapy had no documented effect.
1953 - B. F. Skinner outlined behavioral therapy.
1953 The Code of Ethics for Psychologists was developed by the American Psychological Association.
1953 - Harry Stack Sullivan published The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry.
1954 - Abraham Maslow helped to found Humanistic psychology.
1955 - Lee Cronbach published Construct Validity in Psychological Tests.
1956 - Rollo May published Existence, promoting Existential psychology.
1956 - Leon Festinger proposed his theory of cognitive dissonance.
1958 - Harry Harlow published The Nature of Love, which summarized studies on monkeys and rejected behavior analytic and psychoanalytic theories of attachment.
1959 - Noam Chomsky published his review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior, as the start of the cognitive revolution.
1959 - Lawrence Kohlberg wrote his doctoral dissertation, outlining his stages of moral development.
1961 - Albert Bandura studied behavioral patterns of aggression.
1962 - George Armitage Miller released the classic book Psychology, signaling a rejection of the idea that psychology should study just behavior.
1962 - Silvan Tomkins published the first volume of Affect Imagery Consciousness.
1962 - American psychologist Albert Ellis released his classic book Reason and Emotion In Psychotherapy" describing the theoretical foundations of his therapeutic system Rational Therapy, now known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
1962 - Wilfred Bion presented his theory of thinking.
1963 - Stanley Milgram described his study of obedience to authority, now known as the Milgram experiment.
1963 - Alexander Luria published The Working Brain.
1965 - Anna Freud published Normality and Pathology in Childhood.
1965 - Donald Winnicott published The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment.
1967 - Aaron Beck published a psychological model of depression.
1969 - The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology was initiated by Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof and Anthony Sutich.
1969 - John Bowlby published Attachment and Loss, Volume 1.
1969 - Joseph Wolpe published The Practice of Behavior Therapy.
1971 - The Stanford prison experiment.
1974 - Robert Hinde published Biological Bases of Human Social Behavior.
1974 - Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch proposed their model of working memory.
1976 - Julian Jaynes publishes The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
1977 - Alexander Thomas published Temperament and Development, a longitudinal study on the importance of temperament for the development of personality and behavioral problems, an important study for modern research on temperament.
1977 - Albert Bandura published his book Social Learning Theory.
1978 - Mary Ainsworth published her book Patterns of Attachment.
1978 - David Premack published the book Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind?
1978 - Cognitive Neuroscience received its name from Michael Gazzaniga and George Armitage Miller.
1979 - Urie Bronfenbrenner published The Ecology of Human Development.
1983 - Howard Gardner published Frames of Mind, introducing the theory of multiple intelligences.
1982 - Carol Gilligan published In a Different Voice, on feminist psychology.
1984 - Jerome Kagan published The Nature of the Child.
1985 - Daniel Stern published The Interpersonal World of the Infant.
1987 - Erik Erikson published The Life Cycle Completed.
1991 - Steven Pinker proposed his theory of how children acquire language in Science, later popularized in The Language Instinct.
1992 - Sandra Scarr published Developmental Theories of the 1990s, proposing that genes control experiences, and that genes search and create environments.
1992 - Joseph LeDoux published his research on brain mechanisms of emotion and emotional learning.
1994 - Esther Thelen and Linda B. Smith published A Dynamic Systems Approach to the Development of Cognition and Action.
1995 - Simon Baron-Cohen coined the term “mind-blindness” to reflect the inability of children with autism to properly represent the mental states of others.
1996 - Giacomo Rizzolatti and colleagues discovered “mirror neurons.”
Dean: Derek, what do you make of this?
Derek: Well. This timeline leaves out a lot -- too much missing -- it’s not fair to the class.
Dean: What’s missing?
Derek: Look at the beginning of asylums. The chart does not tell you that these were awful places. You need to hear about the torture that went on in them to know how horrible they were. And look at the 1950s when the Manual of Mental Disorders was first published. There was a big debate at the time about those classifications. None of the details of the debate are on the chart. You cannot understand a history unless you know the details.
Dean: Do you see any progress over time?
Derek: Yes. Definitely. In the beginning, people believed in evil spirits. The “mentally ill” were mocked, condemned, and chained to walls. We still don’t have the right words for this condition we call “mentally ill.” Even my word for this condition is not adequate – in my judgment.
Dean: Why not?
Derek: This is a personal condition. It does not fit the medical field category of “illness.” I mean, it is not the same as a physical disease. “Illness” was a helpful word for the last century, but it became a stereotype. We need to invent a new perspective and find new words. (Professor Mowrer smiles to himself, as he lives with a condition that is unnamable. He thinks, “Such conditions cannot be understood unless one experiences them.”)
Dean: Hmmm. I’d like to return to this question later. For now, how would you define “progress” in this history?
Derek: Progress means…well, I think we have developed more respect for the mentally ill. People who are described as mentally ill have felt that they are not like us. (Professor Mowrer puts his hand to his head, partly amused.) You can see in the timeline how conditions in hospitals and prisons improved over the centuries.
Progress? Today, the great majority of people do not know that the Bedlam hospital has become a model for others. Patients there are medically treated and shown respect.
Dean: For you, this history shows a progress in human respect for those who are deranged? (The Dean pauses for a split second, thinking that this word might not be appropriate. Professor Mowrer smiles surreptitiously.) But it also includes progress in “medical knowledge”?
Derek: Yes. There is progress in medicine, but many people still speak of these people as “insane” or “crazy.” I think we have a long way to go.
Mowrer: Derek is right. This timeline does not tell you about how people were crowded into dark cells and made to sleep on dank floors; they were chained in place with no fresh air, no light, and insufficient nutrition. Some were beaten to death. That legacy is still with us. (The Dean cringes, then nods.)
There was no difference made between the “mentally ill” and the “criminally insane” (signaling quotes); they were all packed together. Some women were committed to asylums for the "crime" of attempting to leave their husbands.
Mowrer: But scientists began to study the causes of mental health problems. The field of psychology advanced in the 19th century. Yes, I see progress. But it would take a semester to tell you the progress that has taken place in theory and practice. (The Dean looks curious.) On the timeline, you cannot see progress in the work of people like B. F. Skinner, Jean Piaget, Festinger, Thorndike, Allport, Erik Erikson, McClelland and hundreds of others. Let’s see (trying to remember), Milgram, Cronbach, Newcomb, Adler; but you need to know more about the details, and not just the names. (The Dean nods; he understands.)
Derek: During the 1700s, families would lock their children away for a lifetime. But over this time in history, families began to treat their relatives with respect, not just to be embarrassed about relatives they considered “crazy.” (Derek is concerned personally.)
Dean: Derek, the class has had trouble defining “progress” in connection with “evolution.” Physicists and biologists will not accept this term, “progress.” What do you think? Progress in psychology?
Derek: I have no problem with the concept of progress in psychology. My understanding of progress has to do with greater understanding. You can see during the 18th and 19th centuries how hospitals and asylums were improving. The term “inmates” changed to “patients,” and by the mid-1800s, administrators were beginning to treat them medically. Now doctors have anti-depressants.
Dean: Professor Mowrer -- is this progress?
Mowrer: Yes. But the stigma has not gone away. (He remembers decades ago reading Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and Sickness Unto Death, the latter listed on the chart. He had felt comfort in reading how leaders in all fields—such as Joseph Haydn, Winston Churchill, Abe Lincoln, and Charles Dickens—had also experienced depression. If there is anything “nice” about it, it’s being associated with the “greats,” but he knows the problem is widespread across all classes of people. He can identify with the blind-and-deaf child he saw last week in a hospital, beating its head against the wall.)
Dean: Can you tell us more about this experience, this stigma?
Mowrer: (He knows that, were he to state his own case, it would change the subject, mood and direction of this class. A new image of him would appear for the students accompanied by mixed feelings of sympathy and shock. He says nothing.) A lot of research has been done to relieve the suffering of mental health problems. Anti-depressants reduce the severity of depression, for example, but we have a long way to go to learn the causes.
Dean: What are the causes?
Mowrer: They are complex. (Mowrer stops.) These conditions can be caused by beatings and traumas that may go back to birth, or babyhood. The emotional pain from excessive punishments, and extreme isolation, are forgotten and repressed. Babies can be beaten in their crib for crying out loud too long. These beatings can affect a child’s mind and brain.
Well, what is the briefest thing I can say?
We know now that the causes for psychoses such as paranoia, schizophrenia, and manic depression can have both environmental and genetic origins.
Dean: We have talked about mind in relation to matter. I hope we get back to that subject in a discussion of scientific studies of the brain, but to delve into it at the moment would take up the rest of our class.
Right now let’s hear about your research on the paranormal. (The Dean goes to the blackboard and writes:)
Can you tell us what this means, what it refers to?
Mowrer: Well, paranormal phenomena
have been known about since ancient times, but they cannot be easily researched by science. Although they are not listed in Derek’s history, they are important.
Dean: When did paranormal phenomena begin to be researched as a field of study?
the West, scientists and spiritualists established the Society for Psychical
Dean: What do people in these societies study?
Mowrer: Well, let’s see: telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, reincarnation, ghosts and other phenomena. This is not “traditional science.”
Dean: Ghosts? I guess not (laughs). I thought we had one in our attic, but it was the wind. (The class laughs, and Mowrer realizes this discussion will be uphill.) What do those other terms mean?
Mowrer: Hmmm. Telepathy refers to the transfer of information between people without any outward sound; or without a physical device to convey the sound, like a radio. Information travels from one mind to another, by some means other than the five senses. Precognition is the perception of information about future events before they occur; it is like weather forecasting, but more intuitive. Clairvoyance is about obtaining information from remote locations, seeing places and situations that you can’t see with your senses.
Let’s see, what else?
Psychokinesis is the mind’s ability to influence matter; it’s when an ashtray is pushed along a floor with no one touching it. Reincarnation refers to the rebirth of a soul in a new physical body after death; you die and wake up again on the other side, then “you” come back to earth again at some later point in another body without remembering the past, while carrying the karma of the past in your unseen body. Aaah…Ghosts. They usually occur in places where the deceased person once lived.
Dean: Okay. Do these phenomena have anything to do with science and evolution?
Mowrer: Yes – in theory. (Looking to the Dean.) It fits your perspective. You describe evolution as a process of “increasing interiority.” It is like “we” are in a gradual movement, from the apes that seek food from outside themselves to humans who are seeking knowledge. The movement is from the outside to the inside. And I am saying that these paranormal phenomena are still farther inside and difficult for science to verify, to quantify.
Dean: What do you mean?
Mowrer: You could call this a “technology” of the mind. It is evolving inside the mind-and-body. Scientific inventions and discoveries – like the radio – are external, “outside,” but these technological inventions run parallel in their likeness to inside powers, say telepathy.
Dean: (his eyes widening with curiosity) How?
Mowrer: Look. The turn into the 20th century saw the invention of telegraph systems, telephones, and radio. Nobody believed that messages, information, could be passed between people from such long geographic distances and remote locations. But it happened with these inventions.
Now I study how these messages transfer information from mind to mind, inside the psyche. These are latent abilities being discovered and cultivated -- within us. A radio transmission occurs “outside,” but it is called telepathy when a transmission across time and space originates on the “inside.” All of this information is in the air so to speak. The mind works to communicate with other minds in a way similar to that of a telephone.
And these capacities are evolving toward each other. Today people walking around with cell phones look like they are talking to somebody who is not there.
Dean: Interesting. For me, there is a parallel to what you are saying with the Big Bang and the brain. Everything began from “inside” the Big Bang; now, does evolution continue with this growing interior consciousness? “Interior sociality.” What does that mean? But I interrupted you; please go ahead.
Mowrer: Certain external inventions, like the television, allowed people to transform images into electronic signals and transfer information across long distances, but this same capacity to communicate information across distances is in the psyche itself. It’s called “clairvoyance.”
Barbara: Could this talent be hidden in the DNA? I mean, some people have a talent for music or math Their talents are hidden in the DNA.
Mowrer: They are inherited -- to some degree. Similarly, clairvoyance can be stronger in some people than others from childhood.
Dean: Interesting. (The Dean is thinking that the DNA carries all the potential for personal development, similar to the way in which the Big Bang carried all the potential for the universe to evolve. Is the DNA a replication of the Big Bang on the earthly level?)
Barbara: I don’t understand clairvoyance.
Mowrer: Let’s go back to the technology. In the 1940s came the invention of television. Television allowed people to transmit images, along with sound, at a distance. Images and sound went through the air, not just words traveling through the air, as in telepathy. In the 1940s nobody believed that transmitting images through the air could happen. My own parents did not believe it could happen. But it did. And the differences between radio and television are similar to the differences between telepathy and clairvoyance.
Dean: What does that say about evolution?
Mowrer: The invention of television is equivalent to the self-discovery of clairvoyance. Clairvoyants pick up images through the air without any mechanical or electronic means, such television. They can see and describe the appearance of people on the other side for example. They can also hear their words, their sounds.
The ability to “hear” from a remote place is telepathy, but the added ability to “see” images is clairvoyance. It is a different mode of transferring information, though parallel in type to radio and television.
Dean: (wanting clarification) In other words, the ability to see what is remote with your body and physical eyes – like via television -- is similar to the internal process that is called clairvoyance? Clairvoyance internally acts like the transmission of televised images externally. (Mowrer nods agreement.) Okay. I’m starting to get it. The capacity for clairvoyance is waiting to be discovered and to evolve internally, so to speak.
Mowrer: Yes. Television took a long time to invent—about a century to get all of the necessary ingredients in place, so to say—but clairvoyance is a discovery of what is latent inside, always there, waiting to unfold. (The Dean nods to indicate his understanding.)
This “unfoldment” will take time. Look: many people are still skeptical about what are called “paranormal phenomena.” There are no public schools where children train for clairvoyance. We do not have a culture in which telepathy is considered important to education. There is no ideal in society encouraging people develop these skills in school. Students study to become a lawyer or a doctor -- not a medium. They emulate football and movie stars -- not clairvoyants.
Ann: How could people train?
Mowrer: This training is going on, but quietly. Psychics specialize – just as lawyers, scientists and doctors do.
Mowrer: Look at “clairsentience.” Some people – like my daughter – can touch you and receive a message about how you are feeling.
Ann: Wow. How did your daughter discover she had this ability?
Mowrer: She told me about it one day after she had taken an airline home. A person touched her on the plane, and my daughter knew immediately that this person had just gotten a divorce and spoke to her about it. The woman broke down in tears at my daughter’s awareness, and together they talked about it privately. The divorce was painful, and my daughter commiserated. Now my daughter does counseling with this clairsentient capacity as part of her resources.
Dean: Amazing. But I’m skeptical. What else has been invented externally that is latent – ready to be developed -- internally?
Mowrer: I believe you have talked in this class about the electromagnetic spectrum. Look at the X-ray. It has a wavelength of around 10 to 0.01 nanometers. A few clairvoyants can see into the physical body -- like an X-ray. Class (to students), you all talked about these wavelengths. Right?
Tom: I major in biology. We talked about how animals have better eyesight than humans. Bees can see ultraviolet rays; that’s how they travel.
I know the human ear can detect sound waves at about 20Hz at the low end -- to 20,000Hz at the high end. The dog whistle is pitched at 22,000Hz, beyond the ability of human ears to hear.
Mowrer: So in the evolution of animals -- the brain developed different capacities to see and hear. The human brain developed rods and cones that once were not there, in order to see color. Now the brain is developing this psychic technology: clairvoyance.
Dean: Can you give us an example of a person who can see -- like an X-ray?
Mowrer: Edgar Cayce. Cayce died in the 1940s, but I visited his Institute
When Cayce was alive, people went to him for a diagnosis. He would move into a trance and was able to “see” their physical condition and offer remedies and treatment.
Dean: How can we study his work?
Mowrer: First, students can read the Cayce books and testimonies from witnesses. You can go online and look for Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment. (The Association was founded in 1931 to study transpersonal subjects.) And you can visit Edgar Cayce Centers around the world.
Ann: But how could a mind see into the body?
Mowrer: Nobody thought a machine could do this either – until it was invented. The mind can work internally similar to the way in which an engineer works with X-ray machines externally. (Ann looks doubtful, so Mowrer looks directly at her.)
X-rays are electromagnetic waves; they are short frequencies that penetrate through the thickness of matter. The X-ray technology lets a stream of fast electrons come to a sudden stop at a metal plate. Let’s see…how to be brief?
X-rays require creating a concentrated beam of electrons and smashing them into a metal film. The result of that crash between the metallic film and the highly charged electrons is a concentration of high-energy radiation…. (The Dean interrupts.)
Dean: Well. We talked about how light waves and radio waves belong to the electromagnetic spectrum. Scientists have created waves of different frequencies -- microwaves and other bands -- that are longer than visible light.
Mowrer: Now think for a moment. There are waves passing through this room right now that you cannot see with your eyes or hear with your ears. If you had a radio, you might hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on WGBH, but your brain cannot “tune” to it. The music is actually “here,” right now, in the air. But to hear it, you must turn on a radio. Science verifies the reality of those waves you cannot see, touch, or hear. But skilled psychics can go farther, into realms that so far are not quantifiable by science.
Dean: Hmmm. Are you saying that science is based on vibrations at the physical level? Scientists are therefore limited in what they can confirm about “reality.” (The class has heard this before, but the Dean is now thinking of Sorokin’s talk on cycles of history in the session on sociology. “Modern culture is in a state of “Sensate mentality.” Sorokin predicted that the next stage of society would be based on intuition.)
Mowrer: Yes. Science is limited. Look. A crystal radio receiver needs no battery source except the power received from the radio waves by an outdoor wire antenna. Radio stations modulate the amplitude of these waves and transmit them from their antennas.
Clairvoyants have the equivalent of those “crystals” built into the brain, you might say.
Dean: What about other types of paranormal behavior? And what might evolve in the future?
Mowrer: You talked about the progression of speed in travel – from walking and running to the wheel and carriage to the bicycle and the automobile, and from jet planes to missiles. We keep inventing technology that moves us faster and faster between distant places. Right?
Dean: Right. How does this connect with paranormal behavior and evolution?
Mowrer: Astral travel.
Harry: Say what?
Mowrer: (beaming at him) Astral travel has been known since ancient times. Shamans knew about it. Your astral body is like a second—double—body. It exists around you right now, but you cannot see it. At death, it leaves your physical body to travel on another frequency, faster than a missile. It works on a frequency different from that of the earth plane, one in which there is no air resistance. It would take me another class session to talk about it. If you are interested, there are a lot of books to read on the subject.
Dean: But tell us more. Astral body?
Mowrer: Have you heard about astral projection? (The Dean shakes his head .) The astral body is an intermediate body of light that links the soul to the physical body. It works on an astral plane with a frequency of light between higher planes of life and the Earth plane.
The ancient Egyptians knew about astral planes. They spoke of a soul hovering outside the physical body in the ka. The ka is equivalent to a subtle body. The subtle body is attached to the physical body by means of a silver cord invisible to the physical eye.
Dean: The soul! How do you define “soul”?
Mowrer: In the literature I read, the soul is the repository of one’s virtue – or the lack of it. It carries karma, both good and bad. It has a detached quality in the sense that it stays with you throughout your own evolution. It carries the wisdom of past lives.
Dean: Oh my. (Upset now, he is worried that they have strayed too far from science. He is not ready to discuss religion.) How does this “astral body” relate to our subject of evolution?
You were talking about progress in technology and the speed of travel going
faster and faster. At one time, physicists thought that airplanes could never
pass the sound barrier -- but they did. Now we know the astral body travels
like the speed of light. You can go from here to
Dean: This should be tested. Why don’t scientists research this subject?
Mowrer: It is not empirical. It is an experience. It is not a science tested by the senses, and we are in a scientific era. Science is how we test “reality” today. That’s why I went into behavioral studies with rats. Science is the way to truth…allegedly. (He is being ironic. Unlike the Dean, he is cynical about science. For Mowrer, science is not the only way to discover reality.) I know people who experience astral projection.
Mowrer: My own wife had an out-of-body experience. You should talk to her.
Dean: (looking as puzzled as surprised, exclaims again) What!
Mowrer: When she was in college as an undergraduate, one day she was relaxing in bed, and suddenly she felt her “body” moving toward the ceiling and then toward the door. She knew her physical body was still in bed. It frightened her as she—in her astral body—looked back on her physical body in bed. So, she was frightened, and came back quickly to normal consciousness in her body.
Dean: Interesting. Are there professionals who do this?
Robert Monroe. He was educated at
Dean: But is he what we would call sane? (He is half-joking, and the whole class laughs.)
Mowrer: (patiently, knowing what he is up against)
Yes. He had the mind of a scientist. He was a very conservative
Dean: What happened? How did he discover this ability?
Mowrer: One day back in 1958 he was relaxing during meditation when he had his first out-of-body experience. He had been practicing a lot of meditation, and in one quiet moment he felt his hand fall through the floor. It scared him. He pulled back his hand and wondered what had happened.
Then he got courage to try again. He relaxed and found that his astral body could go out of his physical body and onto the street in front of his house. He could look around the neighborhood while his body stayed in bed. In the months following, he kept on experimenting with his astral body – traveling across the country.
And then he began to teach others. He founded The Monroe Institute. It’s devoted to teaching and researching human consciousness.
Dean: What do people do in this Institute?
Dean: Tell us more about the “beats” and this “second body” that he says we have -- supposedly… Although come to think of it, in scientific terms we say that the DNA has a “second body” in the RNA.
He says: the second body is related in some way to electricity and magnetism. In fact, he did some experiments in a Faraday cage and found that his astral body could not pass through the walls when a current was passed through them, but when it was turned off it could.
Dean: Why don’t scientists study his work? There should be attempts to replicate this experience.
Mowrer: Well. First, it is outside the scientific tradition. Scientists do not think in these terms. Second, they are specializing in their own fields, like nanotechnology and biochemistry. They are already active with their own work. They have no time for (signals quotes) “nonsense.”
there is a big barrier of fear.
Dean: I don’t understand. What are the steps to train for this out-of-body experience?
Mowrer: The steps are too complex to describe here, but I can give you an idea. First, you have to relax the body completely and learn certain “inhale-and-exhale” techniques. Second you enter a state that borders on sleep, and then there are special techniques to follow. Third, you clear your mind and look at your field of vision through closed eyes; you look at the blackness in front of you and pretty soon you see light patterns; you should know that these are neural discharges, and ignore them. Fourth you enter a deeper state in which you lose all awareness of your body and sensory stimulation. Fifth, you enter a new state of vibrations. You might feel the vibrations first as a mild tingling, like electricity shot through the body. … And, well there are more steps, but you can go to his Institute and try for yourself. Call his staff on the phone for an appointment. (Several students are looking at him, rapt; others are staring at him, open-mouthed; a couple of them squirm uncomfortably.)
Dean: This should be part of campus research. (Mowrer looks doubtful; typically, his colleagues laugh at his ideas.) What about other types of paranormal experience? How would you say that they connect with evolution?
Mowrer: You talked about memory being stored in the brain. You also talked about how memory is stored in society, I mean in places like libraries, in books, on film and the Internet. (The Deans nods.)
There is something in the realm of the paranormal called the “Akashic Records.” These Records are in “vibrational space” – operating at a high frequency level.
Dean: What is this “Record”?
Mowrer: The Akashic Record is a history of people and humankind. I do not know how far back in time it goes into the universe, but it is a compendium of history and knowledge. The Record contains all that is known to human experience. This is an invisible “library” on a "universal computer," so to speak. The Record is constantly updated, and “specialists” can access it through astral connections.
Barbara: What does “Akashic” mean?
Mowrer: It is a Sanskrit word that originally meant
“sky,” or “space,” or “ether.” Mystics in
idea was picked up in the
Dean: Are you saying that “yogic types” describe Akashic records operating on different planes of vibration? You say that this “Record” encompasses all memory and past knowledge?
Mowrer: Well. Some yogis prefer to ignore it. They want to achieve a higher consciousness. But Cayce accessed it. I have interviewed many people who are clairvoyant, but only one person I met could access the Record.
Dean: Students, do you have any questions?
Barbara: Professor Mowrer, I know you are a scientist. You do research in the laboratory. So, scientifically, how would you verify these cases?
Mowrer: Verification is vital. I can give you examples in my own case. (Barbara nods: “Please.”) I have interviewed many “mediums.”
(While Mowrer speaks the Dean goes to the blackboard to write:)
I sit in sessions where people train to improve their skills in mediumship. I watch how they describe the deceased from what William James once called “the other side.”
Mediums can meet with you “one on one,” but they might charge you a fee, like a psychiatrist. Or, they can stand before an audience and report on what deceased relatives say to members of an audience. Only individuals in the audience and those who have died and gone to the other side -- know the “facts” they hold in common. Hmmm.
Verification. I must say first that there is a level of verification for me when I find confirmation given to me from members of an audience. Members confirm what they have learned when I talk to them. I am told that “no one else” could have known the facts given by the medium who is “communicating” with their deceased relatives.
Dean: What about your own personal experience?
Mowrer: I go to mediums to study and document their work. I have heard facts given to me by my own relatives. For example, my father, mother, and uncle died decades ago, but they “come through” to me.
This is when I set up my own standards for verification – as in laboratory research. There are many details around these cases – I do not think we have the time to discuss them all.
Dean: We insist that you give us some idea of your methods of verification.
Mowrer: Well okay, briefly. I set up a continuum of zero to ten to measure how convinced I am of the information given to me by a medium. If a medium says that I am intelligent and imaginative, I give him or her a zero. This “fact” (signaling quote) is too generalized. Everybody has some degree of intelligence and imagination. If the medium says I have some sadness or anger, I also give him or her a zero. These emotions are too general to warrant any justification as valid. Everybody has these emotions.
Dean: How does information from a medium climb up your scale from zero to ten?
Mowrer: You need validity and reliability, that is, consistency. (The Dean nods Yes.)
My deceased Uncle Fred came through a medium one day and told me that he liked to “hang around” my office because I have a small mobile of sailboats suspended from my ceiling. By the way, he was a sailor when he was alive.
He has since appeared in other sessions in his sailor outfit, sometimes with a tugboat in the background. In his late years he was a captain of tugboats. He has been reliable, coming through different mediums. I gave this instance of Uncle Fred a “nine.”
Mowerer: Nobody knows about that mobile of sailboats on the ceiling in the corner of my office. Nobody sees it; I had even forgotten about it myself; I put the mobile there many years before I went to the medium. And the medium could not have known that this particular mobile was there. He did not even know me personally. He did not even know about the office where I worked.
Barbara: Why not give it a “ten?”
Mowrer: I’m conservative.
Dean: What if this medium had made some investigation of you without my knowing about it?
Mowrer: I am sure that is not the case because he did not know me; there was too short a time for him to investigate between the time that I called on the phone for an appointment and when I came to him.
Dean: What if the medium was telepathic and read that information from your unconscious?
Mowrer: I was not conscious of that mobile of sailboats, so it would have had to come from my unconscious. But to answer Barbara, to give a “ten” I need strong laboratory controls right here on campus.
Dean: You need hard evidence. What convinces you in general about the authenticity of mediums?
Mowrer: I have so many cases of seven, eight, and nine on my grading sheet that I have become convinced. It is the consistency of a “nine” in so many cases during my visits with gifted mediums. It is the private family information that I know—and the medium does not know -- that persuades me of the accuracy.
The mediums that I have visited are skilled; they are not five-dollar crystal ball gazers. I keep finding that same correctness and precision among the mediums I know. They have talent – in the way that Mozart and Einstein had talent in music and math.
So I believe mediumship has integrity as a profession -- like medicine and law. But notice: even though the profession of medicine has integrity, there are both good and bad doctors. And you can encounter good and bad lawyers – all certified.
Barbara: Do you compare different mediums for their accuracy—like scientists?
Mowrer: I have done that for forty years. Let me give you an example.
I went to the first medium. He said to me --among other things -- that my father, who is deceased, was telling me to get hearing aids. He had needed them when he was alive. I said to the medium that it was my mother who had hearing problems, not my father. He said: “Well, I knew it was a parent but I could have made a mistake; we are not always perfect on receiving a message. It could have been your mother, and I made a mistake.”
So I went immediately to another booth downstairs where a different medium was sitting. He looked at me as I walked in and said he could see that my father was with me. “Your father is telling you that you need hearing aids.” I said, “But it was my mother who needed the hearing aids before she died.” He said: “Well, it is your father who tells me that he kept his hearing loss a secret to his family; he was too embarrassed to admit it. But he wants you to know that you need those aids. Your own family would be pleased if you got them.”
Well, those visits with two mediums – separated by less than a minute -- showed comparative accuracy. Both mediums were on target, but the second one was a bull’s eye, slightly more accurate, insisting it was my father.
My wife and daughter had told me months before I went to this church that I needed hearing aids. But I kept denying that I had any hearing loss.
Barbara: (Surprised.) You mean your wife and daughter had been telling you the same thing, the same thing your deceased father tells you through the medium?
Mowrer: Exactly. My wife and daughter had been telling me that I needed hearing aids, and I denied any loss. I did not believe that I needed them. Now I had to question whether I was denying the loss just like my father had done, apparently.
So I checked with an audiologist and found that I really needed hearing aids. They had all been right. I bought the aids, and now I can hear very well.
Barbara: Why not give the first medium a “nine” and the second medium a “ten?”
Mowrer: I am a scientist. I want to get mediums in a laboratory where I can control everything. I need skeptical observers to document all that I do. I need precise procedures. I cannot persuade my colleagues to do the research; so here I am telling you my story.
Dean: Wait a minute.
Didn’t this sort of thing get studied at
Mowrer: Yes, a little bit. In 1940, a fellow by the name of J. B. Rhine started some research on a subject he called “extrasensory perception,” or ESP, which some people call a “sixth sense.” He asked people to guess the face of cards hidden from them and calculated the ratio of success.
Dean: What did he find?
Mowrer: He published a review of all his “guessing experiments” and other research. The book was titled Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years. As I recall, his findings were good. He made some errors in procedure, but in my opinion he did not focus enough on the most skilled clairvoyants – like I do. He was taking virtually anybody into his research.
Dean: Were his findings replicated?
Mowrer: Yes. As I remember, fifty studies were published. Over 60% of the independent studies reported “significant results”; in other words, they were “highly indicative” that people do have ESP.
Barbara: Why not set up your own laboratory? Mowrer: No private foundation would support it. My colleagues are interested in other subjects, like neuroscience and brain research. It costs money to set up a good laboratory for mediums. And I am covering a larger territory of subjects than ESP.
Barbara: What about reincarnation? What are your thoughts on this?
Mowrer: This idea is familiar to millions of people in the East who have grown up with Hinduism and Buddhism.
Dean: Do Buddhists distinguish between “rebirth” and “reincarnation”?
Mowrer: Reincarnation means that a particular individual soul after death migrates to a new body. Buddhists don’t believe in an individual self or soul that adheres to a particular individual. Rebirth does not refer to a particular soul coming back to life in another body. It means that there is energy that persists and may pass into and inhabit a new body.
Dean: Ah! There must be different outlooks among Buddhists -- like there are differences among Christians and Jews. But westerners are not too sold the idea of reincarnation.
Mowrer: Let me tell you a personal story. It may be hard for you to believe but …(he laughs) …you asked for it. (Barbara nods “Yes” with strong interest.)
first medium that I went to see was Simeon Stefanidakis who works in
I was amazed because I was thinking to myself at that very moment that I did not have enough time left in my life. I was too old to study paranormal phenomena. This “figure” on “the other side” had read my mind and was giving me the answer: “You do have time.” Simeon did not know I was thinking this thought at that moment, just reporting what was said to him by his inner vision.
Barbara: Why is the figure showing you an hourglass?
Mowrer: Simeon said
that the figure indicates I had once worked with him in ancient
I left the session stunned and amazed at what had happened and wondered what it meant. This was my first experience with the idea of reincarnation.
Barbara: Who was this figure in a light that appeared to Simeon?
Mowrer: The next day I went to see a piano teacher for a lesson. I had never met her before, but as I entered her apartment, I saw a painting of a man on the wall. He was sitting in a meditative posture with a light-rays stemming from his body that stretched into golden rings. I was shocked.
her who this man in the portrait. She said that his name is Imhotep, the
builder of the first pyramid. Her husband – who taught at
My experience with Simeon -- and seeing the portrait of this figure on the wall -- was a turning point. This experience of seeing the painting came only days after it was predicted in my session with Simeon. This is called “precognition.”
And the idea of my having worked with Imhotep four thousand years ago suggests reincarnation.
Dean: Why don’t scientists look into reincarnation?
Mowrer: Top scientists in distinguished universities do not pay attention to it.
Dean: Can you give us examples of academics or professionals that really do this work?
Mowrer: Dr. Brian Weiss. He has degrees from
Barbara: How does Dr. Weiss do his work? How does he verify this…reincarnation?
Mowrer: He first discovered it when treating one of his patients. He was using hypnosis and during one of the sessions, the patient reached what Weiss calls a “between lives” state. The patient then communicated with the dead relatives of Weiss himself!
Weiss's deceased father relayed information through her (Brian’s patient) about Weiss's own family that was secret. Suddenly, Weiss was shocked, like I was. Then, he began to find past lives among his other patients. He published his experience in a book called Many Lives, Many Masters.
Going public with this information, he worried about his professional reputation, but kept going nonetheless. More research. He published books on his work, such as Messages from Masters, Through Time into Healing, Same Soul, and Many Bodies. I cannot remember the titles of all his books, but they are good.
Dean: Why is so little attention given to this subject in the university? Are there other professionals that are equally reliable and established?
Mowrer: Well. There is Dr. Michael Newton, whose books include Journey of Souls, Destiny of Souls, and Life Between Lives. Carol Bowman has done work on the past life memories of children. You can read her books, such as Children's Past Lives and Return From Heaven.
Let’s see. There is Dr. Bruce Goldberg who has written Past Lives – Future Lives and Roger Woolger, a psychoanalyst. And there is Morris Netherton, a Ph.D. and a pioneer of past-life regression with a book called Past Lives Therapy.
Dean: I don’t know them. Tell us more about the documentation.
Mowrer: Dr. Ian Stevenson did research with no hypnosis or counseling. Instead, he went around the world and documented thousands of cases of children who remembered a past life.
He had a very methodical scientific mind. He would learn the name of a deceased person the child remembered. Then he would look up that person in the medical records and interview relatives. He checked out the facts on the deceased person's life to try to match the accuracy of the child's memory.
Barbara: That’s amazing. Can we invite him to campus?
Mowrer: He died in 2007, but he had devoted forty years to documenting past life memories all over the world. He has over 3000 cases in his files.
His credentials are impeccable. He was a medical doctor who wrote
scholarly papers before he began this past-life research. He was head of the
Department of Psychiatry at the
Barbara: Who are the skeptics?
Mowrer: Paul Kurtz, founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, believes all this research is just “pseudoscience.” Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke were intrigued when they heard about Dr. Stevenson’s case, but they said it fell short of “full proof.” Clarke said that Stevenson had produced studies that were “hard to explain”; he could not find any physical mechanisms that could account for it. I doubt that they did a thorough investigation.
Dean: Why would anyone want to reincarnate? (The Dean looks serious.)
Mowrer: My friends in this work say it is for the soul to advance toward higher forms of life. A soul – beyond earth life -- continues through these reincarnations to “learn lessons” on earth. The earth is a place for growth -- toward increasing perfection. You can continue to develop on “the other side”—reportedly—but the earth plane gives you a greater opportunity for progress.
Barbara: Progress? The earth is a school?
Mowrer: Yes. There is an old hermetic saying: “As above so below.” Look how we go to school on earth -- to learn. It is the same as “above.”
We start in kindergarten and move from one level to the next. We continue until we attain mastery over a subject. But perfection is not easy. (The Dean looks suspicious. This kind of talk belongs in discussions of myth and the field of religion, not psychology.)
How can you learn the meaning of deep compassion, love, faith, humility, and forgiveness – all in one lifetime? That’s not easy.
I have come to agree with those friends of mine who say that the purpose of life is to help others. Everyone in this cycle of birth and death is moving toward perfection… everyone whose intention is to progress. It looks like we are here to teach one another. Our service to one another is vital…
Dean: I can see why scientists stay away from this subject. It belongs in the field of religion. But there must be some things you can verify, like a psychic’s prediction.
Mowrer: Predicting the future: that’s also what scientists do. (The Dean goes to the blackboard to write:)
Dean: What can you tell us about predicting the future?
Mowrer: We call it “precognition.” How might precognition be possible?
I think the deceased are on a different time scale, I mean, a higher frequency. (He looks to the class.)
The Dean and I talked about this. A rock is made up of atoms that vibrate at a certain speed…Right?
Dean: Yes. We looked at this: the molecules in the rock vibrate at a slower speed than those that crystallize to form water or ice. Energy, when it is slowed down, becomes mass or matter. Matter speeded up becomes energy.
Clocks on high mountains run faster than those on lower ground.
Mowrer: Right. We are in a “sea of frequencies.” (Looking at the class.) The sound that you get from your radio or TV is not coming from the broadcast station. It is produced in the loudspeaker of your set. Before that, it travels through the air at about 700 miles per hour to your ears. So radio station people know what’s happening before you do.
Electromagnetic waves go through space at 186,000 miles per second from the station to your radio. It’s your radio and TV that converts the information into the sound—and picture—produced in your home set.
Dean: Okay. So what’s your point?
Mowrer: Then it should be feasible for people on the “other side” to know what’s ahead on different frequencies, different planes. These frequency planes could keep going up step-by-step up to what Einstein called timelessness.
Dean: Students, you’re too quiet! What do you make of all this?
Mary: Dean, you said at the beginning of our course that we should ask, “Who are we?”
Dean: That’s right.
Mary: It looks to me like we are all composed of vibrations. We are on a special frequency that exists on the earth plane. And each of us has a special frequency.
Dean: Yes. But we are changing every second. What do you think?
Barbara: It all sounds scary.
Tom: The cells in our body are dying and are born again. We are constantly being born again. (Some students see a connection with the phrase “born again” in the New Testament, spoken by Jesus. The Dean is puzzling over “born again” regarding the notion of reincarnation.)
Dean: Remember those mutual principles of evolution: Change and Permanence. They work together. Something in you is permanent as well as changing.
Harry: What about the Akashic Records? Do they keep an unbroken memory of our past? Do they tell us who we are now and who we have been.
Dean: (He is worried about this speculation without the facts.) Professor Mowrer, I would not want our class to get too far off base with this kind of discussion. There are a lot of crackpots out there. Where are the professionals? Are there credible psychologists—or physicians—organized to study this subject?
Mowrer: Well, some. There is the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine. It is international. It has members from different disciplines -- medicine, physics and psychology.
Dean: Students. What do you think? (No hands go up.) The faster you vibrate … I mean, the higher your frequency, the more slowly you change… which means, you could move toward infinity; some might say, “eternity.” Could you live forever? (He is laughing as he speaks offhandedly, in good humor, and the class laughs with him.) Can psychics predict the future? What do you think?
Mowrer: I taught a class one semester and asked a clairvoyant to come talk about her work. She shocked the class.
She told the students all about things that only each one knew, individually. She told a football player about the location of injuries on his body. He was flabbergasted because only he knew about them. She went around the class to each student—it was almost like a sideshow—and finally came to me and said that I had a daughter on the West Coast going to school.
have a daughter going to graduate school in
skeptical but called my daughter about the psychic’s prediction and warned her
to be alert. When the time came – four months later – I called her in
Dean: Oh! I don’t believe it. How could this woman have predicted such an event – so far off in time? In such detail!
Harry: It’s spooky. It sounds like everything is determined.
Mowrer: I worried about it myself. But other forecasts have been given to me by mediums. My deceased uncle would anticipate events -- mostly about trips that I would be taking overseas. I thought about the implications. What about free will?
Dean: (skeptical) “Well? What about it?”
Mowrer: I began to see that those on the other side -- like Imhotep and my uncle -- were doing the same thing that scientists do. They are like weather forecasters who see more variables operating in the atmosphere than you and I can see. (The class looks perplexed. Many of them are actively curious about these phenomena, but also genuinely puzzled.)
You do not know when some rare plant will bloom, but a good botanist can tell you. You do not know when a comet will appear, but a good astronomer can tell you. They know the variables. They know their science. And you accept their specialized knowledge without question.
Those entities, if you will, on the “other side” have expertise because they know the patterns of nature. They can come up with a “forecast,” a precognition, not a “prediction” exactly.
Dean: Whaddya mean?
Mowrer: If I drop this pencil from my hand, I predict it will fall to the floor. I know this will happen. On the other hand, if I promise you I will be sitting in this class the next time you meet, that is my forecast. It has less certainty than that this pencil will fall to the floor. I might get sick, unexpectedly, and not be able to come to class.
The difference between predicting this pencil will fall and fulfilling my promise to come to the next class is a matter of degree. It’s in the realm of probability. Prediction is based on degrees of probability.
Dean: I don’t like the idea of people forecasting from “the other side.”
Barbara: It’s ominous.
Mowrer: Now wait a minute. Imagine this situation:
You are sitting on a hilltop, and you see two cars on separate roads traveling toward an intersection at the same speed. They are at the same distance away from the intersection on two separate roads. You can forecast a crash in the making, but the drivers below cannot see it. The hill is blocking their ability to see each other driving toward the same intersection.
You can predict the crash from your vantage point on the hill, but the drivers in their separate cars are unable see what is about to happen. They have no idea of what lies ahead. So, think: the “beings” on the other side are like you on that hill. They can see more and farther ahead than the separate drivers can see.
Dean: Students, speak to his logic! (He smiles.)
Harry: These beings must see everything we do on earth… I’m not sure I like that idea.
Barbara: But…isn’t it something like the way we look at ants living in a colony? The ants can’t see us, but we can see them. They don’t have human eyes; we have evolved beyond them. We can see where they are going. We can predict what they will do and where they will go.
Mowrer: Right. Biologists know the pattern for ant behavior—building colonies, their directions of travel, and so on. The deceased on the other side can do the same thing. They are like biologists.
Dean: But we have free will. We are not ants!
Mowrer: Yes, but we have strong habits and customs. The deceased -- at their choosing – are right here in this room. We cannot see them – like the ants can’t see us. But they do know more. A medium has …the “cell phone,” so to speak (I mean: the brain waves) to pick up human images and speech.
In other words, your dead relatives are right here, potentially accessible to you. You just can’t see them. (If this is hard for anybody, I do apologize.) Mediums train to see the astral level of frequency. They “tune up” into the vibration level of the dead.
This was already known and understood by the ancients. Read the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Barbara: You say some mediums are good -- and others are not as good?
Mowrer: Some are really bad. (Smiles.) Mediums have different levels of skill and different specialties. They are just like carpenters or violinists who have levels of skill.
Barbara: Is this ability inherited?
Mowrer: It is inherited to some degree, and it can also be learned. Some mediums discover their talent in childhood and tell their parents. They talk about the “people” that they can see -- but that are invisible to their parents. All too often their parents criticize them. They do not want their children “seeing things” because the parents are afraid they may be hallucinating. So children lose the ability. Yes, it is inherited, by some measure.
Barbara: But a person can also learn to practice?
Mowrer: Yes. There are training programs for people to become a medium. I have attended some as an observer, but I do not have one of the fundamental abilities required: I have trouble “relaxing.”
Barbara: How do people train?
Mowrer: My friend Carole
Lynne is a medium and gives training lessons in
You could go to her training sessions and be given the opportunity to try out. You can practice there with a friendly audience. When you get stuck without getting an image of someone on the other side -- or become frightened -- Carole will give you suggestions on how to relax.
Trainees learn to see through their inner eyes and ears. They describe what they see to members of an audience: the height, the color of hair, the posture, and approximate age of the person who has passed away. With this preliminary information, a person in the audience will then be asked directly whether the description fits his or her case. Then more information is given to that person.
The deceased often speak about the way he or she died – especially if a person addressed in the audience knew the person on earth. Maybe he or she died of a heart attack and was picked up by an ambulance. Maybe the person was in a hospital for two years. Maybe he died in a car accident. The details about the event will alert someone in the audience. Then, the medium will go into more details for the audience member who has connected with the report of the incident.
Mowrer: Let’s say a deceased mother talks to her daughter -- through a medium. She speaks about where she and her daughter lived. She describes the furniture in their house, the perfume she used, the school the daughter attended and so on. She might speak about her daughter’s friends in ways that only her living daughter would know. This is called “evidence.”
Barbara: Could you call it empirical evidence?
Mowrer: I would. But it is also experiential evidence. I have seen hundreds of people identify their loved ones on the basis of events they have shared together in the past. Questions?
Ann: What about ghosts?
Mowrer: Ghosts have
been around a long time. They were reported in Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Allegedly they can appear complete with the
wounds that killed them. The Bible has references to ghosts in the books of Deuteronomy and
Samuel. The disciples of Jesus thought he was a
ghost when they saw him after he died. He is said to have showed them his
wounds. In the first century A. D., Plutarch described a ghost of a murdered
man haunting public baths. Pliny the Younger described the haunting of a house
Ghosts are complex. The subject would take a semester to discuss, but I can tell you of my own personal experience in which a friend of mine speaks to ghosts, those who have died and remain connected to earth.
Dean: Oh my! (The Dean worries that Mowrer is misleading the class: “corrupting the young” was the phrase used of Socrates.) I know you have a scientific mind. I trust your research work in the laboratory. But this is very hard to believe. What happens in this case? What is this person’s name?
Mowrer: Shirley Pratt.
She lives in
Let me say first: People who die normally move through their astral body and are greeted by loved ones on the other side. But some people who have died get stuck on earth in their astral body. They become bewildered. They may not be conscious of what has happened to them. They could have died in a sudden accident, an airline crash, or have been murdered—whatever might cause them not to go through the normal process of leaving the earth plane.
Dean: This seems odd to me.
Mary: What does this woman Shirley Pratt do?
Mowrer: First she goes into a relaxed state, like in a trance, but she is still half-conscious. She then contacts the deceased, those whose astral body remain on earth. Sometimes she has to choose among them as they gather about her. Some of them want to leave the earth, and others do not want to leave, and she has to persuade them to leave.
Her friend Ruth is there to help persuade them to “move on.” Shirley sees a deceased figure and reports on its behalf to Ruth. Ruth will tell the deceased figure to look over her shoulder: “Try to see a light, and think of your loved ones who have died.” Finally, with persuasion and direction, the deceased figure, seen by Shirley, will do as instructed and disappear. Since Shirley has identified with the figure -- at that point of disappearance -- she jolts forward in her chair now wide-awake.
Dean: That should be researchable. Have you tried?
Mowrer: Shirley gets a lot of information from the deceased that have remained earthbound. I should be able to check their names and histories.
I have asked her to get me names, addresses, and dates of death so I can follow up on them, but she refuses to make the inquiry on “ethical grounds.” She does not want to expose their families to public investigation. She and I have argued about the “ethics,” but she says it is a matter of trust and integrity in her work.
Dean: (Still skeptical.) A lot of people must believe this stuff.
Mowrer: The Gallup Poll says that three in four Americans believe in the paranormal. Many have seen ghosts. But researchers on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry laugh at the idea.
Dean: Well, without scientific research to back any of this up, I do not see how we can discuss ghosts any more.
Students, speak up. Questions?
Mary: Dean, you said we are looking in this class to discover “who we are.” Well, who are we? (She smiles, disingenuously.)
Dean: We are working on the subject. Our culture creates much of “who we are.” The invention of the camera created a culture of celebrity; the computer is producing a culture of connectivity, superficial though much of that connection may be. The self wants to be recognized for what it is.
Mary: But isn’t that a lot of the problem, knowing what the “self” is?
Dean: Professor Benedict told us that the “self” begins when we become conscious of another person. A child learns the difference between “I”, “you” and “me.”
Mary: But we said that the “self” is always changing and transcending the past.
Mowrer: And sages in the East say we keep coming back to earth -- to find perfection. (Silence.)
Ann: (Ann, who recites poetry with Jerry in the dormitory, says, smiling, looking right at the Dean:) If I may -- Emily Dickinson would say: (She sits up straighter to speak more clearly, with authority:)
The Brain - is wider than the Sky -
For - put them side by side -
The one the other will contain
With ease - and You – beside.
The Brain is deeper than the sea – For - hold them - Blue to Blue -
The one the other will absorb -
As Sponges - Buckets - do - …
(Everybody laughs while trying to make sense of the poem.)
Dean: (respectfully) Oooo.
Mowrer: Good. I think the earth is just one place in this universe, a mirror of what lies beyond. We are on only one of many “frequency planes.”
Dean: Let’s stay with science.
Mowrer: Well, physics does help. Look: water requires a specific temperature to remain a liquid. If you raise the temperature to a certain point, you get steam. Steam is a higher frequency, but it is not water. The water has been transformed. If you lower the temperature, the water becomes ice. Transformed. It freezes because of less molecular motion. The temperature is just an expression of the frequency and motion of the smallest particles, the molecules. If you change the molecular motion or the speed with which the molecules move, they will transform from gas to liquid, then liquid to solid.
Dean: Yes, I’m with you.
Mowrer: We know there are different planes of frequency in atomic and molecular motion; now think of how that applies to astral bodies. You can feel the air with a wind, but you cannot see the air. (nods “Okay”) The air is transparent, but it is still there. It is real.
Derek: I’m not sure I understand.
Mowrer: Can you see the people who have died and are around you -- in the air? No? (He smiles.)
You must have the eyes to see such things. Our physical eyes have evolved. I think we are evolving into higher frequencies. We no longer have the eyes of a frog. Right? (Derek nods.) Evolution is moving us onward toward the “interior.” (The Dean grins, glad to hear support for his theory of increasing interiority. Mowrer looks at him.)
Death exemplifies your law of transformation. You go from one body -- with its level of frequency on the physical plane -- to the next astral level with a different sort of body on a different plane. And it is natural; it is not supernatural.
Dean: We need a physicist. I will ask Professors Watson and Adams to join us next time.
Mowrer: This is the path of evolution. You can anticipate a future now.
Mowrer: I’ll make you a bet. Think of your theory of constant invention. (The Dean nods.)
Put aside all future earthquakes, global warming, and the nuclear wars ahead. Look at the frequency pattern. (He stands up, in good humor but looking upward like Rasputin.) I predict: by means of new inventions in technology, we will be able to communicate with the dead. It will follow in the manner of radio and television. I am saying that within one hundred years we will acquire the technology to reach the frequency now picked up by mediums.
Dean: (shocked in disbelief) No!
Mowrer: Remember, it has been close to 14 billion years of evolution to get to where we are now. (The Dean remains stunned.) I bet you were one of those who didn’t think we’d go to the moon! (The Dean hesitates, then smiles “Okay.”)
I have to say again: In the early1900s, my grandparents did not believe that our speech—our spoken words—could be transmitted through the air to distant places, but it happened. My parents said that images could not be sent through the air, but that too had developed by the 1940s.
Dean: That’s progress.
Harry: But Dean, remember the principles. Not just progress. Cycles!
Mowrer: Right. We regress as well as progress. We are cyclic. There are many stories of lost civilizations like Atlantis and Lemuria, where new technology was misused. Just look at nuclear weapons.
People with psychic abilities have warned us about the misuse of technology. Our weapons could destroy humankind. Those on “the other side” have warned us about the danger.
Dean: How do you know?
Mowrer: They warn of nuclear war.
Dean: Who has said so? Give me a name.
Mowrer: Gopi Krishna. He was a Hindu who channeled kundalini… that force in the body that produces energy. I believe you talked about it in this class. (He looks at the students for confirmation.)
Barbara: I remember hearing something about kundalini. Professor Benedict talked about it, but I forget what she said. Tell us again, if you will.
Mowrer: In the Hindu tradition kundalini is an energy that sleeps at the base of the spine. Aroused, it has a serpent-like movement, and moves up the spine. At lower chakra levels, it brings sexual excitement; but with careful meditation, it also brings strength and enlightenment at higher levels.
If it moves too quickly, it can bring pain and sickness.
Dean: Did Gopi Krishna experience this kundalini? (Mowrer nods.) Who is this fellow -- Gopi?
Mowrer: Gopi was born in
The sudden rise of this energy made him sick, but he recovered and after careful work he went into a higher state of consciousness.
Dean: What do you mean?
Mowrer: He began to write poetry in iambic pentameter. He wrote of the possibility of nuclear wars in his poetry. He said that some “Higher Intelligence” gave this poem about war to him at great speed. He could hardly keep up with the words given to him.
Dean: How do you know for sure?
Mowrer: In 1950 at the peak of his consciousness, he dictated poems in German, French, and Italian. These were languages he had never learned, never spoken before. In other words, he went far beyond his formal education and experience, beyond the scope of his own intelligence. 
Dean: Professor Benedict told me that this idea of Kundalini has been in Hindu Scriptures for centuries. How could we study it on campus?
Mowrer: Gopi said it should be studied in biology. He said that Kundalini is a biological force pushing evolution.
Dean: (for the second time) Wow!
Mowrer: He made every effort to interest scientists in research. But, no luck…they were not interested.
Dean: Do students have questions? (Silence.)
Jane: I have been taking Yoga classes. Do you see Yoga practice as having powers for healing?
Mowrer: Absolutely. I’ll
give you a personal example. Friends told me of an eighty-year-old fellow in
Suddenly, after much practice, he experienced
kundalini energy. He was careful: he
knew about its danger but also its healing power. He meditated correctly and
was completely healed. I went to visit him personally in
Dean: We need other scientists to confirm these cases. Can you give us further examples? Who does this work today? Where could students study it?
Mowrer: Barbara Ann Brennan. She’s clairvoyant, does healing work, and teaches classes.
Dean: (intently) Who is she? What are her credentials?
Mowrer: She got a bachelor’s degree in physics; and in the 1960s, she got a Masters in Atmospheric Physics. She went to work as a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In 1970 she began to see clairvoyantly.
She started to study the “human energy field” and wrote a book called Hands of Light. It sold over a million copies and was printed in over 20 languages. She has written other books with drawings of auras and energy fields, with pictures showing how human energy fields interact with each other.
Jane: What do these fields look like?
Mowrer: She describes
seven-layers of energy. Each has a different frequency. Each has different
types of energy that perform different functions. The Chakras, for example, are energy centers. They are first mentioned
in the Upanishads, originally oral
The word chakra in Sanskrit literally means “wheel” or “turning”; this refers to the circling movement of these energy centers and also to their capacity as “transformers.” In Indian medicine, there are seven such centers in the body. They receive and process cosmic energy and help advance a healthy body.
Dean: Have you met Barbara Brennan?
Mowrer: I went to see
her at a
Call up her staff, Dean. Invite her to campus.
Dean: Do you think we could study her work here?
Mowrer: You can ask my colleagues, but I can tell you now—no, they will not be interested. They’re “too busy.”
Jane: Does she have a training school for healing – for people like me? (Class laughs.) I mean, you know (embarrassed.)… I mean, I’m interested.
Mowrer: Yes. She established a school to train
people as professional healers. Her school started in
Dean: Other questions? Students! Mediums?! (Again a friendly call.)
Jane: My father died. My mom and I – (hesitantly) we’re wondering whether we will ever see him again. (You can hear that Jane has not gotten over mourning.)
Mowrer: You might well see him again; I’d suggest you talk with a good medium or two about it. They may help you. But you should know that the one contacted by the medium is not always the one that you hope will come through. A medium cannot just call your father up, like calling someone on the telephone. She, or he, does not have that kind of control.
Dean: (Smiles.) Other questions?
Near Death Experiences
Dean: Can you define this?
Mowrer: They happen after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead -- or close to death. Doctors have been reporting them with the cardiac resuscitation techniques. We call them NDEs.
Jane: How did you learn about NDEs?
Mowrer: First, I read
a book by Dr. Raymond Moody. He had so much evidence in his cases that I wanted
to talk with him. I had lunch with him in
Jane: I’m still not sure. What is an NDE?
Mowrer: Well, the body has to be “near death.” The people who have these experiences observe others around them, or see images, from a perspective outside of their physical bodies. Sometimes their bodies are called “clinically dead.” And yet, they recover. Some are even able to talk in detail about things that were happening around them during the time they were in a near-death state. For me, it shows that consciousness is not located in the brain alone. There is an astral body.
Jane: I don’t really know about “an astral body.” Do you have anything more you can give us as evidence?
Mowrer: During a near-death experience, some people see their dead relatives. Some see unusual images…like cities of light. They become aware of being in a different place or time. Some people see their own bodies below them and have a sense of peace. Some go to the ceiling in a hospital and observe from above as doctors and nurses perform resuscitation efforts on them.
After they are revived, the patients tell their physician about things that happened in the room they’ve been in while they were considered dead, and even what was happening down the hallway. Doctors and nurses know the patient could not have seen those events down the hall while lying on the hospital bed. Yet, the attending physicians confirm and testify to the patient’s observations. That’s evidence.
Some report having had a “tunnel experience.” (Jane looks puzzled and starts to raise her hand.) I mean they move through a hollow passageway. Some go up a staircase. Some have said that they experience moving “beyond” this life – like to heaven -- and are given the choice to return to their bodies.
Others see a brilliant light; some even “speak” to that light and receive answers. Some report a feeling of “unconditional love.” Some have a “life review.” (The Dean looks out over the class for questions.)
Jane: (engrossed in this topic) “A life review”: What’s that?
Mowrer: You see a kind of movie of your life as you passed through it on earth. You witness how you interacted with people at different stages of your life. You experience the impacts you had on people. It is like a kind of “judgment day.” I mean, it becomes a kind of self-judgment in light of what you have done and what has happened with you on earth...
Dean: (This is too much for him.) We need science. Give us some good documentation on these NDEs.
Mowrer: Dr. Kenneth Ring is Professor
Emeritus of Psychology at the
Dean: When did physicians get interested?
Mowrer: I think the studies started with Drs. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Ray Moody but there were other researchers, such as George Ritchie, Michael Sabom, and Bruce Greyson.
Dr. Greyson wrote an overview of NDEs for the Encyclopedia Britannica. He has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Near-Death-Studies. Still, I think the medical profession is largely uninterested.
Dean: For good reason: Physicians want to heal people. (Students can hear the Dean’s continuing skepticism.)
Mowrer: Hmmm. The experience turns out to be healthy. (Smiles obligingly.) Kenneth Ring found that people who have had a near-death experience have a greater appreciation for life. His interviewees showed a higher level of self-esteem, and a greater compassion for others.
Dean: Let’s stay with the natural sciences. I wish we had James Watson and Arthur Kornberg with us. Can you see any way that NDEs fit with physics?
Mowrer: Dr. Dean Radin is Director of the Institute for Noetic Sciences. He has authored, well, I would say over 200 technical articles, a dozen book chapters, and books like The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds. He has articles, very technical ones, in journals like the Foundations of Physics. He says that the concept of “entanglement” in quantum physics is a basis to talk about how consciousness is linked with the body.
Dean: Does this fellow, Dr. Radin, see everything as having some consciousness – I mean everything: body organs, liver, stones, toenails…trees, stars?
Mowrer: Do you remember the Apollo 14 mission? On board was the astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. (The Dean thinks for a moment, and nods.) He founded the Consciousness Research Laboratory where Dr. Radin is also the Director. Dr. Mitchell studied quantum physics.
Dean: Yes, we covered physics. Albert Einstein talked about the "spooky action" that was in quantum theory, about particles separated in space and time from each other. They appear linked beyond the physical—the seeable—level. Students, do you remember?
Harry: I remember. The measurement of one particle in a laboratory and the “collapse of its wave-function” -- can collapse the wave function of another particle -- with no exchange of a “messenger particle” to mediate the interaction.
Mowrer: That’s the point. The mind could be linked with quantum entanglement. This could be the sign of a higher vibration that links body-mind. There are vibrations in the body that physicists and physicians cannot measure. Some psychologists say this is “the heart of matter.”
Dean: What do you mean?
Mowrer: Well, Paul Pearsall argues that the heart is more than scientists think it is. The dynamics of the heart -- not the brain -- are the magnetic center of the body. Pearsall says that a major part of one’s “self” is embodied in the heart. It has to do with the question “Who are we?” (He grins at Mary.)
Look (reaching into his brief case for a book). In the forward of this book by Pearsall called The Heart’s Code, Gary Schwartz and Linda Russe say that the brain revolves around the heart.
Dean: Well, that’s an interesting idea. We talked about the heart as a metaphor for feeling.
Mowrer: These authors propose that the heart has its own intelligence, independent of the brain. They say it communicates “an info-energetic code” conveyed through tens of thousands of miles of blood vessels and 75 trillion cells of the heart and circulatory system. Let me quote Pearsall:
As research from neurocardiology continues, it is becoming clearer that the central role of the heart in our consciousness is much more than metaphor and that, as happened with the brain, continuing research will reveal complexities of a conscious heart that our brain cannot yet imagine.
Physicians think of it as an organ of the body, but the stories of heart transplant recipients bear testimony to something greater. The heart is much more than just a bodily organ. I think that the heart carries more than we know of it based on our knowledge from the field of medicine.
Dean: What do you mean? Are you starting to “go mystical?” (He frowns.) Let’s stay with science.
Mowrer: Pearsall tells how he was giving a lecture on the heart’s role in life experience, and a member of the audience, a psychiatrist, was moved to tears. She recounted a story about an eight-year old girl who had been the recipient of a heart transplant. The heart donor, a ten-year-old girl, had been murdered. After the transplant, the recipient of the heart suffered nightmares about the man who had killed the donor. The heart recipient described the time, weapon, and place, the man’s appearance, and what the little girl had said to her assailant. The police were able to identify and prosecute the murderer with her information as a basis for their case! So the heart recipient had access to all the information and terror of the donor.
Dean: That is hard to believe.
Mowrer: I know personally of another case. I went to talk with a heart recipient who was transformed by the feelings of her donor. I wanted to verify what people said to me.
Dean: Tell us what you found.
Mowrer: The woman’s name is Claire Sylvia. She had been dying from pulmonary
hypertension. In 1988 she had a heart-lung transplant. She was given the organs
of an 18-year-old boy who had been killed in a motorcycle accident near his
I went to see her to learn firsthand.
Jane: (mesmerized, breathless). What did you find out?
Mowrer: She said that she had developed a fondness for certain foods that she did not like before the transplant-- like Snickers bars, green peppers, Kentucky Fried Chicken. She did not know anything about her donor, but after the operation she felt her personality changing.
She felt like she was becoming masculine. She became more aggressive and assertive than she had been before, more confident. She stopped getting colds. Her daughter asked: "Why are you walking like that? You're lumbering - like a muscle-bound football player." She felt “manlier” with a new “strength and vibrancy.”
Then she began to dream about "Tim." She searched the hospital records and finally found where the donor’s family lived. She wrote a letter to her donor’s parents, and they agreed to talk with her.
Talking with them she realized that everything new she was experiencing was true about him, her donor. His sister told her, “Yes, Tim loved green peppers, but what he really loved were chicken nuggets." Sylvia replied: “So that explained my trips to Kentucky Fried Chicken.” 
I was impressed by her story. This was first hand evidence for me. You would think scientists would follow up on these cases in which donors feel a big change in their life – and their sense of “self.”
Dean: Your story is interesting. I’m impressed. I wish we had more time to talk about these things, but we should move on.
Students, can you see any principles of evolution in these cases?
Bob: (A quiet moment of thought and then:) “Hierarchy”: There was a hierarchy of talent among clairvoyants.
Mary: And “cycles”: You could say that reincarnation involves a cycle of leaving the earth and then coming back.
Barbara: “Discontinuity”: at the time of death, there is discontinuity with people on earth. But there is continuity of some kind of life on the other side, apparently; that is, if we are to believe some of Professor Mowrer’s accounts.
Jane: “Transformation”: Yes, if all this is true, we transform from the physical body into an astral body.
Harry: There was also a transformation in the life of Claire Sylvia after her heart transplant.
Dean: (amazed at the quick thinking of his class). This is great! Keep going…I can see why so many of you go on the honor roll.
Mary: “Gradual”: What about that, though? We talked about the gradual transformation of the eye over time – from the animal eye to the human. But the near-death experience of transformation is sudden.
Tom: Yes, but evolution has its slow and fast periods. Remember the studies by Stephen Jay Gould?—“punctuated equilibria.”
Mowrer: Right. I had lunch with Professor Parsons after his class with all of you. He told me you had talked about the boundaries of the ego expanding and transforming slowly through socialization. And the ego also has its sudden changes, as in “punctuated.”
Dean: That’s true. And we talked about how we go through wider and wider identities as we mature and become adults, but we keep our memory of who we have been in earlier stages.
Mowrer: I say that memory stays with us when we go to “the other side.” We keep our identity after we die. We see our “life in review” and move on within a new environment to learn in the spirit world.
Dean: Hmmm, well. (Still disbelieving.) Questions? Students?
Mary: But who are we? (Students laugh at her persistence with this question.)
talked in our dorm about this question “who we are.” We went around and asked:
“Who are you?” I said to
Dean: Wow. Good. You guys are really something. There is feeling in your gender identity, your religious identity, and you’re discovering that. Who are you? Keep going with those explorations out of class, too, among yourselves. (The Dean is fully impressed with Mary. What she did could have been a group homework assignment from him.)
Mowrer: My question is: Can we identify with the whole of humanity? (He goes to the blackboard to write:)
The Self in Evolution
Dean: Oh! We are definitely out of time. Could you summarize this quickly?
Mowrer: No, except I suggest you read Ken Wilber. He is our Immanuel Kant. He summarizes and synthesizes all the work done in psychology up to this point in time. (The Dean’s hand flutters, signaling for Mowrer to speak briefly, quickly.)
Wilber speaks of the evolution of the self through waves of consciousness in the Great Nest of all things. He diagrams a series of concentric circles of body, mind, soul, and spirit. We are in “developmental lines,” he says; but we have to watch the pathologies, as well as the advances, that happen, shockingly, in this evolution from the earliest stages of civilization.
Dean: What do you mean?
Mowrer: Self-development starts with an “undifferentiated” consciousness. You can see primitive life beginning to differentiate in a child distinguishing itself from its body through language, when it begins to speak the words “I,” “Me” and “You.”
The levels of individual self-development that continue are similar to the way in which society developed and evolved. The child grows through a process of self-differentiation and re-integration at each level, but there can be malfunctions at any point and in any structure along the way. People get off track in their development through neuroses and psychoses.
Jane: How do people get back on track?
Mowrer: Wilber says we are still learning about cures, but meditation is vital. A common factor in all cures is a gradual “broadening and deepening” of awareness of who we are. He describes “structures of consciousness” in all forms of—relative—alienation and communion between people.
Slowly we become more aware of what causes pain and suffering. We become aware of those causes and “release them” so to speak, so we can transcend to a new level, or levels, of consciousness.
Parsons: I have looked at Wilber’s books. I think he started as a sociologist and ended up as a psychologist. I read Up from Eden, where he distinguishes stages of society as part of self-development. Am I right?
Mowrer: Yes. And he goes on with other books to specify five stages of evolution—primitive, archaic, historic, early modern, and modern.
Parsons: But he does not describe the evolving institutions of society, I mean, like the structure of religion and the state, the economy and civil society. He does not describe how religion became a separate institution and diverged from the state. He does not describe how free markets emerged from slavery.
Dean: You mean that the differentiation of institutions affects the individual mind.
Parsons: Yes. Nor does he write about the evolution of government. If they were to read his work, the presidents of nations would still be in the dark about how to make decisions regarding international relations. Nations would not understand world law and how it is developing—potentially, at least—to establish a global community.
Mowrer: Well. He describes evolution at nine different levels of personal and transpersonal stages. He outlines the development of the human mind: from sensorimotor, phantasmic-emotional, rep-mind, rule/role mind, formal-reflexive, vision-logic, psychic, subtle, and causal non-dual. I wish we had time to discuss each of them.
Parsons: He does not discuss societal evolution in ways that lead us to understand how to prevent financial depressions, or how nations might prevent war.
Mowrer: But if you follow Wilber’s work, he will lead you to the practice of compassion. And if you meditate, over time, you may achieve a state of bliss.
Dean: You mean, during a financial collapse or in a nuclear war, you can be in a blissful state? (The Dean has not read Wilber.)
Mowrer: Each of us has to do what we can
at our own level of consciousness. “Start where you are,” as Pema Chödrön put it. She’s a Westerner who
became a Buddhist nun and head of Gampo Abbey, a Tibetan monastery in
Parsons: Buddha and Jesus were
nonviolent, totally nonviolent. In Ken Wilber’s work I find no discussion of
social movements in society, like those of Mahatma Gandhi. There were new seeds
of change beginning in the last century. I mean like those of Martin Luther
King, Caesar Chavez in the farm movement, and Dorothy Day in the workers’
movement, Kagawa in
Dean: Tell us more what you mean.
Parsons: The structure of the mind—with the body and spirit—is not the same as the structure of society—with its economy and politics. The individual mind is not the same as the structure of society. The individual is affected by the varying stages of society, and vice versa, but you cannot equate them. A person cannot just stay sequestered, working on compassion within him or herself. (looking at the students) Study political science and law and become informed on how to guide a whole nation in turbulent times.
Mowrer: What Wilber has done in psychology has never been done before. His work is a synthesis of all the research accomplished up to now in psychology. He has taken a big leap forward in theory and practice. Conceptually in my field, his work is incredible. He is decidedly the best in the field.
Let me show you the charts that he has provided as a guide to understanding “who we are” and “who we are becoming.”
Dean: (checking his watch) Oh, wait! I’m sorry, but we are out of time. Our students have other classes this next hour. (Mowrer shifts his hand from the charts in the briefcase to pick up a slip of paper with a quotation from Wilber.)
Mowrer: Let me quote what Wilber foresees in the future. Dean, wait. Wilber sees us moving toward a greater “interiority.” (The word “interiority” is enough. The Dean holds up his hand to stop the class from rustling their books, shuffling to their feet. He nods and Prof. Mowrer reads):
Looking deep within the mind, in the very interior of the self, when the mind becomes very, very quiet, and one listens very carefully, in that infinite Silence, the soul begins to whisper, and its feather-soft voice takes one far beyond what the mind could ever imagine, beyond anything rationality could possibly tolerate, beyond anything logic can endure. In its gentle whisperings, there are the faintest hints of infinite love, glimmers of a life that time forgot, flashes of a bliss that must not be mentioned, an infinite intersection where the mysteries of eternity breathe life into mortal time, where suffering and pain have forgotten how to pronounce their own names, this secret quiet intersection of time and the very timeless, an intersection called the soul.
(Everyone is quiet as minutes move past the closing hour. The Dean has bowed his head.)
Dean: (He looks at his watch.) Let’s ask Professor Mowrer to join us in religious studies. Our time is up. Our next class is “The Field of Religion.” Have a great time over the holidays! Goodbye! Go quickly now!
Professor Mowrer spends time talking with students after the seminar. Some students want to know: “Where can we go to see a medium?” Others admit: “The paranormal is scary!” Bob speaks about his aunt who has seen ghosts. Students without a class in the new hour stand in the hallway talking about “out-of-body experiences.” Professor Mowrer has been stuck with his feeling of depressive sickness and misery much of his life, but the energy of these moments has taken his mind off it. His condition has improved, but he knows there is no cure.
The Dean is worried about Kathleen, who had the baby; he looks forward to seeing her back in class. He misses Linus and Margaret in class but is hopeful for their future.
The Dean is convinced that evolution is about individuation, moving into higher and higher levels of community. It is also, concomitantly, about discovery and creation. But he is tired. He will have a clinical test after the holidays. He wants to get beyond his condition—perhaps, as Professor Mowrer suggests, to transform and transcend. Aha!
 The complexity of Mowrer’s field can be seen in this
book: Ian Wishaw and Bryan Kolb (eds.), The Behavior of the Laboratory Rat (
 This is a situation in which the author is describing the case of his own daughter. From this point forward, the cases mentioned by Mowrer are those known to Severyn Bruyn.
 In the late 1800s a long chain of discoveries preceded the invention of the crystal radio. They gradually evolved into more practical radio receivers in the early 1900s. The earliest practical use of a crystal radio was to receive Morse code radio signals transmitted by early experimenters using powerful spark-gap transmitters. As electronics evolved, the ability to send voice signals by radio developed around 1920, and that evolved further into the radio broadcasting industry.
 Robert Crookall, Astral Projection ((New Jerse: Citadel Press, 1960.
 This is the experience of Louise Bruyn.
 The Monroe Institute (TMI) is a nonprofit research
organization devoted to the exploration of human, which is based at
 This is another case of the author’s experience in which he spent about forty hours working with a clairvoyant. She was a member of a local chapter of the Edgar Cayce Association.
 These events occurred to
the author in a spiritualist church on
these were psychologists at
An early publication was J.B. Rhine,
“Extra-sensory perception of the clairvoyant type”, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 29, 1934.
For summary, see J.B. Rhine, B. M. Smith, C.E. Stuart, and J.A. Greenwood,
(eds.). Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years, 2nd ed.
 This event with Simeon is
the experience of the author, Severyn Bruyn. The
is again the author’s experience while visiting a new piano teacher. The author
found out that Imhotep was the architect who built
 The author visited
See Ian Stevenson, Cases of the Reincarnation Type Vol. I: Ten Cases in
believe that time travel may be possible by “gravitational lensing,” which
occurs when a light cone of an event is bent by matter and energy. The Hubble
Space Telescope picture of the galaxy cluster Abell 2218 is an example of
gravitational lensing. The cluster is so huge and compact that its
gravitational field deflects light rays passing through it. The process
magnifies and “distorts” the view of objects that lie behind the cluster. This
creates “arcs,” which are the distorted images of galaxies that are 5 to 10
times farther than the cluster being photographed. The viewer sees multiple
flashes of light that actually come from only a single source, creating a
crease or bend. Because light and time can be affected by gravity and other
factors, it is allegedly possible to travel between time episodes. Paul Davies, How to Build a Time Machine. (
 Albert Einstein in his later years concluded that the “past, present, and future” co-exist, i. e., simultaneously. In his book Relativity (Dover Books, 1952), he talked about Minkowski's Space World interpretation of his theory. With the proper technology, such as a very fast spaceship, one person is able to experience several days while another person simultaneously experiences only a few hours or minutes. The same two people can meet up again, one having experienced days or even years, while the other has only experienced minutes. The faster they travel, the slower their time will pass relative to someone planted on the Earth. If they were able to travel at the speed of light, their time would cease completely and they would only exist in timelessness. So in summary, the universe we see is just a fragment nested in a timeless whole, rather than a single material world. Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (Three Rivers, 1995).
 The Tibetan Book of the Dead is designed to guide one through the experiences after death, during the interval between death and the next rebirth. This interval is known in Tibetan as the “bardo.” The text chapters describe the rituals to undertake when death is near. Gyurme Dorje, A Brief Literary History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Penguin Classics, 2007).
 Daniel Cohen, Encyclopedia of Ghosts (London, Michael O' Mara Books, 1994.) Also see Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology edited by J. Gordon Melton Richard Cavendish (1994). For scientific skepticism see Joe Nickell, “Haunted Inns Tales of Spectral Guests, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, September/October, 2000.)
author once brought Shirley Pratt to his class for students to witness how she
works. Several dozen friends in the
 Alec Gallup, Frank Newport, The
 See William Deresiewicz, “The End of Solitude”, The Chronicle Review Jan. 30, 2009 The author argues that the two technologies are converging— with “broadband” tipping the Web from text to image, and social-networking sites spreading ever wider.
 Atlantis is a legend about an allegedly “advanced” island civilization that self-destructed. Stories about Atlantis are mentioned in Plato's dialogues in which characters say it was destroyed by a catastrophe about 9,000 years before the time that Plato wrote. According to Plato, the story originated with Ancient Egyptian priests. Hundreds of books and countless articles have been written about “lost” civilizations. They are said to have self-destructed by their own technology.
 The books of Gopi Krishna include The Shape of Events to Come (New York: KRPT, 1979); The Riddle of Consciousness (New York: Kundalini Research Foundation, 1976), which is entirely in verse; The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); The Secret of Yoga, (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); Higher Consciousness: The Evolutionary Thrust of Kundalini (New York: Julian Press, 1974.)
 Gopi Krishna's first book, The Shape of Events to Come (1968; reissued 1979), describes a vision of human affairs characterized by materialism and decadence.
Krishna's books attracted the serious attention of such eminent thinkers as
Carl von Weizsäcker of the Max Planck Institute for the Life Sciences,
 This is the author’s experience and the taped interview remains in his files at home.
 Barbara Ann Brennan, Light Emerging: A Personal Journey of Personal Healing ( Bantam Books,1993) Other books include: Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing through the Human Energy Field, 1987, Seeds of the Spirit, 1999
 These are meetings and experiences of Severyn
Bruyn. He also talked with Moody during a conference
 Ring has written several books about NDEs, including Life at Death, Heading Toward Omega, The Omega Project, Mindsight and Lessons from the Light. He is also the coauthor of Methods of Madness: The Mental Hospital as a Last Resort. Clinical circumstances associated with near-death experiences include: cardiac arrest in myocardial infarction (clinical death), shock in postpartum loss of blood, septic or anaphylactic shock, electrocution, coma resulting from traumatic brain damage, cerebral infarction, attempted suicide, near-drowning or asphyxia, sleep apnea, and serious depression.
Greyson, M.D. is former professor of psychiatry at the
Further Links and Reading 1) www.horizon-research.co.uk 2) www.consciousness.arizona.edu - Hameroff & Penrose/ Chalmers 3) www.ostadelahi.com - Elahi 4) Scientific American: The Mysteries of the Mind, Special Edition (June 1997) 5) Foundations of Natural Spirituality/ Spirituality is a Science /Medicine of the Soul (The ongoing lecture series: The Rights and Duties of Human Beings La Sorbonne - Paris 1995- present has been collectively published into 3 books- by Bahram Elahi) 6) Roger Penrose The Emperor's New Mind Oxford 1989.
 Here are examples of people studying NDEs: Giorgio Buzzi,
“Correspondence: Near-Death Experiences" Lancet. Vol. 359, Issue 9323 (June 15, 2002): 2116-2117. Willoughy Britton, and Richard R.
Bootzin. "Near-Death Experiences and the Temporal Lobe." Psychological Science. Vol. 15, No. 4
(April 2004): 254-258. Susan Blackmore (1993). Dying to Live: Near-Death
 Dean Radin, The Conscious
Universe (HarperOne, 1997) and Entangled Minds (
class has discussed how David Bohm claimed that
both quantum theory and relativity point towards a more fundamental level of
consciousness. This “fundamental level” represents an undivided wholeness and
an implicate order, from which arose
the explicate order of the universe
as we experience it. Mind and matter are seen as projections into our explicate
order, from the underlying reality of the implicate order. David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order
(1980). Physicist Gustav Bernroider thinks that Bohm's implicate-explicate
structure can account for the relationship between neural processes and
consciousness. In a paper published in 2005, Bernroider elaborated his
proposals for the physical basis. He argued that quantum coherence may be
sustained in the ion channels of neurons long enough to be relevant for neural
processes, and that these channels could be entangled with surrounding lipids
and proteins and with other channels in the same membrane. Ion channels
regulate the electrical potential across the axon membrane, and thus play a
central role in the brain's information processing. G. Bernroider (2003).
“Quantum neurodynamics and the relation to conscious experience.” Neuroquantology, 2, 163-8. See also: Bruce Berger, Esoteric Anatomy: The Body as Consciousness (North Atlantic Books,
1998). Richard Shusterman. Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics (
 Paul P. Pearsall, The Heart’s Code p. 55. (1998, p. xii) Pearsall states that we have been too “brain focused” in the search for mind, and that instead of thinking in terms of a dual mind and body, a more rewarding and appropriate approach would be to adopt a triune model: that is, of a thinking brain, the material body and the energetic and emotional heart. The heart is the primary energy center, and in Pearsall’s terms “conveys the code that represents the soul.” The heart’s attributes and functions are much more mysterious and significant than conventional scientific thinking supposes. Therefore, Pearsall argues that, through the psychology of the heart, modern psychology is “beginning to make its first tentative contacts with the soul.” (p. 6) Pearsall examines the nature of cellular memory, life fields and non-local information fields, in an attempt to account for various clinical and psychological evidences that are emerging about the mysterious qualities of the human heart.
 Ibid, (1998, P. 69)
 Pearsall cites several cases in which those, who have received transplanted hearts, are profoundly affected by the personalities, proclivities and life histories, and 'entanglements' of the donors. It seems that in receiving another’s heart, the recipients are able to establish a connection with their donors, as this organ maintains some entangled connection to the donor’s life energies and memories. It demands scientific inquiry.
In A Change Of Heart (1997), Claire Sylvia, the recipient of a heart-transplant, recounts her remarkable experiences. She describes how the energies, emotions and soul life of the donor became intertwined with her own. Thus, she experienced an extraordinary metamorphosis after her transplant. She acquired her donor’s food and beverage preferences, his conflicted feelings towards his father, his sexual attractions and impulses, and other energetic dynamics! Her dreams of the donor enabled her to establish who he had been, to meet his family and to learn more about him. Apparently, heart-transplant recipients frequently report such experiences. Such evidence suggest that it is not simply 'minds' which become entangled--but also "hearts."
story is from the author’s personal talk with Sylvia. She lived
 S. J. Gould and N. Eldredge (1977). “Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered.” Paleobiology 3, 115-151.
Pema Chödrön, of Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova
Scotia—founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Shambala Tibetan) with whom she was
closely associated—has traveled and taught for many years. Born in
Collected Works of Ken Wilber: Integral
Psychology, Transformations of Consciousness, Selected Essays, Volume Four (