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Crossing the Threshold: Non local Consciousness and the Burden of Proof

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Crossing the Threshold: Nonlocal

Consciousness and the Burden of Proof
Stephan A. Schwartz

fter decades in which the research ologists and not considered a proper area As Max Planck, the father of Quantum

A into the nature of consciousness

has been dismissed as “The Ghost
in the Machine,” a fundamental
change is going on in science. Still a minor-
ity position, it is nonetheless coming to the
for science, has become a matter of impor-
tance. A search of the peer reviewed data-
base PubMed on the terms “Spirituality,
Health” returns 3,615 papers in the peer-
reviewed literature. Samueli researchers
Mechanics, framed it an interview with
the respected English newspaper, The Ob-
server, January 25, 1931 edition, said: “I
regard consciousness as fundamental. I re-
gard matter as derivative from conscious-
fore in a wide range of disciplines, from are responsible for some of those papers. ness. We cannot get behind conscious-
medicine to biology to physics. Whole new Prestigious academic publishers design ness. Everything that we talk about,
subdisciplines have emerged, driven by the major books that explicitly address con- everything that we regard as existing, pos-
results of this experimentation. sciousness. The Oxford Handbook of Psychol- tulates consciousness.”
One such is quantum biology, which ogy and Spirituality, edited by Yale’s Lisa The validation of Planck’s truth pro-
posits: Life is a molecular process; molec- Miller, is one such example. (In the inter- ceeds on two fronts: One group of disci-
ular processes operate under quantum est of full-disclosure, Larry Dossey, Ex- plines focuses on the local mind, the neu-
rules. Thus, life must be a quantum pro- plore’s Executive Editor, and I have a chap- roscience, the mechanics of an organism’s
cess. Experimental evidence is beginning ter in this book.2) consciousness. Yet even here, nonlocal
to accumulate that this quantum view of Another of the new subdisciplines to awareness projects itself into the physiol-
life processes is correct. Gregory S. Engel, emerge in this transition is neurotheology. ogy of consciousness. The insight studies
a UC Berkeley chemist, led a team that of Mark Jung-Beeman illustrate this. Be-
By using standard imaging technologies,
ingeniously found a way to directly detect ginning in 2003, and continuing with a
radiologist Andrew Newburg at the Uni-
and observe quantum-level processes shifting list of collaborators, he has
versity of Pennsylvania has focused on
within a cell by using high-speed lasers.1 steadily sought to understand the neuro-
monitoring the brain activity of spiritual
In mind⫺body research particularly, biological process of insight, ie, that aspect
practitioners as they engage in their prac-
the issue of consciousness has attained a of consciousness that solves problems that
tice. In addition, research data show col-
new prominence, as evidenced by the cannot be worked with the intellect
lective effects as well. Johanna Sänger,
growing number of placebo studies, re- alone.4 This work has yielded many in-
leading a team at the Max Planck Institute
search on meditation mindfulness and its sights, most notably: “We observed two
for Human Development in Berlin, re- objective neural correlates of insight.
effects on the brain, and its practical use in
ports that when musicians play duets, Functional magnetic resonance imaging
things like posttraumatic stress disorder
their brains synchronize. The detail in the revealed increased activity in the right
(PTSD); studies on the role of psycho-
data is so fine that they can distinguish hemisphere anterior superior temporal
physical self-regulation in healing; pro-
which musician is playing lead and which gyrus for insight relative to non-insight so-
spective research on near-death experi-
is playing backup. “When people coordi- lutions.”5
ences (NDE); studies suggesting the reality
nate actions with one another, small net- Contemporaneously, Jeanne Achter-
of reincarnation; and research into the re-
works within the brain and, remarkably, berg’s studies show changes in the brain of
lationship of genius and spirituality.
In the neurosciences, what used to be between the brains are formed, especially the recipients towards whom a healer has
identified as spirituality, allocated to the- when the activities need to be precisely expressed therapeutic intention. “Each
aligned in time, for example at the joint healer selected a person with whom they
play onset of a piece,” says Sänger.3 felt a special connection as a recipient for
Threaded through all of this work is a Therapeutic Intention. Each recipient was
The SchwartzReport tracks emerging trends that will growing awareness, either explicitly or by placed in the MRI scanner and isolated
affect the world, particularly the United States. For
implication, that there exists an aspect of from all forms of sensory contact from the
EXPLORE it focuses on matters of health in the
broadest sense of that term, including medical issues, consciousness not limited by space time healer. The healers sent forms of (TI) that
changes in the biosphere, technology, and policy con- or originating entirely within an organ- related to their own healing practices at
siderations, all of which will shape our culture and ism’s neuroanatomy — nonlocal con- random 2-minute intervals that were un-
our lives. sciousness. known to the recipient. Significant differ-

SchwartzReport EXPLORE March/April 2013, Vol. 9, No. 2 77

ences between experimental (send) and ● staring and dream, or a premonition that came true. It
control (no send) procedures were found ● precognition is this larger cultural context which gives
(p ⫽ .000 127). Areas activated during the these issues an importance extending deep
experimental procedures included the an- Because these protocols have the same into society.
terior and middle cingulate area, precu- fundamental methodology and collec- If you consider all the religious services
neus, and frontal area. It was concluded tively seek to study nonlocal conscious- across human history, they have certain
that instructions to a healer to make an ness, I believe they cannot be considered elements in common. There is a desig-
intentional connection with a sensory iso- independent. The figure taken as a single nated place to gather; appointed times for
lated person can be correlated to changes effort is 1054 against chance — a galactic gathering; a statement of shared belief and
in brain function of that individual.”6 number. intention; a period for music, dance,
The other front is work that explicitly In addition to these laboratory proto- chant, or choir; and, then, a time when
studies nonlocal consciousness through cols, recent well-conducted studies reveal some but not all of the group will have a
experimentation. This vector of research that 4.2% of the American public has re- nonlocal experience, whether speaking in
explores the nonlocality of consciousness ported an NDE.7 tongues, or Voodoo possession. The mys-
with studies that fall basically into two cat- The population in the United States is a teries of subatomic particles are of great
egories: nonlocal perception, the acquisi- bit more than 315 million. Therefore, interest to scientists and of enormous im-
tion of information that could not be 4.2% is 13 million people in the reported portance, but average men and women are
known through psychological sense per- NDE population, which is equivalent to not confronted with them in their normal
ception, and nonlocal perturbation, in- all the Jewish people, all the Mormons, lives as they are with altered states of con-
cluding therapeutic intention– healing. and Muslims as well, and most of the Bud- sciousness and the froward phenomena of
dhists. nonlocal consciousness.
The NDE population is almost cer-
tainly much larger, however, than 13 mil- Kuhn and Paradigm
lion because research has also revealed To understand the resistance of denierism,
Two papers from the European Organiza-
many people do not immediately report I think, requires some consideration as to
tion for Nuclear Research, one of the
experiences. Often they don’t speak of it what science is and is about. There is no
world’s largest and most respected centers
until years later, which is a problem for better authority in this than physicist
for scientific research, have just been pub-
researchers because it makes it hard to do Thomas Kuhn, generally acknowledged to
lished. Each is roughly 30 pages in length.
prospective studies, as Dutch cardiologist be the most influential historian and phi-
Nineteen of those pages are the single-
Pim Van Lommel reported in his 2001 losopher of science in the twentieth cen-
spaced list of approximately 6,000 names
landmark study published in the Lancet, tury. In 1962, Kuhn published his master-
— the researchers who support the findings
of the European Organization for Nuclear which was a prospective study.8 Like the work, the classic text, The Structure of
six-sigma protocols, this research has with- Scientific Revolutions. In it Kuhn argues that
Research experiments. The papers con-
stood repeated assault.9 the popular notion that science, through
clude there is a 1-in-300-million chance
Given this level of evidence, how is this the gradual accumulation of information
that the Higgs Boson does not exist,
disparity possible between the reception over centuries, consciously and purpose-
thereby validating the theory on why ele-
of the Higgs Boson discovery compared fully moves toward the basic “truth” about
mentary particles have mass. It is by this
with the studies of nonlocal consciousness the universe and everything in it is a myth.
collective assessment that the elusive God
research? The short answer, I think, is that Kuhn describes the process thus:
particle has been recognized as real.
Today there are six stabilized parapsy- we are seeing a demonstration of how cul-
chological protocols used in laboratories turally mediated science is. The Higgs The developmental process has been
around the world. Each of these six has Boson discovery is far less than a six sigma an evolution from primitive begin-
result yet, because it confirms a theoretical nings — a process whose successive
independently produced six sigma results.
prediction and pretty seamlessly fits into stages are characterized by an increas-
Six sigma is 1 in 1,009,976,678, or the ingly detailed and refined under-
99.9999990699 percentile. established physics, it is accepted. In con-
standing of nature. But nothing . . .
Those that have been analyzed in detail trast, the nonlocal consciousness research, makes it a process of evolution to-
are: where six-sigma results confirm phenom- ward anything. Does it really help to
ena because we do not yet have a satisfac- imagine that there is some one full,
● RV, ie, remote viewing; tory explanation as to how they happen. objective, true account of nature and
● REG, ie, random event generator; The objection is fundamentally cultural, that the proper measure of scientific
● Ganzfeld; not scientific. It is driven by paradigm. achievement is the extent to which it
● GCP, ie, global consciousness project; The compact science has with society is brings us closer to that ultimate goal?
the promise to explain. Nonlocal con- . . . The entire process may have oc-
● presentiment; and
curred as we now suppose biological
● Retrocognition/precognition. sciousness events are, perhaps, the most
evolution did without benefit of a set
broadly experienced mystery for which goal, a permanent fixed scientific
Two more have also achieved this level, the culture seeks an explanation because, truth of which each stage in the de-
although their results, at this stage, are still at sometime in their lives, almost everyone velopment of scientific knowledge is
subject to differing interpretations: has experienced deja vu, had a precognitive [an improved] exemplar.10

78 EXPLORE March/April 2013, Vol. 9, No. 2 SchwartzReport

As Kuhn explains it, scientists are a special one has ever solved before, or has not hungry beasts around a campfire. But sci-
self-selected community dedicated to solved as elegantly. “On most occasions entists assume, mostly correctly, that the
solving certain very restricted and self-de- any particular field of specialization offers majority of problems can still be con-
fined problems whose relevance is defined nothing else to do, a fact that makes it no tained within the paradigm, and so for a
by a worldview or paradigm. Kuhn, who is less fascinating to the proper sort of ad- time at least normal science continues,
the father of the concept, explains it thus: dict. . . Scientists normally [do not] aim to and the paradigm provides a reasonably
“universally recognized scientific achieve- invent new theories, and they are often secure framework.
ments [in a given field] that for a time pro- intolerant of those invented by others.”2 However, as normal-science research
vide model problems and solutions to a In fact, most deniers of nonlocal con- continues to get closer to the edge of the
community of practitioners” [emphasis sciousness are nearly illiterate concerning “known” it pushes so intensely and with
added].4 For scientists who are immersed the actual research. It’s outside of the par- such specific focus that its explorations
in it, a paradigm is their worldview. Its adigm; it can’t be any good. QED. produce just the opposite effect from that
boundaries outline for them both what The great irony is from where does an desired. Not only does such research fail
the universe contains and, equally impor- Einstein, a Newton, a Planck, a Ramanu- to strengthen the paradigm, which was its
tant, what it does not contain. Its theories jan, a Jung, a Salk come? The answer, as original purpose, but it produces still more
explain how this universe operates. each of them has said quite clearly, is that anomalies. Ironically, at the end of the
Paradigms are absolutely essential to sci- their great insight came in a special state of paradigm’s lifespan, the better the instru-
ence, although ultimately they become self- consciousness, when all things seemed in- mentation the more intractable the chal-
limiting. Without the set boundaries pro- terconnected and interdependent and out lenge presented by anomalies. These begin
vided by the paradigm, no observation has of space and time.11,12 to cluster until so many exist that not only
any greater importance or weight than any Science is by nature narrow and rigid — theory but the paradigm itself is called
other. Without this differentiation, western and this should not be construed as a pejo- into question. When this happens, the sci-
science is impossible. The benefit it confers rative description because the vast bulk of ence enters a state of crisis from which
is that with boundaries comes depth, and research could be practiced in no other way there is no turning back. This is the phase
with depth comes detail. The narrowness of — normal science always produces anoma- we are now entering.
this definition increases as a science matures, lies in the course of its work, and as it pro-
and manifests itself in increased subspecial- ceeds inevitably to reach its boundaries the
ization; one is not simply a chemist but an Extraordinary Resistance
encounters with anomalies increase. The There is extraordinary resistance in the sci-
organic chemist. It should be obvious then, reason is simple: Before paradigm is
to quote Kuhn again, that “one of the rea- entific trenches to this final phase — in an
achieved, clearly nothing can be anoma- individual it might be called denial. Scien-
sons why normal science seems to progress lous; after paradigm, a great deal will be; and
so rapidly is that its practitioners concentrate tists hate crisis even more than anomalies.
as the limits of paradigm are reached, what Researchers delay retooling as long as they
on problems that only their own lack of in- lies beyond is that much closer.
genuity should keep them from solving. . . can, because it is expensive, involves
Normal science, however, abhors anoma- much aggravation, and threatens careers
intrinsic value is no criterion for a puzzle,
lies because they are not tailored to the and hard-won status. Paradigm crisis is the
the assured existence of a solution is.”4 This
scheme by which it defines the universe. At last stage in a process of scientific death.
efficiency in puzzle solving collectively is
first, then, anomalies are ignored on the as- When it becomes irresistible, and the lim-
“normal science.” Obviously, this normal
sumption that subsequent normal science its of the paradigm’s lifespan are acknowl-
science is accumulative, but does it also seek
research will deal with them when either in- edged by a critical consensus of its practi-
the Copernican leaps, the insights that will
strumentation or theory articulation or both tioners, several significant events take
change the course of history? No, it specifi-
are improved. If this does not happen, an place. This is what is happening now.
cally does not. Normal science, in fact, is
attempt is made to extend the endangered The assumptions of normal science in-
specifically not interested in the very thing it
theory in the hope that an extension of the clude (1) the researcher and the experi-
is popularly supposed to be obsessed with
paradigm’s accepted propositions will bring ment can be isolated from affecting each
doing. It is this which is the source of den-
the anomalies back into the fold. other except in controlled and understood
ierism. It threatens the paradigm.
In the beginning of a paradigm’s lifes- ways; and, (2) because the experiment ex-
pan, better instrumentation or theory ex- ists in a time-space continuum, the condi-
Paradigm Problems tension does eliminate most of the anom- tions under which it is carried out can be
“The scientific enterprise as a whole does alies by making them conform; some, duplicated and the experiment replicated
from time to time produce anomalies that though, will not conform, no matter how by any other researcher if it is valid.
open new territory, and test long-accepted artful the experiment or ingenious the de- All of this, the common techniques, the
beliefs. But the individual engaged on a velopment of the original premise. Most various levels of the collective fundamen-
normal research problem is almost never scientists are happy to leave these anoma- tal assumptions that often go unspoken,
doing any one of these things [emphasis lies in a state of limbo, which is why para- seem to irresistibly argue for the concep-
Kuhn].”2 He finds himself instead work- psychology is both science and non- tion with which I began this paper, the
ing from a different motivation, the desire science at one and the same time. Myth of Gradualism. Yet both that myth,
to demonstrate that he is capable of solv- Everyone knows anomalies are out there, and the materialism its supports are re-
ing a problem within the paradigm that no lurking on the edges of the paradigm like futed by the undeniable reality of scien-

SchwartzReport EXPLORE March/April 2013, Vol. 9, No. 2 79

tific change, and how it actually comes breakthrough researchers and their peer not a special exception. Science and tech-
about. Those individuals who produce ex- communities is involved; a kind of inter- nology will increasingly be focused on this
traordinary research do so not by force of active collective awareness must coalesce because recognizing the interdependence
intellect or will alone, although these are that comprises a critical consensus. and interconnection of life will become
important, but because they have had As Gunther Stent demonstrates, if an essential to our survival in the climate of
nonlocal intuitional insights at the same intuitive researcher is premature, no mat- the future.
time that there was a crisis. ter how great the insight, the response of
It is on this point, that most commenta- peers is indifference at best, and martyr-
tors describing the development of scientific dom at worst.14 We all know the story of
breakthroughs are uncomfortably silent. Galileo. Not as well known is that Leon-
DNA and genetic research — will be pow-
John Mihalasky invokes intuition as an ardo figured out what fossils were while
erful drivers affecting consciousness re-
overt explanation, but tentatively,13 and excavating the St. Marcos Canal, but no
search. Discipline subspecialties within
Kuhn notes only that it represents a change one could absorb what he was saying.
the neuroscience, quantum mechanical,
in gestalt, a change in “beingness.” “Normal Only when intuition and crisis are cor-
and biological communities, will explore
science,” he says, “ultimately leads only to rectly juxtaposed can the necessary change
how consciousness and matter interact.
the recognition of anomalies and to crises. in gestalt occur. Genius is an individual
And these are terminated not by delibera- experience, but its acceptance is a social
tion and interpretation, but by a relatively phenomenon. We are getting there.
sudden and unstructured event like a gestalt On the basis research being carried out PTSD
switch. Scientists then often speak of the across the spectrum of the sciences, I be- PTSD — The enormous number of service
“scales falling from the eyes” or of the “light- lieve there are four relevant descriptors personnel suffering from PTSD has brought
ning flash” that “inundates” a previously ob- helping to define what the new paradigm meditation, mindfulness, and psychophysi-
scure puzzle, enabling its components to be might look like. They are: (1) Only certain cal self-regulation techniques and research
seen in a new way that for the first time aspects of the mind are the result of phys- to the forefront in rehabilitation medicine.
permits its solution.”7 To someone inter- iologic processes. (2) Consciousness is Good results have been achieved through
ested in the field of nonlocal informational causal, and physical reality is its manifes- these approaches, and the reports of prac-
interactions this wording is virtually identi- tation. (3) All consciousnesses, regardless titioners experiencing a “timeless time,
cal to used by healers, remote viewers, spiri- of their physical manifestations, are part spaceless space” have excited a new inter-
tual pilgrims, and great artists.12 of a network of life which they both in- est in the nature of consciousness and the
form and influence and are informed and mind⫺body linkage.
influenced by; there is a passage back and
Anomalous and Congruent forth between the individual and the col-
Kuhn is willing — because the evidence is so lective. (4) Some aspects of consciousness NDE
great that it cannot be denied — to invoke are not limited by the time/space contin- NDE — Two things have happened in
the inspiration of dreams, although how this uum and do not originate entirely within medicine to make it clear this area of
actually works he does not venture to say. an organism’s neuroanatomy. research is going to grow. First, clinical
He makes one speculation on the nonintel- The research is pushing us toward this practice in hospitals around the world
lectual aspect of puzzle solving. He notes, new paradigm. One sign of this is that most has been sensitized to NDE so more are
“No ordinary sense of the term ‘interpreta- scientists tend to cite in their papers only being recorded. Second, the already re-
tion’ fits these flashes of intuition through work within their discipline, or a related one. corded 13 million near-death experienc-
which a new paradigm is born. Though such Physicists rarely cite medical journals, and ers will increase in number thanks to in-
intuitions depend upon the experience, both physicians rarely cite physicists. As a result creasingly sophisticated acute care
anomalous and congruent, gained with the old separate literatures dealing with conscious- medicine and cardiopulmonary resusci-
paradigm, they are not logically or piecemeal ness, both local and nonlocal, are develop- tation.
linked to particular items of that experience as an ing independent of one another. It is only
interpretation would be [emphasis added]”7 when they are seen collectively that the full
What makes these key figures revolutionar- impact of this research can be compre- We are moving into a new world.
ies, then, is not just the quality of their work. hended. It becomes obvious that it is time to
They are also revolutionaries because of the fearlessly examine the state of the science in
source, mechanism unknown, from which this area. There are also are several major
their information derives. At the deepest ENDNOTES
seemingly unrelated trends at work in Amer-
level the process by which the information is 1. Panitchayangkoon G, Hayes D, Fransted
ican society today whose confluence makes
obtained is as revolutionary as the informa- KA, et al. Long-lived quantum coherence
this a good time to start. in photosynthetic complexes at physiolog-
tion itself.
ical temperature. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
Intellectual excellence and intuitive in- 2010;107:12766-12770.
sight, however, are not the only criteria for 2. Schwartz S, Dossey L. Nonlocality, inten-
success as a “paradigm shifter.” A careful CLIMATE CHANGE tion, and observer effects in healing stud-
analysis of the process also suggests that Climate change — will compel us to see ies: laying a foundation for the future. In:
some kind of interconnectedness between that we are part of earth’s network of life, Miller L (ed). The Oxford Handbook of Psychol-

80 EXPLORE March/April 2013, Vol. 9, No. 2 SchwartzReport

ogy and Spirituality Oxford: Oxford 8. van Lommel P, van Wees R, Meyers V, Elffer- 14. Stent GS. Prematurity and uniqueness in
University Press; 2012, p. 531-547. ich I. Near-death experience in survivors of scientific discovery. Scic Am. 1972;227:
3. Making music together connects brains. cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the 84-93.
Science Daily. 2012. Available at: http:// Netherlands. Lancet. 2001;358:2039-2045. 9. Greyson B, Holden JM, van Lommel P.
121129093417.htm. Accessed November ‘There is nothing paranormal about near-
29, 2012. death experiences’ revisited: comment on Stephan A. Schwartz is the editor of the daily
4. Bowden EM, Jung-Beeman M. Aha! In- Mobbs and Watt. Trends Cogn Sci. 2012; web publication The SchwartzReport (http://
sight experience correlates with solution ac- 16:445; Author reply:446., which concentrates
tivation in the right hemisphere. Psychon 10. Kuhn T. Structure of Scientific Revolutions. on trends that will shape the future, an area of
Bull Rev. 2003;10:730-737. Chicago: Phoenix, the University of Chi- research he has been working in since the mid-
5. Jung-Beeman M, Bowden EM, Haberman J, et cago Press; 1962. 1960s. He is also the Senior Samueli Fellow in
al. Neural activity when people solve verbal 11. Hadamard J. Subconscient intuition, et Brain, Mind and Healing at the Samueli In-
problems with insight. PLoS Biol. 2004;2:E97. logique dans la rechere scientifique. Con- stitute. For over 35 years Schwartz has also
6. Achterberg J, Cooke K, Richards T, Standish ference Faite au Palais de la Découverte le 8
been an active experimentalist doing research
LJ, Kozak L, Lake J. Evidence for correlations Décembre 1945, Alençon, n.d., p. 7-8.
between distant intentionality and brain
on the nature of consciousness, particularly Re-
12. Schwartz SA. Nonlocality and exceptional
function in recipients: a functional magnetic experiences: A study of genius, religious
mote Viewing, healing, creativity, religious ec-
resonance imaging analysis. J Altern Comp- Epiphany, and the Psychic. Explore (NY). stasy, and meditation. He is the author of sev-
lement Med. 2005;11:965-971. 2010;6:227-236. eral books and numerous papers, technical
7. van Lommel P. Conscious Beyond Life. New 13. Mihalasky J. ESP: can it play a role in idea- reports, and general audience articles on these
York: HarperOne; 2007, p 62. generation? Mech Eng. 1972;94:32-34. topics.

SchwartzReport EXPLORE March/April 2013, Vol. 9, No. 2 81

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