The Forum for Awareness
Full Index of Issues 1 thru 14
Volume 1, Number 3
The TAT Society was formed in 1973 because a need was felt for a philosophical forum, for a meeting and working together of all manners and levels of deep spiritual study and investigation, and for a friendly dialogue between material science and mystical intuition.
The latter category is especially necessary. Science disdains mysticism but it is forever and belatedly proving things previously declared as truth by an intuitive individual. Mysticism may disdain science, but it is forever attempting to tell of its findings in a scientific manner, so that it can convince rational and relative minds of its discoveries.
A place for meeting was needed and groups were formed in many Eastern cities. A farm is now available in West Virginia as a general headquarters, and study center.
The TAT Society holds meetings in a number of different cities for study and discussion. Other events, such as lectures, seminars and films, are also presented from time to time. Telephone numbers for the cities listed below are of TAT members who can provide information about activities in their area.
Akron, Ohio - Canton, Ohio - Cleveland, Ohio - Columbus, Ohio - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Washington, D. C.
For those of us who have rejected a dogmatic expression of the meaning of life, yet still seek such a meaning through our own discovery and experience, it can be difficult to learn in what direction our "true path" lies. Should we study the psyche through the lenses ground by Freud or Jung? Should we ponder the recurring questions of Western philosophy or turn to the East for a different viewpoint? Should we immerse ourselves in an occult science like astrology or in the objective observation of physical phenomena? Or should we wait in silent meditation, indifferent to whether the truth is or is not revealed to us?
Absolute certainty is more often a symptom of delusion than of real knowledge; given our all-too-human limitations of mental and perceptual faculties, how can we afford to trust completely in conclusions formed out of the shifting sands of opinion? Unfortunately, the powerful human instinct for certainty which urges us to seek meaning, may also impel us into a premature grasping for convenient answers. This tendency is illustrated in a story of Nasrudin, the wise-fool of Middle Eastern folklore (and of Sufi teaching), who lost his ring inside the house. After searching unsuccessfully for a short time he went out to the yard to look. His wife exasperatedly pointed out that he had lost the ring inside. "I know," said Nasrudin, "but it's too dark inside. Here I can see better."
We must, by all means, continue to look into a variety of subjects for clues and valuable information to aid our search. But self-satisfaction is a deadly enemy of progress, and convenience is its advance guard. Every pursuit, no matter how deeply we are involved in it, should be subject to honest scrutiny according to its relation to giving us a true picture of reality. That desired focus is indeed elusive, but once convenience is abandoned as a criterion of choice, the joy to be found in the search for uncompromised truth is revealed as a polestar, and our inner self of intuition, rather than the outer self of desire, becomes the guide.
Editor: Paul Cramer
Associate Editor: Louis Khourey
Staff Writer: Michael Baldrige
Production Assistant: Kathrinan Harper
© 1978 TAT Foundation. All rights reserved.
Psychic Exploration edited by Edgar D. Mitchell and John White and The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes.
The TAT Forum is a reader's exchange and correspondence column. You are invited to write to this column and offer comments or pose questions concerning the articles or letters published in this journal. You may also share with other readers your discoveries, investigations or resources that you may have come across in your search. Please address your correspondence to the "TAT Forum."
Forum: I have just finished reading your Winter TAT Journal and am pleased to see that it has already improved over the first issue. Most of the articles were enjoyable and some a bit disturbing, particularly Richard Rose's short story, "Last Act". It left me with an uncomfortable feeling but I enjoyed it.
I have found that my best insights come to me when my mind is irritated. Irritated by having my day-to-day concepts shaken through confrontation. It seems to be the only way I can break out of the repetitive thinking patterns my mind falls into. An uncomfortable feeling can prevent one from dozing off. I believe this is just as true mentally.
Your Journal is becoming a good vehicle for this type of mental jostling. And I might add it's the only one I've found thus far. All the other's I've read either tried to give me a sugar coating, convince me I'm already enlightened, teach me the spontaneity of a street dog or chant me into a round-the-clock sleep. Thanks for some stimulating material.
Forum: I just read the winter issue of the TAT Journal and I'd like to compliment the Journal for its refreshingly new format. I've been interested in philosophy for years and out of habit have read a lot of the new age journals and magazines that have come out. I was impressed with the TAT Journal by what I feel is a genuineness and sincerity in the articles that I read that I've not found in many of the other magazines that seem to cater to their own brand of special interest philosophy or end up promoting their own gurus, and ignoring anything else.
To many people like me, journals and magazines of philosophical interest are the only way of keeping in touch with what's going on, and more importantly, contacting others who have the same interest. I hope the TAT Journal continues to maintain its open format. Good luck.
Whither goest us?
Forum: It is with a glimmer of hope in a void of skepticism that I greet the arrival of the TAT Society's literary efforts. For I have seen many periodicals with the same, high aspirations and selfless motives come and go, or even worse, come and stay after they have been forced to compromise their principles to make a buck.
TAT professes that its goal is to provide a non-political, non-sectarian forum where seekers from all backgrounds and approaches can meet and share (or argue over) their finding. And my limited experience with the organization has proven to me that it is sincere. I attended a symposium in D.C. and a Summer Chautauqua on the farm, and while the entertainment wasn't spectacular, I did feel a warmth and sincere interest in my beliefs which led me to believe that you people were on the level.
It is precisely because I believe that you believe in what you're doing that I felt a twinge of apprehension when I ran across the first edition of the TAT Journal. "Media Spirituality" is a big business, and many previously straightforward publications have gone slick, trite and down right insipid in an effort to stay alive. No doubt their motivations were pure, but let's face it, they were up against an indisputable fact: Sincere seeking doesn't sell.
I can envision the same economic scenario for you, and I would truly hate to see it happen to such a solid group of people. You'll give the Journal some frills, because after all, "We've got to give the magazine some dressing so that people will look inside." And before you know it, the perspective will be on the dressing and the stuffing will be overlooked.
I may be wrong, and I honestly hope that I am. The TAT Society struck me as one organization that would sooner collapse than cheapen its beliefs. I would rather receive a note in the mail that informed me that, due to rising fuel costs etc, the TAT Journal will no longer be published, than to find cluttering up my mailbox some bland, overpriced, glossy rag which is serving up the same junk that is currently being passed around as 'spiritual news'. Good luck.
Forum: I find TAT very informative and in accord with my way of thinking (most of the times). The TAT writings have opened up new channels of thought and perspective. I have traveled many levels of consciousness in my sixty-odd years on this planet... Most of the knowledge I have gained has been through the inner guidance and not by any outside instruction from the so-called gurus, masters, etc. who seem to follow a looped philosophy. The ones I would like to meet seem to be surrounded by lesser lights that keep the true seekers away... true seekers in this case being ones with the full awareness of reality.
It seems that we are living in an age of diversion instead of reality... Again reality is not past or future reasoning, but what is in the now. Each day I become more and more aware of the futility of the human species with its infantile reasoning and actions. . . How these little people sway to the rhythm of the controllers.
This is my thought for today... God knows what it will be tomorrow... anyway thanks for the TAT Journal... it gave me good vibes to know that I am a recipient of a thoughtful act.
Is there anyone out there who would like to "tapespond" with me on any subject of enlightenment? I am experienced in corresponding via tape. Please excuse my sentence construction as I am a person of minimal academic education, and sometimes I think that was too much.
Meditating on Nintzel
Forum: As in most things that pass in time, I found my opinions on what meditation is, to be the opposite of Nintzel's in some areas of his essay on "Meditation and Alchemy" (Winter 1978). Of course I must admit that Nintzel did a great job listing many of the types of meditation that have been recorded in history.
To me, meditation means "to see what is beyond all postulations. Such a simple statement draws many conclusions from the readers of such. One may even try to conclude that "God loves us" is "what is." Nintzel's slant on meditation tends to fill one's mental screen with a comforting security. I have found no security that can fill the vacancy that my observations have left me with. My evaluation of "what is" brings sorrow into my perspective of the world and our relationship with it. The "God of Love" evades my eyes.
To transcend this world, logic dictates that the world must be seen as it really is, even if the worst of horrors are suspected. The world and everything else are only one way. To project qualities upon the world and ourselves that could be fantasy would be only to fool ourselves.
With hope and a developed discerning capacity, a person may be able to stumble upon an answer that would fill life's void.
I must admit that my own search has brought me to the present conclusions, just as I am sure that Nintzel's definitions of meditations have been a valid part of his search. I wish the best of luck to all of those who set out on the search. I hope that the Journal will become an arena of thought and that differences of opinion will grant the readers constructive insights into their own search.
Forum: Hans Nintzel's article on meditation in the last issue of the TAT Journal reflected the ideas of a man who has obviously been involved in esoteric research on a wide scale. His eclectic presentation on meditation and alchemy was well done; however I felt inclined to offer an observation on a certain attitude that was reflected in his presentation.
Many people involved in spiritual disciplines seem to share the writer's view that we "are all on a beautiful spiritual quest after Truth". Well, unless my interpretation of the author's connotation of the word beautiful is completely distorted, I would have to extend the following counter proposition. Once we start on the spiritual search we are all on a discomforting, in fact, frightening trip leading to total annihilation of that which we identify with as our 'personality'. If, as many spiritual teachers tell us, our so-called ego or personality is false, and assuming that most of us are tenaciously attached to our egos, then I am inclined to feel that the loosening or removal of such attachments would be a psychologically unnerving and painful experience.
What I'm suggesting is simply that I do not feel that certain styles of meditation (specifically Zen and most Tibetan Buddhist schools) necessarily create a "new peace of mind". On the contrary, they provide nagging reminders of our positions as imprisoned devotees of illusion - instead of deepening our sense of joy and serenity, they act as constant "thorns-in-our-sides" and reminders of our greased slide towards death and dust.
I do not mean to belittle the joyful or uplifting aspects of spiritual discipline, for the yearning to obtain liberation has probably touched the deepest emotions in us all to a greater or lesser degree. And surely there is great energy and exhilaration in seeing that there is only one meaningful purpose in living - to work perseveringly towards the attainment of the fullest degree of spiritual maturity of which we are capable in our lifetime. The attitude that it is better to die than to live a life without trying to acquire truth, summarizes the sentiments of most spiritual giants. The philosophical system you choose to work (or dabble) with certainly determines the style or flavor of your effort.
Forum: I found Michael Baldrige's article on synchronicity very interesting and informative. It helped me to understand somethings about the concept that I'm rather interested in myself.
Over the past few years I've experienced what I've felt are some decided, synchronistic phenomena. I don't know if they happen more frequently now or because I'm aware of the concept now - probably the latter. Something trite but interesting happened to me shortly after I read Mr. Baldrige's article. I had been passively wondering if the word "synchronicity" was in the dictionary when I had to refer to my dictionary to find the spelling of a word. Lo and behold: I just happened to open my 4000-page dictionary to the exact page "synchronicity" was on!
Something I've noticed in my own experiences of synchronistic phenomena is that the content of the phenomena often isn't of a very important or meaningful nature. They often have a rather trite significance. The most overwhelming occurrence of synchronistic phenomena occurred to me about five or six months ago and I will cite it to explain what I mean.
I had read in a magazine that Mr. Underwood, the originator of Underwood Deviled Ham had made his fortune by the time he was in his thirties and retired from business to live in a cabin in the woods. This struck me quite strongly for some reason, although the next day when I was thinking of it I could not remember if the man's name was Underhill or Underwood. The next few weeks I was barraged with Underhills and Underwoods. These names just kept popping up at me from nowhere. I would pass Underhill Road, a semi-truck with Underwood Mfg. on it's side would pass me on the freeway; and an obituary for a Mrs. Underhill jumped out of the newspaper at me. Numerous incidents like this occurred and subjectively they all had a special tone or import to them. Each time my mind flashed back to whether it was Mr. Underhill or Mr. Underwood who made the deviled ham. After a couple of weeks of these phenomena I was standing in a supermarket check-out line when the following conversation took place between a store manager and a salesgirl:
Manager: "Would you have Joan clear this check."
Salesgirl: "OK. What's Joan's last name - Underwood?"
Manager: "No, Underhill is the girl's name in the office. Underwood is the deviled ham."
Ha! Rather absurd isn't it? There wasn't any type of religious import to it, but it seemed to make clear to me that there is an acasual relationship of meaning here that I was passively tuned into. Logical or cause-effect could be termed a horizontal relationship while acasual or synchronistic relationships of meaning could be termed vertical.
Forum: I found Michael Baldridge' s article, "The Riddle of Synchronicity" (Winter 1978) a refreshing departure from the usually dense verbiage written concerning Jung's ideas, especially considering the fact that the topic discussed is one of the most obscure to be found in any of Jung's volumes. I know a number of people who are put off by the difficulty posed by Jung's obscure, ponderous style. A consequence of this is that, quite a few people have some familiarity with Jung's ideas, but lack a precise conceptual understanding of the principles involved. Even though Jungian terms crop up everywhere, it is often a confusing process to try to understand the sense in which they are being used. I appreciated Mr. Baldrige's descriptive clarity and look forward to future articles on Jungian psychology.
Forum: Since writing "The Riddle of Synchronicity" published in the last TAT Journal, I have been barraged by a massive amount of feedback from all sources (cosmic and otherwise) which has illustrated once again the limitations of language in understanding such an abstract and subjective idea as synchronicity.
There is an understandable eagerness to seize upon a definition of these phenomena which will bring them from the realm of the unknown into more familiar terms and will place them in the realm of the known. For instance, synchronistic phenomena can be defined simply as "meaningful coincidences". But this does not really solve the problem. It just sedates us with a false sense of security that we know what we are talking about. This tendency can rob the idea of its real significance which ironically, lies not in its utilitarian value as a known factor, but in the fact that it can be readily observed yet not explained. In this way, synchronicity can be likened to a "koan" for physical scientists, psychologists and individual researchers. A "koan" is a riddle or problem given by a Zen master to force the student into a predicament which will necessitate an effort to circumvent his limitations. Thus, synchronicity stands as an inspiring challenge for those who would seek to understand the true nature of life on this planet by pointing the way to one of life's mysteries.
But, it is a fair statement to say that synchronicity is an obscure idea. This is due to the small numbers of individuals who have witnessed and labeled the phenomena as such, and due to the difficulty of grasping the subtleties of the mind conceptually. It becomes quite evident however, to those who have witnessed synchronistic phenomena that our world view is not complete and that, in fact, something quite peculiar (from the ordinary view) is taking place right under our noses.
Building mental muscles
Forum: Jake Jaqua's essay on utilizing the power of habits brings to mind an autobiographical sketch of Nikola Tesla, the man who laid the groundwork for our present electrical industry (Scientific American, June 5,1915).
In writing of his childhood, Tesla gives the key to his future success: "Had I some difficult task before me which was exhausting, I would attack it again and again until it was done. So I practiced day by day from morning till night. At first it called for a vigorous mental effort directed against disposition and desire, but as years went by the conflict lessened and finally my will and wish became identical. They are so today, and in this lies the secret of whatever success I have achieved."
Tesla applied "...a vigorous mental effort directed against disposition and desire..." in order to achieve. He made concentration a habit.
It seems that the tiny day-to-day decisions within a person's life are what determine any long-term success or failure. The person that I am today has an effect upon the person that I will be tomorrow. To encourage future success, a person must struggle with his inclinations or desires that are contrary to his goals. Tesla made of this struggle a lifestyle.
Forum: Jake Jaqua's comments about using "habit-force" were quite interesting. I think if people understood the power of habits better, they would be less prone to that widespread habitual disease called the "rut". The process of establishing better habits is truly a revolutionary idea. The hard part seems to be just getting started, so that we can then be carried to a degree by "habit-force" or momentum.
WANT TO WRITE TO SOMEONE IN THE TAT FORUM? Send your initial correspondence in a separate, stamped and unaddressed envelope to the TAT Forum and we will mail it to the party you choose.
HELP WANTED: Biorhythms Experiment
Forum: I write to ask that readers of the TAT Journal be of help in a small experiment. After researching and reading what seems to be endless documentation on biorhythms - both pro and con - I would like to do a bit of "documenting" myself. I ask that readers send me their name, birth date and the dates of at least two significant events in their lives. Such events could include accidents, illnesses, quarrels, outstanding achievements, paranormal phenomena, etc. Readers may even send in such information on friends and relatives who are deceased, along with the date of death; this would prove a definitive test of biorhythm theory since some adherents claim its use for predicting the day of death.
Please provide a brief description of the event besides the date (e.g., 7/16/59, car accident). If a drawing of one's biorhythm cycles on such dates is desired, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope as well. All names and dates shall be kept confidential.
I estimate that at least one hundred responses are necessary to assure that the results of this experiment are meaningful, so I ask the readers' cooperation in sending such information directly to my address, listed below as soon as possible. The results will be published, along with an account of biorhythm theory and its origin, in a future issue of the TAT Journal.
Measuring the Unmeasurable: An Interview with Professor Wilbur Franklin
Dr. Wilbur Franklin, Professor of Physics at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, has spoken to receptive audiences at several TAT symposia about his pioneering research of paraphysical phenomena, including work with psychics like Uri Geller, and travels to scenes of paranormal phenomena, like the Bermuda Triangle. To provide our readers with a deeper look at his work and the motivation behind it, Dr. Franklin recently spoke with TAT Journal staff writer, Michael Baldrige, in his Kent State laboratory. Dr. Franklin is one of a handful of physicists in the United States who are seriously involved in the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena. He was a member of the original Stanford re search group that brought Uri Geller to America to study his psychokinetic powers. His continued activity in research, writing and lecturing have brought him international recognition as a spokesman for the new field of paraphysics.
Besides his work in paraphysics (or teleneural physics), Dr. Franklin has done extensive research in solid state diffusion theory and liquid crystal physics, and is the author of numerous articles on those subjects. He received his M.S. from Yale University in 1961, and his Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1964.
TAT: How did you get started in the field of psychical research, and what first aroused your curiosity?
That goes back to when I was twenty-one years old. I believe I was a student at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland at that time (1954). I was visiting my girl friend in upstate Vermont. She and her father were talking about someone they referred to as the "seventh son of a seventh son" who had mystic powers of healing. He was very well-known in the Burlington, Vermont area and, in fact, people from hundreds of miles away came to his place to be healed. And so I decided to visit him. When I saw him, he told me that his healing powers were just a gift. He didn't say, "from God;" he just said, "It's a gift." He was a Catholic but he said that it did not require any faith. He said that there were certain things that he could cure, and other things that were deep-seated illnesses which he could not usually help very much. There were many people in that area that seemed to have been cured by him or claimed that they had been. So I made a vow with myself at that time that, if ever in my life I had a chance (and I knew I would) to study the emanations, radiations or something that came from a healer's hand, I would do it.
I kept wondering why the time had not come. For example, after I came to Akron I learned that a healer that I had heard about had left the area. Then, although I did not perceive the connection with my own interest at the time, Edgar Mitchell and Julius Stulman came to Kent State. Mitchell is a former astronaut and Stulman is a psychic businessman from New York. They spoke to thirty or forty faculty members about the possibilities for research in paraphysics and parapsychology and I was the only one to bite on the hook and go on to develop myself in this field of research. That surprised me because it seemed so obvious to me that there was something important to be investigated.
Edgar Mitchell asked me to meet Uri Geller, the famous psychic, as an unbiased scientist with no previous background in this field, so that I could witness what he did and recommend whether or not experimentation would be fruitful. So I met Uri in New York at Andrija Puharich's house. Andrija Puharich is one of the venerable and most knowledgeable people in the United States in this field. As a result of observing some remarkable psychokinesic phenomena, I became interested in the field and went on to serious research with a number of psychics.
TAT: At the time when you first met Edgar Mitchell at Kent, were you at all dissatisfied with the present state of physics or with science in general?
Franklin: No, I was very intrigued with physics, on my way to a fast promotion in my field and I was deeply involved in straight physics and I continued to be. Even after I became interested in paraphysics I did not let go of physics and I don't ever intend to.
TAT: Were you able to develop any courses in paraphysics?
Franklin: Yes, I taught paraphysics for four years for full credit in the Department of Physics. That was the first time, I believe, that any course of that nature had been taught for full credit in a science or engineering department in this country. It was here at Kent State from 1973 through 1976, but the faculty would not institute it as a permanent course and it was discontinued. I argued with them for a long time but finally agreed. They did not feel that there was a textbook with a set of mathematical equations ready to go with the experimental observations, and so they ascribed it to the experimental college.
TAT: It's apparent that your personal feeling is that the validity of psychic phenomena like ESP and psychokinesis is no longer in question.
Franklin: Yes, my belief structure has certainly opened up. I believe in telepathy. I believe in mind over matter and in precognition, or knowing the future before it happens, and in clairvoyance, which is a knowing of a distant place or object.
TAT: Are your beliefs based more on scientific documentation or on your personal experiences with people?
"If I had not seen Uri Geller bend a key right in front of me and if I had not had objects appear and disappear in my field of view, then I would find it more difficult to keep going in this field."
Franklin: That's a very important question. You have to be able to distinguish the beliefs from the scientific evidence. The scientific evidence, in my opinion, is resounding for telepathy; it's certainly very strong. The scientific evidence for mind over matter (psychokinesis) is now strong, although it was not in 1975. The scientific evidence for precognition is pretty good. With the work of Helmit Schmidt and others it is probably just as strong as for mind over matter. With respect to clairvoyance, the work of Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff with "remote viewing" is astounding.
TAT: What has been the effect of personal experiences on your ideas?
Franklin: Well, there are things that have happened in my own life that have stimulated my work. For example, objects in my office have disappeared and have reappeared on my desk, right beside me. This would be described by a psychologist as a hallucination, but other people who were present have verified the events; and many other people throughout the world have experienced similar happenings, such as Hal Puthoff of the Stanford Research Institute and Andrija Puharich and his group. Things of this nature often happen around Uri Geller. If I had not seen Uri Geller bend a key right in front of me and if I had not had objects appear and disappear in my field of view, then I would find it more difficult to keep going in this field.
TAT: In your lectures you talk about a wide range of psychic phenomena. In which field have you done most of your research?
Franklin: Most of my research is in psychokinesis, or the interaction of mind with the material world.
TAT: When did you start doing experiments in psychokinesis?
Franklin: Well, to do experiments you usually need some money and so I applied for research funds and obtained $5,000 from the Research Corporation and $4,000 from the Parapsychology Foundation. I was very pleased to get the money from the Research Corporation because it was the first time that they had ever funded this kind of work, and it's a very astute group. Between 1974 and 1976 we conducted a myriad of tests with human subjects in this laboratory. For example, we checked to see if people could mentally affect the radioactive half-life of cobalt sixty or the background radiation level. We got no effects from those experiments. We also tried a cloud chamber effect to see whether or not a psychic could influence the particle tracks and again did not find anything.
In one of our more successful experiments we clamped a metal cantilever beam in a tripod and tested the ability of psychics to bend it by mental power alone. Three people succeeded in bending the beam - Elaine Fortson, Olga Worrall and Uri Geller.
TAT: Have any of your experiments been tried at other universities?
Franklin: Yes, I chose almost every experiment that I did because it had been performed someplace else, and I wanted to check their methods and verify their results. We had a good agreement in the cantilever beam experiment that had been done by Dr. John Hastead in Burkbeck College at the University of London. He claims that six laboratories around the world have repeated experiments of that sort, including mine, and I think that mine are the most carefully controlled. In that sense, I feel that I have been able to verify what Dr. Hastead has done. So he and I do have something to say, that is, that people can bend a cantilever beam with volition alone.
TAT: Can you explain the results of this experiment?
Franklin: I feel that the human mind can exercise control over matter through a dimension of space that we cannot measure. All we can measure is what is happening on the physical plane. So what we do is work in "complex space," an imaginary space in which physicists are very adept. Anything done in that imaginary space can then be manifested in the physical world.
TAT: Have you ever investigated healing phenomena?
Franklin: Yes, based on the premise that the human body is composed of sixty to seventy percent water, a healer might affect the individual through the water in the body. Perhaps too simple an explanation, but our experiment provided some interesting results. We measured the ability of water to absorb heat after Olga Worrall had projected her healing power into a small vial of water. There was a significant increase of absorption in the infra-red (heat) spectrum in one specific frequency range after Olga held the water.
TAT: What do you think are the obstacles in setting up an experiment that could yield clear and unambiguous results?
Franklin: One of the biggest obstacles to success in the experiment where you are looking for a paraphysical influence is the disbelief of the scientist himself. That's a strong statement, but I think that success does, in fact, hinge on the subconscious or unconscious belief structure of the scientist coupled with the psychic, who is usually very closely tied to the scientist. The psychic wants to please the scientist and will tune in with the scientist very closely. So if the scientist presents an experiment to the psychic which he does not believe the psychic can do, then the chances for success are fairly remote. But if the scientist does in fact believe that people can do this experiment, that this psychic can do it on this particular day, that the vibes are right, and if both the scientist and the psychic agree, subconsciously and consciously, then I think the chances for success are much greater.
TAT: It seems as if you are forced to deal with quite a few intangible factors.
Franklin: Yes, I've even had to look outside our Western culture for an explanation of how the mind interacts with the material world and have seen it symbolically described in the Hindu Vedas as the Dance of Shiva whereby the actions of the god of creation and destruction could take place in both the mental and physical worlds. The tenuous nature of our physical universe is a very genuine question that I've been considering since 1972 when I first got into this field. We live in a "hypnosis-type" universe, perhaps, and if an object disappears it could be that everyone is "hypnotized" so that they do not see the object. When a person is clinically hypnotized you can show him a picture of an object and tell him that it does not appear in the picture and he will not see it. Or if a scientist took measurements on a set of equipment or a strip-chart recorder, then he would not even see the evidence of the object existing. So it's possible that the world in which we live is a world totally of mind.
"One of the biggest obstacles to success in the experiment where you are looking for a paraphysical influence is the disbelief of the scientist himself."
TAT: How do you feel about the way the experiments have turned out?
Franklin: I have not been as pleased as I could have been because I had anticipated that we could have had more results than we have obtained. We ran in the neighborhood of eighty or ninety experiments and had success in less than ten percent of those. But we do feel confident and know that our successes were not flukes. I do see many ways in which the experiments can be improved. There is always a need for more funding because this experimentation requires a lot of time and effort. We have not been able to spend the amount of time that you might think we have. This work is all extra on my part; I get no professional credit for it. My work week at the university is sixty to seventy hours and this work in paraphysics has to be fit in as a portion of that so that my other work is falling behind because about twenty per cent of my time is going to paraphysics. So besides funding, we certainly need more time for both scientists and psychics. I think that psychics should be invited to stay a week, not just one or two days. And the scientists need adequate time to analyze results and to perform controlled experiments beforehand. If we were to make all of these changes, then I think that success would improve.
Another means of improvement would be in the mental development of psychics. For example, if people would take the Transcendental Meditation program and learn how to bodily levitate, then I think they would be excellent subjects for psychic experiments.
TAT: What are the implications of paraphysical research for scientific research in general?
Franklin: The implications for science are extremely deep. For example, we have measured Uri Geller with a force of 1100 pounds that he evidently exerted on breaking a spoon. If a scientist had psychokinetic capabilities that were subliminal, and in doing an experiment he really wanted the results of the experiment to come out in a certain way, then maybe he would exert a psychokinetic force to achieve the desired result. It is my opinion that the strongest minds in the field of science are those who lead the way; and if other scientists agree with their findings, or are "forced to" because of the power of these people's mental capabilities, then it may be that scientific developments depend directly on the minds of the scientists involved. So the leading scientists may be among the greatest psychics!
TAT: Do you consider the laws of physics to be limited in their ability to explain the phenomena that you have witnessed?
Franklin: I'm not sure whether there will be, as we go on, limitations in theoretical development. It's my feeling that the human mind is capable of explaining things even though they are extremely complicated; explaining what is quantitatively complicated is an area of interest to physicists and mathematicians. I think that we will be able to derive theories which will adequately deal with these things which we see, even though they are fantastic to us now. It's just like back in the days when it was found that magnets could move objects. Nobody could understand the invisible force of the spirits that could move an object, and it took generations before anyone could write an equation for it, and before anyone could describe it quantitatively. It will be difficult, of course, because we're probably dealing with extra dimensions and whenever you add an extra dimension you add another order of magnitude and complexity.
"It is my opinion that the strongest minds in the field of science are those who lead the way; and if other scientists agree with their findings, or are 'forced to' because of the power of these people's mental capabilities, then it may be that scientific developments depend directly on the minds of the scientists involved. So the leading scientists may be among the greatest psychics!"
But as far as the spiritual realm goes, if we are working at the spiritual-physical interface, then I do not think that we will be able to fathom the things which are spiritual in nature. In other words, if the psychic phenomena that we are seeing are theologically based, then I do not think that we will be able to explain that aspect of it. I do not think that you can say that phenomena like psychokinesis or mental telepathy are all caused by Theos. I think they have a physiological basis. It is possible, however, that if Theos were trying to communicate with people on earth He could work through the vehicle of parapsychological happenings. I do think that we are at the stage where we can separate the mystical-type things like miracles that we used to ascribe to God, and say that many of those miracles were probably based on human physiology. Churches may be quite worried about that, but I don't think that it should take away anything from the Church to say that there may have been a physiological origin for many miracles.
So the psychic and mental things can be humanly-based in my opinion but, when we get to theological things, then we are talking about a spiritual realm that is outside of the human area.
TAT: You seem to have a strong belief in a spiritual reality. What is your religious background?
Franklin: That's been very important to me. My father is a minister and my grandfather was a missionary, and I've been deeply interested in religion for many years. I'm a Presbyterian, but am very interested in the Spiritualist Church.
TAT: Would you tell us something about the conference called "Frontiers in Physics" that you recently attended in Iceland?
Franklin: Yes, it was a great experience. A group of forty-two scientists, humanists, psychics and industrialists were invited from Europe and America. Most of the discussion, which went on for eight days, revolved around experiments on psychokinesis with equipment like the cantilever beam. We also discussed remote viewing and theoretical constructs. While most of the talk had to do with the work of physical scientists, we also brought in the humanistic aspect and came out with a statement of the entire group which represented how we felt about the uses of psi-phenomena. We made a very strong statement opposing its use for military purposes and supporting its use for humanistic and socially useful things.
TAT: What do you feel was accomplished at the conference?
Franklin: It was probably one of the most important conferences in the history of mankind for the collecting together of the best scientific minds in the field of paraphysics and combining results which were repeated in different laboratories to arrive at theories that could explain the results. That was the first time that I am aware of that people came together and had a substantial amount of evidence on one experiment done in different laboratories with different scientists, and had a viable theoretical approach to explain it. And I'm talking about a mathematical theory that a physicist comes up with to explain results, not just people talking off the tops of their heads about some damn theory.
TAT: Would you take us back to basics a bit and explain the distinction between paraphysics, parapsychology and paranormal or psychic phenomena?
Franklin: That's a good question. What we mean by paraphysics in distinction to parapsychology is that in paraphysics we are interested in physical phenomena, such as whether telepathy is an electromagnetic wave that we could analyze as would an engineer, with one person being a broadcasting antenna and another being a receiver antenna. This might be described in mathematical terms. That is not the domain of the psychologist but of the physicist. The psychologist studies the personal aspects, such as a person eating three times a day who meditates in the morning and does some kind of mental training and who is then tested in a parapsychology laboratory where he will do an ESP card test with five cards, and then the psychologist will analyze why the person's daily pattern gave rise to the results that he obtained. He can statistically analyze the results on the basis of variables; and that's not the domain of the physicist and the engineer. So the physicist would be interested in the physical world and in the effects of the mind on matter. A psychologist does not understand matter.
TAT: The parapsychologists do not deal with matter, but from what you said earlier, it sounds like the paraphysicists have no way of getting around the mind. They have to deal with it and try to understand it.
Franklin: That's very true. One of the basic theories that we're working with has to do with the mind of the observer influencing the results. And this is a quantum mechanical principle which goes back to the nineteen-twenties in theoretical physics.
TAT: It seems that the success you've had in paraphysical research has been achieved under difficult circumstances, due to your personal enthusiasm rather than any great public or financial support. Do you have much hope for further progress as things look now?
Franklin: Well, I do think that the thrust forward is continuing, but it's quieter and more accepted as a normal thing now, rather than something to get excited about. I think that most of us are continuing deeply in our interests and our work in this area, but it's not nearly as widespread as it could be. There are just a handful of scientists working in this field. But in a way that's good, because if the technological advances in this area outstripped the applications to society, then we would be in trouble. Typically in technological development, technology will go ahead much more rapidly than the public can accept it or can deal with the problems. In this particular area it is extremely important for the public to keep up with the developments in the field, and so I'm not upset with a slow technological development. It has come rapidly enough, and I think we will make genuine progress.
The Pregnant Witch
by Richard Rose
There is a weakness that some people have... it is the indiscriminate urge to help other people. I went through an adolescent stage of self-sufficiency and selfishness, during which time I also saw the need for genuine friends, and managed to make perhaps two or three friends who repaid me with a lifetime of friendship. I went through about ten years of a dry spell in which I made no lasting friends. Then I overcompensated after the death of a brother. I began to see things in a different light. I developed a sympathy for the misfortunes and tragedies of others, sensing that unless I were able to feel their problems I would be unable to communicate with them with proper understanding, and unless I learned to communicate there could be no friendship. There is verbal language that communicates both sincerity and duplicity, according to the motivation of the initiator of the communication. But there is a language of the heart that has less chance for chicanery. At one time I thought the language of the heart, the intuition, was beyond being deceived.
There followed another period in my life, from my late twenties until my forties, when I trusted my intuition too much. I was really projecting qualities upon people rather than discriminating and waiting before deciding that a particular encounter was sincere or not. It is possible that I was too eagerly trying to accept a substitute brother. And then I learned that people who have been sincere, and are accepted by all for their sincerity, may take a step backward and see and admire their profitable status. The next step is to maintain the external sincerity, while capitalizing on it with plans held secretly in the back of the skull. With this adroit move, they are able to present the mask called personality, while maintaining in the back of the mind their immortal, unique selfishness or even criminal direction.
I still help people, and I never know if I am properly discriminating. A person's ego may cause him to read divine destiny into any little chance to play God. Perhaps I could have abridged all of the above and said simply, that I have found that I have the ability to make a fool of myself by way of projection and sympathy. Like the time I picked up a crying kitten on a very dark night, stuffed it into my jacket to keep it warm until I got home and found, when I got home, that it had the mange. My hair has never looked right since then, and I scratch at the slightest provocation.
The neighbors learned that I was capable of bringing home all manner of flotsam and jetsam, so they guided a lot of ego-helpers in my direction. I was working on my car about eight years ago when a young neighbor came up and told me about two unfortunates. He pointed to two figures up the street about a half-block.
"Rich, you take people in once in a while, or let them stay out on your farm, don't you?"
This was Bud Carpenter enquiring. "I just ran into those two guys up the street. They just got off a boxcar, and there isn't another freight out for them until morning. I talked to them and they told me that they had no money and no food. I told them that you were a pretty good guy, hah hah. . . and would maybe let them stay on your farm."
It was February and cold. So, after asking him for that which he knew about them, I agreed that they could stay in the farmhouse which was between tenants. He walked up the street to tell them about my decision. I saw him talking to them, but they did not come down, and instead went into a neighbor's house. I presumed that they decided to take the train, regardless, so I was surprised when the neighbor knocked on my door and asked me if it were true that I had offered to put the couple of vagrants up for the night at the farm. He was anxious to get rid of them. He had fed them, but one of them had a strong aura that clouded up the air in his kitchen. He was so eager to get them out of his house that he had driven them the half-block in his car.
I went across the street and met them, and transferred them to my car. I was surprised to find that one of them was a girl, and seemingly, a very young girl, - I would have guessed thirteen or fourteen. And she was pregnant. She blinked a bit when she talked, and I thought she was embarrassed because of her pregnancy. I am sympathetic to pregnant women, and was consequently appalled that she was considering going out on another freight train.
There was another factor which disturbed me. She had been battered about the right eye. Her skin was badly bruised and purple about the eye, and the eyeball had hemorrhaged throughout the white part of her eye. I enquired about the injury and she told me that she had been side-swiped by a car while hitchhiking. I wanted her to go to a doctor before going to the farm, but she insisted that she had been to the Wheeling hospital and that they had released her.
I started for the farm with them in my old car. My nearest neighbors were a mile away, and the farmhouse was situated in a place from which no neighbors' houses were visible. So I tried to put them at ease by generating favorable conversation. I asked them about their religion. The girl had been a Catholic, and the young man, her husband, was a Protestant. He carried a Bible with him in his duffle bag. I told them that I was raised a Catholic and had, at one time, studied to be a priest. I hoped that we had found a common ground of communication, and it relieved a bit of the awkwardness which I felt at hauling two seemingly harmless youngsters out in the bleak, dark night to what must have been to them an apprehensive destination. But they were not the least uneasy.
The farmhouse was cold and empty, having only a few pieces of old furniture. I took them inside to unpack. I hurried out to find some dry wood to build a fire. I had worked about an hour, making repeated trips into the house with wood. I noticed that they were whispering to each other. Then I heard her say, "Go ahead and tell him if you wish."
I cannot remember everything that they told me, word for word, but I have it written down somewhere more accurately. The husband, whose name will be Fred for this account, told me an amazing story.
To begin with, his wife, Agnes, had not been sideswiped by a car. He had done it with his hands and feet. They had decided to be honest with me because I had told them about studying to be a priest. They needed help and they hoped that something had rubbed off on me from the seminary that might qualify me to advise them. They were from Wisconsin. He had a map upon which he had inked their itinerary. Throughout the Winter they had been traveling in boxcars and trucks. They slept in missions, jails, barns and sheds. Once they broke into the basement of a church, found the kitchen, and cooked themselves a warm meal before they were caught.
Why? They were running from the devil. And she was nine months pregnant.
After I brought in enough wood to last them through the night, I sat down to hear their story. I returned on three consecutive nights to ask questions, to cross-examine, and to check answers given twice to see if there were any variation. I could not believe my ears, and thought at first that they were operating a confidence game, using sex as a bait. I went home late every evening, and sat down and made verbatim notes, mainly so that I could check them for lies. I never found a single lie beyond the first admission that the girl had lied to me about her black eye.
They came from a small town in Wisconsin. The town had been taken over by a witchcraft cult. This included the chief of police and city officials. I saw a show on TV the other night which reminded me of it called "The Dark Secret of Harvest Home." About the time of this account, a motion picture appeared with the title of "Rosemary's Baby." I am amazed at the similarities in both of these plays, with incidents in the Wisconsin account. Fred and Agnes told me a true story eight years ago, which recently appeared on the TV screen. I doubt if anyone but myself had the true and complete story because, in the first place, no one believed Fred in the past (until he came across me), and he died or was killed within a year after the farm episode. Either a tremendous amount of witchcraft is going on, along similar lines, or the literary minds of men are picking up something from the universal mind of man, or from archetypal memories of ancient Nature-religions. Whatever the real truths are behind all this, I am certain that never in the history of this country has the black smoke of base animal morality clung so closely to levels all Nature is geared to protect... infancy and childhood.
We wonder about stories of entire villages being possessed, and all of the victims serving as loyal guardians of their own mental prisons. If these things are true, where are our guardians of sanity, the ministers and psychologists. I presume that the former have lost their art, and the latter are too lazy to do the research, and too proud to admit that there is anything that they do not know.
To get back to Wisconsin, Agnes had lived outside of the village in a Catholic community. She met Fred and married him... and then met his people. Fred had a cousin who initiated Agnes into the cult. He did not tell her the purpose of the cult at first. He drew a picture in the palm of her hand, and then made love to her. Then this cousin and his wife made love to her. He had intercourse with his mother in front of her and others. Agnes found herself, at the age of seventeen, in a strange, new, compelling intoxication. She never bothered to explain to me how she compromised her earlier Catholic disciplines with this orgiastic way of living.
Fred relayed nearly all of this account. The girl said very little, but nodded if I asked her for confirmation. Fred did not discover his cousin's liberties with his wife until she was pretty well hooked. Once the picture had been scratched in her palm, and a certain song to the devil had been learned, the cousin could telepathically command her. The husband was helplessly outmaneuvered. She would awaken in the middle of the night and hear John, the cousin, calling her name. She knew it was inside her head, but she would arise, dress and go to a street corner near the house. He would be waiting in his car.
". . .I am certain that never in the history of this country has the black smoke of base animal morality clung so closely to levels all Nature is geared to protect... infancy and childhood."
She did not neglect to confess these things to Fred, who became increasingly angry and alarmed. He went to the local police department which consisted of only one or two men. They told him that he was crazy. When he pressed the matter and demanded action, they told him that they were going to arrange a mental examination for him. He went to his minister. The minister declared that he had no authority in civil matters, and did not wish to anger the police. So Fred went home, took a ball bat and went to work on cousin John. Cousin John took a few bumps, but the police arrested Fred and beat him into submission, breaking his wrist. With the broken wrist he could not work, and his employer fired him, using the criminal charge by the police as an excuse.
Cousin John was not as angry as he should have been. After all, he wanted to have access to Fred's house. He quickly forgave Fred, but at the same time confided some facts to Fred. Fred would have to either leave his wife alone, or join the cult. In the cult, he could have all the women he wished, even beyond the town limits. And Agnes would be held in high esteem by the cult because of her youth and fair appearance. The cult would, in fact, make her the queen of hell. On the other hand, if Fred did not go along with them, a curse would be put upon him. John told him that their town was a secure headquarters for the cult, and that members of the cult were spread all over the country, and their name was legion. No place in the country would be safe. The curse would, in effect, cause his arrest... he would be imprisoned and declared insane. Then he would be killed. His child would be the child of the devil, regardless of whether he agreed or not. That much had already been decided.
At first Fred decided to enlist some help within the village, but he was avoided. He never knew if he was avoided because of encountering members of the cult, or if the people he talked to avoided him because he had developed a reputation for violence and for telling weird tales about his relatives.
So he left town. And when he left he was broke, and Winter was coming on. He took his wife with him even though she was pregnant. However, nothing but failure pursued him. He could not find a job and housing for his wife at the same time. People fed them, however, and gave them rides.
His situation seemed hopeless. I asked him if he knew its hopelessness, and then asked him where he was going to stop.
"God will stop me where I am supposed to stop."
"Maybe God brought you here. I don't know the purposes of your suffering, but one thing we both know for sure. You have a wife that is about ready to drop a baby... in a boxcar, if you do not get the word pretty soon." I went on to warn him about hitting her again, at least while they were on my property. Then I told him that I would get groceries in for them, but that he had to get into town and look for a job. I promised that I would see that his wife had medical attention.
He said that it was doubtful if he could go into town to look for work because he did not trust her. It seemed that as soon as he turned his back, she managed to corner some man and seduce him. He felt that he had to stay very close to her because she had no control. This type of behavior did not seem congruous with her condition and I mentioned it. I thought all pregnant women were above risking the health of their babies. It was then that he told me some amazing stories.
He started by saying that she would seduce me. When I protested almost angrily, he assured me that I would not have any control over the situation. They had stopped at churches for advice, and she had seduced the minister in each case, regardless of his age. When she went into her sing-song chant, the environment seemed to aid her. He would fall into a heavy sleep and not awaken until everything was over.
Other parties who might have been concerned, like ministers' wives, were kept away by some mysterious power. Once she seduced a gas station attendant having no bed but his desk. They had stopped to use the restroom. Fred came out after five minutes from the men's room. He found later that an hour or more had passed, and that some diligent Freudian exercises had transpired. When he argued with the attendant about his liberties, the attendant gave him a cold look and replied that he felt sure that the husband had really set the whole thing up to try to make a few dollars.
That night Fred beat her up before they bedded down in an abandoned garage. Fred was a one-man inquisition, aided by chagrin and ego.
I went out the third evening, determined to find the girl's opinion on the matter. I found that she was a high school graduate and had made exceptional grades. I asked her to draw a picture of the form which cousin John had scratched in her palm. She knew it well enough that she could draw it with her eyes closed. She offered to scratch the figure in my hand. I checked the Grimoire when I arrived home and found such a signature for a specific entity. Next, I asked her if the things that Fred said about her promiscuity were true.
She looked down for several seconds, blinked and replied, "I guess so."
"Don't you realize that you may be hurting the baby?"
"Maybe. But I am having a lot of fun."
"About this song that you sing, is this part of the seduction?"
"Does it always work?"
"I do not believe you."
Fred interrupted us, and told me flatly that all men were at her disposal. He said, "You may have good intentions, but she will get you. She sometimes does not succeed immediately in every case, but once she sets her head on you, she will never give up."
I was annoyed. "Let her try." I just do not believe it."
He looked over at her and said, "Go ahead, hon, go through it."
She looked at me for a moment and began a simple chant. I remember the words which were the formula. I have the exact words recorded, but I will not repeat them. I would not want anyone playing this type of game.
Things did happen when she chanted. First, her features changed. I mentioned earlier that she seemed like a child. Her skin was fair and without a blemish or wrinkle. Her face had the innocent look of a child. Her legs were slender, almost too thin. Had I not seen her high school diploma, I would have found it hard to believe that she was over fourteen years of age. But now she started to change. Her bright eyes grew dim, a film seemed to cover them. They turned from blue to grey, and then seemed to die. Her head reminded me of the head of a dead fish. Wrinkles formed vertically in her face, and her skin darkened. Then the most amazing thing occurred. Her face broke into segments, like a jigsaw puzzle, and came apart, so that I could see the wall behind her in the cracks.
For a second, I felt a flash of fear, and a strange rush occurred like a chill throughout my nerves. I thought, "I had better get myself braced for this show." I reminded myself that I was witnessing an illusion that was somehow being projected upon me, and knew that I did not dare to indulge in belief.
I waited until she had finished and had returned to normal appearance. I looked at both of them diffidently, and asked, "Is that all there is to it?"
Up to this point I had harbored the idea that it was possible that Fred was setting me up for money or support for his wife and himself. It was evident now that Agnes had produced all the voltage that she could muster and if it were a scheme, it was not working on me. Fred looked puzzled.
"Hon, are you sure that you did that right?" She shrugged.
He looked worried almost. "Hon, go through it again. I think you left out something."
So she went through her chant again, but it was anti-climactic. She added a few things that were designed to flatter me, but I was more prepared this time. I looked over at Fred who was sitting across from her. I expected that he would be disappointed with her and perhaps embarrassed that I did not react as expected. But I was destined for a surprise. And my estimation of Fred had to take another turn. He was overjoyed.
He rushed across the room and threw his hands about her. "Hon, maybe we have it licked. Maybe we have a chance." He hugged and kissed her, and paid no attention at all to me. And I found myself happy for the both of them.
I suggested that she let me hypnotize her, and give her some suggestions about having a healthy baby. I did this because I remembered his telling me that her child would be the devil's child. If I were immune to her magic, then there was no reason for her not being immune to suggestions put into her head by cousin John. I did manage to put her to sleep and give her the suggestions, but it was with no great conviction on my part. She was nine months pregnant, and the baby was already formed, so that if it were going to have horns or negative mental attributes, there was little that I could do at this late date. I was happy for them when I left. They both had tears in their eyes, and I went home with a strong belief in their accounts of their plight.
Fred and Agnes did not remain long at the farm. But I managed to have a talk with her alone in town while he was having a tooth pulled. I wanted to learn more about the cult. I knew that he had threatened her with knives at times, and I considered, and hoped, that she had played a game for him. I did not doubt the general account, but I still found it hard to believe that she would follow him around the country if she had as much power as she claimed. I felt that he would be the servant in the arrangement.
She did not want to talk about her life, and I saw immediately that she wanted to make a good impression on me. So she told me a few things which I presume she thought I wanted to hear. She said that Fred came from a degenerate family. A sister had made it to the insane asylum. She had been so promiscuous that she had acquired a venereal disease, prior to losing her mental balance. She said that she really did not believe in witchcraft, but things did happen. She felt that her husband's sexual appetite was heightened by knowing that she was having affairs with other men. She said that at times she admitted having affairs with men along the road because he seemed to demand the confession, or need the confession to arouse himself.
On this particular day, she seemed like another person. She was no child now. She was calm and matter of fact. I suggested that she leave him because of his brutality, but she made the excuse that they were in love since childhood, and that things had changed only after he went to live with his relatives. And he was the father of the baby. She hoped that he would change.
I realized that l could have told her that I believed their previous stories, and I could have asked her about the illusion of the ancient woman with the head of a fish. Instead I asked her about her feelings when she went through the chant.
She looked at me blankly and replied, "I was having one orgasm after another."
"Her face had the innocent look of a child... [it] broke into segments, like a jigsaw puzzle, and came apart, so that I could see the wall behind her in the cracks."
I met Agnes several times after this, over a period of several years, and never once again would she admit that she was a witch. Her only aim from then on seemed to be to attract my attention, and develop in me a better picture of herself. And I knew from this meeting on, I would not be able to trust her or anything she said.
To hear her now, Fred was not a man running from the devil, but a man too lazy to work. He was just too jealous to leave her alone, and she was getting tired of playing the role of sinner and penitent. But she added, lamenting that she was stuck with him until after the baby was born. Her people had warned against the marriage and she did not want to go home and admit failure.
But I was not convinced except that some of the things which she said about Fred were true. On the other hand, there were too many things which I could not write off as being part of Fred's evil nature alone.
They left in a few days. I had bought groceries for them, but refused to buy cigarettes for Fred. I told him that I could not afford to smoke myself, and he could afford less than me. He informed me that he could get both food and cigarettes on the road, and he ordered Agnes to pack. I made a few comments and gave my opinion of people who put their desire for cigarettes above the welfare of their children.
I found out later that they did not get very far. They got a ride to a city in Pennsylvania and wound up in a mission. The baby was born but it was deformed, having no pharynx. It had to be placed in a hospital where constant care could be given it. I would like to make a note here, that neither Fred nor Agnes had ever taken any drugs. I feel certain that neither narcotics nor medicines were the cause of the deformity.
The mission was run by an old preacher who lost no time in taking Agnes up on any project that she might endorse. And Fred, in predictable form, punched her and threatened the minister. The minister had some local contacts. Fred went to jail, and from there to a Pennsylvania asylum. He escaped and went to Florida. He robbed a place and was not apprehended, but his conscience hurt him. He wrote to Agnes and told her that he was going to go back to the county in which the robbery occurred and turn himself in. In a few days he was dead. They found him hanging in his jail cell.
I learned about his death in a phone call from Agnes. She brought me up to date. The baby was in a hospital near Pittsburgh, cared for by nuns. They took Fred's body back to Wisconsin. There was no grief in her voice, and no concern for the baby, but she was reluctant to tell me the nature of the baby's deformity. The purpose of the call primarily was to ask if she could come down.
I remembered a few things in rapid succession. Fred had predicted that the group would have him committed to an asylum, and that he would be killed. He said that his child would be the child of the devil. I saw the baby later, and it did not look like a devil, but its neck was deformed. Otherwise, it was a serious and attractive little boy. But it did not live long, and I am sure that the devil did not claim it, but rather the father, which I will explain later.
There was still one unfulfilled prediction. Fred said that Agnes would never give up on me until she owned me. I was caught up in the story, and had to see if she had any such motives. So I told her to come on down, and I was careful not to tell my wife that a witch was going to visit us.
It had been only a year since she left Fred. But she had changed considerably... she was fatter, especially in the thighs, and she wore pants that were short, too short and too tight. She made no overtures in the few days that she stayed at our place. She told me that she admired me and that was about it. She talked a lot about boys, and said that she would like to get married again. She was tired of living at the mission where she worked without pay, taking care of old transients who were bedridden.
I suggested that she go back home, and she agreed to if I would go up to the mission and help her get her personal belongings. My two daughters were home from college, and Agnes had Thanksgiving dinner with us, and then caught the bus for Wisconsin. A letter came from her later telling me that she had enrolled in a university at Eau Claire. It looked as though the story of her being a witch was now the farthest thing from the truth - or so it seemed.
Then I started to get letters regularly... at least three a week. They were not short letters. They informed me that she had met a lot of boys at the school, but they were all immature. The topics of interest for the students seemed childish, and she was bored stiff with student attempts to create college spirit out of a pollyannic syncretion of everything popular and inoffensive. Each letter showed her increasing boredom. She was just too mature and too street-wise to play the game of books and teachers.
I knew what was coming. She was back in my house a year later just before Christmas. She called and asked if she could come for a visit. Pittsburgh is sixty miles away, and Wisconsin was more like five hundred. Perhaps she wanted to be near her baby, so I told her to come on down. And even then, I remembered Fred's prediction that she would never give up.
Another peculiar thing happened. I had opened up the store in the basement of my house and I worked there part-time. Bud Carter dropped in at the store, about a week before Christmas, and met Agnes. He did not recognize her, and I did not tell him that she was the same girl that he had sent down to my house. I did tell him that she had been married, that she had a baby and that her husband had died. I asked him if he had any days off on the railroad where he worked. He wanted to know why. I explained that she had not seen the baby for over a year, and I would like to arrange for her to visit the baby, but could not make the trip in my car since it was a derelict that I could only trust about ten miles from home.
He said, "Hell, we'll go Monday. I'll take the day off. I want an excuse to take a day off anyway." His car was almost as bad as mine. I told him that I would go along so that his wife would not accuse him of going with Agnes alone. We stopped on the way and Agnes bought several toys for the baby. When we arrived at the hospital, I went up to the room in which they had the baby. Bud was reluctant to go along because he had seen some of the patients, all of whom were children in hopeless, or terminal, predicaments. The boy was standing in a small crib. Two plastic tubes extended from his nose. They were clogged at times, and the boy was getting his oxygen with difficulty, since they were only an eighth of an inch in diameter. Agnes gave the boy the toys and held him for a moment. He never took his eyes off me. I sensed that this little fellow knew more than he could ever express.
Then I saw his father standing on the other side of the crib. Agnes did not see him. I was overwhelmed. The thought burst upon me... Fred had come for his son. I turned around and stumbled over to the elevator, feeling like an intruder. I had no doubt that Fred was there, and while I did not feel unwelcome at the crib, it was a moment for the child to be alone with his parents.
I went down on the elevator with the same young nun who ushered us up. I asked her quietly if she believed in God. She nodded, so I asked her if she thought God approved or enjoyed the suffering of the little boy. She knew that I was unduly bitter, and did not answer me. I told Bud about seeing Fred, and he decided that he had to go up and see the baby. While he was gone, I signed a guest book in the lobby, feeling that I should be doing something.
Bud came down later with Agnes and he was in a very emotional state. He said that he never realized before how fortunate he and his wife had been with their children who were all healthy. He was determined to go home, tell his wife about the trip and try to live more amicably together with her. I learned a couple of things quickly. Bud had never told his wife about the trip, mainly because they had been quarreling lately.
We came back to West Virginia and Agnes went out to the farm for a few days. The night before Christmas, the telephone rang. It was the young nun from the children's home. The baby had died two days after we left. The institution did not have the mother's address. I presume they had her home still listed as the mission. The nun asked for me, wanting to know if I were the man who accompanied the mother to the home. When she had difficulty locating Agnes she went to the guest register in the lobby. I had been the only name entered in recent days, and I had given my address. From that she found my phone number.
Agnes called the nun back, and arrangements were made to ship the body to Wisconsin where it was buried beside the father. Throughout all this ordeal, Agnes showed little emotion. Only for a few seconds when I went to the farm to tell her did she act distraught, but then I think she was overcome by her helplessness. She had no money, and she was faced with the responsibility of burying her baby.
Once more I was inclined to forget Fred's warning about her nymphomanic persistence. I felt that Agnes had been brought to my house, so that I could take her up to see her baby for the last time, and be near enough to arrange for its funeral. She had behaved well; when everything was taken into consideration I could not complain about her conduct.
I began to think that Agnes was cured of any personality aberrations that may have afflicted her in the past. Once more I received letters from Wisconsin, and now they came from her home. She sent me pictures of a younger brother and sister. She was happy to be with her family, but was at the same time restless, and unemployed.
It was not long until she was back in my home for another visit. The visit came at a time when my wife was in Arizona taking care of her father who was terminally ill with cancer. Agnes arrived at a time when I needed some help around the house. She also volunteered to work in the store, which would free me from those tasks so that I could concentrate on my contracting business.
The store did not last long under her management. The profits, first, and then the liquidated stock, went into a pinball machine. Finally I closed the store. The closing gave her more time to work on the house. I came home one evening and sat on the couch, watching the television. She came in and sat beside me, but about two feet away.
She looked at me with her usual expressionless stare, and said simply, "I want you."
I did not answer her for a moment. I had always been expecting some prelude, some fiddling with the orchestral strings in preparation for the grand finale.
She grabbed herself by the knees and slid a half-foot closer. She looked at me with a glance of eager anticipation, blinked and then added, "You are the only man that I can ever love."
I debated the proper manner of handling the affair, and decided to try to be paternal. "You are a child. In fact, I thought you were a baby yourself when I first saw you."
"I don't care. I want you." And with this, she made a very strange noise. She sucked air in between her teeth with a loud, long "ish." I have heard the same sound made by children when they are faced with a big sundae or dessert.
"I don't care. . . issht."
"I have daughters your age. I have tried to be a friend to you and your family."
"I know. . . but I still. . . "
"Quit that for a moment. You will have me believing that all those things Fred predicted have come true."
"He was weird."
"Do you mean that he meant nothing to you. He may have given his life trying to find what he thought was deliverance from evil."
She frowned. "He was killed by two black faggots. The cops put him in the same cell with them, and he tried to fight them off. He was not killed by the cult."
"How about the curse? It could have been instrumental. If nothing else his belief in the cult's evil may have caused him to help the curse along."
"There was no curse except in Fred's head."
"But what about the condition of the baby, Fred's trip to the nut house, to jail and finally to the grave? How can you write off your husband as easily as this?"
"I did not care to spend the rest of my life in boxcars."
"You mean that Fred was simply paranoid. That all of those things which occurred at the farm were lies and fantasies?"
"Fred came from a nutty family." Her voice became impatient. "He saw devils everywhere. He believed that Wisconsin was settled by witches. Wisconsin was a code name. It means WISdom CON SIN or wisdom through sin. He believed that there were nature-spirits. He believed a lot of things... except work. The baby died because he used to choke me when we were together. He left because he felt guilty. . . because he realized he could not support me."
Agnes was throwing out things that made me think, but I was still disturbed by the difference between the Agnes of two years back, and today's Agnes. "Neither can I support you. I have a family. What kind of security could I guarantee?"
"I told you that I don't care about that. I love you." "You loved Fred once too... you said that yourself. How many of the things that you told me are lies? You are sure contradicting things that you have said before."
"I said some things in Fred's presence just to go along with his beliefs."
"But when you and I were alone, you always told me the truth?"
"Then for you the chant that you went through was real, because we were alone that day that Fred was getting his tooth pulled, when you told me that during the chant you experienced one orgasm after another. Now Fred was supposed to be a real common nut. But I never heard you complain that he had cheated on you. But you were totally involved in a ritual to seduce me... totally... you were not just doing something to please Fred... alone. And all of this means to me that you did not care much about the baby that you were about to have."
She frowned, got up and left the room. A few days later she was back in Wisconsin, I presume. I never heard from her afterwards.
The above story is true. The couple was really from Wisconsin, but all names of persons have been changed.
Discovering, Uncovering and Recovering the Recurrent
by David Gold
The most common complaint heard among seemingly successful circles of people is the lack of any purpose or theme to life. Days are spent in endless worries and endeavors, fears and goals which amount to little more than a round of tail-chasing. Each success is short-lived, for another challenge eagerly awaits our attention and energy. Every solution to one of our problems is but a temporary respite from the continuous business of living. And throughout all this worry and hope, we do not seem to be getting anywhere. It is quite possible that our endless fears and desires are a necessary catalyst which keeps us continually stimulated, allowing us to survive and occasionally evolve, as individuals and as a race. If this be so, then no answer could provide us with a lasting peace. However, it behooves each of us to find a purpose, a theme perhaps, to hold on to, to work toward while we labor through this business of staying alive. For unless an individual maintains a thread of continuity to his effort, he will be devoured by the mundane tasks which continuously clamor for his attention, until old age or death forces him to release his grip on life.
I can not offer a universal goal which each of us could grasp as a cornerstone of our lives. General themes become buried under the platitudes used to describe them, and entire generations walk around lost, murmuring clichés about love, or patriotism, or God, or whatever it is which is currently being force-fed them. It is obvious that all of us must discover for ourselves what theme we will adopt, what goal we will bend our energy to promote even as we take care of the necessities and banalities of life -- what we shall become.
But how shall we choose our direction? Shall we resort to augury, deciphering Tarot cards and the I Ching for the correct path to tread? Shall we throw ourselves blindly at first one task, and then another, until we become so tired and distraught that we believe nothing can be accomplished? Or shall we pray and patiently await the guidance which faith whispers (or hopes) is forthcoming? My purpose is not to discredit the predictive arts or ridicule the sincere monk. Rather, it is to point out that the answer which we seek lies within, and that before we dedicate ourselves to any cause or goal which may be labeled "life's work," we should carefully examine all the clues which are available to us. In fact, each of us, or perhaps it should be said some part of each of us, already recognizes that for which we hunger. The question remains: how can we tap this knowledge and begin to work with what is discovered?
One excellent tool with which to probe the inner secrets is the dream, and particularly the recurrent dream. I have yet to meet one person who has not experienced this phenomenon; it appears that every individual, from some key point onward, dreams with regularity, most often at critical periods of growth and development.
Before we explore ways and means of remembering and utilizing the recurrent dream, I would like to explain why this phenomenon can be instrumental in helping us choose a path in life. As previously mentioned, life appears meaningless if lived purely for the sake of experience; for without some glue to connect these experiences they do not work together to point us in a particular direction. Only when we commit ourselves to some goal, some theme of life, do our individual lives take on real meaning. The recurrent dream invariably represents some key problem or event which must be worked to fruition. Whether it is symbolic of an inner conflict, a particular weakness or susceptibility, or a lesson yet to be fully learned, the recurrent dream represents a major area of life which must be relived and completely faced. Once we recognize what aspect of our lives we have been neglecting, and how important that neglect must be to cause us to continually dream about it, we can better choose a direction in which we can direct our energy and our lives.
Effectively utilizing the recurrent dream involves three basic steps: Remembering the dream (Discovery), Interpreting the dream (Uncovering), and Acting upon the dream (Recovery).
I. Remembering the Recurrent Dream
Of course, the first step in working with the recurrent dream is to discover what your individual r.d. is. It appears that although many people are conscious that they do have a dream which occurs with some frequency, few individuals are conscious of the entire dream sequence. Thus, while a person may know that he dreams repeatedly about catching a foul ball at a baseball game, he may not be aware of the dreams which may precede and follow that dream segment, or of what that segment consists in its entirety. And it is a rare person indeed who remembers the events in the waking hours which may trigger the dreams, and the relationships between these particular events so that he could deduce the message behind the dream.
The recognition of the r.d. requires consistent effort which may go a long time unrewarded; this is enough to discourage many people from looking for their r.d. But the beauty of dreams is that, regardless of how deeply you work with them, you are bound to get some insight from them into your behavior. Even if you do not stick with them long enough to unravel the secret of your recurrent dream, you will learn something about yourself and become conscious of a backlog of dreams, so that when one of them repeats you may discover your r.d.
Remembering dreams involves, first, the recognition on your part that you do dream. Experiments conducted in the Maimonides Dream Laboratory have substantiated what individual researchers have already discovered; if you wake anyone up, even people who swear that they have not dreamt in twenty years, at specific intervals throughout their sleeping period, they will relate a dream that they were experiencing. (An excellent account of the scientific data and a thorough discourse on all aspects of dreams can be found in Do You Dream? by Tony Crisp.) Not only do you dream, but you average five dreams in an eight hour sleep cycle. Once this fact is accepted, the dreamer can set out to remember these dreams.
The next step in the dream recollection process consists of committing yourself to a definite routine for a specific period of time. Many people begin to work with their dreams, but their efforts are haphazard and sporadic. Chances are that you have been ignoring your dreams for twenty or thirty years, and it is somewhat foolish to believe that you can push a button which would trigger instantaneous dream recall. Consistent effort is an absolute prerequisite to results. If you really want to study your dreams, do it right. The following guidelines should be followed and worked into a routine:
If you follow this six-step procedure for two weeks, you are likely to remember some of your dreams. Analysis of your thoughts prior to retiring and as soon as you awaken will give a good idea of what was on your mind throughout the night, and eventually this will start triggering recall of your dreams. However, the tendency is to give up after a few days, or to begin slacking off on some of the steps. Perhaps you are too tired to spend the five minutes watching your thoughts before retiring, so you drop off, oblivious to those factors which have the greatest influence on your dreams. The most frequent breakdown in discipline is in writing down the dream. How many times have I awakened in the middle of the night, remembering a significant dream that just occurred, sleepily talked myself out of writing it down, ("I'll remember it till morning") and awakened later with no recollection other than that I'd missed out on remembering a significant experience. But consistent efforts will yield results, and results will yield greater determination and more consistent and ingenious efforts. Then you can work with the momentum and open up an entirely new world which you were previously ignoring.
I have given a general system for remembering your dreams. It is the method I have developed through research, and trial and error, and those who are using it are remembering at least some of their dreams. No one, however, should be shackled with another man's system. After you try using the aforementioned techniques for at least two weeks, you may wish to try a few variations. Some people report better results if they vary their sleeping patterns. This provides the sleeper with an opportunity to "hit" upon a dream, that is, to wake up while a dream is in progress. Others write down the last night's dream before they retire, in order to remind themselves of their goal. Experimenting with new methods is an excellent way to remember the maximum number of dreams, but I can not overstress the importance of starting with one discipline for at least two weeks.
Before I move on to interpreting the dream, I would like to pass on a couple of techniques that I have tried and which have worked for me.
First, the best way to remember a dream when you wake up in the morning is to try to remember it while you don't try to remember it! Sound confusing? It really isn't. Because the technique of trying but not trying, of wanting with indifference, of holding your head just right, is the key to everything from falling asleep to performing miracles. If you observe the process of falling asleep, you will see a perfect example of this "betweenness." You can not try to fall asleep, but you can not try the opposite either, that is, to stay awake. You merely allow your head to drift into a place where sleep can happen. Healers and "miracle workers" will tell of the same technique. They do not try to heal an invalid, nor do they not try. They simply are "between" these opposites, and things happen.
Remembering dreams involves the same peculiar magic. You can not force yourself to remember your dreams, but you can just let your mind wander aimlessly. As you lie in bed in the morning, just watch your thoughts, let your head go, but keep an eye on it. This is not meant to be intentionally confusing, but you can not tell someone how to find this mental spot any more than you can explain to a basketball player how to "get hot." You just practice, and eventually it happens. To remember your dreams do not try too hard, but do not ignore effort either. With sincere effort, you will find this correct state of mind.
Another key to dream recall involves following the feeling of the dream. Often you will wake up in the morning in a particular mood. Follow it. Do not try to strain or intellectualize why you feel this way. Instead, trace the feeling back to its source which may turn out to be a meaningful dream.
There is another technique that I have been using for over two years but which I would not recommend until you are remembering dreams with some regularity. It consists of writing down a question before going to sleep. This is obviously similar to the previously mentioned step of recording your thoughts prior to sleep. But formulating a question crystallizes your thoughts, centers them on what is really on the mind. And with practice your dreams will give you answers. This technique will be discussed in detail in the next section dealing with dream interpretation, but I will stress here that you should not use this tool idly. Unless you ask the question seriously you will not receive an answer and, in fact, will minimize your chances of getting an answer when something is really troubling you. But if you do think or meditate upon a question, and write it down with sincerity and inquisitiveness, you have an excellent chance of remembering the answer that the dream will provide.
Finally, for the real dream enthusiast, try getting up a couple of times during the night. I am not so naive as to believe that many of you will employ this method with regularity. But if you really want to remember your dreams, waking up at various intervals greatly enhances the chance of hitting on a dream. I will not preach further on this matter, but leave you with this thought: You can not honestly say that you tried and simply could not remember your dreams until you attempt this final technique.
What has all this to do with the recurrent dream? The first step, of course, is to remember your dreams and see if any one of them occurs with some frequency. But if you find ways and means of remembering your dreams, even if you later give up the disciplines which helped you to recall them, the truly significant dreams will continue to come through. Once a pathway into the inner mind has been blazed, future dreams have a trail to follow out. And the one dream which will continue to come out is the recurrent dream.
Coming in TAT Journal:
Vignette in Zen
by Dan Quigley
"By whom shall the knower be known?"
Identity is the elusive shadow that runs before us across the plain. A monk asked the Master, "What is myself?" The Master answered, "Myself." The monk: "How could yourself be myself?" The Master: "That is yourself."
In the famous Buddhist dialogue, The Questions of King Milinda, Nagasena, the Buddhist philosopher, uses the allegory of the chariot for the self and then proceeds to destroy the chariot by analytical reasoning.
"Show me the chariot," asks Nagasena, "is it the pole, the body, the wheels, the yoke?" To each question the King is forced to answer, "No." Finally, Nagasena declares, "I fail to find any chariot, your majesty."
This same analysis can be applied to matter with great force. The self, upon examination, seems to dissolve into parts, perceptions, states, emotions and memory. All are in a perpetual flux and movement. Change, or at least the ability to absorb change, seems to be a part of the self. But the self also manifests a continuity that can be found only in memory.
Since freedom was the main purpose of the Buddha and since the concepts of soul and ego stood in the way of liberation, these were denied. If a soul existed, it would be either known or unknown. If it were known it would be an object of perception; since the knower cannot be an object of perception and still be the knower, it cannot be the soul. If it were unknown, "Then what use to you is this imagined soul? Even without such a soul, the existence of the absence of knowledge is notorious as, for instance, in a log of wood or a wall. And since each successive abandonment is held to be still accompanied by qualities, I maintain that the absolute attainment of our end can only be found in the abandonment of everything." - Buddhacarita, trans. by E.B. Cowell.
The idea of self must be a product of memory, at least in great part. Hume felt that memory did not so much produce personal identity as discover it, "by showing us the relation of cause and effect among our different perceptions." The acts of constant perceptions are strung together by memory and given force by the thinking element, producing a concerted whole which is given the name "ego," "soul," etc. Linked with desire and imagination, this produces the self complete with a vector toward the future. What the Zen Master demands is the dropping of cause as linked to the self in time which is based on the doubt that the student himself must cast on his assumption of identity.
We should realize that thought is an entity and not the self, and that that which processes thought is nearer to the true self. The tendency to identify with our thoughts is, in Buddhism, "to accept a thief as our own son." To void the conceptual system is not to change reality or its antecedent, but rather to cease holding beliefs that are binding. When these beliefs are dropped and the system is then at the "still point," reality will rush in and fill the void.
"If the primordial Principle thought, it would possess an attribute, consequently, instead of occupying the first rank, it would occupy only the second; instead of being ONE, it would be manifold and would be all things which it thought."
"Inasmuch as that is multiple which thinketh, the principle which is not multiple will not think. "
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Psychic Exploration, Edited by Edgar D. Mitchell and John White. New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1974, pp. 700, $17.50
Prior to Edgar Mitchell's flight to the moon on Apollo 14, he described himself as a pragmatic engineer and technocrat with a profound respect for the scientific method. During that flight in 1971, he experienced something that, in his words, contradicted his "pragmatic engineer" attitude. He described this experience in the introduction of Psychic Exploration: "It began with the breathtaking experience of seeing planet Earth floating in the vastness of space." This was followed by a "peak experience," whereby he realized, by a kind of direct "knowing," that there was an order to the universe that lies behind the apparent nature of things. There was a kind of "intelligent design that gives life purpose. Amidst the beauty of this intuitive understanding, he began to reflect upon the condition of human existence back on Earth, and he became somewhat dismayed at the pervasive human suffering and the worldwide tendency toward self-destruction.
He became more and more concerned with the problem. He discussed the matter with many people and studied the situation at length. Finally, he came to a conclusion which was hardly in line with a pragmatic scientist. He felt that the most satisfactory solution to the world's major problems was a "metanoia," or an increase in awareness - new state of consciousness.
Psychic Exploration represents a step in that direction. The scientific investigation of psychic phenomena is certainly one way in which the study of man's consciousness can be brought to the foreground. Mitchell states that this study of man's consciousness is referred to as "noetics" and has been his real interest for years.
But to look at Psychic Exploration solely as the outgrowth of Mitchell's inspiration would give the wrong impression. It has also been the desire of many researchers of all kinds to see a union between the "objective" approach of scientific enquiry and the "subjective" approach of personal and intuitive modes of enquiry, in order to revitalize the view of science and of mankind in general.
In Psychic Exploration, an anthology of writings covering some 700 pages, thirty scientists describe in thirty chapters some of the peculiarities of their particular fields of research. It is a comprehensive account of the entire spectrum of psychic research by some of the pioneering scientists now investigating psychic phenomena.
The subject matter extends well beyond the range of modern science, delving into investigations which lead deep within human consciousness to explore the true relation between the mind and the physical universe. Such topics as telepathy, psychokinesis, poltergeists and out-of-the-body experiences are discussed. Also included are the names and addresses of various researchers, groups, books and journals which are valuable references and sourcebooks for the field. It is an ideal book for those who would like to get an overview of the fascinating topic of psychic research.
I am presenting the following glossary of terms, which make up the subject matter of Psychic Exploration in order to expedite the formation of a common language. In order to compare notes on a subject, it is necessary to know that we are, in fact, talking about the same subject. For instance, one person's idea of the term "soul" may mean an ectoplasmic extrusion, while to another it may refer to a feeling he gets when he listens to the music of Otis Redding.
It is doubtful that this listing will fully succeed in that purpose, but it may serve to present a general picture of a broad and rapidly changing field. In Psychic Exploration, which is practically an encyclopedia of psychic research, it is mentioned that these classifications are subject to many qualifications. Therefore, the list must be seen as tentative. Many of the areas of research overlap, and many can be broken down further. At the same time, there are researchers who do not like to be associated with some of the more "outlandish" propositions. Others would like to see things like the study of UFO's, fire-walking, and other occult subjects included. So that, amidst all these potential changes, coupled with the possibility of contradictory discoveries along the way, the formation of a stable language in the psychic field may be a long way off.
A Brief Look at Psychic Research
Psi is a synonym for the general class of events called psychic phenomena. It is the first letter in the Greek word meaning "psyche."
Parapsychology and paraphysics are two terms which overlap the three categories of psi phenomena outlined below. Their main concerns are, respectively, the study of "beyond mind" and "beyond matter."
I. Extrasensory perception (ESP) is one of the three categories of psi phenomena. It is a perception which is received by an individual directly through his mind without the need of the five senses. These "mental "perceptions can involve phenomena which take place hundreds of miles away, or which may happen in the future or in the past. They are often not consciously recognized by the individual who receives them, nor are they always completely accurate representations but may, in fact, consist of vague resemblances or even symbolic representations, as in dreams.
II. Psychokinesis is a general term that refers to the class of events which involve the interaction of mind with matter. A common example is the bending of a spoon with "mind power" (or some energic force.)
III. Survival phenomena refer to life after death and events which may be influenced by personalities who are no longer connected with their physical bodies.
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, by Julian Jaynes, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1976, Pp. 476, $12.95.
How much does the practice of mysticism depend on the theoretical aspect of it? Perhaps not much, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of serious seekers pursuing a regimen of esoteric discipline firmly centered in the Now. On the other hand, for those interested in also acquiring some understanding of just what it is they are doing, from a perspective other than the center of their own heads, a little "discursive thought" (the bane of traditional Zen teachers) is absolutely essential. Also necessary is the method of that other bogey, material science - namely, gathering information from that vast phenomenal world. All esoteric systems were originally constructed by men who used these tools - obviously, since a totally idiosyncratic system would be incommunicable and utterly useless to anyone but the idio-savant who syncretized it within the center of his private psyche.
Which brings us to the point at issue: just where and when did all these systems originate in the first place? What stands at the history-shrouded source of the great transmission chain? Even in untheoretical schools, there is usually a body of conjecture, so common as to be taken for granted, about a time in the forgotten past when the human species was at a higher level of psychic development than at present. Perhaps the most vivid formulation of this was made by Ouspensky, who ardently insisted that we today would have no hope whatever of any spiritual attainment, if it were not for what these past great ones managed to pass on to us. The heights of consciousness, it seems, were the natural endowment of the supersentients who lived before the Flood, or at any rate long before recorded history. This, goes the theory, is our fountainhead of esoteric truth.
Now Julian Jaynes appears on the scene, with a startling announcement: man, he says, was not conscious at all until just about three thousand years ago - the day before yesterday, on the esoteric time-scale. Mr. Jaynes is a psychologist and a scientist, and is looked upon as a "maverick" by his colleagues in both of these spheres. He describes his life as a quest for the source of consciousness, terminology not unfamiliar to the student of spiritual disciplines; and, like that of many such students, his quest began in poetry and philosophy. But he became dissatisfied with the "imprecision" of these approaches, and thence vectored off onto the path of objective research and historical study. After years of heterodox (and unorthodox) search through many scientific fields, he believes he has finally found the "grail," which is the theory presented in his book. (The source for the preceding remarks is an interview with Jaynes in Psychology Today, November 1977 issue.)
In the first chapters of the book, Jaynes offers us his definition of consciousness, and a very precise and clear definition it is. He came independently to conclusions similar (up to a point) to Ouspensky's; namely, that we are conscious much less of the time than we think we are, that in fact most of our daily activity is performed unconsciously, by means of stimulus-response, etc. This unconscious action, including mental and verbal processes, Jaynes labels "reactivity."
The definition gradually unfolds to present a picture of consciousness as an artificial inner space whose contents and operations are based wholly on metaphor - specifically, metaphors of the external world and of bodily action, e.g.: "seeing" with the mind's "eye, "'pursuing" a problem, "grasping" a solution, etc. And ultimately it unfolds that consciousness itself, our very "inner space," is a metaphor, having developed from the use of language in certain ways under certain conditions. Thus we can see that Jaynes's approach is from the "bottom up," conceiving mind to have arisen from the material world, instead of descending from higher regions; and that to him, "consciousness" is strictly ego-consciousness. And in fact the chief value of the book, from an esoteric standpoint, is that it conveys a remarkable insight into the birth of the human ego, related in a format of high drama.
This is a process vital to our self-understanding. As J.J. van der Leeuw expressed it in The Conquest of Illusion: "We all complete the creative Rhythm in our own evolution; we all grow from the unconscious unity of primitive man through the separateness of intellectual man to the conscious unity of spiritual man." Jaynes' The Origin is a description of the transition from the first to the second stage in this schema, told from an historical rather than a personal perspective.
Except that Jaynes's primitive man is not unified. He is bicameral.
There is current trend in neurology toward what is called "split-brain research." It's been found that the right hemisphere of the brain is more sentient (emotional-subjective), while the left is more sentient (intellectual-objective). Further, the two hemispheres are connected by only two small bundles of nerve-fibres. And beyond that, it's believed that the right hemisphere is the source of much of the delusional, hallucinatory material experienced by schizophrenics.
The bold hypothesis of Julian Jaynes is that prior to about 1000 B.C., there was a different relationship than at present between the two hemispheres of the human brain. As long as Cro-Magnon (i.e., Van der Leeuw's "primitives") maintained their animal-like mental state of unconscious, at-one-with-nature unity, their tribal groupings could not exceed thirty or so in number, for reasons involving primate methods of social control. So evolution, as is its wont, came up with a novel method of solving this problem and allowing the little human colonies to expand into settlements, then towns, and cities. The splendid, Edenic unity of the naked ape's mind was split in twain; his self-awareness shrank from the vague, undifferentiated identity with all that he perceived, to a little bundle of "I, the man" residing solely in the left hemisphere. Meanwhile, the sentient contact with a broader perspective crystallized in the right hemisphere. Language, bear in mind, had been developed millenia before; and so the right hemisphere communicated its essential messages along the narrow neural passageway to the left by the most efficient method possible: by means of speech, heard internally. The man, hearing this voice in his head, naturally assumed that it came from an invisible entity outside himself - in short, from a god. This impression was strengthened by the fact that visions of the presumed deity sometimes accompanied the voice. Thus were born the pantheons of the ancient world. Thus was born civilization, for now the population of a social group could expand almost indefinitely; no matter how isolated a man became from his fleshly ruler, there was always someone near at hand to tell him what to do: the voice of the god.
Jaynes does a remarkable tour-de-force of the Iliad, pointing out how none of the characters think or contemplate or reason things out as we do. Rather, whenever there is a decision to be made, or a novel situation to be dealt with, or anything demanding the slightest degree of creative thought, a god pops up and tells Achilles or Hector or whoever, just exactly what they should do. And always, inevitably, they do it. They have no choice - they are not conscious. They must respond to the authoritative stimuli provided by the gods.
The next part of the epochal drama unfolds as vast geological, demographic and political changes erupt in the latter part of the second millennium B.C., throwing the bicameral civilizations into disorder and eventuating in the breakdown of the bicameral mind itself. The voices of the gods were heard with decreasing frequency, and man was led kicking and screaming into the emptiness of internal space, forced into the agony of thinking for himself.
He was very reluctant to do this. In fact, he has spent the past three thousand years mourning the loss of his divine masters, trying desperately to reconjure some outside authorization for his actions, his life, his very meaning. Religion is what he invented as a tenuous umbilical to the gods who once spoke to him face-to-face.
Jaynes describes the Old Testament as a step-by-step record of this process, from the bicamerality of Moses and the early prophets, through the lamentation in the Psalms for the lost voice of Yahweh, to "mind at the end of its tether" in the preacher of Ecclesiastes facing a meaningless, Godless world (the few references to Yahweh in that book being described as later interpolations by pious scribes), and finally to the iron-bound Law, the last resort of the priestly caste to keep men in line, in the utter absence of any direct word from he Deity.
So: what does all this mean to those who would seek a higher state of consciousness than this lonely little god-forsaken ego? The implications are manifold, and deserve much thought and research by serious-minded people. An authoritative statement is not possible at this moment; the ideas are too new. But perhaps we can scratch the surface a little.
Assuming that there is something very real behind what Julian Jaynes has discovered (without necessarily taking his theories at face value), the first question is: What is the actual nature of the esoteric systems and writings which have come down to us from the supposed "bicameral" era? Even a cursory comparison of the ancient Vedas with the later Upanishads tends to confirm Jaynes' judgment that the former are the products of unconscious bicamerality, on a level with the Iliad, while the latter are peopled with (and authored by) conscious, striving human beings, desperately seeking something beyond themselves. What, then, of the crystal-clear references in the Vedas and other "bicameral" texts to what we have been calling the higher states of consciousness, including even the Absolute itself? Can we afford to play Jaynes' game and assume that all these were "later interpolations?" Or should we venture some bold speculations ourselves - can we imagine, for instance, that these spheres of higher reality were accessible to the "god" in the right hemisphere, who then transmitted his vision through the "man" of the left hemisphere onto the parchment? If so, then we can see how it was that the prior attainment of ego-consciousness was the absolute prerequisite for, was in fact the gateway to, these higher states for us, for the man. I.e., we had to expand our self-identity into the right hemisphere, to become our own god, before we could behold that which only gods may see. As long as we identified ourselves strictly as the helpless little mortal, cowering before the "external" god, we were purblind to any higher experience.
The next area which demands investigation is the fact that Jaynes' theory throws a heavy shadow of doubt on the validity of much of the content, the actual details of the practices, of esoteric systems. There are seven chakras, we are told, whose forces must be integrated in order to achieve "god-consciousness;" man's name is Legion, says Gurdjieff - he has no unity of consciousness, and must struggle for years to integrate himself; man as he is has no consciousness at all, says Ouspensky, and if he works hard and is very lucky, he may attain a tiny bit of it at the end of threescore and ten; man's mind, we are told, is bicameral, the way it is today. But the source for all these techniques is held to date away back through the ages, to that time, if Jaynes is correct, when the human mind was very different from its present constitution; in short, when it was in a much greater state of disunity.
In a very fascinating chapter of The Origin, Jaynes describes how there are certain terms in the Iliad which have been interpreted by modern scholars as indicating various functions of mind, of consciousness. He then offers his own interpretation, and backs it up with very plausible-sounding evidence. There were precisely seven such "mind-words" in the old Greek, he says, and then traces how these words and their meanings transmuted and evolved through a thousand years of Grecian writing, from the Iliad to Plotinus. In the Iliad, they merely denote bodily functions, or sometimes sensations experienced upon the appearance of a god; they have nothing whatever to do with conscious thought as we know it. But over the course of this millennium, during which the Greeks gradually became conscious, these words did in fact become transformed into descriptions of consciousness (e.g. nous and psyche); and further, their meanings coalesced, to a certain extent. For Iliadic man, there were these seven passive functions; for the Greeks of the first century A.D., there was simply one active state: consciousness.
In short, the question is: did our esoteric systems become outdated two thousand years ago? Are they merely the residue, passed on by inertia, of something which is now utterly unnecessary?
Jaynes casually notes in passing the idea that during the thousands of years of the bicameral age, surely an exceptional individual here and there must have been sparked into consciousness. Could some such persons have been the originators of esoteric systems? Did they devote their lives to painstakingly constructing methods by which their benighted, automaton-like, god-driven contemporaries could come to a better state? Did the disciples of these men have to spend years and decades of their lives integrating their seven chakras, laboriously breaking down their bicamerality, all this - in order to attain the normal ego-consciousness which we have naturally today?
The foregoing is admittedly overdramatized a bit, to make a point - which is perhaps simply that we cannot afford to waste our time, the human lifespan being what it is. The old systems certainly retain some value, even if that usefulness is mainly symbolic. Man today, at the turn of the third millennium A.D., is surely not a master of self-control, far less is he the possessor of a unified psyche, and this not even to speak of being able to handle higher states of consciousness.
However, a change of perspective is necessarily in the offing. To revert to a more personal level, I have to admit that what's happened is that Jaynes's book has restored my lost hope for the collective psychic evolution of humanity. Perhaps we are getting somewhere as a species after all. The vision is staggering: it appears that we have literally become our own ancient gods, and we have not known it. And from a godly perspective, three thousand years are but the very recent past - and the future that's almost upon us. The problem then becomes - and this holds equally true and valid in a personal quest for enlightenment as it does to an historical vector for godhood - to throw off the vestiges of bicamerality, to look for the divine authorization within, not without... to turn our backs on the gods, demons and other bogeys which haunted the nightmare that was our unconscious past, to stand alone and face the naked cosmos, even that nameless utterness which we feebly label the Absolute.
Returning to the historical level, it's clear that as we pass through this crux-point of the ages, new forms are needed in order to effectively transmit what light we have to those who will succeed us in a very different world. Mysticism must utterly transcend itself, or it too will become a forgotten relic. That substance which we call by the name of spirituality will of course survive, since it is part of the foundation of reality; but its outward form will change dramatically, and it will doubtless have a new label.
Above all, we must not be afraid to perform that simple action which often seems innately terrifying; to discard that which is no longer useful, to stop retreating ten steps in order to take the eleventh step forward, to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us rather than worshipping at their feet, to grasp and to use that which is our birthright: the long-ripened fruit of ongoing human evolution.
TAT News and Calendar
The Columbus TAT group started its spring activities with "The Story of Carl G. Jung," a film held at the Upper Arlington library. About ninety Jungian enthusiasts attended and heard introductory comments by Dr. Lila E. Dennis, a practicing clinical psychologist who has completed post-graduate training at the Carl Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Dennis's discussion of her personal experiences at the many places shown provided a nice complement to the film. Bill Bush of the TAT Society and Dr. Dennis have combined energies to form a Carl Jung study group in Columbus. Some fifteen people at the film indicated their interest in attending the organizational meeting in April. Call Bill at ___ for information.
Three other programs have been planned by the Columbus group this spring. On April 2, Dr. Elizabeth Bacon, a well known Columbus clairvoyant, was scheduled to speak on "Reincarnation," and on April 23 at 7:30 p.m. Joyce Cascioli is to speak on "How to Interpret Your Dreams" at 2950 N. High St. On Sunday, May 7, at a place yet to be announced, Dr. David Dillahunt will give a talk entitled, "Unconscious Mental Mechanisms." Dr. Dillahunt, a Columbus physician who has been a guest lecturer at two TAT Chautauquas, is a deep and intriguing speaker on transpersonal psychology. Call Bill Bush about these and other activities.
Leigh Gerstenberger has brought a wide array of speakers to the TAT Forum in Pittsburgh, covering topics like "angelology," the awareness techniques of ARICA and a discussion of "bioenergetic analysis" by Dr. Emanuel Baum. At the end of March, twenty-five people heard August Turak speak on the "Albigen System," and on April 11 Mary Van Sycle is scheduled to speak on astrology. They will round their spring schedule with a talk by Florence Pels on graphology on April 25. In May they move into an open forum with such contrasting topics as mysticism and behavioral psychology. These talks are all very informal and conducive to stimulating discussion. For more information, contact Leigh at ___.
With the coming of summer TAT activities, as usual, move to the Farm, bringing many new faces with a wide range of interests. The first summer symposium will be on June 3 and 4 and will specialize in hypnosis. It will be conducted by Richard Rose who is an amazing demonstrator of the workings of the mind. Coming in August will be another seminar at the TAT farm dealing with nutrition. For more information about these events, write to the TAT Foundation, ___.
The Chautauqua building is presently being upgraded by some of the men at the Farm and other TAT volunteers. In the past six months a new roof and new gutters have been installed. The west wall has been improved so that it can be opened up and supported by posts, thus giving more room for the Chautauqua-goers. Once again, the men at the farm are to be commended for their skilled work.
TAT members are reminded of the next TAT Meeting scheduled for the 1st and 2nd of July (Saturday and Sunday). In addition to the normal round of meetings, a softball game, a campfire and a Sunday morning discussion have been planned. The softball game has been set for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, pre-empting the Ohio vs. Pennsylvania basketball game previously held at TAT meetings. Following dinner, the campfire will be lit at 9:00 p.m., providing an opportunity for relaxed conversation and - as at all previous campfires - musical entertainment of some sort from our musically inclined members. Concluding the weekend will be an informal discussion on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. The format will allow an opportunity for optimum audience participation. The topic is yet to be chosen, but will be one of current interest (tarot, astrology, nutrition, etc.) Camping is free for the weekend. Food and drink are also available at nominal cost. For further information concerning the TAT meetings, contact your local TAT group or write the TAT Foundation.
An Entire Weekend on Hypnosis and Self-Help Psychological Techniques
Hypnosis in Healing • Habit-Breaking • Mental Problems
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The Columbus TAT Society
A group has recently been formed to study the psychology and philosophy of the eminent psychologist and psychoanalyst, Carl Gustav Jung. The purpose of the group is twofold: first, to seek a deeper intellectual and intuitional understanding of the psychology presented in the works of Carl Jung and, second, through comparing and relating these ideas to our own personal lives, to come to a truer understanding of ourselves. Call ___ for information.
The next public lecture sponsored by the TAT Society will be on Sunday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. when Joyce Cascioli will speak on "How to Interpret Your Dreams" at the Psychic Science Institute, 2950 N. High St. Dr. David Dillahunt will give a talk on "Unconscious Mental Mechanisms" on May 7; the location is to be announced. Admission is free, but donations are accepted to cover expenses. For more information, call ___.
The TAT Foundation is a membership organization and your participation is invited. Membership in TAT is $15.00 for the first year and $10.00 per year thereafter. This will entitle the member to attend the four quarterly TAT Society meetings held each year at the TAT Farm in West Virginia.
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Submission deadline for Summer Issue is June 15, 1978. Send to: TAT Journal, ___, Columbus, Ohio
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