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Survival Research: Problems and Possibilities

 

William G. Roll

 Psychical Research Foundation

Duke Station, Durham, NC

 

[In E. D. Mitchell & J. White (Eds.) Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science (pp. 397 – 424). New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1974]

 

Summary

 When we ask whether consciousness continues after death, we usually assume that a surviving self will exist in some kind of body and will include the personality familiar from waking experience. In the course of their work, however, psychic researchers have encountered mediumistic communicators and apparitions that were apparently created by the living but not inhabited by their consciousness. These communicators and apparitions are indistinguishable from those representing the dead. It does not seem possible, therefore, to discover whether there is a continuation of experience after death by the study of communicators, apparitions and other surviving residues of the living. We must look elsewhere for evidence of the survival of consciousness.

Since the consciousness that may continue after death presumably exists before, we may explore it in the living. An examination of parapsychological research with living subjects suggests that consciousness is not private to any individual but can be shared with others. If a person’s consciousness does not “belong” to him, it is unlikely that it will disappear at his death. This kind of consciousness, however, is different from ordinary states of consciousness, which are experienced as private to each individual. The consciousness that may survive death will be an altered state of consciousness with the following characteristics: (a) there must be an experience that the self has extended beyond the body, (b) this extension must be real in the sense that the person must be able to interact with events at the location to which he has extended, and (c) the extended self must be able to function independently of his central nervous system.

In some altered states of consciousness, people have the impression that their self extends beyond the body. The experience ranges from OOB travels, where the self is felt to occupy a distinct location in space, to experiences of field consciousness, in which the self may be identified with all there is. Anecdotal stories and laboratory testing suggest that the feeling of extension may be real in the sense that the person is sometimes able to observe events at the location occupied by his consciousness or can be detected by others in that area. There is not sufficient evidence so far to indicate whether or not such experiences depend on the central nervous system.

 

Introduction

 

Private Frank Soal, Sixth Leicester Regiment, died in France at the age of 19 from wounds received in action on September 5, 1918. He was the youngest brother of Dr. Samuel G. Soal, the British parapsychologist. When Dr. Soal later began experimenting with the British medium Mrs. Blanche Cooper, Frank was one of the communicators. In the course of the sessions, he correctly described many events from his and Soal’s childhood in Rochford, which Mrs. Cooper could not have known about. But it was as an intermediary in reaching another communicator that Frank caused a shock that still reverberates in parapsychology.

Frank began the session, which Dr. Soal (34) recorded with his own comments:

 

F. Sam, I’ve brought someone who knows you.

S. All right, let him speak.

Voice. (Pause.) Well, Soal, I never expected to speak to you in this fashion. (…This sentence was delivered with an extraordinary variety of tone, and also with great energy.)

S. Who are you then?

Voice. Remember Davis -- Gordon from R-R-Roch-Roch- (…This word was not completed, but I easily understood it was an attempt to say “Rochford.”)

S. By Jove, and it’s like Gordon Davis, too.

Voice. The dead to the living. Queer world, what? My poor wife is my only worry now – and kiddie.

S. Can you really be Gordon Davis? I had heard you were killed.

Voice. The same -- what’s left of me.

 

Soal now asked for proof that this was indeed Gordon Davis. The voice continued.

 

Voice. Remember the old school? How I always argued with H--H--Hs--oh, confound these names--for brighter geog--brighter geography--harpoons and things.

S. I remember about your arguing with Histed but nothing about harpoons. Try to tell me where you lived. That’s something I don’t know.

Voice. At Roch--you mean?

S. That will do.

Voice. (Not so strong) Near the M--Ma--Malt…Remember our last little talk?

S. Yes, I do quite well. Where was it?

Voice. In the train--about guards--not trains guards though. A little confab on the work of guards. That help you?

S. I can recall it excellently.

Voice. Seems ages since to me--remember Playle and O--Over--Over--

S. I think I know who you mean, but tell me where your wife lives.

Voice. Old chap, I can’t hold on--not a second longer.

 

Before completely losing control, Davis showed the medium two capital letter E’s, which she thought had to do with the address of his wife. “He’s very anxious to send news to her, poor thing. It was a great shock to her.”

Soal had last met Davis in a train in 1916 a short while before Davis was sent to the front in France. Soal later heard that he had been killed. During this train ride, Davis had spoken about a lecture he was to give on guard duties.

Soal and Davis went to the same school in Rochford but were not close friends, Soal being younger and in a lower grade. However, they had attended the same class in geography, and Soal remembered Davis arguing with the teacher, Mr. Histed. Davis had a collection of spears, boomerangs, and the like and sometimes brought these to class. Two of his friends were Playle and Overell. Davis’s home was called The Malting, a fact either unknown to Soal or forgotten.

Five days later Soal had another sitting with Mrs. Cooper, during which Davis gave additional information about the home of his wife and child. Davis was not married when Soal met him. Unknown to Soal, he had married afterward and had had a child. Their home was on Eastern Esplanade in Southend-on-Sea--an address with two capital E’s. The house was “joined up to others,” and the Medium thought the street was “like a half street.” She also spoke about the house having “a funny dark tunnel.” As Soal later discovered, the house was part of a block of houses and there were houses on only one side of the street, the other being open to the sea. What most struck Soal was a long dark passageway from the front of the house to its back. Several other details of the exterior and interior were also accurately described, including the pictures and other decorative items.

But the most convincing aspect of the communication was the manner of speech and general personality style so characteristic of Davis. The word “confab” (for discussion) and his frequent insertions of “old man” and “old chap” were typical.

It is sometimes argued that mediumistic communicators are actually initiated by the medium and the person seeking the communication--in this case, Soal. According to this theory, the medium responds to the sitter’s desire to reach someone on the other side and then unconsciously uses her ESP to cull facts from such sources as the memories of the living, diaries, obituaries, and so forth to simulate the communicator. But Soal made no attempt to reach Gordon Davis. The initiative appeared to be entirely Davis’s. His compelling motive seemed to be concern for the wife and child he had left behind. Perhaps he hoped that Soal would look them up and give them some reassuring words. Of course, Soal did pay a visit to the house on Eastern Esplanade.

So far this looks like the kind of mediumistic communication familiar to the psychic researcher. It was unusually successful compared to the common run of sittings, and the fact that they were conducted by Soal gives them special credence. The case has one flaw, but it is a serious one. Gordon Davis was not dead. At the time of Soal’s sittings, Davis was planning to move with his family to Southend, where he had a real estate business.

 

Who is the Communicator?

 

If Gordon Davis was not dead, who or what was the communicator? An answer to this question is important to the understanding of the evidence attributed to survival in general and not just to our understanding of the Gordon Davis case.

William James (11), in his study of one of the communicators who came through Mrs. Leonore Piper, thought there was “an external will to communicate.” The messages, he thought, could not just be accounted for by the ESP ability of the medium. But James was not certain that the communicator was the discarnate personality he claimed to be.

In the Gordon Davis case, there seemed to be a particularly strong will to communicate. During the first session Nada, Mrs. Cooper’s spirit control (the entity that manages the communications), commented that “he’s a very strong Spirit--may hurt the medium.” At the end of the session, when Soal asked to speak to Davis again, Nada replied, “Not this time--the medium could not stand it. She went right out of her body.”

Perhaps after all it was Gordon Davis who came through. Perhaps he was having an OOBE and, believing he had died, visited Mrs. Cooper and Soal. But this hypothesis, attractive though it may seem, does not fit the facts. Davis was not having an OOBE, nor was he in any other state of altered consciousness: during both of Soal’s sittings, he was consulting with people on business matters. Interestingly enough, the Davis family had not moved into the house on Eastern Esplanade at the time of Soal’s sittings. It was only two days after the first sitting that Davis inspected his future home for the first time. (The descriptions at least of the paintings seemed to be precognitive, since Davis did not possess them at the time. This information came at Soal’s second sitting, after Davis had visited the house.)

It is common in telepathy for thoughts and ideas to be transmitted without the agent being aware that he is sending. To explain telepathy (and PK), H. H. Price (25) the Oxford philosopher, suggests that once an idea has been formed in a mind it has,

 

“so to speak, an independent life of its own [and]…is no longer wholly under the control of the consciousness which gave it birth. Though it began its career in consciousness, it persists outside of consciousness (“in the unconscious” as we say). It may return into consciousness from time to time or it may not. Moreover, we will also suppose that every idea is endowed with casual efficacy; and that it not only exists but also operates independently, apart from the consciousness in which it originates.”

 

Psychologists have discovered a great deal about the causal efficacy of ideas. For instance, we know that emotionally intense and vivid ideas are more likely to return to consciousness than emotionally neutral ones. The same is true for frequent and recent ideas. These tendencies are described in the laws of association. But what gives strength to ideas in the mind where they originated also seems to work when they appear somewhere else as in ESP. This is illustrated by the Gordon Davis case. At the time of the sittings, one of Davis’s main preoccupations undoubtedly was the move to Eastern Esplanade. The information about his future home may be accounted for by the laws of recency and vividness. At the time, Davis may also have been thinking about Playle, one of his childhood friends, since he was to have an interview with him two days later. Davis’s interest in weapons was one of long standing. The reference to harpoons may have illustrated the law of frequency. When Davis saw this passage he said, “All my life since I was a small boy, I have collected weapons of various kinds -- especially spears, boomerangs, etc.” Soal noticed, in the hall of the Davis house, “a large collection of spears and other savage weapons.”

Another point about ideas that is important to remember is that they do not exist in isolation but are part of large associative clusters. To say that an idea can operate independently of the consciousness in which it was formed is tantamount to saying that the whole associative system of which it is part may have such a life. Hornell Hart (8) suggests something like this in his persona theory. A deceased personality provides the impetus for a communication, and the expectations of medium and sitter add other pieces to create a communicator. Afterward, this persona may go on existing more or less independently. Usually the stimulus comes from a deceased personality, according to Hart, but sometimes from a living one, as in the Gordon Davis case.

From what we know about ESP and psychology, the Gordon Davis case makes good sense. It is not the only one of its class. There are others like it. It is also easy to find cases in which the communicator does not exist at all. In my work with mediums, I have often been presented with a full-fledged personality giving a name, supposed times and places of birth and death, a nonexisting address, and other spurious information. Such material does not come as a surprise, since persons in dissociated states, such as mediums, are often highly suggestible and will try to accommodate themselves to the wishes of the inquirer. The fact that a person has died and that “he” can supply information about his earthly existence, attitudes, and so forth does not enable us to infer that he exists as a conscious, experiencing self. There can be mediumistic communications without anyone communicating.

 

Apparitions of What?

 

We have the first-hand account of Lieutenant S--, one of the two percipients, which is as follows. He says that Herr --n had come to spend the night at his lodgings. “After supper,” he continues, “and when we were both undressed, I was sitting on my bed and Herr --n was standing by the door of the next room on the point also of going to bed. This was about half-past ten…Suddenly the door out of the kitchen opened without a sound, and a lady entered, very pale, taller than Herr --n, about five foot four inches in height, strong and broad in figure, dressed in white, but with a large black kerchief which reached below the waist. She entered with a bare head, greeted me with the hand three times in complimentary fashion, turned round to the left towards Herr --n, and waved her hand to him three times; after which the figure quietly, and again without any creaking of the door, went out. We followed at once in order to discover whether there were any deception, but found nothing (41).

The lady seen by the two officers had been dead for five years. But she and the two men were not the only participants in the ghostly performance. A fourth, Herr H. M. Wesermann, government assessor and chief inspector of roads at Dusseldorf, played an important role.

In a book published in 1822 Wesermann described several experiments in which he caused apparitions of himself to be seen by others. Phenomena of this type are not unusual. G. N. M. Tyrrell (41), who quotes the Wesermann case in his classical work on apparitions, cites several cases in which someone succeeded in making his apparition be seen by someone else. But here Wesermann produced an apparition of someone else. Wesermann had expected Lieutenant --n to be asleep and tried to project an image of the lady to him at 10:30 P.M., when he supposedly would be in the bedroom. At that time, however, the officer had not gone to bed but was with his friend in the anteroom. As Tyrrell says, “If an apparition represents a dead person…this is not sufficient proof that the dead person is the agent.”

The Wesermann ghost also supports Tyrrell’s theory that an apparition is usually the product not only of its creator but also of the perceiver. The lady ghost would have performed in an empty room had something not brought her to the anteroom – that something presumably being the unconscious minds of the officers reacting to Wesermann’s attempts. In Hart’s terminology, the three men had together produced a persona. This all sounds rather strange, but in fact, it is typical of ESP. Even in card tests, the result is rarely an exact copy of the target but an interaction between the target, the mind of the subject, and often of the experimenter’s mind too.

There are very few reliable reports of the kind of third-person ghost Wesermann produced. It is more common to see an apparition of the agent himself. In addition to the experimental cases, Tyrrell gives several examples of people “whose apparitions seem to stray about while they know nothing about it.” He suggests that such apparitions may be caused by an unconscious wish by the person to be somewhere else.

Sometimes the apparition of a person is seen by the person himself. About a year ago my 11-year-old son, William, said he saw himself seated cross-legged at the foot of his bed. We sometimes discuss psi at home, but I believe we have never spoken about seeing an apparition of oneself. In Norway, there is a special word, vardogler, for precognitive experiences such as footsteps and apparitions that herald the arrival of the person in question.

At times a person who has an OOBE is perceived as an apparition in the area in which he finds himself in the OOB state. But it is only by questioning him afterward that we can know that this apparition was conscious. The occurrence of an apparition of the living, as of the dead, is not by itself proof of the existence of a conscious entity.

            What about apparitions of people who have been dead for a long time, such as haunting apparitions, when it seems unlikely that a Herr Wesermann was conducting a ghostly experiment in the background? Edmund Gurney (7) reports a case that involved an apparition of an old woman who repeatedly was seen on a bed in a kitchen, fully dressed and with her face to the wall. The description matched a previous occupant as she was found after a beating by her husband from which she did not recover. Gurney thought it unlikely that the spirit of the woman had remained on her bed and suggested instead that the apparition was “the survival of a mere image, impressed, we cannot guess how on we cannot guess what.”

            The possibility that mental processes may leave residues or traces on physical objects has often come up in connection with so-called psychometry tests. In such tests, the ESP subject seems to obtain information about events by hold an object that has been associated with these events. Many mediums and psychics use this procedure when they try to obtain information about the past lives of people. It is possible that haunting apparitions result from the same process.

            I mentioned Price’s theory about ideas. He has a similar theory about images. Mental images, according to Price (24), are “persistent and dynamic entities which, when once formed, may have a kind of independent life of their own, and may escape more or less completely from the control of their author.” Apparitional hauntings result from the tendency of images to get themselves localized in physical space. “Once localized there, they might continue to be so localized for a considerable period, retaining the telepathic charge which they had at first, though this might gradually diminish in intensity.” In other words, an image of a person may survive his death without being inhabited by his consciousness. This has been called a thought form in some oriental traditions.

            Because the “telepathic charge” of a haunted house or a psychometric object is similar to the magnetic, gravitational, and other fields that surround physical objects, I have used the concept of psi field to describe psi phenomena that seem to depend on such objects (29). For the present purpose, we can think of the psi field of an object, whether animate or inanimate, as a pattern of associations. In the same way as a magnet may magnetize another piece of metal and then be destroyed without affecting the new magnet, so may the images, ideas, and so on of a person continue to exist as part of the psi fields of objects with which he was once in contact long after he has gone. The image of a person seen in an apparition, whether this image was produced by him or someone else, may survive his death without being inhabited by his consciousness.

 

Survival of Personality

 

            If the origin of mediumistic communications and apparitions is so uncertain, why have survival researchers placed so much emphasis on them in the search for evidence of survival?

            Before we go into that question, let us consider the more basic one -- whether the material we are discussing includes genuine psi or whether it can be explained away as fraud, sensory cues, and chance guessing. I find it difficult to suppose that all the cases admit of such easy explanation, in view of the precautions often taken. However, this area of parapsychology is in need of a more systematic approach than it has received so far. Some progress has been made. Gertrude Schmeidler (33) has devised an ingenious statistical test of haunting apparitions. At the PRF we are building instruments with which to register physical energies that may be involved with such cases -- a costly and difficult enterprise.

            Mediumistic research is faced with two tasks: (a) the development of experimental techniques that stimulate, rather than impede, the phenomena and (b) reliable methods of statistical analysis. It may seem surprising that statistics are needed for mediumistic studies. In the Gordon Davis case, the correspondences between the statements of the medium and Davis’s circumstances may be too striking to dismiss as chance, but generally the results are less clear-cut. Soal (34) himself realized this and helped to lay the groundwork for a statistical assessment of mediumistic statements. The method was improved by J. G. Pratt (23) in a series of experiments with Mrs. Eileen Garrett at Duke University. Pratt (22) later helped to devise a new method, which we have further improved at the PRF with the aid of Donald S. Burdick (30), a statistician at Duke. We have used the new method successfully in an experiment with the Trinidad sensitive, Lalsingh Harribance (31). Robert L. Morris (15), a member of our group, has also developed a method for the evaluation of mediumistic data and similar material.

            For most of the material reported in the literature, the methods of observation and assessment were not highly developed. The reports, however, show that the investigators were often cautious and aware of the many pitfalls. It is unlikely that the data can all be explained away. Take the cross-correspondences. In these experiments, which were apparently initiated by the deceased communicators themselves, two or more mediums produced disjointed and apparently meaningless statements that, however, turned out to refer to common themes, such as a Greek play or a poem known to the deceased. It is not difficult to suppose that there might be chance correspondences as a result of the sheer mass of writings produced by the several Mediums. However, some of the cases, such as the “Hope, Star, and Browning” case (21) could hardly be the result of chance, considering the obvious relations between many of the items produced by the mediums.

            The information was often beyond the educational background of the mediums, but it was familiar to the supposed communicators. Moreover, it was flavored by their attitudes and personality styles. The same was also true of the “book tests” developed by Drayton Thomas (40). In these experiments, the ostensible communicators found a book passage that was unknown to the medium and others taking part in the experiments but that expressed the interests or memories of the communicator.

            In the previous section, I pointed out that some apparitions are localized in space. This relation between a surviving entity and physical space or matter also comes up in the mediumistic material. In most of these, there is a physical connection between the medium and the ostensible communicator. Sometimes this link is a person who is present at the experiment and who knew the deceased when he was still living. Alternatively, a psychometric object is used. (Psychometric is also used in the sense of mental measurement, so parapsychologists prefer other terms; I use the phrase associated object.) In these types of ESP tests, the medium appears to obtain information about some person or event by holding an object that belonged to the person or that he had been in physical contact with, such as a scarf or a pipe. Such objects are also used in tests in which the subject tries to obtain information about the living. Because of the similarity to the mediumistic experiments involving a deceased agent, it is natural to suppose that these experiments too are in fact ordinary object-association tests and that the discarnate communicators are only creations by the mind of the medium.

            There is a special type of mediumistic communication that apparently does not rely on such connections. These are the drop-ins. A drop-in communicator, as the term suggests, is unknown to either medium or investigator and appears spontaneously at a mediumistic sitting. No psychometric objects are used. Alan Gauld (6), a British psychologist and parapsychologist, has published a study of several drop-ins, and Ian Stevenson (37), head of the Division of Parapsychology at the University of Virginia, has also from time to time reported such cases. However, drop-ins show a geographical clustering effect: they usually come from the same area as the medium or others connected with the experiment or from areas that these persons have visited. In other words, there seems to be the same linkage or association with physical space that we find with mediumistic communicators.

            Because of the efforts of Stevenson (36) in recent years reincarnation cases have figured prominently in survival research. The cases usually involve young children who spontaneously appear to recall persons and episodes from a previous life. Because of their youth and general circumstances, it appears unlikely that the material has been obtained by normal means; and since the children do not generally show evidence of other psychic abilities, there is nothing to suggest that they have picked up the information by a more common form of ESP. In addition to the memories of the past, the children often show the emotional reactions and interests of their previous incarnations. As with many mediumistic communicators, they are realistic. These cases also show the geographical focusing effect. A person is likely to reincarnate in the same general area in which he spent his previous life. This “attachment” to familiar objects and locations runs through most of the data suggestive of the survival of personality.

            We generally suppose that our memories, thoughts, and emotions belong to only one physical object, our own brain. When this brain disappears, we suppose that our memories, ideas, and so on also disappear. But if we think of these as field phenomena, it is easier to accept the possibility that they may persist in other physical systems than the brain in which they were formed and that they may be available to others, as in ESP. After the disintegration of the brain, our thoughts, images, and ideas remain part of the psi fields of the other objects with which they have been associated, retaining their “telepathic charge” and thereby the capacity to reproduce a more or less full picture of the deceased.

            One of the laws describing the connections in the psi field is the law of contiguity, one of the primary laws of association (the other is the law of similarity). In its psychological form, this law says that two ideas or percepts that have been experienced together by a person thereby become associated. The strength of this association depends on the secondary laws (of vividness, frequency, and so on), which I have referred to before. Generally we do not extend these laws to relations between a person and inanimate objects in his environment, but this is an exclusion that does not seem to be justified by the facts of parapsychology.

            The relation between a surviving personality and material objects is sometimes discussed by the communicators themselves. In a session with Mrs. Leonard Piper by W. R. Newbold (17), the communicator said:

 

Objects carry with them a light as distinct to us as the sunlight is to you. The instant you hand us an object, that instant we get an impression of its owner, whether the present or the past owner and often both. In some cases the impression is as clear as possible, in others it is vague, and I find upon examination that almost invariably the object presented to us for information has been of long standing, or otherwise unhandled -- untouched by its owner for a period of long duration, or sometimes it may have been handled often and by a great number of persons. This often causes confusion.

 

            Another communicator once requested, “Don’t give me anything belonging to George because if you do, it will call him back and I don’t want to disturb him” (17).

            It is premature to state any conclusions with respect to the survival of personality, either in its full-fledged form or as partial systems of memories, emotions, ideas, and feelings. The indications are, however, that what we call personality continues to exist after the death of the body as a kind of field or system of associations around the objects with which the person was in physical contact when he was alive. It seems that a living person’s brain functions as the primary source of information about the available to another through ESP. But when the body and brain have dissolved, the physical objects associated with him become the main source of ESP information about him.

            The indications that personality survives as a causally different and more or less integrated whole do not, however, allow us to infer that it is animated by consciousness and -- event if it is so animated -- that this is the consciousness “belonging to” the person when he was living.

            The possibility that a replica or image of the physical body and the cluster of memories, emotions, and the like that constitute human personality may survive death is interesting in the same way as it is interesting that a person may “survive” in photographs and tape recordings. This possibility, however, is not nearly as interesting as the possibility that consciousness may survive. For the survival of consciousness provides a continuation of actual experiences, while the survival of an image of the body, memories, and so forth do not necessarily imply such continuation.

 

Some Basic Assumptions

 

            Research on the survival question has been guided by certain implicit assumptions about what it is that may survive death and by certain assumptions about the nature of ESP.

            In any discussion of evidence for survival, ESP plays a central role. ESP is presumably used in supposed communications with the dead, and people who see apparitions apparently do so by ESP. When we try to explain away the evidence for communicators, we often say that they were created by the medium who obtained the necessary facts by ESP from existing sources, such as the minds of living people who knew the deceased, obituaries, and so on. We use similar explanations for people who see apparitions and for other survival evidence. It is therefore important to have some notion of ESP when we discuss the survival issue.

            Most of us believe that ESP information originates in one mind or place and is then transmitted over space (and/or time) to another mind. Furthermore, we restrict the meaning of ESP to the acquisition of veridical information about the distant mind or place. We generally assume that if the ESP response does not in some way correspond to verifiable mental or physical events, we are not dealing with ESP.

            These beliefs about ESP are not the results of empirical observations. They derive from our ordinary state of consciousness in which we experience ourselves as separate from others and from the physical environment. Being separate, we suppose that all communication is a stimulus-response process, either sensory or extrasensory. But the stimulus-response model, which works reasonably well for sensory perception, does not work well for ESP. For instance, the size of the ESP target, its distance from the subject, physical barriers, and so on do not affect results in the manner we should expect if ESP followed this model.

            In our ordinary state of awareness we experience an outside world that consists of objects and people separate from ourselves. Obtaining information about that world seems very different from obtaining information about our own mental states. Since we limit ESP to the acquisition of veridical information about the outside world, we suppose that the ESP process is quite different from the process whereby we become aware of our own psychological states. As a rule, when responses appear in ESP tests that do not correspond to anything in the familiar world, we dismiss them as ESP failures. But the veridical responses are usually indistinguishable from the responses that originate in the unconscious mind of the subject, except that the former match objective events in other minds or places and the latter do not. The implication is clear: What is called ESP is a process whereby the individual gains awareness of his unconscious. This way of explaining ESP is more satisfactory than the stimulus-response theory. As with other unconscious material, access to ESP information seems to be increased during relaxation, hypnosis, meditation, dreams, and other states that encourage material such as forgotten memories and repressed emotions to emerge into awareness. On the other hand, such states are impediments, not aids, to known responses by the body to outside stimuli. It seems that the aspects of the physical and social world that lie outside a person’s direct sensory awareness should be regarded as part of his unconscious. In ESP a person apparently becomes aware of those aspects of his unconscious to the extent that he can dissociate himself from the narrower world of ordinary sense perception. This collective unconscious, as it is sometimes called, is the same as the psi field mentioned earlier, and the same laws apply to both.

            When parapsychologists discuss the aspect of man that may survive his death, they make further assumptions. Since we usually conceive of the human self as restricted to a physical body and to the kind of consciousness in which most of us spend our waking hours, we expect survival to be in terms of the same kind of body and consciousness. Since our consciousness is generally tied up with the external and internal stimuli of the physical body, we look for survival evidence in the form of apparitional phenomena, dreams of the deceased, and other experiences that provide a replica of this body. Our ordinary state of consciousness is intimately associated with memories of the past, plans for the future, our special skills – in short, with the associative cluster we call human personality. When we seek evidence for survival after death, we look for the continuation of this cluster as in mediumistic experiences, reincarnation phenomena, and the like.

            This assumption has guided survival research until the present time. As a rule we have taken for granted that if we can demonstrate the independent existence of apparitions, mediumistic communicators, and the like, then we shall have demonstrated the continuation of consciousness. Conversely, we have supposed that in their absence there is no continuation of consciousness (or at least there can be no evidence for such continuation). It has therefore been the basic concern of survival researchers to try to determine whether apparitions and mediumistic communicators exist independently or whether they are products of the psychic abilities of the living. In additional to mediumistic, apparitional, and reincarnation cases, there is the evidence from dreams in which the dead appear and from cases in which the dead seem to make their presence known by some kind of physical action, such as stopping a clock belonging to them or causing their pictures to fall. Whatever the evidence, it generally involves the reproduction of an image of the body of the deceased or of his memories and other personal characteristics. But we cannot infer the survival of consciousness after death from the survival of a body image, as seen in an apparition, or even from the survival of a full-fledged “personality” in a mediumistic communication. An apparition or a mediumistic communicator may be the sole product of the “telepathic charge,” psi field, or whatever name we give the energy associated with the thoughts, ideas, and images formed by man.

 

Does Consciousness Continue?

 

            Consciousness includes awareness of an experiencing I, or self. When we are unconscious, we are not aware of the self or not aware of parts of it. In the sense in which I use the term, the unconscious can become conscious, and the conscious can become unconscious.

            The Gordon Davis communicator was not inhabited by Davis’s consciousness, and the ghost projected by Wesermann was not inhabited by his consciousness. We cannot conclude from this, however, that the communicator and the ghost were not conscious. But if we ask the further question as to who might have animated them, we make an assumption based on our ordinary waking consciousness that is not justified by the findings of parapsychology. This assumption is that consciousness is private to each human self.

            A person’s experience of his self may be confined to his physical body. But it appears that in ESP others may directly apprehend the contents of his consciousness and may even identify with it to the extent of experiencing it to be part of their own consciousness. This suggests that consciousness is not private to anyone but is public. In the same way as the gravitational field of a material object is part of the gravitational field of the earth, the consciousness of a person seems to be part of wider consciousness of which he may or may not be aware.

            If consciousness and the feeling of selfhood is in fact not private to the individual but is something that can be shared by others, it would be illogical to expect consciousness to disappear with the death of the individual. And, of course, myriads have died without diminishing the consciousness of the survivors. Moreover, if consciousness is public and continues beyond the death of the person, it is difficult to suppose that his ability to share in this consciousness ceases or even diminishes when he dies.

            On the contrary, we should expect that the range of consciousness would increase when the body ceases to function. The sense organs and central nervous system seem to contribute to the impression that the self is restricted to the body; their disintegration should therefore permit easier access to further reaches of consciousness.

            There is good reason for taking seriously the hypothesis that consciousness continues after bodily death. Let us now consider the evidence needed to support this hypothesis.

 

Survival Research with the Living

 

            Studies of mediumistic communicators, apparitions, and other postmortem residues of the living have not established that they are conscious entities. A different approach is needed to determine if consciousness persists after death.

            If there is survival after death, then that which survives must exist beforehand in the living. In other words, it should be possible to approach the survival question by a study of consciousness in the living.

            There are many kinds of consciousness in addition to the waking state most of us experience most of the time. There is dream consciousness, of which, in turn, there are several types. There are states of consciousness that result from being hypnotized, taking drugs, engaging in meditation, and so on. In other words, a person is potentially able to experience himself and the world in many different ways. In the search for the kinds of consciousness that may survive death, we need something similar to the testing situation explorers of outer space have created in their simulated space laboratories. In these laboratories conditions that they expect to encounter in outer space are reproduced as closely as possible on earth. Parapsychologists need simulated survival laboratories in which they can explore the nature of a possible life after death by studies of the characteristics of the consciousness in living people that may continue after their death.

            Several centers are developing laboratory techniques which meet this purpose. They include the ASPR; the Division of Parapsychology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; the Maimonides dream laboratory; and the PRF in Durham, North Carolina. The research falls into three main categories, deriving from three characteristics of the kind of consciousness that may survive death: (a) there must be actual awareness that the self extends beyond the body; (b) it must be possible to verify that this self extends beyond the body; and (c) this self must be capable of existing independent of the physical organism.

            These three hypothetical characteristics can be explored (a) by studying reports of the experience, (b) by parapsychological tests, and (c) by physiological studies.

 

State Reports

 

            People occasionally report that their consciousness, what they regard as their self or I, moves or extends beyond the boundaries of the body. The experience ranges from the feeling in OOBEs that something like ordinary waking consciousness leaves the physical body and moves to another distinct location in space and time to the feeling that the self simultaneously occupies or becomes identified with all space and time. The latter has been called the “peak experience” by Abraham Maslow (14). I shall use the term field consciousness (FC) for experiences that seem to take in part or all of the environment outside what is usually considered a person or individual.

            At the PRF we have done most of our OOBE research with Blue Harary, a Duke student and PRF research assistant. He had the following experience before we began work with him. One evening he went to bed at his home in New York City thinking about an elderly lady friend in Maine with whom he had lost touch. After he fell asleep, he reported,

 

I found myself floating out of my body which lay below me on the bed. I had this experience many times in the past and so was not surprised. I now could travel to find my old friend. I decided to bring my close friend George, who was living elsewhere in New York, with me. I concentrated on George and soon was floating above him where he lay asleep on his bed. I awoke George’s out of the body self and grasped his hands and pulled him up out of his body. George readily decided to accompany me. None of this seemed the least bit unusual to either of us. We passed a barrier and then had only a short distance to travel. On the way to Maine, George and I walked through wooded areas, and up and down green, rolling hills. At one point when we stopped to rest on a hillside, George began to wander too close to a pool of pink, hot, bubbling liquid. I warned George not to wander too close because it was dangerous, even in an OOBE state.

                We reached an area near where we thought the woman would be, and were surprised to find that the woman had been waiting for us. I recognized her reddish blond hair and high cheekbones. We sat for a long while and discussed many things that had been disturbing all of us in our Earth lives. We seemed to find calm and reassurance in existence in that other-worldly level and in each other’s warm company.

                We said our goodbyes and George and I went back, and I helped him into his body which still lay asleep on his bed. I went back and found my own body safe and sound where I had left it. I floated in the air for a moment and then climbed back into my body. The next morning I awoke with complete recollection of the experience.

                I didn’t see George again until later the next day. He said that when he awoke in the morning, he had the strangest sensation of having forgotten something.

                Later in the evening when George and I were discussing dreams a sudden strange look came across his face. He held his hands over his eyes and then pointed a finger and looking up with a shocked expression, said “Last night!” He then proceeded to ask me if we had been out of our bodies together and if what seemed so real to him at the time actually was a real experience. I told him very little at first and asked him to tell me all of the details he could remember. “A lady,” he said; “there was this fantastic lady.” “Was she an elderly lady?” I asked him. “Yes, but not with gray hair like most old ladies,” he answered, “but with reddish blond hair and with high cheekbones.” He also remembered that there had been a danger and “something about a pool.”

 

            In this experience, Harary’s consciousness was quite similar to his waking consciousness, and his own OOBE “body” and that of George were near duplicates of their physical ones.

            Harary has also experienced field consciousness:

 

I had been lying on my bed trying to keep myself awake long enough to study effectively for my college midterms. It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep my eyes open. Finally, I fell back upon the bed and when I did so almost immediately found myself out of my body and flying through space at an enormous speed. When I slowed down, I found myself floating somewhere in space. I cannot hope to describe the experience as vividly as it occurred to me but I will try.

                All around me I could see planets and smaller particles in rhythmic motion. My vision seemed to at once focus in front of me and at the same time cover a three hundred and sixty degree radius. All of my “senses” were perceiving in similar sense fashion. I could hear a wonderful harmony which seemed to accompany every particle. I felt a chord was playing from within my total being. When I moved, the sounds and the movements of the particles around me moved in balance to my movements. I felt not only that I was experiencing nature; I was nature. Always there was the incredibly balanced, harmonious movement of the universe.

                Then I remember thinking of myself lying on the bed in my room back at college. It seemed that it was time to be back there. In a few moments I felt a jolt in my physical body and opened my eyes to find myself lying on the bed. I felt a complete love flowing through me. I looked at my books lying there where I had dropped them and almost laughed at the seeming stupidity of studying earthly knowledge from books. I felt energetic and almost jumped out of bed to run outside. It had seemed that several hours had passed but actually only about five minutes had.

 

            Let us now turn to the question of whether experiences like these are only private fantasies or whether in some sense they involve extensions into or awareness of the objective world.

 

Parapsychological Tests

 

            Only a few parapsychological experiments have been done with OOBE subjects. Since Charles Tart reviews this material elsewhere in this volume (see Chapter 15), I shall not report it here. I shall also not discuss the rich anecdotal literature, which has been explored by Hornell Hart (8) and Robert Crookall (5).

            At the PRF we conduct two types of psi tests to explore OOBE and FC states. The first focuses on the question of whether persons in such states can be detected in areas apparently occupied by their consciousness. The other type of test concerns the question of whether they can obtain verifiable information there.

 

DETECTION STUDIES

 

            Anecdotal evidence, including some from our own preliminary studies, suggests that a friend of a person who has an OOBE or a member of his family occasionally has a feeling of “presence” about this person at the same time as he has the experience of visiting his friend. In six experiments with Harary in which people functioned as detectors, they felt he was present more often than they should by chance when he believed he was visiting the detection room in the OOB state.

            Upon occasion we hear anecdotes in which pets respond to the presence of a person in the OOBE state. A young woman we tested said that her cats followed her around when she was “out” in her apartment. In our detection work with Harary, the best results have been with a kitten. Laboratory gerbils and hamsters have not responded, but the kitten calms down when Harary visits it in the OOB state. We measure the kitten’s level of activity in terms of the number of meows during a given period and the number of squares it crosses in the observation chamber. The results were more significant than with the human detectors and quite striking. The cat meowed 37 times during the control periods and not at all during the OOBE periods. Another kitten from the same litter did not react. In one of the tests where both kittens were supposed to have been used, Harary claimed he saw only one. It turned out that the experimenter had decided to remove the other.

            Sometimes the presence of a person in the OOB state is said to result in physical changes in the area. We have built devices that measure electromagnetic fields and magnetic permeability, but the results are indefinite. We are planning to measure slight temperature changes and other physical conditions as our resources allow.

            In designing detection studies of FC states we are mainly guided by anecdotal stories as to what changes may take place in the target area and by the state reports of the person having the FC experience. If he experiences a joining with a plant or an inanimate object, the plant or object can be monitored by physiological or physical devices. If he reports having expanded throughout his environment, we would expect that all detectors oriented to him would respond. If he reports a joining with one specific person but not with others, that person might respond more strongly than the rest. Behavioral observations of the detector by the experimenter, periodic verbal reports, and physiological data that may help to identify the psychophysiological state of the detector will provide the detection data in the FC studies.

            Some practicers, such as advanced yogis, are said to be in constant expansion, and people near them often claim to be affected by their physical presence. These claims can readily be explored by our detection procedures.

 

ESP BY SUBJECT

 

            In our first OOBE experiments with Harary, the ESP targets were large colored letters of the alphabet located in another house. On five of nine occasions Harary’s description of the color of the target was close to the actual one. In three cases, he gave evidence of homing in on the general shape of the letters: In one case, he named three or four possible shapes, then said he also saw an S “as if you stood an N on its side.” The target was a Z. In another, he said the target was round or circular. It was a Q. In a third, he said the target was a V or something with a long diagonal: it was a W. The results, however, were not statistically significant.

            The detection studies suggested that Harary might interact more closely with people than with inanimate objects. We therefore changed his task to that of discovering the locations of people in the target room in the other house. There were three possible locations, each to be occupied by one of two or three persons. Harary was slightly successful at first, and then his performance declined.

            It is interesting that in several cases the animal or human detectors responded during OOBE periods when Harary’s impressions about the physical targets were wrong. According to one criterion, Harary was at the target location, and according to another criterion, he may have been aware only of his “own” mental constructs. We are reminded of the “pool of pink, hot, bubbling liquid” Harary saw during his OOBE visit to Maine, which probably also had no relation to anything in the known physical world. In OOBE’s, as in other forms of ESP, there are no sharp distinctions between mental and physical and between objective and subjective facts.

            It is sometimes argued that OOB and FC experiences involve only an imaginary extension into the environment and that ESP information comes to the physical body of the person and is not acquired at the place he experiences himself to be. According to this theory, people and animals who seem to detect the presence of a person in an OOB or FC state would become aware only by ESP of his intention or belief that he has extended. Arguments of this type, however, rest on the assumptions about ESP that I discussed earlier and that seem to be mistaken. ESP, it seems, is awareness of what already is part of the self. OOBE’s verify what we already know about ESP: the person is not going anywhere or seeing anything other than where and what he already is. It is only from the restricted perspective of ordinary states of consciousness that he may appear to observe the familiar physical world (and that he is not having a “real” OOB or ESP experience when he reports something different). The relationship between ESP, on the one hand, and OOB and FC states, on the other, is apparently this: in OOB and FC states, the person is aware of what is going on, while ESP as such may or may not be associated with a conscious experience.

            As Lawrence LeShan (13) has shown, FC experiences are often strikingly similar to the descriptions of the universe by modern physicists (see Chapter 22). But FC experiences are rarely of the type that allow one to determine if consciousness actually occupies known physical space. This is not surprising, since FC sometimes seems to be everything and everywhere. There are, however, anecdotal accounts that suggest that on entering or leaving this state, the person’s perspective narrows sufficiently to detect discrete events. It also appears that people who often have FC experiences may have more ESP awareness than others.

            Richard Alpert (26), formerly a professor of psychology at Harvard who is known as Baba Ram Dass since his initiation by an Indian teacher of meditation, says that when he was “being a Holy Man” at Esalen in Big Sur, California, somebody asked if he had any psychic powers. Alpert replied,

 

“No, I’m happy I don’t,…I have a big ego, and I’d misuse them.” And then I looked at this man -- he had just arrived and…I said, “Could you imagine…if I could look at you, sir, and I could say, ‘You were walking up the hill to get here and you looked down on the ground and you saw what you thought was a jewel and you picked it up and you threw it away.’” …He stood up and turned ashen white…and he says, “I was walking up the hill,” and he said, “I saw this…and I picked it up and I thought it was jade and it turned out to be a piece of ginger ale bottle and I threw it away.”

 

Ram Dass (27) has similar stories about his teacher. They will be found in most other accounts of persons seeking transpersonal experiences, whether they be Hasidic Jews (3), Sufi Moslems (18), or possessors of any other religious or cultural backgrounds.

            Just as we find many ESP stories around persons who seek transcending experiences, there are many accounts of transcending experiences from persons who seem to be endowed with unusual ESP abilities. Mrs. Coombe-Tennant (1), the British medium known as Mrs. Willett, once described her experience of communicating with a deceased person: “I can only describe it by saying I felt myself so blending with him as almost to seem to be becoming him.” Another time, when she returned from the trance state, she said, “There isn’t any time or place, and either you’re loosed or they’re entered, and you all of a sudden know everything that ever was. You understand everything. It’s like every single thing and time and thought and everything brought down to one point.”

            W. H. C. Tenhaeff (39) quotes from Alexis Didier, a French psychic of the mid-1800s, who mainly used object association: “With the help of a simple lock of hair or a letter, I come into contact with them [the owner of the hair or letter], irrespective of the distance between us…I see them, hear them, they live their lives in me. I feel myself suffer their pains, having part in their joys. My soul…comes into touch with them and between them and me arises a community of consciousness.”

            In his own studies of 47 Dutch psychics, Tenhaeff found a “great ‘sensitivity’ for everything coming from the outside world…Also, they endeavor to identify with persons and objects near them. There is an attempt to attain what…Lucien Levy-Bruhl has called ‘participationary mystique.’” In an ESP experiment with a group of meditators at the ASPR Karlis Osis and Edwin Bokert (20) stated that the people who did best in ESP had a “feeling of merging with the others…and a feeling of oneness as if the boundaries between ‘what is me and what is not me’ were dissolving.”

            In exploring the relationship between meditation and ESP abilities, it is interesting that persons who have such abilities to a marked degree often use procedures to activate them that are similar to the procedures advocated by many meditation systems. In most forms of meditation, the meditator seeks a deep state of relaxation yet remains fully awake. Usually, the mind is either kept a blank or is engaged in some simple task, such as repeating a word mentally or visualizing an object, with the hope that this will reduce discursive thinking and allow the meditator to experience the unity between himself and the rest of the world. ESP receptivity seems to be facilitated by similar procedures (see Chapter 27).

            In a survey of 18 particularly successful ESP subjects, Rhea White found that they would first relax and clear their minds of extraneous thoughts either by keeping them blank or focusing attention on something such as a mental image. After a period of waiting, this image would be released and an ESP impression might enter consciousness (43).

            William G. and Lendell W. Braud (2) obtained high ESP results from students at the University of Houston in tests preceded by muscular and mental relaxation. The studies of Charles Honorton (10) at Maimonides Medical Center involving hypnosis, EEG biofeedback, and sensory deprivation suggested that ESP performance is improved to the extent that the methods provide “attenuation of external stimuli and shifts from externally directed to internally directed attentive activity.”

            FC experiences sometimes result from taking hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. In a report on the use of LSD for psychotherapy, R. Holzinger (9) said that some of his patients described apparent ESP experiences while in a state of expanded awareness. He checked some of the statements and found them to be correct. On the other hand, Roberto Cavanna and Emilio Servadio were not particularly successful in attempts to elicit ESP in tests with persons who had taken LSD (4).

            At the PRF, we are preparing a project to explore FC. Our pilot work includes a one-year study conducted at Andhra University, India, by Hamlyn Dukhan in collaboration with Dr. K. Ramakrishna Rao (28). Dukhan tested students and disciples at two Indian yogi ashrams with ESP cards. He found that newcomers to the ashrams tended to score negatively, while persons who had been in training for some time had positive ESP scores.

 

 Physiological Studies

            One of the few physiological studies of OOB states was done by Charles Tart (see Chapter 15), who found considerable alpha activity in the two subjects he tested. In our OOBE work with Harary, he first enters a state of deep relaxation, which he calls his “cool down” period. This is characterized by a great deal of alpha in both hemispheres of the brain that persists into the OOB state. In the OOB state there is a reduction in eye movements and a decrease in skin potential. The latter suggests a relaxed condition. Surprisingly, there is also an increase in respiration and heart rate, which suggests increased activity or arousal. The interpretation of these data must wait for further research. So far the evidence suggests that Harary’s body functions at a near normal rate during his OOB states, while his central nervous system may be less active.

            Several studies have been made of persons during meditation. Unfortunately, the reports do not always indicate whether or not the persons were having transcending experiences at the time. R. Keith Wallace and Herbert Benson (42) tested meditators at Harvard University and found sharp drops in the body’s use of oxygen and in heart rate and respiration. There were increases in the electrical resistance of the skin and decreases in the amount of lactic acid in the blood, both showing reduced arousal. There were also increases of alpha waves. T. Hirai and A. Kasamatsu (12) found an increase of alpha during Zen meditation and, sometimes, emergence of the still slower theta waves.

            The alpha wave may also be associated with ESP, suggesting that meditation, ESP, and the “alpha state” are related. For instance, in an experiment with Lalsingh Harribance at the PRF, we found his ESP to be best when the production (percent-time amount) of alpha was highest (16). Harribance usually prefaces his tests with a period of quiet and prayer. In a study by Rex Stanford and Ian Stevenson (35) at the University of Virginia, the subject used a meditation procedure before each ESP trial to clear his mind and then tried to develop a mental image of the ESP target. His ESP scores were highest when the alpha frequency was low during the mind-clearing period, perhaps indicating that the more tranquil his state, the better was he prepared for the ESP task. Scoring was also good when there was an increase in frequency between the mind-clearing and image-development phases, which may suggest that the development of the ESP response involves an increase in mental activity.

            If brain functions are related to OOB and FC states, we might find different characteristics for the two types of experiences. In OOBE’s there is often the same experience of temporal succession and sequential progression through space that we experience in ordinary states of consciousness and that is characteristic of left-hemisphere mentation. Conversely, the global experiences in FC suggest right-hemispheric involvement.

            On the other hand, if the brain is largely dormant during OOB and FC experiences, then we may suppose that such experiences are independent of the brain and will continue when the brain has ceased operating altogether. Reports of OOBE and FC during heart stoppage, near drowning, anesthesia, or reduction by voluntary control of brain and body functions (as reportedly done by yogis and meditators) raise the possibility that the central nervous system is not responsible for these experiences. Karlis Osis (19) has found that people near death sometimes seem to experience another world and other entities, including deceased friends and relatives.

 

Conclusion

 

            A distinction must be made between the survival of consciousness and the survival of personality or of an image of the body. There is suggestive evidence from mediumistic communications, reincarnation studies, apparitional sightings, and so on that images of the body and more or less full-fledged personalities may persist after death at least for a time.

            But such survival does not imply the survival of the consciousness that animated the people in question when they were alive. There is, however, evidence from the findings of parapsychology that human consciousness is not private to any person but can be shared by others. If this is the case, consciousness will continue beyond the death of any one individual.

            Since we do not know whether mediumistic communicators, apparitions, and the like are conscious but do know that the consciousness that may continue beyond death exists in the living, it seems that the best place to look for this consciousness is in living beings.

            A survey of persons who have had the experience that their consciousness extended beyond the body suggests that consciousness exists along a spectrum ranging from very constricted to very expanded. Close to the constricted end of the scale, but probably not at its extreme end, is the kind of consciousness that we identify with the physical body. This type of consciousness may be involved in most OOBE’s; after death it may be involved in apparitional sightings. At the other end of the scale, the person experiences an identification with the whole universe, so that everything in it is felt as “his” and no distinctions are recognized. Some individuals may be limited to a particular place on the scale, while others may be able to move up and down its length.

            The findings also suggest that experiences of extending into the environment are sometimes real in the sense that persons who have such experiences may be able to interact with people and things at the distant locations in question. On the other hand, it is still uncertain whether or not such experiences require a living body.

            When we have discovered the characteristics of the consciousness that may survive - whether this be the type experienced during OOB travels or the FC type - we may look for these characteristics in apparent survival phenomena. Parapsychology has discovered one such characteristic: the consciousness that may survive is public. It should then be possible for the living to experience the world of the dead. Charles Tart (38) suggests that scientists who study altered states of consciousness develop the ability to enter such states themselves. In parapsychology we have insisted on a sharp separation between the scientist and the people he studies. But the assumption that there is a real distinction is another of the dubious ideas born of the limited perspective of ordinary consciousness. It is clear from the research findings that the experimenter often affects the results of his subjects. Perhaps we should encourage the subjects to share in the role of the experimenter and participate in the planning and interpretation of research. And perhaps the experimenter should learn to enter altered states such as OOB and FC experiences. Personal familiarity with the states of consciousness in which psi seems to originate might reduce the number of false assumptions about them. Such familiarity might also lead to better maps of states of consciousness that may exist after death. Until now we have tried to trace the characteristics of these states from afar, mainly on the basis of the stories that OOBE subjects, mediums, and others bring back. But the most interesting stories about any land are told by people who have been there themselves, and the most credible stories are told by those who are trained observers and who bring the necessary tools along for reliable recording.

            In the past it has sometimes seemed that the question of survival after death was a minor issue in a field of research that was itself at the fringe of science. If the main focus for survival research is extended states of consciousness, this research becomes relevant to any discipline concerned with the human mind. In turn, any science - from physics to transpersonal psychology - that has something important to say about consciousness may contribute to our understanding of a possible next world.

            Expanded states of consciousness or FC are of special interest because they may reveal potentials in man for wider interactions than are generally thought to be possible. FC appears to be an experiential demonstration of the connections that parapsychology, physics, and other sciences have shown to exist between man and his environment. The exploration of FC could be particularly important in today’s society, which adopts the premise that people are separate. If more people could actually experience the whole of which all may be part, they might encroach less on each other and on their physical environment. By exploring such states of consciousness, we may contribute to man’s survival and well-being in this world at the same time as we point to what may come in the next.

 

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