Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people have done I think 417 of them now. And if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see all the previous ones archived in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. If you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a Donate button on every page of the site. That’s pretty much our sole means of support. My guest today is Dean Raiden, PhD, Dean is chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences ions. Before joining the research staff at ions in 2001. He held appointments at AT and T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He’s the author or co author of over 250 technical and popular articles, three dozen book chapters and three books including the award winning the conscious universe, entangled minds, and supranormal. While at Bell Labs for fun, Dean wrote a series of humorous articles for the science spoof magazine Journal of irreproducible results. One of those articles later almost accidentally started World War Three in a way that would have appealed to Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. So the and I thought that might be a good place to start.
Dean Radin: Well, that that journal is intentionally a spoof science journal, mostly written by scientists and engineers. And at the time I, in the news was, I think, a student from MIT who, just as a joke, decided to go to the library and figure out how to make a thermonuclear weapon. Yeah, it was in the news. And it caught some attention that people were surprised that it would be relatively easy, at least conceptually to make a bomb like that. And
Rick Archer: he was dancing in some kind of play at Princeton on stage and dressed up as a woman or something and was getting ideas while he was doing this skit. Was that the story?
Dean Radin: Yeah, no, I don’t remember that part of it, just just the part about how how the concept of making a new killer or thermonuclear weapon was not really that difficult. Yeah, and, and more importantly, that it was in the public domain. So at the time, I was writing a couple of articles with a called weekend scientist, in this science booth magazine, where you can do all kinds of things like make a thermonuclear weapon in in your kitchen on your spare time. So, so I wrote that, and there was a couple of pages and clearly was was a satire, or spoof. So 911 happens about a month after 911. The all news media, we’re going to one of the first places in Afghanistan that where we had invaded at that point, and they were everyone was shocked, including Rumsfeld and everyone else talking on the media about finding materials within the Taliban headquarters and one of the caves. That was saying it was talking about nuclear weapons. And of course, everybody was freaking out that the the Taliban were going to have nukes. So eventually, the some of the pages that were found were shown, immediately recognize that this is what I had written. This was this was a spoof this was had nothing to do with actual material on how to make a nuclear weapon. So fortunately, my name was did not appear on those papers, that somebody had put the article up on the web. And clearly the Taliban or somebody had taken it off of the web. And if I, in retrospect, if my name was on those papers, I could have been in serious trouble. Because I, I would expected the men and black to show up at my house, before I had any idea even why they were showing up. And if they said, Well, you know, we found papers that you’re talking about how to make a thermonuclear weapon then I would not have any idea what they were talking about.
Rick Archer: That’s very funny. Yeah, you would have had had a you know, Paul Manafort situation they would have shown up in your bedroom.
Dean Radin: Yeah. Oh, yeah, just what happens in that this was before I wrote this before the internet was was a thing, right? And over the years it had taken on a life of its own and appeared on the internet.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s funny. So that’s another wrinkle on that this kid who did this thing at Princeton, he was performing some kind of Burlesque thing as part of this student play thing or something. And he was sort of doing this can can dances and what onstage in but having these flashes of insight while he was doing it, and they will have come up with this concept. Well, it’s funny, you should mention Donald Rumsfeld. Because I came across a quote, while I was preparing for your interview, maybe it was something you had quoted, or maybe I heard it somewhere else. But Rumsfeld, interestingly, said, he referred to what we know, what we know, we don’t know. And what we don’t know. We don’t know. And I thought that was apropos of Dean radians world.
Dean Radin: Yeah, it’s true. I deal mostly with what we think we don’t know. And of course, if you don’t know what you don’t know, then that’s can’t do anything with that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so we haven’t really told people yet what you’re about. But you your primary focus has been in Psy phenomenon or psychic phenomenon. And you’ve been studying this for years and getting results actually. And I read in the conscious universe that you said that sigh phenomena fall into two general categories. The first is perception of objects or events beyond the range of ordinary senses. And the second is mentally causing action at a distance. And maybe it was premature for me to read that little thing, because I’d like to ask you first how, how you got interested in this in the first place, I knew you’re on track to become a concert violinist, and, and then you got into bluegrass, which I happen to love. And then I don’t know, one thing led to the next and here you are, you know, studying Psy phenomenon with an impressive academic and technical background behind you.
Dean Radin: You’re asking how did that happen? Yeah. I’m just
Rick Archer: curious a little bit about the chronology or the how one thing led to the next like that?
Dean Radin: Well, I’m asked a similar question many times by audiences popular and technical. And oftentimes, the the audience is standing room only. So I turn the question back on to the audience and say, Well, why is everybody here today? Why is this such a popular topic in in all kinds of contexts? Popular context, you can kind of expect, but I’ve given this in technical environments, or governments or the military, it’s always standing room only. So the way I respond, then is to say that your interest in my interest to the same, everyone has always been attracted to the notion that there’s special powers or abilities that people have. They saturate our history, they saturate the entertainment world, everybody and every domain where it regardless of whether the scientist or layperson or whatever, they’re interested because the experience has happened to the majority of the population. So the question then becomes, well, what what do you do with it? Is it is this simply coincidence that some scientists would say, or is it a clue that tells us something about what consciousness is and what our capacities actually are? So the only difference in between what I do, and what other people do is that I decided that this was way more interesting as a scientific problem than anything else that I’ve ever done. So I decided that if it was possible to make a living, doing this as a scientist, and that’s what I wanted to do. So by, by hook and by crook, and by some skill, and by a lot of work at it, I managed to do that.
Rick Archer: That’s great. Yeah, when you say this happens, people, the majority of the population have these sort of experiences. Like about a week ago, I was in the morning meditating. And for some reason, I was thinking about this guy that I spent about a month with in 1973, I believe it was, and I heard he had died. And I was thinking about him and wondering how he died, nice guy, and too bad, and so on. And then later that afternoon, he contacted me on Facebook. I hadn’t been in touch with them since 1973. You know, and so I guess that’s the kind of thing you’re referring to, when you say many, most of the population has had this kind of thing.
Dean Radin: Right? So what you’re describing is maybe a telepathic experience or maybe pre cognitive. Roughly half of the population talks about pre cognitive dreams. Crisis, telepathy is very common, usually among family members. psychokinetic effects occur, but they’re much rarer. They don’t happen very often. So, if you start looking at the experiences that people regard as being psychic, or synchronistic, roughly half of them probably are coincidence. Because there’s billions of people and trillions of events and things, weird things happen occasionally. And then, maybe another 25% of the experiences are mistaken. They’re not not coincidences, but they’re forgotten, or they’re twisted memory. That happens, we tend to conflate things in our mind there compatibly, lation, and so on, the leaves roughly 25% of events that it’s not entirely sure what’s going on. But it doesn’t look like once an incident is not confabulation. From the laboratory studies, I would estimate that roughly 5%, pretty small percentage of these kinds of episodes really do reflect a form of psychic experience. And so the remaining bits, the 20% is sort of leftover, we just don’t know, it’s falls into that category of Rumsfeld, where we don’t know what we don’t know. But the 5%, I’m pretty confident based on what we know, from the laboratory that we are, there are real connections between people’s minds at a distance and between people and objects and people and events and so on.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think that the way this topic might be best understood as relevant to my show, which is about people who have had experiences of spiritual awakening is that there’s a kind of a fundamental disagreement about whether consciousness is a fundamental reality, or whether it’s just an epiphenomenon of brain functioning. And the vast majority, I guess, at the scientific world believes the second thing. And the notion that consciousness is fundamental is extremely relevant to the idea of Enlightenment or spiritual awakening, it’s central to it. And I think your work, although maybe you’re not well, you actually do you do study a lot of meditators and people like that. I don’t know if you’ve attempted to study specifically people who say that they’ve had some kind of awakening in an abiding sense. But your work does chip away at that paradigm that it’s a material world and a meaningless it’s a meaningless universe. We’re just biological robots to, you know, Echo Alex to Karis his phrase, and you know, that consciousness is just a biochemical phenomenon of some time subtype.
Dean Radin: Do it’s true. I think as a trained as a scientist, you’re, you come to assume that reductive materialism is the only way of understanding reality and that everything must be physical, material and physical that’s. And it’s undeniable that as a method of studying the nature of the physical world, allows us to do all kinds of interesting things. Especially if you’re going into engineering or physics, after a while, you really do get the sense that you’re, you’re this close to understanding everything, because you can write equations on the blackboard that will tell you exactly how to get from here to the moon, or here to Mars. And it works. So you get this inflated sense of being on the edge of understanding everything. Yeah. But at but after studying psychic phenomena for many years now and planning to see certain kinds of events in the laboratory, and in fact, ending up seeing them under controlled conditions. I, I think it probably the first 20 years or so I was mainly interested in simply checking whether we could believe that the phenomena were real. But in the last five years, perhaps I’ve become more interested in trying to figure out what does that mean from an ontological perspective. And it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that if you try to create an ontology that is purely materialistic, and describe these kinds of phenomena, I have colleagues who are attempting to do that, I don’t think it works at all, it becomes very, very difficult to figure out how how these kinds of phenomena of all of which, by the way, are talking about a blurring between subjective and objective. That’s essentially what these phenomena are, with one additional piece. You blur objective and subjective and it transcends space time. In fact, the one single thing that makes any kind of psychic phenomena weird is because it’s not locked into spacetime. All of them. That’s, that’s the characteristic. So how do we account for that? So the closest thing that we have to it from a physical perspective is quantum mechanics. The strange thing about quantum mechanics is it’s not in spacetime, and the usual way of thinking about a physical world. But quantum mechanics is completely mechanistic. I mean, to suggest that some of our assumptions about the physical world aren’t correct. Or at least our special cases, classical physics is a special case of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is not the end of our understanding of physics, either, it’s probably Stage Two out of who knows how many other stages. So it doesn’t address subjectivity at all, basically, and the only thing that we actually know about anything is our own subjective experience. So I started reading a lot more about idealism and pan psychism. And all of that line of thought, and decided that is a much simpler way of accounting not only for everything we know from the physical side of reality, but also these kinds of phenomena, they suddenly are no longer anomalous. They’re phenomena that have to occur.
Rick Archer: I’ve heard talks you gave in which you talked about the kind of resistance and pushback against thinking the way you think, and by people who are entrenched in a more materialistic perspective. And these, I know, this is a common pattern throughout the history of scientific development. You know, Thomas Kuhn writes about it in terms of paradigm shifts, and all. Do you feel that, like, if scientists are this close, if they feel they’re this close to having it all figured out? Do you feel that this, this resistance is perhaps a symptom of the fact that they don’t want to admit that they might be really far from having it all figured out, sort of opens up a whole can of worms they’d rather not deal with?
Dean Radin: Sure, if you spend your career and you gain a certain degree of, of awards, based on your ideas. You don’t want somebody coming along and shaking the status quo. I mean, we we whether we think about it or not, most of us identify with our ideas. So if your attack somebody’s ideas, it’s as though you are being physically attacked. So it’s not surprising that it produces a lot of emotion.
Rick Archer: But you’re not really attacking any ideas. You’re not saying what, you know, your ability to get us to the moon is wrong. You’re just saying there’s more. There’s, there’s another dimension that hasn’t been considered here. And it’s important and, and we ought to think about it doesn’t just, it doesn’t refute anything, and that science is figured out just as quantum mechanics, and Einstein’s theories didn’t refute anything Newton came up with,
Dean Radin: right, but remember that historically, both of those theories were rejected violently, by physicists of the day, because people identified with under their understanding, and somebody came along and saying, Well, no, your understanding is correct. But it’s a special case, you weren’t quite as smart as you thought you were. Yeah. And that is what’s happening here as well, that one of the complaints I hear from my more conservative colleagues is, the phenomenon you’re talking about cannot be true, it must be impossible, because otherwise, you’d have to throw away all of the textbooks and start over again. So that’s, that’s a fear response. And so I try to remind them that, first of all, we change the textbooks every 20 years anyway. And second, you don’t, what I’m talking about doesn’t require throwing away anything. All of the disciplines remain exactly the way that they were before because they’re very successful. All that we’re doing is changing a couple of fundamental assumptions. And the moment you do that, you see that the whole structure of the way that the academic system works, the way that we’ve carved up reality into different disciplines. Those are special cases, they’re valid within the little slice that they’re studying. Yeah. But it’s in a much larger context and the larger context, ultimately, you end up with consciousness as being fundamental in some way. And not only that it’s more fundamental in the physical world.
Rick Archer: more fundamental than the physical world you just said,
Dean Radin: more fundamental than the physical world.
Rick Archer: Yeah, right. I’ve heard it said that science progresses by a series of funerals. I don’t remember who said that, but I’m sure you like Max Planck was it? Yeah, because people are so stuck in their ways and kind of need a new generation to think differently. So this idea that consciousness is more fundamental than the physical world. I mean, when the most cutting had scientists look at the physical world and think, Well, what is this? Let’s look deeper. And the deeper you go, the less physical it becomes to the point where it begins to resemble something very akin to consciousness.
Dean Radin: Well, maybe not to consciousness, but to concepts like information and symbolism, and mathematics. So it becomes a certainly more abstract. And the abstraction is pointing in the direction of information. So what do we know that is in involved in information processing? Well, from a mechanical side, its brain or actually nervous system. And from the other side, it’s more like consciousness itself. It’s subjectivity is an information process in some way. So you can come at this both from a mainstream perspective, from a like a neuroscience perspective, but I don’t think that ultimately works. Because part of the the curiosity here is that how is it that a three pound lump of tissue in your head has figured out to extremely refined levels, a description of the entire universe? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, it also points out repeatedly that science tends to be is full of hubris, essentially, that these little brains and tides inside our little pea heads have figured out everything about the universe? I don’t think so. But we are clever like we I think we’re a reflection of the universe itself, each of us in some way. And so we’re able to access elements of reality that are not immediately accessible to our ordinary senses.
Rick Archer: Now, over the course of your career, have you seen this resistance to taking this kind of stuff seriously, erode quite a bit?
Dean Radin: Well, public interest really issue is about a public versus private split. So from a public perspective, we go through cycles, and the 1930s and 1940s. Most academics accepted the reality of the SP based on JB Ryan’s work. And then behaviorism became popular and psychology. And that pushed it aside, and then came back in the 1960s and 70s, along with the psychedelic revolution. And people were again saying, well, obviously, this stuff is real. And then there was a retraction in the 80s. And 90s. We’re now on a cycle is going back up again. So that that’s like from that’s from a public perspective, and the public academic perspective, which is reflected in the way that the popular press covers these things. From a private perspective, it has always been the majority of the population, including the majority of academics, who accept the phenomena, because the phenomena are they are, right. It’s what you can talk about in public, which is quite different. So some of my work involves business and government, usually military and intelligence worlds, they’ve always been interested in these domains, that that interest has never gone away, the only thing that changes is what amounts to a kind of surface way that it is talked about.
Rick Archer: And I’ve heard you say that, you know, many people who are interested in it won’t talk about it, because then they won’t get their PhD thesis approved, or they won’t get, you know, some faculty position or they won’t get tenure or whatever, because, you know, they’re just treading on forbidden ground
Dean Radin: is a taboo, it’s like a the, the definition of a taboo is certain things you don’t talk about. Yeah. And there were taboos, not just this topic, but many taboos, and especially in the academic world.
Rick Archer: It’s interesting, the fact that you said the, you know, the majority of the public believes in this stuff, I have a feeling that there’s, we have kind of innate intuitive desires and longings and feelings about the full potential of life are our own full potential and of human potential in general. And those can’t be repressed, you know, they’re just gonna keep it’s like a beach ball, you try to pop onto the wall, push it onto the water, it’s just gonna try to keep popping up. And sooner or later, we’re just going to have to face it and deal with it and come to fully understand it and incorporate it into the accepted body of, of knowledge.
Dean Radin: All you need to do is look at what’s happening on television and movies now, to see how it’s popping up. There. Some very large percentage, I don’t know what percentage a third perhaps or 25% of television shows now, our themes Having to do with psychic phenomena. Then of course, like any, any form of entertainment, it’s always an embellishment and looks magical and so on. But the basic ideas are there. And they’re in the entertainment world reflects what our interests are. Yeah, so nothing new there.
Rick Archer: So as a scientist, you pretty much restrain yourself to just studying the phenomenon without trying to come up with a theoretical understanding of how it works. You know, like, is consciousness a field? And how do we actually communicate between, you know, here in South Africa without any apparatus, and, and so on? Or do you do get into that, as well as actually measuring things that are measurable?
Dean Radin: Up until the last 10 years or so I was mainly interested in more focused phenomena, on testing empirically looking at the phenomena and trying to convince myself and others that we’re dealing with the real thing. But in the last 10 years or so, I’ve become more interested in trying to, to look at questions on how do we understand this in the larger context of understanding anything?
Rick Archer: What have you concluded, or maybe not concluded? But you know, how have you how is that developed so far?
Dean Radin: Well, as I said, I think that I’ve come to an understanding that this makes more sense thinking of it in idealistic terms, rather than materialistic terms. Unfortunately, science doesn’t have an epistemology of idealism. So we’re a little bit stuck in that it’s very difficult at this point to develop a theory on how things work mechanistically. If you’re dealing with something like consciousness, so we don’t know what the mechanism of consciousness is, in fact, there may not be one, it may be that we’re in a holistic environment that’s fully interconnected. It’s before spacetime. You can’t pull it apart by definition, in which case all of our methods in science fail. So I don’t have high confidence that I’m going to figure this out, or that anybody else in the short term is going to figure out how any of it works. But as a more like an umbrella understanding of the phenomenon, I think it makes more sense to think of it in terms of consciousness as fundamental. Because among other things, it reduces the anomalous nature of it. Science really does not like anomalies, even though science advances by understanding anomalies, because it shows where holes are in our assumptions. It rejects anomalies like crazy, doesn’t like it. And yet that that is, ironically the very thing that causes science to advance. So one of the other reasons why early on I was interested in these phenomena is because they do indicate that we’ve overlooked something very important. And by studying these effects, and convincing ourselves that it’s real, it would give us a clue about how to make the next big advancement.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And when you say very important, I mean, usually people might think, Okay, well, maybe we’re gonna get some new technology out of it, like we did when we went to the moon. And we figured out so many things, and, you know, gave us, you know, sorts of breakthroughs that we wouldn’t have other wise had if we hadn’t made that effort. What sort of impact? Do you think that really understanding this as a scientific culture and as a popular culture, really figuring it out the way we figured out so many other things? What sort of impact do you think that would have on our day to day life and on some of the problems that confront us?
Dean Radin: On a very pragmatic level, we have always been faced as a species and with the problem of making decisions without enough information. So how do we improve our ability to do that? Well, we need other ways of gaining information about not only present events, but future events to be wise about what’s the next step that we should do. So these phenomena suggests that we have that capacity. We can call it an intuition. We can call it whatever we like, but we have the capacity to, in effect, sample future possibilities and decide which one of those we want to go to. So one would think that there are some people who are much better at this and others, we would think that as a resource, as a society, we would want to cultivate, we’d want to find those people and allow them to cultivate those abilities. And the old days we would call them, Shaman. But those people are still around there. They just may not even know that they’re a shaman. They just know that they’re luckier something we should be wiser about how we use those kinds of resources. So that’s like every domain you can think of from personal to business and government, they should all have their resident shaman, helping decide to decide what’s the next best thing to do. From a more sociological perspective, if we, you can make a case that many of the problems in the world are a result of what we think about ourselves. And in particular, what we think consciousness is. So if we live within a, a worldview that says that we’re meat machines, or machines made of meat, and there’s no purpose or, or meaning to anything, well, then we will treat each other in that way. And that that gives rise to he who he who dies with the most toys wins. Well, that’s, that is the way that we see the world. It’s like running by a kind of an insane capitalism that is destroying everything. Well, what if our model of thus being purely meat machines is not correct, and maybe there is some kind of inherent purpose or meaning to reality, and maybe it’s related in some way to consciousness. So this has nothing to do with religious ideas, it has to do with our best understanding that we can get about the nature of what it means to be a sentient creature. Well, you would think that that too, would be an important thing to figure out, should we end up basically going extinct? Because we don’t understand ourselves very well? Or can we take this next step and try to figure out what’s going on, I taking the best of the of our ancient wisdom, which much of which has been cast into religious terms, and extracting the power struggle, which is involved in a lot of religion, and taking the essence of it, which mostly isn’t to the mystical traditions, and finding out what what of that can we believe is true and what is not so true. So from both from like an everyday pragmatic to a societal and even a species survival issue, there are many, many aspects here that are important to look at.
Rick Archer: Yes, study came out this week from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in which they suggested that we have another study or paper that in which we have perhaps a one in 20 chance of exterminating human life over the course of the next century, as a result of climate change. And to me, you say in entangled minds, some even propose that the entire universe is a single and self entangled object. And if that’s true, then what we do to the atmosphere and to the rain for us and to the oceans, and so on. We’re doing to ourselves, you know? Sure, yeah. We’re not It’s not like, like you say, for meat machines, and that’s just dumb and sentient stuff, then maybe it doesn’t matter. But if it’s, if, if actually, it’s one, you know, self entangled object, this universe, then the rain forests are as much a part of us as our arm is.
Dean Radin: Well, that’s from an ecological perspective. There’s no doubt that, that everything is interdependent. Yeah, in an ecological sense on the earth, and as well as things like banking are completely interdependent. The question here is much deeper than that, though. Because now it is basically saying that your personal, private, subjective self, is also dependent on everyone else’s, personal but not so personal, subjective self, and by the way, not just on Earth, but everywhere. So this automatically says if we as creatures have a sense of purpose, and meaning, maybe that’s a reflection of something much larger than ourselves. On the other hand, there could be an asteroid heading towards us right now that will destroy the earth. And well today, like people are predicting an apocalypse today. Well, that’s not likely to happen, but it could happen. Sure, it could be a large, dark asteroid somewhere that will eventually hit the Earth, in which case, it would be very easy then for somebody who has seen that asteroid about to hit the Earth to say, well, it couldn’t possibly be any meaning in that. So we need to leave room for accidents and in the universe, but I’m also reasonably sure that we’re not the only forms of sentient intelligent creatures in the universe.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, estimates these days are that they’re more earth like planets. In the universe, and there are grains of sand on all beaches of the world. And probably asteroids hit inhabited planets just about every day somewhere. Yeah.
Dean Radin: Yeah. So we, we should have a sense of purpose and meaning and a certain degree of being proud of ourselves, but not too much.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So let’s get into some of the stuff that you have actually done by way of research. And, you know, that has not necessarily won you a million dollars from James Randi, but has actually been published and has substantiated the notion that we do possess these latent abilities.
Dean Radin: Okay, anything in particular?
Rick Archer: Well, where would you like to start? I mean, what what do you what are you most proud of? Or inspired by? Or what do you what do you think people would find most interesting that, you know, among the fruits of your research,
Dean Radin: so a lot of the work that I do starts from common experiences. So one kind of experience is, and this happened to me, six months ago, or so, I was driving out of strip mall, and approaching the main street, out of the strip mall. And to my right, I was couldn’t see what hoop anything on the main drag, because there was a bank in the way that kind of blocked what he could see. In the left, he could see a little bit further down the street, so I was approaching the light that would allow me to get onto the main drag. And as they approached you to turn green. So normally, I would accelerate and saying, Okay, I have a clear shot. I didn’t see anybody on either side. But for some reason, I just felt, no, I felt this was not right, somehow. So I slowed down, the person behind me did not like that very much, because we had a green light. But I slow down and I kept going slower and slower and slower with a green light and nobody visible. And as I approached the light, somebody blasted through the light from the main drag at 50 miles an hour, not stopping at all for the red light. And I realized that if I had continued on and the normal way I would have been hit broadside or, or it would have been a serious accident. Yeah. So that is not that uncommon for people to pay attention to you get an internal sense that something is not right about this.
Rick Archer: There’s a verse from the Yoga Sutras, which goes Heyam Dukham Anagatam. And it means avert the danger that has not yet come.
Dean Radin: Yeah, be aware of it, basically. So I call that present moment. It is a feeling about a future event, not a cognition, it’s not pre cognition, a present moment. So the question is, how do you take an experience like that and see whether it’s coincidence, or a real thing. So I developed a paradigm, or protocol in the laboratory, where you put people in simulated danger, or you put them in a simulated emotional context to to see if their body unconsciously would physiological really respond differently to an upcoming event that was emotional in some way as compared to one that was calm. So the way we did that is, you said, you create a pool of pictures that are either very emotional, positive or negative. So positive emotion would be like an erotic picture. And negative emotional would be a picture of an accident or surgery or something like that. And then a whole bunch of calm pictures, a picture of a tree picture of an ashtray, things like that. Actually, an ashtray may not be so neutral anymore, but maybe a trash bucket or something like that. But something that doesn’t have much emotional content to it, right, and then you sit somebody down in front of the computer screen, you wire them up to look at some aspect of their physiology. We’ve looked at skin conductance and pupil dilation at eg at heart rate and blood pressure, all kinds of things. And in one form, or the experiment, you’d have them press a button, five seconds later, one of the pictures would be randomly selected and shown. And then for three seconds, and then the picture would go away, and they would relax for the next 30 or 40 seconds. And then they would repeat this. The important element in the experiment is that nobody knows in advance what the picture is going to be. Because there’s randomly selected and it’s randomly selected after that first five second period where you’re waiting for the screen is blank at that point. And so it’s not even the computer doesn’t know what it’s about to select because it does the Selection instantly before the image appears. So there’s no clue anywhere about what’s going to happen. So the prediction would be that if we are, if we are sensitive, or if our perception extends through time a little bit, and we’re sensitive to what’s about to unfold, will your body begin to gear up to become aroused before an emotional picture and remain calm before the calm picture. So it’s a differential measurement. And to make a long story short, after 15 years of experiments that I’ve done and colleagues around the world, the meta analysis shows very clearly that this is a real effect, that physiology does respond to what’s about to unfold. The timing, and because of the way the experiment is done is somewhere between around a second before the event up to approximately 10 seconds. And the difference depends on what factor of the physiology you’re talking about. So the brain tends to respond very quickly, heart rate tends to respond a lot slower. But if you look at it in the right timescale, you can see that the body responds differently to your future.
Rick Archer: And you’re studying Average Joes, you’re not getting psychic people into the lab, you’re taking graduate students who have a little spare time one or a few bucks or something and getting them in there. Right.
Dean Radin: Right. Yeah, yeah, we generally do not work with people who make special claims. That is not is not always the case. Sometimes we do look for people with special ability. But in general, I’m interested in what is true in the population, as opposed to what is true for somebody who has special skill. And so we’re able to show that it’s apt for more or less, not completely unselected because people don’t, people don’t do the experiment, unless they’re at least interested. Yeah, it was that level of selection unless you pay him something or whatever. But even then, if they don’t want to do it, they would immediately pay him a lot, but we never have a lot to pay, right. So people in general, have this ability. And the nice thing about this kind of experiment is that it doesn’t ask somebody to do a miracle in the laboratory. There, it’s a completely unconscious effect. And it is also true that among the most successful experiments in this field, in recent years, it is very clearly established now that experiments that do not require a conscious response. In other words are implicit or unconscious, they’re much stronger and more robust effects that you can see. So this is one of the reasons why I think that meditators become much more sensitive to these kinds of phenomena. But simply because one of the main things that happens with meditation after a while is that you become more and more sensitive to things that would previously have been considered to be unconscious.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one of the explanations of what meditation does is it sort of expands the conscious capacity of the mind. Sometimes the analogy of an ocean is used where, you know, the ordinary mind is just on the level the ways but, you know, through meditation that the full range of the ocean or more and more of it gets to be conscious.
Dean Radin: Right? Yeah. So we asked, we did a survey among the 1000 meditators having different levels of experience from just starting to advanced, and ask them a variety of different kinds of experiences that they may have had from synchronicity, the psychic, the mystical, and so on. And basically 75% of people responding said that as a result of their practice, their experiences that would be considered to be psychic or mystical, increased, noticeably. So it kind of fits this notion of what meditation does, it gets you more into contact with a portion of reality, which is for want of a better term deeper.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you know, in my own experience, and that of many people I know, it’s, there’s something that’s really precious, which you wouldn’t necessarily call psychic, or mystical or anything, but it’s just like what you experienced with that car accident, you might have had a feud accelerated through that intersection. There’s just a feeling like, I think I should go this way, you know, or I think I maybe shouldn’t do that. And it’s almost unconscious. That’s so so subtle, but you’re just guided to just and I know people who say that they don’t really even think in the normal sense. They don’t have formed sentences in their head. They just have these subtle impulses, and they just follow the impulses and it ends up sort of being far more fruitful or far more auspicious, far more desirable and outcome. than if they had sort of tried to rationally calculate what the best thing to do would be. Right? Yeah.
Dean Radin: Right. So that’s. So imagine that on an individual basis, we can think of it as an enhancement of intuition, perhaps. What if the majority of the population in the world behave that way? Yeah. What a different world? It would be. It would be very different. Right? So the, one of the ways of judging whether it’s in good direction or not good direction is whether it becomes a life affirming. Is it wellness oriented? Or is it profit oriented? That distinction? One wonders, I would imagine that the more sensitive you become to others, to yourself and others, the more wellness oriented it would be because you recognize that you and the other person are not really that different, after all.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s like it makes the Golden Rule more automatic, is, you know, if I were to do this, who is it going to hurt? And how’s it going to hurt them? You know, rather than just sort of blindly doing the thing and hurting the person?
Dean Radin: That’s because there are no other people.
Rick Archer: Yeah, exactly. And there’s this interesting thing I could throw in here. Whoa, Somebody just sent a fairly long question. Let me just see. I’ll get into this in a minute. I was just gonna say, there’s an explanation I’ve heard which I find kind of satisfying, which is that, you know, not only is consciousness sort of fundamental, but like you said before, maybe some people are more comfortable calling it information, I would say, in calling it intelligence, and maybe all those things are qualities of it. But there seems to be an intelligence which governs nature. And if we’re kind of isolated in a strange from that intelligence, just sort of, in our own little individual bubble, then we don’t have the resources of nature’s intelligence at our disposal. But you know, many people talk about, you know, living the DAO, or being in tune with that Universal Intelligence. And then that becomes the guiding impulse of their life. There’s a phrase called brahman is the charioteer guiding life rather than just sort of the individual in limited intelligence. And so, you know, we couldn’t possibly calculate all the implications and ramifications of every little action with our individual intellect. But if we could get in tune with that deeper intelligence that does the calculation for us, and all we have to do is kind of follow the impulses.
Dean Radin: Yep. Well said, If Atman equals Brahman, then why not behave from the Brahman side rather than the Atman? Side?
Rick Archer: Yeah. So just because this, this fellow just sent in a question, I think I’ll bring this in now. And we’ll get back into the rest of this. But we were talking before about shamans. And a fella named Serge from Luxembourg asked, said, I have an African background and having seen what happened in my country, and what is still happening there. And in other African countries, I’m not sure the government should have access to a resident Shaman. In Africa, they use, they use them and are still using them for selfish reasons. And I’m sure that in the European or Western countries, they would use them for military purposes, as was done in ancient Greece. And as you were saying, you know, the the Russians and the Americans have tried to use PSI for spying on each other and, you know, have been interested in its military applications. So can you comment on that? Thank you?
Dean Radin: Well, it’s a good question. And it’s, I think one of the one of the implications there is that if we are if we remain embedded within a context where people are at each other’s throats, then they will use the power of the shaman and the power of the magician in that context. So if we’re in a different context, where we recognize that there’s consciousness is more important than we thought before, and we switch from a capitalistic, crazy, aggressive society into one that is more apt to seeing the world as a single hole, and we probably should take care of each other on the planet, then the Shaman can be used for other purposes. So we know that there are just as many Darth Vader’s out there, as there are Jedi Knights, the power is neutral and a sense the abilities are neutral vague, that can be used for what might be thought of as good or bad. But it’s the context that determines how it is used. So I don’t think that in the current context, that we can automatically assume that a shaman who had actual ability as opposed to Sham facilities but as someone who’s actually had ability, that they would automatically use it for good purposes. So that is a good question.
Rick Archer: It is. I mean, last year at the sand conference science non duality conference, I remember you gave your talk on magic. And I think he touched upon the notion of sort of black magic or dark magicians and so on. And so, and obviously, we’ve talked about movies, and you just referenced Star Wars? And so it’s an interesting question. I mean, you know, there’s so many forces of nature that can either be harmful or beneficial. And this could be one more and so and, you know, is there any sort of safeguard or, or developmental procedure that we can conceive of that would tend to favor a more benign altruistic development and application of these latent abilities? Um, do you have any answer that?
Dean Radin: Well look at? Why is it within the classical yoga tradition that a large portion of the Eightfold Path is teaching students about or morals and ethics, because people who are in an advanced state recognize that if you’re your ego gets in the way you do become Darth Vader, because power is seductive at every level. So you could be seduced to the dark side fairly easily.
Rick Archer: Yeah, interesting point, I was just corresponding with someone this morning, in fact, his email just came in, as we were talking about a particular guru whom I won’t mention who, you know, just and there are many people can think of many examples who just became very, although people were very attracted to him, he had great charisma and power and wisdom and works and brilliant, brilliant books, did some really creepy stuff, and ruined a lot of people’s lives and marriages and finances, and, and all kinds of things. So it’s, it’s an interest for me. And it’s something I’m actually going to talk about the sand Congress myself this year with the ethics of Enlightenment. And I, and we could just for the context of this interview, refer to it as the ethics of developing psychic abilities in light and capabilities. It’s, I think it’s really important because there have been so many horror stories.
Dean Radin: Yeah, it’s, it’s the common, probably the common theme about gurus in general, is that they have some kind of ability, they learn very quickly that people will gravitate to that. And to resist the seduction of the power. Very, very difficult.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Which, in some, some people say, in the Zen tradition, if you have awakened, wait 10 years before you start teaching?
Dean Radin: Exactly. Yeah. And the same would be true for or at least a case can be made that if something were discovered about psychic phenomena that made it very robust, a method you take out a pharmaceutical, you do some kind of practice does anything and become really, really good at it it would it be appropriate to release that knowledge, in case could be made that it would not be we as a species, we are not sufficiently mature, to be able to withstand that power.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s pretty interesting. A lot of people. I mean, I’ve often thought that certain knowledge, and abilities will only come when we are mature enough to handle them. I don’t know if this there’s much evidence for that, considering what we’ve been doing to the world. But that and that there are certain concepts that become part of the popular culture when they’re ready to like someone like Steven Spielberg will come up with some great movie and it’ll just, you know, really blow people’s minds and popularize certain notion like extraterrestrials or psychic ability or whatever. And it might even be that people like Spielberg and George Lucas and so on aren’t even conscious the extent to which they are serving as tools of some something bigger that’s that’s guiding the culture along.
Dean Radin: Yeah, well, we’re especially creative artists are embedded in that field, for want of a better term a little more than others that are sensitive to what the population wants to see. And so they reflected.
Rick Archer: Yeah. You mentioned Speaking of things that aren’t probably going to happen until we’re ready for him. At one point you in some talk, you talked about possible using psychic ability to connect with extraterrestrials rather than through radio, radio waves, radio waves being a rather primitive form of communication that is actually already going out of vogue and even on this planet. Any comments on that? I thought that was interesting.
Dean Radin: Well, it’s true. We’re we seem willing to spend 10 to $20 million a year to look for the As the radio or television broadcasts from other stars to systems, because that’s it’s basically looking under the streetlight because that’s where we know how to look. But realistically, if there were intelligent creatures out there who are way more advanced than we are, and we can already, I think, glimpse that were, our consciousness is capable of things that are way more interesting than electromagnetics, then we should be using that as not giant telescopes, but people who have special skills who are sensitive to receiving information from elsewhere. So there are people who claim that they’re in contact with creatures from other planets, and of course, they’re dismissed as being Gouki. It’s very difficult to this point to be able to vet are they correct or not? Right, because we don’t have independent methods. But in principle, it would be possible to confirm or deny what’s going on. I mean, for example, if somebody claims that they’re in contact with people from the Pleiades, which is a common place, for some reason that people talk about, I think it’s because the word Pleiades is pleasing to say, well, then get up and get five people who are claiming to talk to the same folks and the Pleiades. And ask one, certain questions, and then ask the other similar questions and start to compare notes, basically, to see if in fact, they’re communicating with the same people and getting the same kind of ideas. It’s this scent is in principle, similar to what you would do if you’re doing a radio communication, you use multiple ways of testing whether the information is correct, and consistent. So why are we not doing that? Well, there are people doing it, but not being funded $10 billion a year to do it. Because it’s not considered within the way that we do things at present, at least not in a scientific fashion. But it could be
Rick Archer: does the SETI program get $10 million a year?
Dean Radin: Well, I’m thinking of Paul Allen, who is funding on the Allen array. And so I’d gotten 10s of millions of dollars to do that. And the SETI program, which is no longer part of NASA, but as an independent entity. Yeah, they get old to get support, a lot of support, way more support than the kind of research that we do.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And it’s funny, because I mean, radio waves are really slow, even though they’re the speed of light in terms of the size of our universe, whereas the kind of thing you’re talking about, is not constrained at all by time or distance.
Dean Radin: As far as we can tell, the phenomena we’re talking about are not in space time. So they don’t have those constraints. You won’t actually know if that’s true until we at least have a colony on Mars. And we can do experiments from here to there. Because you can’t get far enough away on Earth. To check whether speed of connection is actually Lightspeed or beyond. The reason why I think it is still light beyond Lightspeed is because of precognition. Because then the moment that you can get a signal from what we consider to be the future, we’re clearly not dealing with ordinary spacetime.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s a interesting little segment from entangled minds that I took note of because they wanted to discuss it with you. You said, some scientists suggest that the remarkable degree of coherence displayed in living systems might depend in some fundamental way on quantum effects like entanglement. Others suggest that conscious awareness is caused or related in some important way to entangled particles in the brain. And then that other thing that I read earlier, somebody proposed that the entire universe is a single self entangled object. So would you explain a little bit what is meant by entanglement and and why coherence despite living systems might depend upon it.
Dean Radin: So entanglement is a translation of a German term that shorting or came up with, and trying to describe one of the implications of the mathematics of quantum theory. From a quantum perspective, at least the way that shorting is wave equation was devised. If you have two objects that interact, actually, if you have just one object, it’s described by its wavefunction. That’s the way that the mathematics works. If you have two objects that interact, they’re described by a more comprehensive wave function. Part of the wave function, then has mathematical components that are the combination of both objects. So the implication was that when two things interact, they get into a mixed state that they no longer have independent properties or properties are shared. So that’s what was meant by entanglement, their properties are shared. So it As Einstein didn’t like this idea, which is why he came up with a notion, spooky action at a distance, because the implication would be that you have two objects that interact at some point. And then they go on, they’re separate waves. And yet they’re not independent. They, they both contain part of each other, not in the form of classical correlation, like two things that are spinning in the same direction. But part of the properties are literally then mixed together in a way where it doesn’t matter where they are, they will still be connected. Yeah, they can,
Rick Archer: they can be on opposite sides of the galaxy. And if one changes in one way, or the other changes instantly this the other way. Or so they say,
Dean Radin: well, in a more subtle sense, but yes, they’re no longer separate in the usual way of thinking of separateness. So it took 30 years before John Bell figured out how to experimentally tested this is true. And now the experiments have been done many times. And it shows that it is in fact the case that there is a kind of sharing of properties, and objects that are not separate anymore. And the separateness is curious, because it’s not it the connection is not in space or time to transcend space and transcends time. That is why then you can come to the conclusion that, at some point, a lot of things have interacted with each other. In fact, on the earth, virtually everything has interacted with everything else over millions of years, in which case, at some deep level of physical reality, the Earth is one holistic chunk of stuff. And maybe the whole universe, then is one chunk of stuff. This is now purely on a physical level has nothing to do with the possible subjective side to it. But even at a physical level, we’re living in a massive bowl of jello. So it’s all one thing somehow. So now you add in subjectivity, like you’re this is like looking at the thing from the outside, like looking at the brain from the outside, and knowing nothing about what’s going on the inside? Well, the inside is the subjective awareness of the object. So if you have, you can have something like a brain, which portions of which are down at the level of atomic particles, things like ions transporting between synapses. Well, those are subject to the laws of quantum mechanics. That means that there’s entanglement happening in the brain, happening everywhere, but in the brain as well, which means it’s a holistic object, some elements of which are not in space or time. But there’s also subjectivity to it. We, I mean, even from a classical neuroscience perspective, we know that there are correlations between the activity of the brain and subjective awareness. So that means that there’s some elements of subjective awareness that are not in space or time. I mean, this progression of what we know from the six elements of subjectivity, which are an item that is exactly well be as mystical and psychic experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah, when I hear an explanation like that, I just I sort of think of, kind of like an ocean analogy of you say, there are some elements that are not in space and time, that just the deeper you go, the more universal it becomes. And, you know, so you get, you get away from the specificity of the waves to the universality of the depth of the ocean. And that, you know, fundamentally, everything is infinitely correlated. Everything in the universe is intimately connected with everything else. And every What was it you said? Well, a single self entangled object, that there there is no, nothing that is isolated from anything else. That’s right. Yeah.
Dean Radin: And so there are people whose personality is such that their sense of reality is driven very strongly by the ordinary senses. For those people, this kind of talk is crazy talk. Yeah. Because they don’t have their experience does not include the possibility or the experience that what we’re talking about could possibly be real. For them. Everything is common sense. Classical objects, which looks separate. And people are separate. Everything is separate. So that is pretty large chunk of the population, maybe, maybe in the majority, I’m not quite sure I think it is. Yeah. So for for them and those who become scientist who have that personality type. No wonder they resist this like crazy. Well, I have found that in general that the people who are attracted to things like meditation, it’s changing now, because meditation is now prescribed as an anti stress approach. But in the old days, people who would be attracted to something like meditation, were not those kinds of people at all. There were people who had an internal sense of connectivity, even though they may not express it in those terms. But they would feel it somehow. So for them, what we’re talking about is straightforward. kind of fits.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And even a lot of people who take up meditation for stress and all, after a while, many of them begin to realize there’s something more, you know, right? Maybe this dress is taken care of, and then they start opening up to deeper realities, and so on.
Dean Radin: It’s very similar to somebody who may come from a perspective of common sense equals reality, like naive reality, it’s common sense while you take a psychedelic, and suddenly that’s no longer true. Yeah. So it oftentimes takes a very strong personal experience to question your prior beliefs, and otherwise, otherwise, there’s no reason to change.
Rick Archer: Yeah, is that one of your articles, I enjoy the challenge of exploring the frontiers of science, and I am comfortable tolerating the ambiguity of not knowing the right answer, which is a constant companion at the frontier. I like that way of thinking. And, you know, what we’re talking about here is people who are convinced that they have the right answer, and that things are the way they perceive them to be, and so on. But I think it’s much more interesting to live with a sense of wonder and mystery and not pitching your tent on, you know, some limited ground.
Dean Radin: Right. But I remember when I was in training, in an engineering school, that you do get a sense after a while of, of one, have a feeling of control and power over your understanding of the way things work. Because I was in a class, for example, where we were designing rocket engines. And you learn that the mathematics can describe how you need to move a rocket engine so that you can basically push a pencil up into orbit. Yeah. Well, you see that you could do it with partial differential equations, and then you build it, and then it works well, so you understand something. And it doesn’t take long before that sense of understanding inflates quickly. And you get a sense that even though you may not understand everything from every other discipline, that that you’re on the right track, and you got it. Well, I did get I mean, I remember what that felt like. And so I have great sympathy for scientists and engineers who do get this kind of inflated sense that we’re so close to understanding everything. And maybe it’s because they also came from an artistic background or something where I realized that that sense was an illusion.
Rick Archer: People were saying that back in the 1800s, you know, this, and we pretty much got it all figured out. And there won’t be much any major discoveries after this and
Dean Radin: no reason for anybody to go in and physics, because it’s all it’s already know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. That’s just a perennial limitation and people’s vision. I’m sure, I always think in terms of spirituality, that everybody’s a beginner relative to what is possible. And I think that’s probably true of science as well. You know, there could be civilizations that are millions of years more advanced than ours that, you know, would make us look like Stone Age characters.
Dean Radin: Sure. I’m convinced that that’s true. One of the ways I judge without being too judgmental about it, or one of the ways I assess where somebody is on this spectrum is by saying that imagine that there’s a fraction. And so the the bottom part of the fraction is everything that can be known. And the top part of the fraction is what we actually know now. So is that fraction closer to one or closer to zero? So somebody who has an inflated sense in my from my perspective, and inflated sense of what we think we know, they’re gonna say we’re a lot closer to one, or pretty close. I think we’re so close to zero that it is effectively zero.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I tend to agree. It says that, you know, your example of rocketry and getting something into orbit. And how it gives you imbues you with a sense of power, when it actually works, you’re able to do that. For some reason, it reminded me of supernormal abilities, which I’ve also heard you talk about, such as the things outlined in the Yoga Sutras, the various cities. And, you know, if if those things are real, people being able to levitate or become invisible or, you know, that kind of stuff. It would imply that they have some kind of mastery over natural laws, which we don’t really understand. But they’ve some implies all kinds of things. I mean, it implies a deep connection between consciousness and the laws of nature. That is not commonly understood. And it would be really cool if something like that were performed because rather than the real tiny, subtle things that you find when studying large numbers of people, if if individuals could perform that, and it were proven that they weren’t just magicians, then it was sort of being in your face, forcing a reassessment of, you know, our understanding of life and consciousness and matter and everything else.
Dean Radin: Well, I think historically that has happened. There have been people who are quite good at some of the cities. Yeah, I think it’s happening a lot for gurus who become popular that they may not have the the the advanced cities, but they have elementary ones, right. A lot of people have LM elementary ones. Even among the advanced, yogi’s, they all recognize that it’s extremely rare for somebody to have the advanced cities, because it’s not only that you have 30 years of meditation experience, but you also have talent in that particular domain. It’s also important that within the Yoga Sutras, there’s, there are prohibitions about demonstrating it, you don’t demonstrate it, like Fight Club, you don’t talk about it. And, and for good reason that you can imagine, in today’s world of somebody who had these abilities, who were demonstrating it, no one would believe
Rick Archer: it, everyone would need to see it personally. Even if they saw
Dean Radin: it personally, most people would not believe it. That was because we’re used to seeing these things as tricks, even in person. For those who do end up believing it, they will immediately become completely devoted to that person, that person then is going to be seduced by the power of doing it, which is why the prohibition is there in the yoga sutras. He just don’t do this. We’re not ready for it yet as a species. So elementary cities are okay. And we study these in the laboratory, we know that they’re real. The major cities may need to wait until we’re almost superior, or at least something beyond homosapiens.
Rick Archer: Yeah, they may need to. I was part of the TM movement for many years, and we all learned siddhi practices in the 70s 7778. And to my knowledge, no one has convincingly demonstrated them. At this end, even even some of the subjective ones, I don’t think there’s been any proof sent and very often the alibi use is, well, collective consciousness isn’t ready for it. Yeah.
Dean Radin: So I asked John Hagglund who’s now the head in charge of the TM movement,
Rick Archer: who was head of mine back in the day, I taught him to meditate back. Oh, wow.
Dean Radin: So I asked him, Well, what is the status of yogic Fulani? Has anyone been able to do it? The answer is no. There’s hopping but there’s no flying, there’s not even over. I’ve
Rick Archer: done the hopping and it’s muscular. There may be sort of an energetic impulse that caused it to happen. But I don’t think any Newtonian laws are being violated.
Dean Radin: Right? So I said, Well, levitation is probably one of the most advanced cities. So why the Maharishi start with the most advanced city as a way of demonstrating that the cities were exist? And there’s no good answer to that the meta Maharishi had his own ideas in mind, I guess. But why not start with an elementary city? Yeah, like they teach people remote viewing or clairvoyance or some something that most people have to begin with, that will be easy to demonstrate. It would also be easy to demonstrate not only that the phenomena exist, but that the practice of siddhi yoga would make it better. So to my knowledge, no one has ever tried that. What did heyland
Rick Archer: say when you asked him that?
Dean Radin: I didn’t ask him that specifically. Yeah. But I guess now it’s the the teaching of Siddha Yoga is or the set of meditation method is still going
Rick Archer: on? Oh, yeah. TM siddhi program, they call it?
Dean Radin: Yes. And people will claim I’ve talked to people who claim that they privately will experience some of the more advanced studies, but they don’t demonstrate it. Yeah. So we so is no way to know.
Rick Archer: Or believe me. I did that whole thing for 25 years out of a sense of obedience and dedication. And I never saw any evidence. I don’t believe I believe it’s possible. I believe people have levitated throughout history. It just hasn’t happened and contemporary experience.
Dean Radin: At least not in a way that can be objectively
Rick Archer: measured or verified. Right? Yeah. One thing I did experience I’ve heard you allude to this in some of your talks, is, you know, meditating in large groups. One time I was in a group of 8000 people all meditating together for a week or two. And, boy, it was packed palpable, but the atmosphere was so thick, you know, with this sort of bliss and coherence and energy and so on. And of course, the reason the TM movement did this was to demonstrate that group coherence could have an influence on world events. And so there was all these studies on crime rate and economic indicators and all kinds of things, an attempt to correlate the the assemblage of such groups with changes in society. And you know, according to the scientists, many of whom got those studies published, people like David Johnson, there was definitely a correlation. So
Dean Radin: yeah, so we’ve we’ve done similar studies using different methods, good. evidence suggesting that, that not necessarily meditation, but simply large scale, attention, focus, changes aspects of reality, physical reality. So it’s consistent with with the the so called Maharishi Effect, but looked at from a very different kind of perspective.
Rick Archer: Yeah, talk about that a bit, I heard you talk about how on 911, and the death of Princess Diana, and some of these, these things, which really drew world attention, there was a change that you could actually measure.
Dean Radin: Right. So starting in the mid 1990s, my colleague at Princeton, Roger Nelson, got this idea that we know from laboratory studies that if you take a true random number generator, where the randomness is based on a quantum event, it just produces dreams with zeros and ones. And you can assess them very easily using simple statistics, whether the output of the generator is random, as expected, or more orderly. So this is an easy way of detecting unexpected moments of coherence that are arising in a physical object. So in laboratory, you use that as the way of testing whether somebody’s focused intention on the device or the feedback from the device, does it make a difference? The answer is, yeah, it makes a difference that you can inject order into a random system. So Roger got the idea of well, maybe it’s not simply intention, maybe it’s just an attention directed at the at the device. So he took random number generators to a lots of different contexts where you can predict that there will be large amounts of attention, like movies and plays, and meditation circles and that sort of thing. And he was reporting that during the is group activity that you would see order appearing, where it shouldn’t appear in these physical devices. Then starting in 97, or 98, we decided that Roger and me and a few others were talking about, wouldn’t it be nice to have a system that was running all the time, so we could take advantage of unexpected events that we knew that would draw the world’s attention. So we it was launched in 98, I think and is run continuously since then, where we had at times up to 65, to 70, random number generators running in major cities around the world, and continually sending data up to a server at Princeton. And so one of the events that we looked at was 911, many, many other events 500 or so, since we started, that were events that attracted a large proportion of the world’s attention for some time. And the question is, then, since we have a continuous database, now over 1819 years of random data from all over the world, what happens to that random data during times when a predictable proportion of the world is paying attention? And the answer is that it’s doesn’t look random anymore. It’s no longer random. It’s becoming orderly in some way. So there’s two ways of interpreting the results of this experiment. It by the way, it’s a seven sigma result. What does that so a seven sigma result means? You think in terms of the way the normal curve looks, that generally something is considered to be statistically significant if the mean, the center point of that normal curve is chance. And then plus or minus about two standard errors, standard error and a sigma that are the same thing. Two standard errors is where most things happen. If you go out to three standard errors on either side becomes rarer, but seven standard errors is the odds against chance or beyond a trillion to one. So at that stage, you’re way, way out. way far away from chance. So that’s where we are after 500 events in what we call a global consciousness project, which is really Rogers, baby but we have a bunch of people involved in this thing. So Two ways of interpreting what’s going on. One is that when we selected a, an event to look at that that was important that we were somehow selecting events that were going to give a good result. And this does not mean that we look at the data and decide to use it, we define the event first, and formally defined the event. And then we go look at the data. So by doing the formal selection of events, those 500 events cumulate to seven sigma. So we know that it’s a real effect, they still don’t know exactly how to interpret the meaning of those events. But that is nevertheless what we get. So for the last couple of years, we’ve been doing experiments like this using new kinds of random number generators that we brought to Burning Man. Because Burning Man is an event is nice, because it’s isolated from the rest of the world. It involves two major events that have the 60 or 70,000, people all focused on that same event, and one is the burning of the man, the other is the burning of the temple. So we’ve use commercial random number generators and generators have our own design that we brought to Burning Man, to see in that context, could we get any evidence that there’s unexpected order appearing and the random and the randomness? And the answer is yes, we see indications like we’ve seen in the global scale at these more local events. And in the last two years, we brought our own devices to Burning Man where we’re recording the noise itself, the electronic noise, rather than turning it into bits, because of all the previous studies looked at random bits. But now by taking the noise, we’re able to see is the reason why we see effects in bits, because the noise changes. To make a long story short, yes, the noise changes, too. So the metaphor we used in our last study last last year, was maybe what’s happening is a disturbance in the Force. Good one. So it’s Obi one’s metaphorical description of some kind of distortion in space time, as a result of shift of attention. We analyze that in the noise by looking at autocorrelation correlations, which is the self similarity of the noise over time. So it’s a temporal measure, and also something called mutual information, which is that we have 32 generators, and we’re able to look at the outputs of all 32 in relationship to each other. So that’s looking at a spatial form of coherence among the generators, it should give separate results. But if they don’t, we would detect that right away. So we had both a temporal and spatial way of measuring what was happening in the generators, before, during, and after the two major events. And we saw that there were what amounts to distortions in space and time, consistent with the idea of a disturbance in the Force, a warping of space time, as a result of lots of people suddenly focusing at the same time.
Rick Archer: Seems like it could do this at baseball games and things to know.
Dean Radin: Well, there. I’ve done it with colleagues who have done it at places like when the Red Sox finally won the World Series after many years and things like that. So yeah, it can be used in lots of contexts.
Rick Archer: Yeah. What I don’t understand is how and why human attention on something’s totally unrelated to a little random number generator machine, such as a baseball game, or Burning Man should affect a random number machine. I mean, what the actual mechanics of physics would be that would cause this machine to churn out numbers differently than when people’s attention was, was incoherent.
Dean Radin: The reason you asked that question? Yeah, is because we are so embedded in reductive materialism, that that’s the only way we can imagine that something could happen. So now things like turn this on its head and say that maybe we really just live in a universe. That’s all consciousness. Yeah, right. So the physicality is emerging, it’s emerging from it somehow. In which case, if you go to an unusual period, where some localized domain of consciousness becomes highly coherent and focused, that the physicality which arises from that is going to look a little bit different than it would if you have a gazillion different directions of attention all the time. So one of the ways that you would detect that this moment of highly ordered consciousness would be a more ordered form of physicality. And so it’s not just the random number generators that are changing. Everything changes. Yeah,
Rick Archer: refrigerators and Volvo cars and everything else is being inputs, but just the random number generators have the sensitivity to change in a way that we can measure.
Dean Radin: Not only that, it’s the only thing that we’re measuring. Yeah. So if we could detect a moment of coherence in a plant, or a refrigerator or a battery, we would find that all of the changes, if we were smart enough to figure out what the measure, that’s what the implication would be, I get that
Rick Archer: that’s a good explanation. It’s the first time I’ve ever understood that. It’s like, I don’t know, simple example might be if you can somehow make the ground and a forest be more fertile than all the plants are going to be nourished simultaneously, just automatically, so there’s sort of a, like you say, there’s the force or a field of consciousness, and if that can somehow be enlivened. And if if group events, you know, things that focus large numbers of people’s attention can enliven it, then since that field is common to everything, refrigerators involve OHS and all living beings and everything else, then there’s going to be a sort of a universal upwelling of influence. And certain things we’ll be able to measure it certain physical apparatus, apparatus, a will. And also human beings will if they’re sensitive, I mean, these days. Do you concur with that? That my understanding of that? Yeah, that’s right. Sometimes I like to put things my own words, just to kind of make sure I got it.
Dean Radin: Sure. The other one, the other metaphor I use sometimes is a Mobius. Strip, right? So it’s a mobius strip from a distance looks like a ribbon. A ribbon has two sides, like mind and matter being two sides of something different, not connected at all, other than through this ribbon. But if it’s a mobius strip, then what looks like mind to matter are actually one the same thing. So what do you see it as mind? Or where do you see it as matter become, it depends on how close you’re looking and how you’re looking and all the rest. But because it’s on the same strip, one, one part of it is doing something, the other part has to do something similar, because it wasn’t separate. So that that’s another metaphorical way of looking at the relationship between two things that appear to be separate, but they’re actually not separate.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Incidentally, one of the things that TM movement has to say about this coherence created by large groups of meditators, which I would say apply to any kind of meditation is that it has parallels in in the physical world, in terms of, you know, 1%, or even the square root of 1% of the elements of a system influencing the whole system. Like it’s said that 1% of the heart cells are pacemaker cells, and they kind of coordinate the beating of the whole heart, or the square root of 1% of the photons in a laser have to get coherent. And if they do, then the whole the rest of them and train with those, and the whole thing becomes one coherent beam. So their their explanation was that if even a small percentage of the population can be generating adequate coherence, that it can have a major effect on much larger numbers of people,
Dean Radin: right, and vice versa. So we see given today’s politics that if you have something which is like a distant train meant that it could create more disorder. Yeah. And so as we see what is happening in politics today, that you you can pull people together or you can push them apart, because it’s true that you have like catalysts that can push in either direction.
Rick Archer: It’s a tug of war. In my last interview with Paul Muller Ortega, we talked about that image from the Vedic literature, where the gods and demons are having a tug of war with a snake as the rope and it’s the snakes wrapped around Mount Meru. Anyway, there’s this there’s, this seems to be this tug of war always going on between coherence and incoherence. Right. A woman named Prithivi from MIT sent in a question. Sloan dot MIT. Is there a school at MIT called Sloan and a particular subsection? Okay, so her question is, can you share with us examples of interesting studies that have been conducted with folks with advanced cognition?
Dean Radin: Advanced cognition,
Rick Archer: cognition, perhaps,
Dean Radin: I don’t know. We did do a study with long term non dual meditators. It’d be maybe that’s in the right direction,
Rick Archer: maybe we’ll take a crack at it. And she can always send in a follow up if she wants to.
Dean Radin: So we recruited people who had a minimum of 20 years of active practice and non dual meditation things like sub Chen. And this was a presentment experiment of an extremely simple type, where they would go into their meditation they’d wear special glasses that had little lights that would flash In the glass, and they were earbuds that can make a tone. And we wanted to see whether what was happening in the brain at 32 channel EEG. Would their brains respond before a light flash or an audio tone? And would it wear it respond be different of the words with the response reflect the fact that they were getting visual input or audio input, you wanted to see how the future event would? Would it affect it? And would it be differentially measured where there was affecting it? So we had, I think we had eight non dual meditators and eight matched controls for gender and age. So that the joke around where I live is that it was much more difficult to find controls than it was to find meditators. It’s California, right? Yeah, having go on any side street, you’ll find an advanced meditator. But to find people have never meditated is somewhat difficult, but we managed to do it. So that the bottom line was what is happening in the brains, with these extremely non emotional stimuli, very simple stimuli that are just producing evoked responses in the brain in different locations. And yeah, the non dual meditators showed a very clear brain difference, depending on what the what the future event was, at best, sometimes it would get a light flash, or an audio tone, or both at the same time, or nothing. So we did a little differential measurements. And then we looked at the same kind of measurements in the controls, and their brain showed no effect at all. So what this says is that the people who have these this 20 years have this meditative style, which the reason why we chose that is because they and most advanced meditators will eventually start reporting moments or feelings of spaciousness, meaning extended through space, or an extended extended through time. Yeah, timelessness. So we wanted to know whether there’s an ontological reality to the sense of being extended through through time. Well, to the present moment, experiment is exactly what that does. It extends awareness through time, and we detect that by what’s happening in the body. So they did show that effect, whereas the controls did not
Rick Archer: cool. So Prithivi, if that answered your question, good. If it didn’t send a follow up question. Dean will answer it, but we’re probably gonna wrap up pretty soon. So send it quickly. Okay, so Dean, thinking about what we’ve talked about the last hour and a half or so. Are there any are there some things that are important to you that you would like to have the opportunity to say, things you’re working on things you have worked on, that we haven’t even brought up?
Dean Radin: Well, I originally, way back when, when I was at Princeton, I decided I wanted to write a trilogy, of having to do with psychic phenomena, because this is what I was been studying for a while. So the first book was the conscious universe where basically it was a presentation of how do we know in science, that anything is a real thing. So it has to do with replication, and experiments? And how do you understand all that? So that’s what that book is about? The second book was addressing the question that came up a lot, which was how do you explain it is stuff? It doesn’t seem like it fits in the laws of physics. The second book entangled minds was largely about the physics of this. The third book was ever as a result of people asking them well, is this if everybody has this? How do I get how do I train to make it better? And isn’t that a good thing? So I chose the classical yoga, the Yoga Sutras as a way of demonstrating that first of all, this has been around for a long time. Yoga Sutras are useful, because the third book talks in detail about the various kinds of abilities that can be developed and even give us a recipe for it and address a question of, can we believe what potentially wrote about 2000 years ago? The answer is, yeah, he wasn’t making a fairy tales, at least not for the elementary cities. So the fourth book, which will come out in April 2018, is a book that I hadn’t originally planned, because I thought that those three books would be enough. And so instead of a trilogy, it’s a quartet, or whatever the literary equivalent of four is. Is there one? What’s after a trilogy of quartet, something like that quality? Yeah. So I decided to expand not just yoga, but the esoteric traditions in general, to look at what do those traditions say about these phenomena? And do they provide a clue about a way of understanding why these makes sense? Because empirically, we have good evidence that they exist, it’s still very difficult to shoehorn the phenomena into our understanding of the field. A world in the way that we we learn in a secular society. from a religious perspective, people have faith that Magic Happens all the time. But But I’m a scientist, and in a secular society we had we can’t rely on faith as an answer. It’s not an answer of anything, it’s faith. So went back to look at the the whole, primarily Western, but other esoteric traditions with the intention of synthesizing from all of that clues that would tell us why any of this makes sense, or does it make sense? And of course, a very rapidly discovered that this has been done many times that most historians and philosophers who do the same thing end up with the same synthesis. So Aldous Huxley’s the perennial philosophy is just one example of many that come to the same conclusion, which is that if you you take the the experiences that had been codified into the esoteric literature, and mystical experience, it says that consciousness is fundamental. And the physical world emerges from it basically idealism. The other thing that you see is that people throughout history have been interested in so what, what, what do you do with that knowledge, and the esoteric perspective, the so what has turned into ways of controlling our environment. So the methods were astrology, which turned into astronomy, and alchemy, which turned into chemistry, and herbalism, which turned into pharmaceuticals, and one other class, which turned into magic. So we don’t consider magic today as a real thing, other than entertainment. It’s Harry Potter and Harry Houdini. So I got interested in looking more carefully at the esoteric ideas about magic, like, what is it? What what do you synthesize out of that as to what it even means. And I discovered to my shock, actually, that I’ve been studying magic for almost 40 years. Because when you look at what magic actually is, it’s three categories. It’s divination, which is, which is cast in terms of tarot cards, and crystal ball reading and all that stuff. But divination is about perception through space and time. That’s clairvoyance, remote viewing, pre cognition. That’s what science is looked at. And it’s confirmed that that’s a real thing. In other words, that magical practice of divination is real. It’s not, of course not. It’s nothing like you see in Harry Potter or in entertainment. But that’s always the case. It’s always an embellishment, but the phenomenon is real. The second category is force of will, which means an intentional manifesting of things in the world. That’s magic. We study that in the laboratory through psychokinetic experiments. And we know that that’s real, too. And the third category is less certain, but it’s the energy, which is communicating or dealing with spirits, or non physical entities of some type. And that’s primarily in the modern world study through things like mediumship research. So all of these ancient techniques, which were just heavily coated with all kinds of medieval stuff, which in today’s terms is theater, I would consider it to be mostly theatre and ritual. And you you strip away the to get to the essence of what these methods are, we find evidence through scientific experimental, repeated studies, that these traditional ideas about magic are real. So that that became the fourth book of unmagic, which, as you said, is coming out in April 2018. Which goes into enough detail I think, to show why ancient ideas about magic will become the future of science. And exactly the same way that astrology became astronomy and alchemy became chemistry, that there’s an element. This is not supernatural magic, it’s natural magic. It is simply the way that the world works. And there are important clues, I think, from these ancient ideas about esoteric called esoteric only because they were suppressed. It’s not like it’s not esoteric for any other reason. And the same is true for occult. It just means hidden, suppressed. So I spend a chapter and a half in the book talking about why I think this actually is the future of science and not a reversion to the past.
Rick Archer: Interesting. I don’t want to question you on that a little bit more. One To me, the whole sort of Vedic understanding of consciousness is fundamental. And all that not only fundamental, but it really is everything, and that it contains within it all the impulses of intelligence that that govern the manifestation and maintenance of the of the manifest universe. So Consciousness contains all the intelligence, all the laws of nature, that govern everything that helps that makes it so easy to understand how the phenomenon you study could work, and how phenomenon we have not yet seen such as levitation could work. Otherwise, it’s a complete bafflement. And you have to reject it as bogus if you’re operating from a materialistic viewpoint,
Dean Radin: right? Now, it’s true that that’s why it is very, very difficult for someone who has been inculcated into materialism as the way the only way especially, to study how the physical world works. It’s very difficult, maybe not possible to, to take these phenomena and figure it out, as the example was before that, you said how could focus attention change the world, because the the use of the immediate thing that we turn to is what is the mechanism by which from the physical is going to the other side. And if that is, it may be completely backwards, you start from the other direction, and suddenly becomes very straightforward.
Rick Archer: So something you said a minute ago, fascinated me, which is that this is the future of science. And I sometimes think that a time will come I don’t know when 100 years, 300 years, where people will sort of be bemused about the rift between spirituality and science, it will seem like you know, primitive, and because these subjective and objective approaches to gaining knowledge will have merged into a kind of a common endeavor. And each of those branches will have contributed tools that the other didn’t have, and will sort of augment and supplement one another. So in other words, for instance, subjective means of gaining knowledge, meditation, that kind of thing, can enable, if used in a systematic way, could enable us to explore all sorts of subtle realms that that physical scientific apparatus apparatus are too crude to measure or to detect or to explore. And on the other hand, science with its sort of logical, methodical, you know, approach can take a lot of the hocus pocus and mumbo jumbo and, you know, subjective confusion out of spirituality and make it a much more rigorous and, and systematic thing. But the two coming together will just provide us with a much a seamless understanding of nature, that will have won’t be fragmented anymore. It’ll just give us the whole range. We think about that.
Dean Radin: Well, I think it’s inevitable. Yeah, I don’t, I’m more optimistic that it’s not going to take 300 years, it might take as little as 20 years, if we simply decided that it was something we wanted to do, at least to make a step in that direction.
Rick Archer: Well, it’s already happened for some people such as you, but you know, for it to happen for the culture in a predominant way might take a while, hopefully not. I don’t know, if we have two or 300 years to wait.
Dean Radin: Well, that’s the thing. We may not have the time to wait. This is another reason why I think that trying to search for radio signals from aliens is not the way to do it. Yeah, that it because it’s easy, at least for me to project that eventually, you’re right. That what we currently call spirituality is simply a more refined form of the physical world that we don’t have good words for yet, that involves subjectivity in some way, that aliens who have any kind of intelligence at all will have figured that out will then be way ahead of us, even 1000 years, which is nothing in space terms. 1000 years from now, we if we have any degree of cleverness at all, we’ll figure out a lot more about this. And at that stage, you would realize that, I guess if you wanted to be in another planet, you just think in a certain way, and you’re there. You don’t need ships, you don’t need any of the mechanisms that we normally think about as requiring how to travel from here to there. Where it maybe you don’t need to travel physically. There are other ways other forms of physicality that we don’t have good names for yet, but that the the concepts are there. We just don’t know how to use them very well yet other than in what amounts to theatre. We have the ethical ways of using it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, some of the people you referred to earlier who claimed to have communicated with extraterrestrials say that they they have developed technologies which have meant mastered the interface between consciousness and physical machines such that it’s sort of like these machines are, are controlled with the consciousness of the operators. And if one wants to be, you know, on the other side of the galaxy, mentally, which could be done very quickly, the machine is actually capable of following suit versus Stark Trekkie. But
Dean Radin: in no way it’s way beyond Star Trek. Yeah, it’s it. I mean, sounds like pure fantasy at this point. But I think it’s a natural consequence, once we begin to understand better the relationship between mind and matter. Which is why for the last 10 years or so that’s what I’ve primarily been concentrating on the mind matter interface as an area of study.
Rick Archer: Well, it’s exciting. Here’s a quote from Deepak Chopra. I think it might have been from your book. He said, there are two camps of visionaries from the distant past, and the fringes of the present. And they’re, they’re both advancing on us. Think what he means by that? Well, you elaborate on that. Talking too much here.
Dean Radin: I sometimes know what Deepak is talking about. Sometimes you don’t?
Rick Archer: Well, I think I think what he means by that is that there are ancient and modern visionaries, and the fringes of the present, meaning people like you who are sort of on the cutting edge, and who are kind of leading us into a, into a future in which there’s a more enlightened view or understanding of the way things work. And that the ancient visionaries from the distant past are as relevant to what you’re doing, as what as you are. I mean, they’ve a lot of people have already figured it out that we just need to interpret what they have said, to understand their their language, because they’re speaking in the concepts and language of an ancient culture, that all needs to sort of be brought into a modern scientific understanding.
Dean Radin: Right? So it becomes a language issue. I’m reasonably convinced that mystics throughout history have all been trying to say the same thing, but we are limited by our language. The nice thing about science is that it has enabled us to go into more abstract places where language begins to fail. The whole history of science is to become to develop usually mathematical methods, but also language that goes along with it. That is, becomes as addressing more and more abstract ways of thinking. So that if you can make a case that if you only had counting numbers, like number, starting with one like one to 10, you could describe the universe in a certain way, some of most of it will be classical forms of universe, but without developing zero, you couldn’t get very far. And that you couldn’t even you could get much less far if you hadn’t developed fractions, if you haven’t developed transcendental numbers, or haven’t developed complex numbers, or set theory and so on, at each stage, when develop more and more complex ways of thinking about reality, just purely from a symbolic level, because that’s what mathematics is that you can’t get deep enough. So the deeper you go, the more abstract it looks like when you’re sitting on the surface. And yet, there are people who live in these very deep levels, either experientially or mathematicians. And I think this is one of the reasons why people who do this very abstract math, they’re not normal people. It almost in the same way that somebody who’s a very advanced meditator is not a normal person anymore. Yeah, normal, meaning the average Joe Sixpack on the street, you can’t be you can’t be at that level of abstraction, and be able to express it to other people. You may be able to demonstrate it through your beingness but not talk about it very easily.
Rick Archer: As the Beatles said, the deeper you go, the higher you fly. Yeah. Well, very good. I really appreciate this discussion. I hope others have enjoyed it. Is there any any kind of concluding remark that you would like to make? You’re good? Okay, great. Well, we’ve covered a lot and a lot of food for thought. So let me just make a couple of concluding remarks. As everyone knows, by now, I’ve been talking with Dean Raiden, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and I’ll be linking to his website and ions website and so on from hit Dean’s page on batgap.com. I also have links to his books that we’ve discussed during this interview. So you can check those out all So while you’re there, check out all the other stuff that’s on the site. past interviews under that menu, pot audio podcast, if you want to sign up for it, email notifications of each new interview, if you want to sign up for that, the donate button, which you don’t actually can sign up for that there’s a monthly one. And there’s also a one time one and various other things. There’s not too much just explore the menus and see what’s there. So thanks for listening or watching. And we’ll see you for the next one. And thanks again, Dean. We’re going to do this a couple weeks ago, but Dean had a cold which he’s not gotten over so he’s very flexible and rescheduling this and appreciate your time.
Dean Radin: My pleasure. Okay, thank you