by Arjun Walia
June 5, 2015
"The day science begins
it will make more progress in
than in all the previous
centuries of its existence."
A group of internationally recognized scientists have come together
to stress the importance of what is still commonly overlooked in the
mainstream scientific community - the fact that matter (protons,
electrons, photons, anything that has a mass) is not the only
We wish to understand the nature of our
How can we do so if we are
continually examining only physical systems?
What about the role of
non-physical systems, such as consciousness, or their
interaction with physical systems (matter)?
Fortunately, some scientists are
studying non-physical systems, and
the double slit experiment is a
great example of this.
You can read more about that
A paper (Consciousness
and the Double-Slit Interference Pattern - Six Experiments)
published by Dean Radin, PhD, in the peer-reviewed journal
Physics Essays, explains how this experiment has been used multiple
times to explore the role of consciousness in shaping the nature of
"Despite the unrivaled empirical
success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be
literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with
cynicism, incomprehension and even anger."
T. Folger, "Quantum Shmantum";
Discover 22:37-43, 2001
Just to reiterate, at the turn of the
nineteenth century, physicists started to explore the relationship
between energy and the structure of matter.
In doing so, the belief that a physical,
Newtonian material universe that was at the very heart of scientific
knowing was dropped, and the realization that matter is nothing but
an illusion replaced it.
Scientists began to recognize that
everything in the Universe is made out of energy.
This has been known in the scientific
community for more than one hundred years.
"I regard consciousness as
I regard matter as derivative from
consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything
that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing,
Max Planck, theoretical physicist
who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in
Physics in 1918.
We are talking about what is known as
post-materialist science, and the points made below summarize the
problem with not recognizing, acknowledging, and examining phenomena
that go past the borders of the physical material world.
These points were co-authored by,
Dr. Gary Schwartz, professor of
psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at
the University of Arizona
Mario Beauregard, PhD, from the
University of Arizona
Lisa Miller, PhD, from Columbia
It was presented at an international
summit on post-materialist science, spirituality, and society.
They (and hundreds of other scientists)
have come to the following conclusions:
The modern scientific worldview
is predominantly predicated on assumptions that are closely
associated with classical physics. Materialism - the idea
that matter is the only reality - is one of these
A related assumption is
reductionism, the notion that complex things can be
understood by reducing them to the interactions of their
parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things such as tiny
During the 19th
century, these assumptions narrowed, turned into dogmas, and
coalesced into an ideological belief system that came to be
known as "scientific materialism."
This belief system implies that
the mind is nothing but the physical activity of the brain,
and that our thoughts cannot have any effect upon our brains
and bodies, our actions, and the physical world.
The ideology of scientific
materialism became dominant in academia during the 20th
century. So dominant that a majority of scientists started
to believe that it was based on established empirical
evidence, and represented the only rational view of the
Scientific methods based upon
materialistic philosophy have been highly successful in not
only increasing our understanding of nature but also in
bringing greater control and freedom through advances in
However, the nearly absolute
dominance of materialism in the academic world has seriously
constricted the sciences and hampered the development of the
scientific study of mind and spirituality.
Faith in this ideology, as an
exclusive explanatory framework for reality, has compelled
scientists to neglect the subjective dimension of human
experience. This has led to a severely distorted and
impoverished understanding of ourselves and our place in
Science is first and foremost a
non-dogmatic, open-minded method of acquiring knowledge
about nature through the observation, experimental
investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Its
methodology is not synonymous with materialism and should
not be committed to any particular beliefs, dogmas, or
At the end of the nineteenth
century, physicists discovered empirical phenomena that
could not be explained by classical physics.
This led to the development,
during the 1920s and early 1930s, of a revolutionary new
branch of physics called
quantum mechanics (QM). QM
has questioned the material foundations of the world by
showing that atoms and subatomic particles are not really
solid objects - they do not exist with certainty at definite
spatial locations and definite times.
Most importantly, QM explicitly
introduced the mind into its basic conceptual structure
since it was found that particles being observed and the
observer - the physicist and the method used for observation
- are linked.
According to one interpretation
of QM, this phenomenon implies that the consciousness of the
observer is vital to the existence of the physical events
being observed, and that mental events can affect the
physical world. The results of recent experiments support
These results suggest that the
physical world is no longer the primary or sole component of
reality, and that it cannot be fully understood without
making reference to the mind.
Psychological studies have shown
that conscious mental activity can causally influence
behavior, and that the explanatory and predictive value of
agentic factors (e.g. beliefs, goals, desires and
expectations) is very high.
Moreover, research in
psychoneuroimmunology indicates that our thoughts and
emotions can markedly affect the activity of the
physiological systems (e.g., immune, endocrine,
cardiovascular) connected to the brain.
In other respects, neuroimaging
studies of emotional self-regulation, psychotherapy, and the
placebo effect demonstrate that mental events significantly
influence the activity of the brain.
Studies of the so-called "psi
phenomena" indicate that we can sometimes receive
meaningful information without the use of ordinary senses,
and in ways that transcend the habitual space and time
Furthermore, psi research
demonstrates that we can mentally influence - at a distance
- physical devices and living organisms (including other
Psi research also shows that
distant minds may behave in ways that are
i.e. the correlations between distant minds are hypothesized
to be unmediated (they are not linked to any known energetic
signal), unmitigated (they do not degrade with increasing
distance), and immediate (they appear to be simultaneous).
These events are so common that
they cannot be viewed as anomalous nor as exceptions to
natural laws, but as indications of the need for a broader
explanatory framework that cannot be predicated exclusively
Conscious mental activity can be
experienced in clinical death during a cardiac arrest (this
is what has been called a "near-death experience" - NDE).
Some near-death experiencers (NDErs)
have reported veridical out-of-body perceptions (i.e.
perceptions that can be proven to coincide with reality)
that occurred during cardiac arrest. NDErs also report
profound spiritual experiences during NDEs triggered by
It is noteworthy that the
electrical activity of the brain ceases within a few seconds
following a cardiac arrest.
experiments have documented that skilled research mediums
(people who claim that they can communicate with the minds
of people who have physically died) can sometimes obtain
highly accurate information about deceased individuals.
This further supports the
conclusion that mind can exist separate from the brain.
Some materialistically inclined
scientists and philosophers refuse to acknowledge these
phenomena because they are not consistent with their
exclusive conception of the world.
Rejection of post-materialist
investigation of nature or refusal to publish strong science
findings supporting a post-materialist framework are
antithetical to the true spirit of scientific inquiry, which
is that empirical data must always be adequately dealt with.
Data which do not fit favored
theories and beliefs cannot be dismissed a priori. Such
dismissal is the realm of ideology, not science.
It is important to realize that
psi phenomena, NDEs in cardiac arrest, and replicable
evidence from credible research mediums, appear anomalous
only when seen through the lens of materialism.
Moreover, materialist theories
fail to elucidate how brain could generate the mind, and
they are unable to account for the empirical evidence
alluded to in this manifesto.
This failure tells us that it is
now time to free ourselves from the shackles and blinders of
the old materialist ideology, to enlarge our concept of the
natural world, and to embrace a post-materialist paradigm.
According to the
Mind represents an
aspect of reality as primordial as the physical
world. Mind is fundamental in the universe, i.e. it
cannot be derived from matter and reduced to
anything more basic.
There is a deep
interconnectedness between mind and the physical
can influence the state of the physical world, and
operate in a nonlocal (or extended) fashion, i.e. it
is not confined to specific points in space, such as
brains and bodies, nor to specific points in time,
such as the present. Since the mind may non-locally
influence the physical world, the intentions,
emotions, and desires of an experimenter may not be
completely isolated from experimental outcomes, even
in controlled and blinded experimental designs.
Minds are apparently
unbounded, and may unite in ways suggesting a
unitary, One Mind that includes all individual,
NDEs in cardiac arrest
suggest that the brain acts as a transceiver of
mental activity, i.e. the mind can work through the
brain, but is not produced by it. NDEs occurring in
cardiac arrest, coupled with evidence from research
mediums, further suggest the survival of
consciousness, following bodily death, and the
existence of other levels of reality that are
Scientists should not be
afraid to investigate spirituality and spiritual
experiences since they represent a central aspect of
Post-materialist science does
not reject the empirical observations and great value of
scientific achievements realized up until now.
It seeks to expand the human
capacity to better understand the wonders of nature, and in
the process rediscover the importance of mind and spirit as
being part of the core fabric of the universe.
Post-materialism is inclusive of
matter, which is seen as a basic constituent of the
The post-materialist paradigm
has far-reaching implications. It fundamentally alters the
vision we have of ourselves, giving us back our dignity and
power, as humans and as scientists.
This paradigm fosters positive
values such as compassion, respect, and peace. By
emphasizing a deep connection between ourselves and nature
at large, the post-materialist paradigm also promotes
environmental awareness and the preservation of our
In addition, it is not new, but
only forgotten for four hundred years, that a lived
transmaterial understanding may be the cornerstone of health
and wellness, as it has been held and preserved in ancient
mind-body-spirit practices, religious traditions, and
The shift from materialist
science to post-materialist science may be of vital
importance to the evolution of the human civilization. It
may be even more pivotal than the transition from
geocentrism to heliocentrism.
* This Manifesto for a
Post-Materialist Science was prepared by Mario Beauregard,
PhD (University of Arizona), Gary E. Schwartz, PhD
(University of Arizona), and Lisa Miller, PhD (Columbia
University), in collaboration with Larry Dossey, MD,
Alexander Moreira-Almeida, MD, PhD, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD,
Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, and Charles Tart, PhD.
** For further information, please contact Dr Mario
Beauregard, Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and
Health, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona,
Tucson, USA. Email:
*** The Summary Report of the International Summit on
Post-Materialist Science, Spirituality and Society can be
downloaded here: International Summit on Post-Materialist
Science: Summary Report (PDF).