by Stefan Thiesen
from Scribd Website

S: By now I read much of your work, including several of your books, and what I find most intriguing is that you seem to offer explanations that are able to bridge the worlds of Science and the spiritual realm. Two quotes from other authors came to mind.


Robert Bauval, author of the Orion Mystery, ones said to me during a dinner:

“Physicists don’t realize it, but Physics has long merged with Metaphysics.”

And the German Zen Master and Benedictine Monk Willigis Jäger said:

“We all must become mystics, if we are to survive.”

How would you comment on these two quotes?


R: Oh – this is a difficult question. They are also quite different quotes. I think Physics has always been tied up with Metaphysics. In England the term ‘Science’ didn’t become wide spread until the middle of the 19th century. Before that the term used for what we now called science was ‘natural philosophy’, the philosophy of nature.


This was different from the German “Naturphilosophie” movement – this was just the standard name. And the Cambridge scientific society which I belong to is still called the Cambridge Philosophical Society. I think that the connection between Physics and Metaphysics has always been very close.


You know, as soon as you are discussing time and space and causality, then you are dealing with both, Physics and Metaphysics, and then the Quantum revolution occurred in Physics, and of course it changed the metaphysical basis of Physics as well.


So I think it is pretty well accepted by everybody – most certainly by the historians of science – that there is a very close connection.

S: Yes, but would you agree that most contemporary physicists see that quite differently?

R: Well, most contemporary physicists are simply getting on with their job of doing physics in the laboratory, without thinking about the foundations of it. That’s true. (…) In most fields people just get on with their jobs without thinking about big philosophical questions and just don’t spend much time bothering about these things.

S: What do you say about Willigis Jäger’s quote "We all must become Mystics, if we are to Survive"?

R: Well – it is rather difficult to quite understand what he means. I mean I don’t think in the past there has ever been a time when most people have been mystics. Most people have always been preoccupied with practical considerations of one time or another, and I guess that will continue, nor do mystics necessarily provide us with a very clear path for the future.


For example in India.


There has been a long tradition of mystic Sadhus living in caves in the Himalayas, and they are certainly mystics, but I am not sure that the best point is survival (UNCLEAR!), I mean they withdraw from society and from the normal concerns of society to achieve a vision of the mystic that goes beyond our present concern. Of course it’s questionable even in India how much influence they have on politics.


Most of Indian politics is about economic growth, building roads, internet cafés, Television…

S: Yes, absolutely…


R:…the problems that I could portrait. It’s hard to see how the quote of Willigis Jäger could make contact with reality, even in India – let alone in the West.

S: What I have in mind here is the evolution of civilizations. In an interview I conducted with Michio Kaku two years ago, he pointed out the Kardashev classification of potential galactic civilizations that classifies civilizations according to their energy utilization. The assumption behind this concept of course is that the evolution of other civilizations would continue in our own way, that is in terms of technological evolution, leading to an ever higher state of technology and ever increased energy consumption.


Do you believe that evolution could take a different pathway and possibly be spiritual in one way or another?

R: Actually it was spiritual in some way or another in the past. For example a lot of the important evolutionary changes in humanity until about 500 BC, you know, grades and figures (?) and schools of thought in India, ancient Greece – there have been periods of humanity when there have been large developments of spiritual evolution, a spiritual evolution leading to a much higher rate than we are used to. But if that will happen today, I don’t know.


It seems to me that presently we are moving towards crisis – some kind of environmental crisis, driven by short term forces of politics and business. And – no doubt when things go badly wrong, people may start asking questions about did we get here. There may be some kind of spiritual evolution then, but I think what most people are preoccupied with, again, seems to be survival rather than major spiritual issues. Even at the time when Buddha was alive in India with a major concern about spiritual questions, it was still a minority pursuit rather than that a majority of the population engaged in that.


So I’m afraid I don’t take the view that it is an inevitable thing. I mean it would be a wonderful thing if there were more interested in cleansing the spirit. The problem is that at the moment we got a polarization between increasing consumerism, most (ward us? Unclear) now through television and world trade, (catering - unclear) to a consumerist culture spreading in China and India very fast indeed, and in the spiritual realm, as a kind of counter-action to consumers, we have religious fundamentalism.


So this powerful greater spiritualization isn’t particular obvious to me.


Desirable as it may be, it is not at all clear that’s what’s happening.

S: But that may actually precisely what Willigis Jäger meant with his saying “If we want to survive, we all must become mystics” – that we all simply must come to a greater awareness of our spiritual side. Could you agree with that?

R: I am not sure of it. I mean it would be wonderful if people did develop a greater spiritual awareness, and I am all in favor of it, but it is not clear to me that it is immediately correlated with survival. Our survival my depend on political changes, changes of energy consumption and reduction of consumption, and a spiritual path would help with that, it could certainly help with our survival, but it wouldn’t necessarily do.


So I don’t see an instant contact between those two, I am afraid.


Sorry for being a spoil sport with that one.


S: All right. No problem. In another interview you pointed out that science is a form of inquiry and I think that history shows it gets into severe trouble whenever it gets caught up in paradigms and dogmas. I would say that the evidence for phenomena generally classified as anomalies is really increasing. Like the topics publishes by the society for scientific exploration, and most modern theories in physics are not only unintuitive but bordering on the seemingly absurd from a layman’s point of view. Do you believe that science in general is facing a major paradigm shift in the near future?

R: I think science should be facing a paradigm shift, but whether it is or not is a different matter. I think we have enough evidence that the materialist, reductionist, mechanicist view of nature is much too limited; I think we have seen plenty of evidence for this for a long time – for many years.


This doesn’t necessarily influence the way science behaves, unfortunately. In biology, for example, over the last 30 years we have seen an enormous increase in mechanistic reductionist thinking. That is true for the biotechnology industry, the genetic modification industry and the pharmaceutical industry, and these are the main employers of biology graduates, hundreds of billions of Dollars have been invested in those reductionist molecular approaches.


The result is that most biologists coming out of the Universities today and most time if you talk to students, it is even more reductionist and even more mechanistic than it was 30 years ago. So we are sensing that mainstream biology has moved in the opposite direction to a more holistic approach. Now of course fashions change and I dare say this fashion will change, too, but it takes a long time to change these entrenched things. Most practicing biologists have been trained in molecular biology and don’t know anything else about biology except the molecular approach.


They are not all suddenly going o wake up one morning and change. What will happen, I suppose, is that a more holistic approach will become more fashionable and gradually will become something on which more people will work and it will be taught more in school and universities. But there is not much signs of that happening yet.


I have spent years and years trying to encourage this kind of change this kind of thinking in biology, but I can’t say it has been met with much success within the academic and educational world.

S: Is it mostly because the research basically is ends-oriented and motivated by profit and economic incentives?

R: Well – I don’t see (?? Unclear 10:12) people do that – I think it is ideological. The people who drove the molecular biology revolution had a very strong ideological agenda. They are like the sort of neo-conservatives of the scientific world. They had a very clear idea of what they wanted to do. To take over biology and get the molecular approach to dominate over biology.


They have managed to persuade a lot of people that this was a good area to invest a very large amount of money in, which means lots of people have jobs in it. And you know it may not be as successful as they hope. I don’t think it is not just because of the money, though. For example if you take healthcare, which is of huge political concern in our countries, especially here in Britain.


The national healthcare business is extremely expensive. The government is finding it very difficult to sustain the level of healthcare the population wants without having a huge increase in taxation. And in America private healthcare companies are extremely worried about the escalating costs of high-tech medicine.


So here is this huge financial interest, but if we are looking into alternative medicine – it could deliver cheaper and more effective forms of healthcare for certain conditions – not for everything, but for lots of things that people go to see Doctors about. Chronic conditions like back pain, migraine, headaches, chronic skin diseases, cold sores, things like that the conventional medicine is not very good at dealing with and alternative methods may be better at dealing with.


So if we’d have more research on holistic therapies, it could be something that health and insurance companies and should be very interested in, because it might deliver better health care at lower costs to the population, which should be in their economic interest.

S: So you would also say that ideological aspects are driving these developments?

R: I think that the alternative healthcare would be less ideological than the mechanistic healthcare system which is dominated by lobbying groups and the ideology of mechanistic medicine and mechanistic biology. They are ideologically driven – more than economically driven, because in fact the economic interest of health insurance companies and the government would be to get as cheap as possible health care.


If they can get cheaper medicine through acupuncture or homeopaths instead of expensive Doctors with fancy scanning machines and phenomenally expensive drugs, then that’s what we should be doing, and sooner or later I think we will do that. I think economics alone will dictate an increase of about an increase of the acceptance of alternative health care.


And as soon as we have that, there will be questions about how these different therapies work. And that will in turn lead to questions that create a more holistic approach to biology. So I think that in fact the change will be driven more through the health care system than just in the realm of ideas.


I think that soon the economic forces will soon start helping change, and even if they don’t eradicate it, they just will work against an ideology.

S: So then you say that science basically is not as value free as it tends to present itself?

R: Oh – science isn’t value free at all. What science people do in universities and institutes depends on what people are prepared to pay for. And what government funding bodies, and what corporations will pay for depends on what they think will be profitable and also what’s in accordance with prevailing ideology.


So it’s not at all value free – it’s dominated by ideological and economic and political concerns.

S: But is it nevertheless not surprising that some of the obvious phenomena you describe in your book – like telepathy and the extended mind – are not thoroughly researched, because they seem to be of essential and immediate interest to just about everybody

R: Well yes – they interest a large number of people but they are not of interest to those who are in charge of science funding in governments or universities, and that I think again is largely for ideological reasons. There has been a strong taboo against investigating things like telepathy, and for generations – this is not a new phenomenon.


And this taboo means these subjects have never been publicly funded in any country and the research only privately funded on a very small scale, despite the fact of an enormous public interest.


So again: this is definitely an ideological problem. It goes against the prevailing paradigm.

S: Let us go a bit into your theory and into your work. What would you say is the relevance of morphogenetic fields or morphic fields in general for the evolution of life in the universe at large? Does the theory that natural laws are more like natural habits imply that when life would form somewhere in the universe, it would more readily form elsewhere, too?

R: Yes – I think the so called laws of nature are more like habits and these habits evolve and habits can spread over huge distances. Of course I cannot say whether habits that form on Earth would affect the whole universe. But that’s what I assume as part of my theory. It would be impossible to prove that at present. I can’t see any reason why they should fall off with distance.


So I think that so called laws of nature are more like habits - that there is a kind of habit memory throughout the natural world, and the evolutionary process is an interplay between habits and creativity. There is also a creative principle in nature.


If there were only habits, everything would settle down in groups of habits, and nothing would change very much.

S: Would this also lead to the idea that the universe itself can be considered conscious from a certain point of view?

R: Not necessarily. Habits are not usually conscious. You and I have habits, and we are not usually conscious of our habits. When I ride a bicycle, for example, I don’t think about it. I’m doing it, it just happens automatically, unconsciously. So the whole point of that habit memory is that habits are unconscious.


Even most of our human habitual life is unconscious. Most of our own mind is unconscious. So if the whole universe has a lot of habits, it doesn’t necessarily mean the universe is conscious. It could just be a universe of unconscious habits. The question whether the universe is conscious or not is a different question.


You can have habits without consciousness. It doesn’t necessarily imply it.

S: Yes – but what about creativity?

R: There is a variety of theories of creativity, which I sketch out in my book "The Presence of the Past", that’s the one that’s in German called “Das Gedächtnis der Natur.”


There is a variety of ways of thinking about creativity. The materialists view creativity in the end as just an act of blind chance and people who believe there is a creativity inherent in nature would say there is a creative principle in life or in nature or in the solar system or on the planet – or in the whole universe.


And those who believe in God would say well yes, there is a creative principle throughout the whole universe, but that ultimately comes from the creative powers of God which lies behind and works through the whole universe. So you can see it in different ways, and the views people have of creativity will depend in the end on what world view or philosophy or religious views they actually have.


All of it can be compatible with science. Science does not actually explain unique creative events. It is mainly concerned with regularities and repetitions. So morphic resonance is about regularity and repetition and not really about creativity, and personally I leave that question open.


It is something I don’t believe we can solve scientifically.

S: What do you say about the phenomenon that an idea sometimes seems to be in the air, that the time seems to have come for a certain view of things or a certain development – like that two people totally independently from each other develop the same theory or the same mathematical method at the same time? This seems to have happened repeatedly throughout history.

R: Yes. And also there are cultural inventions which occurred in distant continents, existing very parallel to each other. And also in biological evolution there is a lot of parallel evolution - the way that in Australia the Marsupial mammals developed, squirrels and wolves and ant eaters, creatures that are surprisingly parallel to mammals in other parts of the world.


This is called parallel evolution. I think morphic resonance could help explain these things. If it has happened in one place, it is more likely to happen somewhere else. That doesn’t necessarily explain the question as to why certain forms of creativity at one time rather than at another. We don’t really understand creativity.


Morphic resonance helps us to understand how new inventions spread once they have happened but it wouldn’t explain what’s “in the air” in the first place. There in English we have to use the German word “Zeitgeist”, and the spirit of the time is rather mysterious. It could be that the whole universe has – or the solar system plus the Earth have – changing periods and different moods.


Astrologers would tell us it happens because there are different patterns of certain stars in the heavens. I must tell you, though, I am not a follower of astrology, but it could be that there is a quality of time in the Universe, that it’s not all just plain and uniform as we think. There could be periods of time that are more creative than others.


But if so, we don’t understand why and how that should be.

S: Could it also be a form of telepathy when somebody is preoccupied with the same problem as somebody else, that they arrive at similar solutions because there is something like a resonance among similar states of mind?

R: Yes, yes – that would certainly be a telepathy or morphic resonance explanation. But what I am talking about is why people are preoccupied with the same problem at the same time. That would be more the question of Zeitgeist.


Once one of them arrives at a solution, though maybe if one of them is thinking about it others may through telepathy as well start thinking about it and one might arrive at a solution, while the other might pick it up from him. But that doesn’t explain why both are thinking about the same thing to start with.


And that’s where I am thinking there may be a certain quality of time, something like the Zeitgeist on the Earth or throughout the Universe.

S: Do you possibly see a way here to explain synchronistic events in the Jungian sense?

R: Well – some kinds of parallel events, in what Jung calls Synchronicities, could be explained in terms of telepathy. He used the word “Synchronicity” in a very wide sense, so it would partly cover telepathy, which I think is explicable through morphic resonance and morphic fields. But what he called meaningful coincidences is much harder to understand.


They might fit in with a kind of Zeitgeist view; they would not fit in with a habitual or repetition view.

S: Another thing you talked about in your book “The Sense of being stared at” was for example remote viewing. Could you imagine that at one point in the future these things could be developed in a really systematic way and even used for, for example, space exploration?

R: Remote viewing was used for spying by the CIA in America and possibly by the Russians as well, so it has already been developed and used, and sometimes it was quite effective. The problem is that it is rather unreliable.


But in terms of space exploration - if it’s possible for people to view out to different parts of the universe or you can communicate telepathically with other forms of intelligence in other parts of the Universe.

S: So that you could imagine to be a possibility?

R: That I can imagine, yes. Then I think we’d have a very different view of space exploration which is something that could take place on much lower budgets than with sending rockets out to space. And of course the trouble with the engineering based space exploration is that we can’t really go any further than our solar system.


All these probes are all within the solar system. But even within our own Galaxy there are hundreds of thousands of stars, and we are not going to reach any other star system with rockets, at least in a feasible time. And space exploration based on sending radio signals again is limited by the speed of light. Our own Galaxy, the Milky Way, which is only one of billions of Galaxies in the Universe, measures a hundred thousand light years across.


So if you want to communicate by radio waves, which travel at the speed of light, with inhabitants of a solar system at the other side of the Galaxy, it would take a hundred thousand years for our message to reach them. And even if they reply immediately, it would take a hundred thousand years for their message to come back. So it would be two hundred thousand years before the answer to any question you might ask them will be right back.


And of course in two hundred thousand years no one can be sure that we still have technical civilizations here on Earth, and even if we do, if they will remember the question from that long a time ago.


So even speed of light communication is not really feasible for a deeper knowledge of the Universe.


If however people can explore the Universe by clairvoyance or telepathy, and if clairvoyant or telepathic communication takes place faster than the speed of light – which we don’t know – if it does, then evidently we have huge new possibilities.

S: Could this possibility also explain why so far nobody found any radio signals during the various SETI programs?

R: No – I mean we don’t know what kind of radio signals might be out there. But any truly advanced civilization will have gone a lot further than we have in terms of telepathy and clairvoyance.

S: This actually is a very interesting way of seeing things – also for the audience of this magazine.

R: Actually I have forgotten what magazine that was…

S: It’s “Sagenhafte Zeiten”, the Däniken magazine. It’s a membership magazine for this Däniken Society, and they are interested in issues surrounding life in the Universe, Alien visitors to Earth and the like.

But again – it is an interesting point of view. Can you imagine that this kind of exploration has taken place on Earth and left some form of tangible footprint behind? That an Alien race explored the Earth in this remote psychic fashion?

R: Well, yes, I mean one way they could do is by direct clairvoyance they could explore the Earth, and we wouldn’t have known anything about it. Another way is they could communicate telepathically with people here on the Earth.


And the people here on Earth would then think they would communicate with spirits from other stars.

S: Or angels, for example…

R: Exactly. And there are plenty of people in all civilizations who have said exactly that. There is the case of the Dogon, the well known Sirius mystery. They seem to know the properties of the Star System and that couldn’t be explained by normal astronomical knowledge and the technology that they had available to them.


At the time they couldn’t have managed through normal technological means. But if there had been clairvoyant visitors to Earth, they could have revealed knowledge about the stars in the Sirius system, and so this knowledge might be possible. It seems to me that information exchange between other civilizations and other planets, other forms of intelligence in the universe, could well be taking place with non-technological means like telepathy or clairvoyance.


I myself am not convinced that there’d be UFO’s, Chariots of the Gods with visitors from outer space in Hardware Spaceships.


But I think there could easily be influence from extra terrestrial intelligences mediated through telepathy, through trance mediums, through shamanism, and so on.

S: This was what I was hinting at in the beginning when I talked about the evolution of civilizations, that maybe they evolve in a totally different way that is not as energy intensive and technology centered as we are. So this is a scenario that you are basically describing now.

R: Yes, although whether or not this has much of an effect for the evolution of civilization… if somebody said they were getting communications through channeling from a star in Orion, I think most people simply wouldn’t listen to them.


So I don’t think it would have much of an effect on the destiny of civilization or the advertising industry. In the past people have already claimed to have received messages from other beings like angels, non-human intelligences, and only been taken seriously in a religious context but less seriously in non religious contexts.


So how much imprint this will have, I don’t know.

S: But I also mean that civilizations in outer space, if they exist, might be completely different than what we assume them to look like. The cliché is they fly around in huge space ships, consume huge amounts of energy, have warp-drives and anti-matter energy production systems and who knows what else, while in fact they might have taken totally different turns.

R: Oh – they might be completely different. They might be more like Tibet as it would be if the Chinese hadn’t invaded. The Civilization of Tibet was not a very high-tech civilization, but the people had developed a great deal of understanding of the powers of the mind.


So they might be much more like Tibet than like California.

S: Yes… okay. This actually also is a nice final word. Thank you very much

R: Thank you.