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:
don’t realize it, but Physics has long merged with Metaphysics.”
And the German Zen Master and Benedictine Monk
“We all must become mystics, if we are to survive.”
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.
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
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
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
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
Do you believe that evolution could take a
different pathway and possibly be spiritual in one way or
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
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
So I don’t see an instant contact between those two, I am
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,
view of nature is much too limited; I think we have seen plenty
of evidence for this for a long time – for many years.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
resonance is about regularity and repetition and not really
about creativity, and personally I leave that question open.
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
This is called parallel evolution. I think
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
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.
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.
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
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
I myself am not convinced that there’d be
Chariots of the Gods with visitors from outer space in Hardware
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
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
So how much imprint this will have, I don’t
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
S: Yes… okay. This actually also is a nice final word. Thank you
R: Thank you.