SUBTLE ENERGY AND THE ROLE OF APPLIED INTENT: APPLICATION TO ART & DESIGN
For many indigenous artists today and for thousands of years past, the task of art-making involved moving invisible forces; healing, changing weather, restoring harmony, divination, accessing the sacred and making it comprehensible to society. Abstract codes carved in rock or painted on the ground contained valuable survival information and records of previous events. Since the beginning of self-reflection, artistic activity has been a bridge to the invisible world, embodying emotion, spirit, meaning and transcendence.
This writing, part of a larger work, is an attempt to introduce the reader, particularly the artist, to tools and ideas that bridge the ancient, traditional art forms with consciousness study today. In particular, technologies generally ignored or discarded by mainstream science that are designed to use subtle energy will be examined. These devices operation and design will be studied with their applicability to making art in mind. In a practical way, this book can be considered a manual for artists wishing to study and design with subtle energy.
Within this analysis, as it evolves, will be ample resource material enabling the reader to devise applications of these tools for their own purpose. It will be shown that dedicated scientific researchers, often at the expense of career advancement, have paved the way for understanding the role directed intention can have in determining the outcome of experimental events.
Understanding how consciousness becomes imbedded in form is of paramount importance to artistic development. For some, understanding the methods by which "art" can move energy will be of equal value. In essence, this book is a study of technology that can incorporate consciousness into design to accomplish work.
Certain important questions arise. One is, to what extent does the utilization of such ideas and tools reveal an entirely new medium for artistic activity? Are their similarities of these applications to certain key developments in abstract art? Do these tools and techniques have some relationship to visionary process as it occurs in the traditional world and in contemporary art forms?
Our hope is that the reader, particularly the artist, will become well enough informed to try using this knowledge within his or her own work.
In the background of this discussion looms the creative efforts of the ancient world. Anthropologists are constantly reminding us that pre-historical and aboriginal peoples viewed the relationship between aesthetics and the forces of the natural world far differently than we do today. Even now, many native peoples view the artistic, creative process as a necessary prerequisite for accessing a 'subtle energy' not readily understood or appreciated scientifically. Nevertheless, these peoples use this medium to produce practical and utilitarian results, over and above the pure aesthetic enjoyment of the experience.
By contrast, our society tends to dismiss this functional and energetic component of native art. It is usually reduced to a metaphor of tribal religious concerns, an aspect of their design intent. It is viable only to true believers, new agers and others with frivolous, self-deceptive agendas, or worse, for commercial fraud. Similar complaints are made with respect to subtle energy technologies designed by modern researchers.
Despite the punishing weight of these concerns, it remains our conviction that by applying the ideas, tools and techniques outlined in this book, (among the many others not covered), the ancient energetic approach to art can be recovered in a modern context. Moreover, we believe these ideas and techniques can be appreciated and understood better today scientifically than ever before.
To explain what is meant by the term "subtle energy", it is helpful to turn to the explanation of a noted researcher, Dr. William A. Tiller, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, Department of Material Science and Engineering. Dr. Tiller, holds several patents, has written four books and more that 300 papers, many of them on his avocational field, psychoenergetics.
"There is now a large body of experimental data in the general area of psychoenergetics associated with the directed focus of human intention. Remote influence experiments with healers, remote viewing experiments, investigations of psychokinetics, clarirvoyance, homeopathy, and other phenomena confound the established picture of natural laws but attest to the existence of processes requiring the involvement of emotional, mental, spiritual, and other inadequately understood domains of nature.
"Because these domains are incompletely understood, they might best be grouped into a category called "subtle energies." Future research may delineate and distinguish the various characteristics of these energies and their usefulness to medicine. For now, subtle energies can be defined as all those energies beyond those presently acknowledged in physics. Four kinds of force are conventionally considered to be responsible for all the observable phenomena in the universe: the strong and weak nuclear forces, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force. Subtle energies and the subtle forces they generate are not necessarily strong or weak with respect to the established forces, but they are difficult to nail down with the standard protocols of today's science. It is useful to reflect for a moment on what the science of physics is able to do. Physics attempts to develop a relative framework of quantitative understanding that is internally consistent across all the various observable phenomena of nature. Physics is not able to provide absolute truth.
"Periodically, the prevailing model of physics is unable to provide internal consistency when incorporating new sets of experimental observations. The choice is then to either deny that the new observations are valid or expand the model of nature sufficiently to allow natural incorporation of the new data. Such a revision in the standard model was required when quantum and relativity phenomena had to be accounted for. Today, the majority of the physics community is in a state of denial with respect to psycho-energetic phenomena. The present model is so neat, powerful, and comfortable that many people feel it would be a shame to have to disturb it. However, evolution moves on, in spite of prevailing paradigms." (SUBTLE ENERGIES, Science & Medicine, May / June 1999, Vol. 6, Number 3)
Dr. Tiller goes on to describe six experiments dealing with directed human intention. All produced results that were inexplicable within the prevailing physical model of nature. In Tiller's view, "From these studies and many more like them, it can be seen that belief fuels expectations, and expectations in turn marshal intention at both unconscious and often conscious levels to fulfill the expectations." When focused intention is channeled into or through an object or a device, subtle energy effects occur.
Another theme of this book is that it is possible to design objects utilizing "subtle energy." These designs need not be cumbersome. Most can be conceived and assembled by the trained craftsman or artist. Others require far less skill to make. It is an ancient process, re-interpreted for modern times.
Much of what the ancient world considered technological advancement; carving, painting, placement of heavy stones on the landscape, etc. we recognize today as the beginnings of art. Yet how these constructs affected consciousness, or how consciousness effected natural forces through them, we cannot know. However, by the study and use of consciousness technology today, it is possible to grasp how artistic/technological artifacts can be designed to heal, fertilize crops, bring in rain, or be applied to other ends. Likewise, it is impossible to imagine how powerful this type of art/technology could become in the contemporary world if put into common use.
To further this goal, it is important to understand why these ideas have failed to penetrate mainstream thought. Consciousness has evolved along with our needs, responding to pressures to develop certain types of tools along specific economic constraints at the expense of others. Recent experiments in consciousness suggest that given a different cultural orientation, education and motivation, we could be operating in a far different universe of scientific accomplishment.
The essence of our argument revolves around such a possibility. Creative individuals, utilizing the alternative technologies examined in this text and others, might yet develop a viable counterpoint to the destructive potential of our mechanistic approach towards the natural world. Even more pressing, is a creative approach to changing consciousness itself. It will be easier to disengage from the destructive aspects of our technology today, if we design systems for tomorrow based upon a deeper understanding of consciousness. By examining the ideas and appliances reviewed in this book, artists conceivably will be able to do just that. They can employ these ideas to create a de-conditioning technology/art. Without first de-conditioning ourselves from what we are taught to be our limitations, it is hard to imagine producing a consciousness-based technology that will actually succeed. That is where the artist comes in.
Does it sound impossible or improbable? Certainly many of the marvels we enjoy today would have seemed equally improbable a few generations back? Yet without claiming the potential for such an approach, can it ever exist? Without trying everything available, it may never exist. Here is the rub; we have been educated and conditioned to believe the magic of consciousness cannot exist; not now, not ever. It is only the byproduct of chemical and electrical reactions in the brain. We can share our consciousness mechanically, even electrically, but basically we are alone with it in ourselves. Everything in our scientific world view today says we cannot implement a truly magical technology: free energy, mind over matter, telepathy, spontaneous remission of disease, anti-gravity, awareness of life beyond death. Yet in all instances, valid reports that these phenomena do occur and have taken place in our world are a matter of record, some accompanied with patents and appliances. If true, then how can they just be impossible dreams?
The simple fact is that most of our science and technology comes from a study of the world around us, i.e. natural forces, and not from anything to do with consciousness. When we evolved to the point that we needed machines to compute, only then we really began to study the brain and the how the mind works processing signals and information.
Science has been unable to study consciousness effectively for at least two very good reasons. First, it is not part of the physical, material reality that lends itself so well to the scientific tools of investigation. Secondly, in matters of consciousness it is difficult to separate the observer from the observed.
Art, on the other hand, has always been a discipline that is intertwined with consciousness. How can one begin to render even the most direct simulation of nature, say a line drawing of a house, without grappling with some basic problems of consciousness? Determining how the view of the house is selected, then rendered, involves an ability to transfer a signal from the eye to the mind to the hand. Then there are the qualitative issues surrounding the rendition of the house, how "good" the drawing is. Without due consideration to consciousness at every junction, no human art could be made of a completely mechanical or unconscious nature.
It would seem therefore, that artists are well qualified by virtue of the inherent demands of the profession to evaluate, design and use technology that requires consciousness to work. We will examine a number of technologies that utilize consciousness, in the form of intent, as the active operating force in the circuit. Ultimately, as with art, the only proof available to sanctify the methodology is in the results. As the results depend to a large extent upon the operator's skill, many possible outcomes to the use of these tools are inevitable.
The feature that requires trained operator intent for a successful outcome to the working of the technology, while an essential ingredient of art, is the kiss of death scientifically. To seek the approval of the scientific and academic community for these procedures is unrealistic. However, it is necessary to apply empirical methods to the study of these ideas. It is also necessary to apply exacting standards in the evaluation of the results in every case, just as it would be in learning an art.
ART & ELECTRICITY
In earlier eras the masses (read: you and me) were conditioned to believe that academic discourse did not extend beyond the boundaries delineated by Church and State. Today, in many parts of the world this still holds true. In the West, we pride ourselves on knowing that freedom of thought and speech, working through scientific inquiry, has overcome those constraints. While we accept that there are truths yet to learn, we have been taught that all the natural forces in our environment have been rigorously explored and adapted for use. Electricity, magnetism, gravity, light, sound, chaos, have all been surveyed, codified and engineered. In a sense, Science and Industry have now replaced Church and State in determining what will first be accepted, then engineered and marketed.
Only "softer" issues remain open for serious doubt. Include the nature of consciousness itself; in regard to consciousness, we are all, in some way, the experts. As provisional experts in the arena of our mind, one may still question whether all the forces in nature that constitute our reality are actually known.
What will be explored in this book, on the pretext of looking for new methods and materials for creating "Art," are examples of other natural forces outside the envelope accepted by Academia. We will examine the potential for demonstrating a primordial energy that has both subjective and objective characteristics. Quite often we encounter this force in our personal life, as we cook or exercise or love. What may be new to the reader are the formats that come with Patented appliances demonstrating their use. These discoveries have been lost, ignored, neglected, suppressed or discarded for a variety of reasons. Similar working appliances still exist in special museums for bogus technology, where they have been reduced to absurdity, used to demonstrate the incredulity of the masses.
It is our belief that properly argued, a strong case could be made for reevaluating certain of these discoveries. We will explore those ideas and tools which have a natural affinity with art process, especially ones that could potentially expand those processes into new directions.
By comparison, we now realize that over the brief span of a hundred years, the study and application of electronics to creativity has given birth to a vast new medium for art. This medium is invisible for the most part. We perceive it mainly as energy brought to bear on sound and imagery. Even when aspects of the medium become apparent through our senses, our cognitive faculty must cooperate to make intelligent use of what we perceive. This relationship between cognition and impression is the primary arena addressed by artists since the dawn of human intelligence.
Artists have traditionally render impressions of the world. Once made, these impressions travel in our mind back to the realm of cognition, as images that move us to feel and think and see in new ways. Occasionally, the cognitive world of our mind sprouts its own imagery. The artist must then tool this subconscious imagery into something accessible to others. For thousands of years this inner world to outer world dialectic has been the accepted format for the production of art. Art was the object, sound or performance that bridged the inner, cognitive world of the artist with the outer world of the senses, the world shared with others. The intrusion of electronics into making art has substantially changed that dialectic today.
Today, modern media techniques can fire sequenced images or pulses directly into the brain. These sequences are composed of artificial light, generated by electricity. The output we recognize as sound and imagery. The electricity/light can also contain information we do not see that is imbedded in the imagery. These coded messages need have nothing to do with the sounds or images that are consciously recognized by the brain; the ones' we're actually seeing. They need not have any consciously identifiable signature at all; they could be as invisible to your consciousness as microwaves. Yet just as a properly harnessed microwave will cook your food in minutes or reach your voice out to someone across the country, so might those invisible waves be shaping your cognitive reality right now?
Electronics + Information Science have broken through to the privacy of our inner worlds. They have disrupted the artistic dialectic that has been ongoing for millennia. Our concern should be that the science of constructing and distributing art imagery has superceded the inner, cognitive processes of the mind that has long been the wellspring of creativity. Art, as we have known it, has not fully digested the onslaught of electricity.
The stream of electrons driven into our brain from media appliances has proven to be a powerful accelerant in more ways than one. A beautiful painting made from oil and pigment hanging in a museum will reach a small fraction of the world's population compared to the same image in a popular book. Yet when composed of electrons and light, the same image can be distributed to millions worldwide.
The significance of the image seen in light is much different than one seen in paints or paper. In the former case, the light projects through the art, energizing it as it is illuminated. In the latter, the light only reflects off the surface, lacking that hypnotic pulsation that captivates all modern media viewers. In the illuminated version, it is easy to see how the electricity adds information to the imagery. The steady flow of media generated photons into our mind has become a significant alternative to engaging the natural world, as anyone with children can readily assure us.
Artists of all persuasions have become completely dependent upon electricity and media for survival. Without realizing it, we have surrendered entirely to the demands of this medium and its owners, while it continually edits our output. The commercial viability afforded art that is enhanced with electricity in its myriad forms now dictates the content of the art. Without finding and utilizing an equal or superior energetic medium for the application or dispersal of creativity, the hegemony of electrically configured art will dominate the creative process far into the foreseeable future.
Added to this domination will be increased mental vulnerably, as the semiotic alphabet of thought is decoded. When the minute electrical impulses flowing from the optic nerve to the brain are decoded (as they are right now), the inner workings of our mind will be vulnerable to being scripted with specially designed electronic codes, imbedded into the imagery of popular culture. This will be one new "Art" of the future; our lives will be the canvas.
How the decoding of thought is progressing scientifically will be explored in later chapters. As we examine the image-making faculty of the mind, we will demonstrate how it can be used benignly as a new platform or medium for art. Likewise, to mitigate the effects of undesired imprinting or imagery, alternative science tools like Radionics can provide a methodology for resisting or eliminating these invasions of privacy.
In examining the research that has led to alternative science, a commonality with how art is made becomes apparent. The pursuit of anomalous phenomena and spurious events led early researchers into an empirical investigation of nature. Home laboratories were dens of creative investigation and open-minded research with much in common with art studios.
We will endeavor to make a case for the similarities between artistic methodology and the research of lost science. We will examine the claims of notable individuals, as they forge a path to the discovery of alternative forms of energy. Above all, we will emphasize the link to consciousness research that methodologies like Radionics entail, argue its potential as an entirely new medium for art, and examine its origins in recent and ancient history.
SUBTLE ENERGY AT HOME AND ABROAD
Every generation of Big Science believes they have nearly solved all the mysteries of natural law. This was as true of the beginning of the 19thC.as it is today. The next generation always proves them wrong, making radical new discoveries that overturn the assumptions of the past. As a result, we cannot be complacent. We must remember that all is not as it seems. A revolution is always in the making, whether in Art or Science. The discovery of new forms of energy is also the potential discovery of new mediums for art.
If other forms of energy exist that have not been recognized or discovered, surely they must have left a residue in our consciousness. Their effects must be evident in some form around us. We must be able to point to some experience and feel; "This is not properly explained," or "This is self evident; why isn't it understood better?"
Before looking to the inventors and scientists of the past whose work has been overlooked, why not examine aspects of our immediate experience for clues to unusual energy? What does a great cook put into a meal that a lesser cook can't? What makes you feel someone staring at you across a crowded room? What energy alerts people to immanent danger they cannot see coming? What happens in hypnosis? Why do we know who is about to call? Why do we feel so intimately the presence of a departed loved one?
Going farther afield, what is the "chi" or "qi" spoken of in eastern martial arts and medicine? What force makes the stick move when dowsing water? What type of information transfer mechanism is at work when one's mind experiences simultaneously the same thought as another? What about spontaneous remission of disease? Where does our consciousness go during amnesia? These are only some of the many types of experience that can occur in daily life.
The point is that all these experiences are as familiar as their explanation is obscure. Today however, there are scientific institutions that are taking this aspect of human experience quite seriously. In one mass screening for paranormally gifted individuals, the Stanford Research Institute showed that 1 per cent of the population had an extraordinary aptitude for psychic ability. That is ten million people for every billion of the world's population!
Psychic and parapsychological research is often called "psi" research. This research, once derided, has gone mainstream. To quote Elmar R. Gruber in his 1999 review of this field: * " In the eyes of scientists, parapsychology no longer needs to prove that the phenomena it investigates actually exist. It can now concentrate on the questions of how such phenomena are to be understood, categorized and applied in practice. For parapsychologists, who were formerly chiefly occupied with attempting to justify the existence of their research, this is a quantum jump.
"In an official report on modern psi research, the respected statistician Jessica Utts, professor at the University of California at Davis, wrote: 'The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted … It is recommended that future experiments focus on understanding how this phenomenon works and on how to make it as useful as possible. There is little benefit to continuing experiments designed to offer proof.' *
"These developments are still being ignored by large segments of the general public, even though interest in the extraordinary and uncanny continues to flourish. Television stations strive to outdo each other with programs about fantastic phenomena and series based on the borderline between fact and fiction. Both fear of and hope for extraordinary paranormal abilities are being nourished.
"In fact, the extraordinary is at work throughout the world, not in the form of spectacular phenomena but invisibly, as a silent, inconspicuous exchange between mind and matter. This might not sound like much, but it is no less than a revolution in our understanding of consciousness and its action in the world. What we may regard as chance is actually not chance at all. Chance has its own hidden organization, and this organization is called psi. Psi is part of the way in which nature is organized."
(Psychic Wars, Blandford Press pg. 10 & 11)
In the next chapter on radionic technology we will return to psi research in an attempt to explain how to use this ability creatively. It is interesting that while technologies like Radionics have been ridiculed by science to the point its purveyors were prosecuted and jailed, recent discoveries in other areas of science explore why it could work. Regardless, Radionics continues to be used successfully worldwide.
Essentially, art methodology differs from other academic disciplines because it is inherently self-referential. What this means is that the artist must ultimately rely upon himself to make the best decisions about how to conduct his art. There are the elements of skill, education, practice and talent, but ultimately to make a creative decision it is the artist who must counsel himself. At that point, some intuitive guiding mechanism takes over that weighs all the possible options and makes a decision. The brush or chisel follows the proscribed intention, and the result is only judged later. There are no truly objective criteria by which to evaluate the importance of a work of art. Only the marketplace affords some degree of relative comparison, and that is influenced by many forces beyond the quality of the art.
Creativity is ubiquitous whether applied to art, medical diagnosis or anything else. The difference is that in art, much more of this "hidden organization of chance, called psi" seems to dictate the result. Some mind to matter process enters the equation that is only partially understood. Is the anomalous result aesthetic, as opposed to probabilistic? We will examine this question much closer in the essay on semiotics. For now, the linkage that exists between mind and matter will be pursued in a more practical way, by reviewing some of the methods by which it is applied. We will also delve into the lives and work of certain individuals who brought attention and technology to these ideas.
DOWSING AND RADIESTHESIA
Author Christopher Bird, in an article on dowsing written for John White's book FUTURE SCIENCE, defined dowsing as…"a word for the art of searching, with a hand held instrument such as a Y-shaped rod, a pair of L-shaped rods, a wand or a pendulum---for anything. This word was probably born into the English language where miners were introduced from Germany in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In all probability it comes from the German word: Deuten, for which a good dictionary gives the the following meanings: to explain, to expound, to interpret, to point at, to signify, to bode, to auger--depending upon exactly how it is being used."
Bird goes on to define Radiesthesia or Radiesthesie as…"a word coined in the 1930's by the Abbe Bouly in France. It is taken from a Latin root for 'radiation' and a Greek root for 'perception' and thus means literally the 'perception of radiations.' This literal meaning may in fact be misleading but Bouly hoped that by inventing a 'scientific' word, the art of dowsing would be more palatable as an object of study by scientists. The word is awkward, hard to convert into a verb in French. It spread into English as radiesthesia. At one time the Journal of the British Society of Dowsers was called RADIO-PERCEPTION. The word has been adopted all over the European continent with the exception of the so-called 'socialist' countries, which have adopted a newly coined Russian word: 'Biofizicheskii Metod' or 'biophysical method.'
As to the exact nature of the radiations themselves, Bird leaves us with no conclusions. Instead, he refers those frustrated with the lack of scientific explanation to be consoled by Thomas Edison's answer to the question: "What is electricity?"
"I don't know," replied the inventor, "but it works."
Whatever the explanation, dowsing and radiesthesia exist at an interesting crossroads. The introductory techniques are simple enough for a child to learn. Many people do, in fact, at gatherings in Vermont at the American School of Dowsing, every June. The attraction is that dowsing is primarily practical in application. One need do nothing more than learn the basic theory and technique, and begin to practice. Whether one wants to locate water or missing objects, or go deeper into the possibilities opened by this training, the very experience of dowsing successfully is truly illuminating!
In the artistic context, dowsing and radiesthesia are not generally recognized as such, but nevertheless are intrinsic to most artistic disciplines. In creativity, one is constantly searching. Whether it be for an impulse, idea, tone, melody, color, context, or the myriad of other experiences in art making; a basic technique for locating the next component of the work in hand is developed by each artist. Intuitively and self-referentially, this "searching" impulse is nurtured and developed throughout their career. That practicing dowsing or other similar techniques can augment this basic skill is not ordinarily considered.
Dowsing and radiesthia are undoubtedly connected to the psi energy of the mind. However, a strong case can be made for these mysterious radiations being in the environment as well. A number of the technologies examined in this book support the premise these radiations are external to the mind and imbedded in nature as a force.
In art, we have a high comfort level with the dichotomy posed by an energetic component being both physical and non-physical almost simultaneously. Light itself is either a particle or a wave at different moments, under different conditions. A great painting radiates an energy that crosses time, culture, language, taste; it can mean many things to many people, yet it is a discreet object bounded by very physical constraints all the while. It is not hard to argue that creativity does at times, if not at all times, borrow from some hidden wellspring of power in our world.
In the consideration of dowsing and radiesthesia, as with art, more is revealed through application than theory. When it comes to application, there is perhaps no more interesting place to start in the modern era than with Abbe Mermet. First published in France in 1935, his PRINCIPLES & PRACTICE OF RADIESTHESIA, (English translation, 1959), became a window into the fascinating world of applied subtle energy.
Of the French cleric, the translator had this to say: "Abbe Mermet had the satisfaction of being acclaimed during his lifetime as the 'King of Dowsers', not only in France but all over the continent of Europe. He was one of the few prophets who gained recognition in his own country. Wherever he went he made an unforgettable impression, not only by virtue of his amazing practical results, but also by his unfailing willingness to help those in need of such material things as water and coal, and those in distress about missing relatives whom he invariably traced. And he did it all with a modesty akin to saintliness. He was indeed a priest who had found his real vocation.
"All kinds and conditions of men consulted him from various parts of the world. A poor distressed widow in France, whose son had been missing for some time; the chief engineer of the world -famous firm of Suchard in Switzerland; a missionary in South America; and even the Pope himself, who took a great interest in his work, all appealed to him for help and guidance to solve problems which had left experts and specialists completely baffled. And never did anyone appeal to him in vain. Abbe Mermet almost invariably gave final and true answer without any thought of pecuniary reward."
Both dowsing and radiesthesia involve sensitivity to radiations. In dowsing, this sensitivity is usually confined to the search for water and minerals with a dowsing rod of some kind. By contrast, radiesthesia embraces the whole field of subtle radiations from any source, regardless of whether it is living or inert. This has been expanded to include the psi function known as "remote viewing" or formerly as "Teleradiesthesia". This technique is the ability to understand and describe objects or activity at a distance from the operator. In recent years many authors have come forward to describe their military and intelligence training in remote viewing.
Abbe Mermet's work has the distinction of being perhaps the first classic textbook on the application of radiesthesia. In France, the work was awarded a prize by the National Society for the Encouragement of Public Welfare. His exploits, widely covered by the press, include the discovery of petroleum in Africa and other parts of the world and archaeological research in Rome for the Vatican. Radiesthesia was so well considered at the time that even the famous Nobel Laureate scientific researcher, Dr. Alexis Carrel, at the Rockefeller Institute in New York expressed the following opinion: "The physician must detect in every patient the characteristics of his individuality, his resistance to the cause of the disease, his sensitivity to pain, the state of all his organic functions, his past as well as his future. He must keep an open mind free from personal assumptions that certain unorthodox methods of investigation are useless. Therefore he should remember that Radiesthesia is worthy of serious consideration."
In writing the preface for the last edition to his textbook, Abbe Mermet makes it clear that he believes that subsequent research into his methods will lead radiesthesia into a supplementary chapter to "the old textbooks of classical physics." Clearly, half a century later this has not become a reality, although progress in that direction has been made. One can only surmise that its reliance on self -referential techniques, like an artistic methodology, has made Radiesthesia a no-show in academic circles to our general detriment after such a promising start.
The Abbe himself was quick to point out that the pioneers of Radiesthesia were in the majority Catholic Priests with a strong aversion to anything occult or magical. Had they encountered elements of their research that they believed went beyond the study of physical laws and natural forces, they most certainly would have come under the censure of the Church itself.
Abbe Mermet states in his Preface, in that regard: "The reader will find here facts and experiments, and certain laws, or rather constant manifestations of radiesthetic forces, based on tentative hypotheses necessary for the explanation of facts. But he will find no theory accounting for them. This is quite intentional and the reason for it is obvious for no theory could account for all the facts. Any explanation would be more obscure than the particular fact to be explained. It is better, therefore, to remain silent and frankly admit that we do not know."
"In Radiesthesia some discover various things while others discover explanations. In the practical field of discovery we can distinguish those who find something from those who never find anything. But as far as discussion is concerned we are all equal and different views are often expressed in radiesthetic circles.
"Aristotle differentiated physics from metaphysics. It would seem that Radiesthesia takes an intermediate place between the two. By reason of its obvious similarities with the elements and laws of classical physics, gravitation, light, heat, electricity, magnetism and Hertzian waves, Radiesthesia is closely linked up with the group of sciences which studies laws and forces of Nature. On the other hand, owing to certain results which might be regarded as supernatural, the apparent disproportion of the means employed, and the mysteries associated with it which it is not yet able to elucidate, Radiesthesia appears to be concerned with the suspect domain of forces transcending those of Nature.
"Among radiesthetists, I have observed two tendencies. Some, endowed with a really scientific temperament, see and seek in Radiesthesia a new branch of the physics of waves and radiations. Others, possessing psychic and metaphysical tendencies, attracted by the wonders of occultism, aim at linking up Radiesthesia with phenomena of abnormal hypersensibility or spiritism.
"Personally, I must make my position quite clear. I regard Radiesthesia as being purely scientific. If it had not been so, I should have given up on it long ago. All the facts I have observed, whether explicable or not, appear to be purely natural and the mystery associated with them is of the same kind as that characteristic of luminous, calorific and Hertzian waves. Hence my endeavors have always been to discover the points of contact between these branches so closely akin to the same science and I hope that those more learned than I will continue to investigate on the same lines."
As the Abbe predicted, the pursuit of the knowledge of radiesthesia would also be the pursuit of the explanation of subtle energy. Today, we have far more explanations than practical applications. Modern cosmologists, unable to account for the missing bulk of the mass of the universe, have coined the terms "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy" to account for the discrepancies in their calculations. We also have returned to the 19th Century notion of an all-pervasive "aether", now refined and updated under the name "Quintessence". Subatomic physics has classified numerous strong and weak forces and the existence of miniscule particles of missing matter called "mesons" are hotly debated.
Does it not seem odd that we have endorsed and extended our research of subtle energy to such extreme ends of the microscopic and macroscopic worlds, but still refuse to quantify and engineer practical subtle energy manifestations in the here and now? Could these efforts not locate lost children, uncover precious natural resources and lead to many other benefits?
One can see in the reluctance of our scientific community to come to grips with the potential benefits of techniques like those developed by Abbe Mermet a hidden opportunity for artists. By all accounts, like Edison's electricity, the stuff works! Not only that, but in training ourselves to use these tools, we accomplish some other important side benefits. For one, we decondition ourselves from the mechanistic dogma of science, that for all its wonderful material benefit has stripped us of awe and mystery, depriving us of the sense that intelligence of some kind may also be imbedded in nature along with its laws.
There is another benefit to setting aside the cultural prejudice of mechanistic thought. It is the freedom that comes with adopting an empirical model for research within our own consciousness for the ability to extend the meaning and purpose of our existence. Abbe Mermet's life was a model of selfless service both to the mystery and glory of God and to the benefit of others. As a result, his ministry achieved the enviable status of demonstrating the nature of faith through practical works that contained a working relationship with unseen forces.
To accomplish this feat, the Abbe had to develop a very special set of perceptual tools. He had to continually objectify the feelings and perceptions that came to him intuitively and place them in a "scientific" context within his own self-referential limits. In other words, he had to examine both his data and his perceptions of that data for flaws. Personal honesty was an important component of the humility taught by his faith. In reading of his life, both that humility and that honesty stand out as an intrinsic component of his success with radiesthesia.
In formulating his dowsing protocols Abbe established what he called an "Ariadne's thread" to navigate the terrain of factual observations confronting the practitioner of Radiesthesia. He says:
"Everything takes place as if:
A.) All bodies without exception are constantly emitting undulations or radiations.
B.) The human body enters these fields of influence and becomes the seat of nervous reactions, of some kind of current, which flows through the hands.
C.) If an appropriate object, such as a rod or a pendulum, is held in the hand, the invisible flux is made manifest in the movements given to this object, which acts as a kind of indicator."
Abbe makes the analogy to a circuit, which will not flow with current if the contacts do not match up with the waves the right way. However, "…. If a radiesthetic wave is generated and the operator fulfills the necessary conditions of receptivity, then the human cohere functions at once, the current flows through setting the pendulum in motion, and the variety of the pendulum's movements corresponds with the variations of the waves that have brought those movements about.
"And so, in tracing the effect back to the cause whence it arises, it seems now logical to proceed and analyze the parts played by the pendulum, by the human organism, and by the forces emanating from bodies in general. Then to go further and show how the radiesthest goes about his work, making use of each of these elements in the chain of cause and effect, operating first on site, then at a distance, and concerning himself with inanimate bodies and with living beings."
In this straightforward statement of technique, Abbe establishes an empirical, self-referential methodology for examining the radiesthetic process. For a practicing artist, it must look familiar. One can deduce from the similarity that acquiring and refining an artistic "impulse" has a similar modus operendi. Utilizing this energy, i.e. practicing dowsing, is a process which enables a type of circuit to form through trial and error. The circuit is the most efficient energetic pathway to correct expression. When assembled and refined, each circuit could be described as a non-physical template describing the essence of a form, a geometrical code perhaps. The visual manifestation of the geometry is an aesthetic; a semiotic alphabet of mental imagery designed to augment sensory acquisition and interpretation.
This geometrical model helps to explain why the difficulty of developing deeper artistic process and aesthetics in general have given way in our culture to more superficial accomplishments. If one can accept the dowsing or radiesthetic reflex plays a role in creativity, then the energetic nature of ancient and aboriginal art takes on a fresh, practical interpretation. It becomes possible to regard in a new light why ritual performance and ceremonial art expression and aesthetic disciplines in general were thought to "move energy" by their practitioners.
We can pay a price as artists in letting go of this delicate relationship with subtle energy in favor of the commercial benefit of electronic media. It is not so much that electricity itself is to blame for blunting the radiesthetic sensitivity, rather the addictive nature of the way electronic imagery is used to overwhelm and dominate our consciousness. This result can hardly be an accident, and is more likely "entertainment" designed to dumb the population down. By contrast, the lack of usable radiesthetic knowledge available today would suggest that it convey the opposite: greater freedom and more intelligence.
In the textbook, Abbe Mermet builds upon his initial, simple methodology explained in the preface. He goes on to explain the difficulties in obtaining consistent radiesthetic results, using numerous examples from his long career. As to locating missing persons and discerning various elements below the surface of the ground, the Abbe describes the complicated procedures that evolved to analyze the data revealed by his pendulum. S
The hunger today is for more and more information. The delivery process for feeding this hunger is primarily electronic. Yet information acquisition breeds the need for even more information, in an addictive spiral of mass consumption. The antidote is suggested by the life of Abbe Mermet. In his case, greater and greater control over radiesthetic energy led to greater self-confidence and the power to meaningfully produce usable results for the people he served.
THE THEORIES OF PROFESSOR JOHNJOE McFADDEN
In locating a mechanism for the transfer of information in consciousness that could readily
interface with what we understand of the electromagnetic spectrum, Dr. Johnjoe McFadden, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey in Great Britain and author of QUANTUM EVOLUTION, offers some intriguing insights. Combining research from biology, psychology, physics and neuroscience, Dr. McFadden believes that he has devised a theory and a methodology to obtain hard evidence about how consciousness operates.
Much of what we consider "mind" involves not only what we are conscious of but also all the activity that goes on naturally without awareness, like walking and breathing. The biggest problem facing neuroscience is in how to differentiate between the two.
In visual perception, when we see an object, signals composed of electrically charged ions travel along nerves to the nerve terminus. Chemical neurotransmitters cause the signal to jump to the next nerve. The receiving nerve responds by firing, if enough pressure is put upon it by the signals pushing behind it.
It is accepted science that these signals are processed in the brain and then transferred to the body as appropriate commands. Nowhere in this flow of chemicals and ions can be found a location or a structure within the brain that specializes in consciousness.
Dr. McFadden's theory is that nerve cells in the brain firing spontaneously create powerful
Waves, what he refers to as a "field effect", causing other neurons to spark. This electromagnetic field functions as a wireless processor. He believes that the most important information from the brain is made into a wireless signal which when transmitted back to the brain becomes conscious thought.
What the brains electromagnetic field structure provides is an area where all the individual nerve signals are bound together with all the other signals in the brain. This binding process has all the characteristics of consciousness. As a fluctuating field, it can influence action by pushing some neurons to fire while restraining others. This deliberate selection is what McFadden ascribes to conscious will or intention.
In the learning process, this fluctuation of the brain's electromagnetic field can adapt readily to circumstances, acting like a tuner for behavior. When the behavior becomes learned or automatic, the neurons are bound and fire together, dropping into an unconscious or automatic response. At that time, the response becomes part of the enormous pool of information held in the brain electromagnetic field.
Essentially, to restate Professor McFadden's argument: the brain's electromagnetic field, while interacting with its circuitry, produces consciousness and intelligent thought. To quote his abstract: "The human brain consists of approximately 100 billion electrically active neurons that generate an endogenous electromagnetic (em) field, whose role in neuronal computing has not been fully examined. The source, magnitude and likely influence of the brain's endogenous em field are here considered…. Synchronous firing of distributed neurons phase-locks induced em field fluctuations to increase their magnitude and influence. Synchronous firing has previously been demonstrated to correlate with awareness and perception, indicating that perturbations to the brain's em field also correlate with awareness. The brain's em field represents an integrated electromagnetic field representation of distributed neuronal information and has dynamics that closely map to those expected for a correlate of consciousness. I propose that the brain's em information field is the physical substrate of conscious awareness --the cemi field-- and make a number of predictions that follow from this proposal…"
When McFadden's research was first published in THE JOURNAL OF CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES, despite passing peer review, it was criticized by some as pseudo-science. Difficulties arise in measuring the spatial properties of the fields proposed to be conscious, and in generating them artificially. Also there is the problem that his measurements show that a non-constant relationship exists between sensation and the brain em fields, which begs the basic question of how consciousness actually effects the brain.
McFadden's response was to state: "The cemi field theory is not idle speculation. It is one of the few theories of consciousness that actually provides predictions that are scientifically testable."
In spite of being unproven, his theory does provide a scientific model to examine how outside electromagnetic fields could effect intuition and behavior. This model does have interesting physiological support from earlier studies. Subjects isolated in specially designed isolation chambers within which levels of electricity and magnetism could be increased or decreased, showed marked effects on consciousness and motor reflex when these levels were changed.
One might suspect cell phones and powerlines of similar effects. McFadden argues that the brain itself has its own significant EM field counteracting that radiation. It is also well protected electrically by the skull and membrane walls. Given those barriers, it would seem likely that subtle effects of consciousness like those employed by Abbe Mermet work because the em field is elastic enough to be trained as a powerful tuner and filter of radiations; or possibly, some other unrecognized forces are involved. If Mcfadden is correct, the field structure created by the firing neurons in the brain is in a constant flux. Signals from outside the brain would interact with them, more or less successfully, depending upon how well they were tuned in to the receiving mind.
The question becomes whether a sensitive mind trained to distinguish between various signals as in the dowsing reflex, does indeed have a physical mechanism in place to process this information and turn it into useful data. McFadden's theory suggests that it would, and this is precisely what outrages those of a more mechanistic bent. Not only would this theory provide an experimental and verifiable platform for examining and exploring the very weak signals coursing through the brain as thought, but it would set the stage for a scientific understanding of other "field effects" arising beyond thought, in the external world. These would include emanations of all kinds, including the directed attention "psi" effects studied in complementary disciplines. It is more than likely that theories of this kind will be put to the test, as the results would have a profound effect upon the way artificial intelligence technology is designed, especially the neural networks that mimic biological processes.
In our day to day world, we take for granted the enormous amount of data that is transmitted and received by our vast media technology. We do not realize how humble the origin of this technology really is. In a few short decades the modest beginnings of radio grew into a worldwide media phenomenon. We can surmise that a similar eruption of technology could emerge from the mysterious forces examined here. To better understand this potential, and to prepare the reader for a discussion of the radionic technology of the next chapter, it is interesting to examine the modest design of the very first radios.
GROUND BATTERIES, NATIVE ART & THE PROPAGATION OF INTENT
In the early days of electrical invention, power generation and broadcasting had not yet been separated into separate disciplines. Inventors were still talking about "broadcasting intelligence" as though some specific combination of frequencies and radiations could psychedelically enhance the power of the mind. Inventors like Nikola Tesla designed and nearly succeeded in building a system for a wireless (and free) power supply.
Electricity was seen as a proto-force, something between life and inert matter. There was a thrilling excitement around every discovery in this new medium. Inventions and appliances abounded, many making claims that would seem preposterous to us today. Yet before we are led to make judgements regarding their viability, it should be noted that many unusual forces besides what we know of as electromagnetism were being routinely discovered and used.
Many early ideas about electricity dwell on the concept of an "earth battery." Originally designed through copper plates set into deep wells by Luigi Galvani, earth batteries reflected the concept that not only useable current could be drawn from the earth, but also other regenerative energies of a subtler nature. Rock sanctuaries, dolmens, round towers and standing stones going back thousands of years are associated in many cultures around the world with the dawn of religion and the healing arts.
In the early days of electrical technology, modern man first encountered these mysterious earth energies while laying telegraph lines across virgin landscapes. In his 1997 book LOST SCIENCE, author Gerry Vassilatos, who spent years in the patent files and historical archives of the New York Public Library doing research for his book states: "It all began one hundred and fifty years ago with the advent of telegraphy. Well before geologists and draftsmen were hired to mark telegraph line installations across a chosen territory, the linesmen selected the actual course and way. While major line directions were generally known, it was left to the linesmen to select the specific post-by-post pathway through the forests. Not necessarily the best geological trail, linesmen followed the path which seemed, to their aesthetic sense, to be the "right one".
"Older linesmen recalled the days when line installations took their characteristic winding routes through woods, across meadows, and sinuously along ridges, lakes and streams in an expressive freedom which was otherwise difficult to explain.
"Theirs was a sense-determined path rather than a strictly mathematical one, carved through woods and vales in artistic meandering ways.
"This sense oriented technique for determining the best route through the countryside was most definitely based on a forgotten sensitivity which dowsers yet preserve. The ground 'urge' was anciently noted and honored by ancient sensitives who understood this to be the mysterious intelligence of the earth itself.
"The organismic energy of earth which manifests as a mysterious black radiance is seen throughout natural settings. It is observed beneath evergreen trees at noonday. It shimmers above certain ground spots where it rises as a magnificent glowing crown at night. It combines sensation and consciousness, being simultaneously seen and felt. It unifies metaphysical and physical entities, being recognized only through personal contact and experience.
"In addition, the earth energy freely saturates and modifies the operation of certain very specific technologies, where its presence creates quantitative anomalies. Any systems whose primary elements require ground connection are sure to become hosts for geomantic energy. When the telegraph system first appeared, it became flooded with this energy.
"Early telegraph lines intercepted earth energy with great regularity, often connecting distant sacred spots together. We find all too numerous anecdotes and collections of reports in telegraphic trade journals, which indicate that anomalous ground energy was entering the system components at certain critical seasons. These reports affirm that an earth "electricity" was energizing telegraph systems without the need for battery power at all.
"Other reports tell of strange, automatic telegraph signals which suddenly manifested during night hours. Still others report the peculiar ability of telegraph operators to "know who would call…why they were calling…and what the nature of the message would be". These phenomena would be repeated in later years, when wireless operators began experiencing the very same things. The heightened consciousness experienced near these large grounded systems had everything to do with the reappearance of phenomena anciently observed along meandering paths between sacred spots. The rediscovery of these anciently known truths was again making its appearance during the industrial revolution."
It is conceivable that the undisturbed contact with the potent ground energy described by early researchers of electricity and magnetism may have actually enhanced the burst of creativity that became the outstanding characteristic of their research at that time. No rules had been codified that prevented inventors from following whatever direction their empirical process of discovery dictated. Many inventors seemed to discover something entirely on their own, as artists would, working in a similar genre. Yet placed together, the knowledge of these discoveries formed coherent relationship to one another, despite the fact that no one individual had envisioned a meta-theory to encompass all the facts.
The social milieu of the mid to late 1800's was in the midst of transforming Europe and America from agricultural to industrial societies. Any discovery of a technical sort that could produce work or reduce effort or speed communications had immediate application and promised wealth and fame for its inventor. Little concern remained about the relationship of these discoveries to aesthetics, except perhaps in the design of the appliances themselves. Whatever fuel earth energy provided the imagination and creativity was lost to the forces intent on marketing the practical aspects of the discovery. Where certain discoveries overlapped societal needs, a different energy was soon brought to bear on the circumstances: entreprenurialism.
The power released from the creative exploration of natural forces and radiations in the late 19th Century were quickly exploited by the business class, which co-opted and consolidated those discoveries which looked to be the most profitable, while crushing the competition. In an attempt to standardize knowledge and streamline their investments, many of the truly interesting discoveries of that period were stampeded over and lost. Quite often because newer discoveries were innately simpler to engineer, they became a threat. If the investor owned copper mines and railroads, he didn't want to see power disseminated for free through the ground. If he had coalmines to fuel electrical generators, he didn't want power transmitted through the air.
Yet all these alternatives did exist, and are a matter of record in the patents issued to protect their discoveries. [See appendix #1]
Once the motive becomes clear about why a brilliant new discovery becomes lost or suppressed, it is easier to accept the possibility that they actually did once exist. It is also easier to understand why some of the more aesthetically sensitive discoveries would also be discarded. They had the regrettable burden of being less cost effective. This was not the case where technology and aesthetics remained connected, as among tribal peoples.
Native cultures worldwide express no ambivalence in combining aesthetically pleasing ceremonial procedures with practical objectives. The Hopi Indians routinely perform ritual dance to invoke rain. I personally witnessed such an occurrence, when within half an hour of a 90 to100 degree dry day following the dance, huge thunderheads rolled in and soaked fields and villages which only receive as a rule six to nine inches of rain a year.
Much has also been written about Navajo sand painting and its curative and restorative value within the culture. Navajo religion is based around being in harmony with beauty. Illness of all kinds is seen as the result of loosing that harmony. In the Navajo culture we witness a very pure integration of a curative process with an aesthetic process in a functional, energetic manner.
Similar aesthetic/practical overlays exist in Tibetan culture as well. Routinely, music, dance, painting, theater and sculpture are used to pragmatic ends. We will return to these observations in later chapters for a more detailed discussion of their importance in understanding subtle energy in art.
On the surface, it seems a little preposterous from our mechanistic worldview to imagine that art can be effective in an energetic sense. We generally view art as entertaining, decorative or at best a metaphorical transducer of important cultural information. We don't view it as doing work or containing motive force. Yet powerful art, even on paper or in paint, is energetic in other ways. It can move emotion regardless of race, color, creed, and culture and across time. Even in a painting, some intangible force is broadcasting from the surface of the art that effects the senses and the mind.
Art may also be said to store some type of energy, somewhat like a battery. It is often measured in value by the amount of money it is worth, as though money is equal to current. In order to be felt or understood, it must resonate with the viewer, which implies it is acting as a transducer for information.
Examined closely, art often contains ordinary technical elements, for instance geometry, or nested geometry's within the composition. Many types of art use and manipulate light, sound and space. When one considers an art object or composition as directed intention, you can describe it as the energy of consciousness applied to the organization of materials, words, sounds etc. Seen in this light, there are many correspondences with the methodology of numerous subtle energy technologies. We will explore this in some depth throughout the discussion.
Primary to most fine art process is a relationship to materials; colors, dyes, paper, canvas, rock, wood, metal, clay, etc. Usually these materials are arranged and used with the intent of broadcasting something; a feeling, a vision, a concept, a notion, a commentary, an insult. The means of reaching others via media exposure acts as the broadcast antenna. How the message is changed or refined over time is a tuning mechanism. How well the broadcast connects to the audience is a function of how well it is grounded in importance to the audience. Even the object itself must contain some active, changing ingredient, stimulating in its form or design or composition that makes the presentation worthwhile.
When it comes to electronics, we are confronted with tremendous variety and complexity among all the different applications used in our society. Among those, radio is ubiquitous in its influence. It is hard to believe that its first exponent, the crystal radio set, is such a stunningly simple device.
As we pursue the possibility of other forms of energy in our environment, it is of interest to see just how basic a technology can be in order to demonstrate a profound principle. Looking at the discovery of crystal radio is a window into how creative thinking applied to simple energetic systems uncovered a world of incredible opportunity. As a comparison, it is easy to imagine, looking at early radio, how discoveries of psi or dowsing could become objectified in a technology of their own. It would seem that it is mainly our collective belief that such a technology is impossible, more than anything else, that prevents it from being engineered. The fact that such an interesting proposition has been intellectually ruled out at the academic level provides an opportunity for the artist willing to experiment in this area.
When viewing an art object as a type of transceiver, the design of a crystal radio provides comparison. Crystal sets were the very first type of radio to ever be used by the general public. It is interesting to see how extremely simple the concept really was. The materials were very basic and they were assembled with less complexity than many sculptures. To think that small pieces of wire and rock assembled in various ways produced one of the greatest inventions of our time is astounding and bears a closer look.
In a crystal radio set, which can still be purchased today in kit form, you begin with two lengths of copper wire. One acts as an antenna and must be stretched outdoors a distance, say 10 or 20 yards minimum. The second must be long enough to go from the set into the ground, or be attached to a pipe that is grounded.
The core of the set is a small piece of rock; maybe 1/2" square, usually of Galena (lead sulfide). A tiny wire ground into a point delicately touches the surface of the galena and can be moved to find "hot spots" for better reception. The crystal is the component, or "rectifier", that separates the audio portion of the signal from the radio frequency carrier, and permits passage of waves in a single direction. Even today the complete theory of "contact rectification" is not well understood. What impulse first made someone attach a fine wire to a piece of galena crystal and listens to it through an earphone anyway? It was probably the world's first semi-conductor.
The fine wire, called a "cat's whisker" is then attached to a wire wound (fifty-five times) around a three inch cylinder, in the early days most often an old oatmeal box. This "coil" determines and "peaks out" the signal, acting like a tuner.
The coil is connected by wire to another small piece of crystal that is wafer thin. This thin wafer crystal brings the radio signal down to the range of hearing the electrical impulse in the antenna is moving at over 1,000,000 cycles per second. The signal detected by the galena is then sent to where it vibrates and excites the earphone wafer mechanically, which moves air at a much lower frequency we can hear, between 100 and 3500 cycles per second.
The entire power required to operate the set was provided by the transmission, the signal being broadcast. Before there was such a thing as AM radio, the set would have picked up nothing except strong surges of static. Many different types of rock act as detectors: carborundum, cerusite, pyrites, perikon, radiocite, and hecite as well as synthetic crystals. Depending upon their composition and the coils used with them, they would receive different types of signals.
A great deal of patience was needed to locate a signal on the surface of a piece of galena. Constant tweaking of the cat's whisker was required to locate a sensitive spot on the crystal. After hours of tuning, something as simple as slamming the door could make it disappear. Thus the margins between success and failure were so great that without a deep conviction in the viability of this discovery, success may never have become possible.
From the hours of patient research with these simple ingredients, a major life transforming technology was born. Yet the question begs asking, what other forms of energy can be broadcast and received using these simple means?
ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA (EVP)
The answer is suggested by another intriguing aspect of crystal radio: Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), better known as "Ghost Voices". EVP has been around for a long time, but its most recent guise arrived with the advent of the tape recorder. Essentially, various open sound sources such as a live microphone, a white noise generator, a radio tuned between the stations or, most effectively, a variation on the cat's whisker crystal radio have become the means for hearing unidentified voices that have no connection to standard radio broadcasts.
Modern research on this subject can be traced to a Swedish producer of documentaries named Friedrich Jurgenson. In 1954 Jurgenson, while recording bird singing, heard in the background of the tape a mysterious voice, speaking in Norwegian, commenting on the subject of bird song. Unable to find any similar broadcasts on radio during that time, he continued with open air taping in the hopes of replicating the experience.
Success at this activity attracted the attention of many other people, and his results became published, and are available today in an archival CD with many pictures. By 1965 his work had attracted the attention of a psychologist, Dr. Konstantin Raudive. Together they compiled hundreds of recordings and addressed, through careful experiment, the logical assertions that hoaxing or radio signals or hallucination of some kind were involved.
As the voices occasionally addressed them by name, volunteering information of all kinds, including technical tips at making better recordings, the association with séance activity and the dead took hold. What was a significant difference from seances was that the tapes were a form of evidence, and that no "medium" was necessary to get results. Nevertheless, the results took time to "develop", and were not always easy to come by. The voices themselves had weird rhythms, sounded monotonous and machine made, and often was twice the speed of normal speech.
With the publishing of his book "Breakthrough, An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead," scientists around the world became aware of his work and verified his results. Apparently, the best results were obtained when the researchers directly requested the voices to speak.
According to Raudive and others, the very best way to record EVPs was with circuits similar in design to crystal radio, complete with germanium diode and "cat's whisker". One significant difference was the replacement of a coil with a capacitor in some designs, and the shortening of the antenna to about three inches of stiff wire. Technically, there is not enough antenna there to provide the power to render a radio broadcast through induction, though a good ground connection is still required.
The simplicity and mysterious nature of both the broadcasts and how they are received pose interesting questions for thought. Could the mechanism be replicated in natural design and in biological systems without us being aware of it as such? Could the alternative healing arts and dowsing techniques that require ceremony or applied intention be transducing "help" from disincarnate sources? Can functionally different but still simple designs producing unknown results be made from other materials using different design prerogatives?
What is fascinating about the design of both the crystal radio and its cousin the EVP diode is the elementary construction and basic materials. From the artistic vantagepoint, we are seeing rock as something more that a surface to be carved. We see certain types of rock connected by wire as becoming a radio circuit or a psi receiver. What about rock connected to a human, via an electrolyte such as perspiration or blood? There is also the human skeletal system, which actually looks like a high frequency antenna!
One of the themes pursued in this book is the role of the eidetic imaging faculty of the mind. Are we looking at the possibility of rock functioning as a transducer under certain conditions for mental images in the mind?
The idea is very simple. Art is intimately concerned with mental images. So is belief. Both art and belief are potent cultural forces capable of motivating people to reach beyond their immediate needs into the unknown. The brain of early man is large enough that scientists consider it capable of the higher functioning we associate with intelligence, curiosity and creativity. Why isn't it possible that early man, deeply sensitive to nuances of his environment, such as power emanating from the ground, developed a communications system that was based upon the transmittal and reception of eidetic imagery?
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL TRANSMITTERS
A great deal of anecdotal evidence for the existence of such a system exists today, from shamanistic ceremonies to Aboriginal Dreamtime to well accepted personal accounts like that recorded in "Wizard of the Upper Amazon, The Story of Manuel Cordova-Rios", by F. Bruce Lamb.
"Wizard…." is the story of a young, white, male rubber trader abducted by Indians and trained to become leader of an aboriginal tribe that hand not yet made contact with the world outside the Amazon. In the course of his training Manuel is taught the ecology of the jungle through a hallucinatory drug. The drug acts as an access vehicle to a visual library of the tribes' knowledge of plants and animals of the forest. These visions, once evoked, are shared communally by his teachers as they train him to understand the dynamics of his surroundings.
A Swiss anthropologist Jeremy Narby, in his book has made more recent in depth look at these phenomena "The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge". Dr. Narby's book is an attempt to look at shamanistic discovery from a cross-disciplinary academic approach, examining mysticism through the tools of science.
Dr. Narby spent two years living with the Ashaninca people of Peru. Throughout his visit and beyond, Narby was fascinated by the extraordinary knowledge of botanicals and medicine in the possession of the Ashaninca and other tribes of the Amazon.
For instance, consider the case of curare, a blow gun poison that causes muscle paralysis, used extensively in the region and first developed there by its inhabitants. So far, over 40 varieties of curare have been catalogued made from combining correctly over 70 different types of plants. The fabrication process involves exhaustive reduction through boiling down of ingredients. In addition, a lethal vapor is released that must be avoided at all cost. The final product is a paste that is ineffective unless injected under the skin, and harmless if swallowed or touched. Other design imperatives for the drug are that it must work as to not allow the victim to tighten their hand around a vine out of reach, once infected, or poison the hunter when eaten.
Upon inquiry as to how such a refined drug could have been designed and produced in the jungle, the Indians insisted that the knowledge came through the agency of plant induced hallucinations. By ingesting the drug ayahuasca, Dr. Narby was told, plants could communicate their attributes to humans through carefully selected mental images while in the Trance State.
Luckily, Dr. Narby did not ridicule this method of obtaining knowledge. He knew the Ashaninca as an "…. Extremely practical and frank people living almost autonomously in the Amazonian forest…" and if their discovery techniques went beyond quantitative analysis, their results were equally impressive, however obtained. As a result, Dr. Narby began to construct his own theory about how plants might communicate information.
"Shamans take their consciousness down to the molecular level and gain access to biomolecular information." Once at that state, he surmised that they accessed their own DNA, of which 97% remains functionally unexplained. We do know that the DNA of one cell exchanges signals with the DNA of other cells, and is accomplished by emitting photons at the wavelength of visible light. Simply put, once the shaman is tapped into his own DNA, it could become possible to communicate across organisms, species, even between animal and plant. The DNA light would in effect provide a matrix, explaining both the visionary aspects of the shamans' experience as well as providing a mechanism for understanding how psi effects work.
When interviewed by Todd Stewart for Ascent Magazine about this theory, he was asked; "What is intelligence?"
Dr. Narby: "Intelligence comes from the Latin inter-legere, to choose between. There seems to be a capacity to make choices operating inside each cell in our body, down to the level of individual proteins and enzymes. DNA itself is a kind of 'text' that functions through a coding system called 'genetic code,' which is strikingly similar to codes used by human beings. Some enzymes edit the RNA transcript of the DNA text and add new letters to it; any error made during this editing can be fatal to the entire organism; so these enzymes are consistently making the right choices; if they don't something often goes wrong leading to cancer and other diseases. Cells send one another signals, in the form of proteins and molecules. These signals mean divide, or don't divide; move or don't move; kill yourself or stay alive. Any one cell is listening to hundreds of signals at the same time, and has to integrate them and decide what to do. How this intelligence operates is a good question."
T.S.) "The structure of DNA is made up of letters and thus has a specific text and language. You could easily say our bodies are made up of language, yet we assume that speech arises from the mind. How do we access this hidden language?"
J.N.) "By studying it. There are several roads to knowledge, including science and shaminism."
One could include the methodology of Art in this list. Dr. Narby finds the ideology of "rational" science and deterministic thought unnecessarily limiting. "People spend hours each day thinking non-rationally. Our emotional brain treats all the information we receive before our neo-cortex does. Scientists are forever making discoveries as they daydream, take a nap, go for a run, lay in bed, and so on." In fact, it was through studying the worldwide artistic rendering of the intertwining serpents in shamanistic cultures that Dr. Narby made the connection to the double helix of DNA.
" I found the symbol (of the Cosmic Serpent) in Shamanism all over the world. Why? That's a good question. My hypothesis is that it is connected to the double helix or DNA inside virtually all living beings. And DNA itself is a symbolic Saussurian code. So, yes, in at least one important way, the living world is inherently symbolic. We are made of living language."
We have intelligence in the cell, migrating across to other cells and possibly other organisms and species through photonic activity. We have awareness of this process rendered throughout the world symbolically in artistic imagery. But what of consciousness itself?
"'Consciousness' carries different baggage than 'intelligence.' Many would define human consciousness as different from, say, animal consciousness, because humans are conscious of being conscious. But how do we know that dolphins don't think about being dolphins? I do not know whether there is a 'consciousness' inside our cells, for now, the question seems out of reach; we have a hard enough time understanding our own consciousness---though we use it most of the time. I propose the concept of 'intelligence' to describe what proteins and cells do, simply because it makes the data more comprehensible. This concept will require at least a decade or two for biologists to consider and test. Then we might be able to move along and consider the idea of a 'cellular consciousness'.
To return to the notion that inner imagery can play a significant role not only in art but in practical tasks like healing and the study of botanicals, we are left with both a great deal of anecdotal evidence that such a system exists and works, and has probably done so for thousands of years. We also have visited a number of ways to investigate how this imagery works and can be accessed using the tools of science and other forms of discovery.
As with crystal radio and EVP, we see how any such system can sustain itself entirely without an external power source. In the case of eidetic systems, only the energy of the individual is required for power. Powerful and aesthetically charged locations on the landscape, seasonal and astronomical influences, and applied intent through ritual could all potentially raise the threshold of ones' available power. Certain materials like rock, which exhibit its own electrical self potential, could also become active components in such a system in ways in which we are currently unfamiliar.
ANCIENT ROCK ART
Throughout the archaic world we find evidence of great energy being spent by peoples of limited technical resources in erecting and carving stone in powerful and dramatic locations. Recent dating of shallow circular depressions an inch across in Jinmium and Granyilpi, Australia date to 60,000 years old, twice the age of European cave painting. Archeologist Richard Fullagar at the Australian Museum in Sidney discovered the site in 1992. He speculated that these pecked depressions on rocks (the size of a VW), were made with tennis ball size pieces of quartz.
Dr. Fullagar estimated that each mark took a half an hour to an hour to carve. The complex extends over an area of 62 acres, with parallel lines and arcs stretching hundreds of yards connecting shelters and tunnels in a huge earth circuit pattern. In addition, he found the surface marks continue below the ground about three feet. Stone tools were found even deeper, and thanks to thermolumenesence dating of the quartz grains in the sediment, the tools were estimated at 116,000 years old.
The Australian sites by general estimate took hundreds or thousands of man-hours to fabricate. By any standard, this is an extraordinary commitment for a society at the dawn of mankind that were hunting and gathering to survive. Can it be an accident that the Aboriginal culture of Australia is so well known for its sophisticated use of eidetic imagery (Dreamtime) in its art and practical survival?
Similar efforts involving the construction of large stone complexes were repeated throughout the world among Neolithic cultures, over thousands of years. Even the transportation and construction of ancient stone monuments calls into question the existence of alternative science and technology. The Roman Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, Lebanon, was begun in 131 AD and built upon a pre-existing terrace that legend says was constructed by a race of giants after the Flood of Noah. Within its foundation, 26' above grade and supported by other, smaller stones were placed three enormous rocks, 64' long, by 13'high, by 10' wide, weighing up to 620 tons.
In a quarry nearby, dressed on three sides, is an even larger stone, 70' long, 14' high and 13' wide, weighing 1,100 tons. By comparison, the largest stones of Stonehenge weigh 50 tons and the largest in the Great Pyramid, 200 tons. The only other comparable lift in history is that of the Saturn V rocket. One can hardly imagine why such large rocks were used, how they were transported, and by what means were hoisted 26' above grade?
The daunting challenge of explaining pre-historic stonework adds credence to the speculation that some innate energetic presence within the rock, similar to that of a crystal radio, becomes activated by human activity making the stones easier to move. We will return to this idea through the work of T. Townsend Brown who's experiments indicated that certain types of rock act to transform gravity into electricity, like photo-voltaic cells do with light.
There are many good rational questions regarding the real possibility of lifting of massive stones or whether it is possible to broadcast and receive information utilizing the eidetic structure of the mind. Whether lost techniques were available to early artists and shaman begs the question of the fundamental nature of the processes involved. Less often asked is whether these techniques access an intelligence that is imbedded in nature, living or inert, that can be rediscovered now?
To attempt to answer these questions, we will proceed via an artistic inquiry into alternative science. We will discuss experimentation with these tools in ways that are artistic rather than scientific. The approach taken will be empirical; it leads directly to how alternative technology and lost science can function in creating new but actually ancient, art.
Understanding the medium of "subtle energy" and the many approaches to using it depend upon a "suspension of disbelief" on the part of the reader. Many of the ideas covered and all of the technology go beyond the mechanistic, reductionism credo favored by the academic and scientific world today.
Over the objections of sober scientific pronouncement damning such inquiry, we will attempt to explore various alternative theories regarding the existence of subtle energy, a catch all term often used to describe an all pervading medium behind form and energy. We will compare forgotten and discarded science and technology of earlier eras to recent discoveries in consciousness research, artificial intelligence and semiotics. We will discover how they apply to the proposed new medium for art.
TO BE CONTINUED......