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theosophy/science/religion - fwded by jem

Nov 01, 1994 08:05 AM
by John Mead

(forwarding by jem. from murray.  list glitch).

as forwarded from murray:

Martin Euser says:
> I wonder if there are any Theosophists in this forum who study the
> relationships between Science and Theosophy from the angles
> H.P.B. mentioned (....)
> This has my special interest (being a scientist and psychologist)
> and this will be a necessary part of the evolution of Theosophy
> too, I think. ...
> Please let me know if you are working or studying on a kind of
> synthesis between religion/science/Theosophy.

I am very interested in this whole area, though don't have much
time to devote to it these days.

Regarding background, I have university degrees that emphasised
physics.  Over the years, I've been involved with electronic
measuring systems, biomedical engineering, earth sciences,
natural gas metering and technical computing.  Music and,
embracing all, theo-sophia are major interests of mine as well.
(Paul Gillingwater will know that Cats have only narrowly missed
being on this list.)

The evolution of Theosophy as a modern movement seems to me to
have already gone far beyond the direct influence of the T.S.
itself, with the emergence of so many groups that are interested
in allied subjects.  There are more and more people who are
_thinking_ this way, with or without ever having heard of the

The convergence of science, theosophy and religion is already
happening in many exciting ways, but still has far to go and the
majority of humankind to reach.  I see it as a critical part of
the wider evolution of humanity at this stage.  The dichotomy
between science and religion in western culture has been with us
too long already and the two "sides" need to acknowledge more
that they are complementary approaches representing major facets
of our own consciousness, and you can't be whole as an individual
or a culture until they are recognised and welcomed.

Theosophy, as something promoted by the T.S., benefits from the
support of science because science is the most publicly
recognised "oracle" today, and science is a public quest for
truth or a better understanding of things.  So science and
theosophy have this major goal in common for a start.  Both are
stated to be based on observation, the difference being that
science confines itself almost entirely to the 5 physical senses
while theosophy acknowledges a wider range of ways to gain
knowledge though many of those are not available to the majority
of people yet.

Many scientists still seem to be in active denial of the
possibility of higher or subtler senses, and play down the role
that intuition and creativity play in the advance of science
itself.  Observations mean little without theory, and theory
always embodies some kind of insight.  This is probably Martin
Euser's province more than mine.

Science has not been free of dogmatism and persecution either -
failings that are usually associated with religion.  The person
who brought out the idea of plate tectonics in the earth was
ostracised and vilified for years, and now it is the accepted
wisdom.  On the other hand, faith as a positive thing is not
absent from science; take for example the deep underpinning (and
unprovable) belief that the laws of nature must be essentially
the same throughout the universe.  Is this not an inner
perception of unity, another great band of commonality with

There are some areas of research and sources of information that
I would like to share.  some of them probably known to you all,
in the open territory between science, theosophy and religion.

Fritjof Capra in his "The Tao of Physics" seems to have started a
spate of excellent books showing how much the world views of
theoretical physics and mystical insight have in common.

Renee' Weber's "Dialogues with Scientists and Sages", Routledge &
Paul 1986, covers interesting ground too.  She wrote an article
called "The Holographic Model and Esoteric Traditions" in The
Quest magazine of Winter 1988, published by The T.S.  in America.

Larry Dossey M.D.  has researched the power of prayer and
obtained good evidence of its effectiveness - something that by
the way seems to freak out some church-going people.  See his
articles "Prayer - old approach, new wonders" in The Quest,
Summer 1990 pp 34 - 47, and "Prayer, Healing and Traditional
Medicine" in the Winter 1992 issue of the same magazine, pp 42 -
47, an interview.  The Summer 1990 one also has "Science,
Religion and the Middle Way" by J.A.  Perry, where the Middle Way
is portrayed as theosophy.  The earlier Dossey article is based
on his own book "Recovering the Soul: a Scientific and Spiritual
Search", Bantam 1989.  The articles make extremely interesting

A book called "The Common Experience - signposts on the path to
enlightenment" by J.M.  Cohen & J-F Phipps, Quest Books 1992,
contains a lot of accounts by "ordinary" people who have had some
kind of mystical experience, whether it be of cosmic
consciousness, spiritual light or anything else.  Interesting in
itself, it contains a reference to the Religious Experience
Research Unit of Oxford, now renamed the Alister Hardy Research
Centre, from which many of the accounts came.  The research done
at RERU is described in a book called "Seeing the Invisible:
modern religious and transcendent experience" by Meg Maxwell &
Verena Tschudin, Viking 1990.  I haven't seen this book, but it
sounds like a must for reading.

"Science, Yoga and Theosophy", Theosophical Publishing House,
Adyar 1975, is a selection of papers presented at the Seminar on
Theosophy and Science at the centenary international Convention
of the T.S.  at Adyar.

"Holistic Science and Human Values", from the Theosophy Science
Centre, Adyar 1992, is a worthwhile collection of papers.  This
should be available by ordering from any T.S.  national
headquarters office.

Then there is Ian Stevenson's pioneering resesarch on
reincarnation, see for example his book "Twenty Cases Suggestive
of Reincarnation" and the later books and research papers where
he looks at the apparent memories of former lives that some
children have.  He is, or was, professor of psychiatry at the
University of Virginia, and a member of the T.S.

Therapeutic Touch, as a modern embodiment of ancient techniques
of the laying-on of hands, has been developed and researched in
hospital and academic environments by Dora Kunz as clairvoyant,
and Dolores Krieger with a PhD in nursing.  It has been taught to
thousands of health professionals throughout the world.  Several
books by Krieger and/or Kunz summarise their research findings,
confirming that human energy-field treatments have measurable
physiological responses and benefits, and portraying something of
the experience and effects of doing the healing work.

The so-called Occult Chemistry research work is a world in
itself.  Beginning with the monumental clairvoyant investigations
of Annie Besant and C.W.  Leadbeater into the perceived structure
of atoms, reported in their large book "Occult Chemistry", it has
spawned some very interesting developments in the last 2 or 3
decades.  A theoretical nuclear physicist called Stephen
Phillips, in England, has produced a book "The ESP of Quarks"
(publ.  somewhere around 1983) which sets out an
impressive-looking but as yet not well confirmed mathematical
theory that links quark particles with what Besant and Leadbeater

Geoffrey Hodson did a lot of research with Dr David Lyness in the
1950's, recording his atomic-scale perceptions at great length,
for example of electron beams and magnetic fields.  The raw
material is now in Lyness' son's possession, I believe.  More
such worked followed around 1978 at Dr E.  Lester Smith's
suggestion, trying to produce evidence that would test certain
theories that would reconcile the AB/CWL findings with current
understanding in physics.  I helped Hodson do this research,
setting up crystal samples and recording it all on tape.  A
pretty amazing experience it all was.

Some of Hodson's most impressive work was in observations of the
akashic records of archaelogical specimens, which were compared
with current scientific knowledge.  He got a success rate that
was way above the kind that would excite people doing psi
research in other fields.

Finally, there is a Theosophy-Science Group in Australia, led by
Dr Hugh Murdoch, an astrophysicist.  They run seminars every now
and then at The Manor in Sydney and publish a most interesting
newsletter every couple of months.  Its summaries of hot topics
are very helpful when you don't have the time to follow them up
yourself.  You can write to Dr Murdoch at 28 Terrace Road,
Killara, N.S.W.  2071, Australia, about joining his mailing list.
His phone number is +61 2 498-4620.

Well, this has turned into a bit of a booklist, and I am very
aware that this is but a small fraction of the work that is going
on around the world.  The topics above are all ones which I have
an interest in, amongst others.  I hope this is helpful to some
or all of you, and would be very happy to give more information
if able to.

One thing that strikes me is the great need for well-designed
experiments in psi and theosophical research.  We've been seeing
an evolution in scientific method itself, under the stimulus of
the incredibly difficult-to-control psi experimental environment.
People with Martin Euser's background could help a lot here,
especially if they pool talents and knowledge.  No one discipline
is enough, especially in this area.

Murray Stentiford

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