Henry Reed, Ph.D.
Transcript of a talk given to Parastudy,
For a cassette recording of the live talk, see
Things are changing. There’s a lot
of tension in the air because we aren’t sure which
of our assumptions will be violated next. Natural
disasters, crime and violence, economic collapse,
medical calamity quickly come to mind as potential
invaders of our pursuit of happiness.
Crisis and misfortune are becoming
so commonplace that we are beginning to respond to
them differently. If you can’t get rid of them, make
them work for you seems to be the philosophy. There
are so many books out there on the theme of "Turn
adversity to your advantage. Make it an opportunity
to develop new talents, new perspectives, a new
sense of self."
There is a crisis developing that
has tremendous implications for the sense of self.
It is a crisis in boundaries. The implications for
who we are reach back to the beginning of recorded
history. To the garden of Eden when we first donned
the fig leaf and became individuals. Individuality,
that hallmark of modern civilization is about the
change. What it means to be an individual, even your
ability to remain an individual person and not just
a part of a larger whole over which you have no
control, is coming into question with this coming
crisis in boundaries. We can already see the early
The atomic bomb was one of the first
clues as to what was coming. It was a tremendous
jolt to everybody's awareness but people’s awareness
tuned to only the most obvious and violent aspect.
We could blow up the planet. But atomic energy had
other sinister implications. Assaults on boundaries.
The easiest one to understand was
radioactivity. Radiation can penetrate objects. Only
the thickest of lead shielding could stop it. Maybe
there would be some other form of radiation that not
even lead could stop. Although reseach into atomic
physics would discover other realities perhaps even
more threatening to our boundaries than radiation,
for the time being, its contamination was what we
Contamination is an assault on
purity. Something has come into where it doesn’t
belong. A boundary violation. The next strong
example of this theme was in ecology. The condition
of the planet was becoming fouled. Whereas we used
to think that we could bury our garbage we realized
that wherever we buried it it was still with us on
Thinking ecologically really
hammered away at some of our notions of boundary.
Groundwater is a good example. One nation feels
sovereign and has the right to do what it chooses
within its borders. Yet what it throws into its
water, or what it buries deeply, moves through deep
aquifers to appear as contaminants in the water of a
nearby nation. The same situation occurs with air
quality. There is no separate "there" where we can
hide our waste and not have it appear again "here."
It calls into question the meaning of national
º AIDS and the idea that it can
spread by other means. No immunity.
º The crime problem. We can’t keep
them behind bars to protect ourselves.
º National boundaries became further
muddled with the economic world market.
º Computers marked another step
toward the dissolution of boundaries.
º Cellular telephones and wireless
With the splitting of the atom we
gained more than atomic energy. We gained a radical
view of reality. There really was no atom to split.
Although most people are familiar with the notion of
atomic energy, they view it as something that they
obtain from atoms. The truth is that there really is
no atom per se to split! That the atom was a
convenient way of thinking about matter. Atomic
energy spelled the end of the world of things. It
was a revolultion in awareness that has still not
sunk in, perhaps because it has had no practical
implication. There was the tables, chairs, etc., and
there was this space in between. If you really got
down there with the microscope you would find these
atoms and then the scientists figured out how to
split those atoms in half and when the did, all this
energy came out. Actually, that was more symbolic
Splitting the atom is like they
opened up our understanding and all this psychic
energy came out - a whole revolution came out!
Pandora's box was opened up from discovering that,
yes, they do act like they are things - but in fact
they are wave forms. They're patterns of vibrations.
There aren't really things.
But for all intents and purposes, we
can continue to think in terms of things and so on,
and as long as we're taking physics or as long as
we're not too close to an atom bomb then we really
don't have to worry about it. But there was a seed
that was planted. Gradually and gradually the kind
of discovery that they were making in physics was
starting to spread out into other fields and into
other fields of life. Until now when we talk about
some new paradigm, some call it a consciousness
That we express the idea that
somehow the underlying basic reality, the hardcore
reality is consciousness not things; consciousness
gives rise to things. Some theorists are
talking about that we live in a virtual reality.
That is that the brain is interpreting the mind and
projecting a world out there and that the
computerized - like the computer games where you put
on the helmets and all of a sudden you're taken into
a holographic room and can interact and so on for
three or four bucks and have a good time. This is
actually a mechanical model of the kind of world we
live in all the time. That we're projecting a world
in which we imagine that we're walking around in a
world of things but in fact we ourselves are energy
and patterns of energy that have condensed, for
certain purposes, in bodies as a feeler we use to
work in the world - but that we are not bounded
things. Some call this the quantum self. Now these
changes are happening in a number of different ways.
One thing you hear about is with the
advent of computers and credit cards that people's
financial data is starting to be part of a whole
electronic network that people are no longer having
any financial secrets. Secrets, of course, is one of
the major concepts that set risk and is the defining
notion between the bounded self - where you have
your mind inside your skull and you can hide things
in there - and the unbounded self, quantum self, or
the vibratory self, well maybe there are no secrets.
We'd be a society that works on the premise of there
being no secrets. Another aspect:
Think of cellular telephones.
Beepers. This means there's no hiding from the boss,
or your family. You get away and they can see you.
Always in contact. So in some sense a psychic aspect
is being generated technologically. But there's
another aspect to it, too.
We think of our telephone
conversations as private. We do not allow
wire-tapping. You think about that. That's based on
a premise that the telephone conversation comes down
this wire and the conversation only exists on this
wire. So you have to tap into the wire in order to
eavesdrop on it. So you can have a private
conversation. They're moving away from the wires and
the cellular broadcast kind of conversation. When
you talk to somebody on the telephone, your
conversation is everywhere! There is no boundaries.
There is no sheath protecting your conversation. So
that the form of communication is shifting from a
bounded channel to a vibratory channel.
One of the things that's going on in
our culture - - the culture itself is going through
a transition. You might say, we generally talk about
the paradigm shift - that there is a change in
consciousness, a change in the way of thinking about
things. Many different ways in which our kind of
thinking - the kinds of worlds we're moving into.
Whether it's technologically or philosophically,
socially is moving away from boundaries and moving
more and more toward interconnectedness. Some have
said that if you wanted to put a name on what the
new paradigm is - the new consciousness - Marilyn
Fergason, who is the editor of the Brain-Mind
Bulletin, publishing all the new findings in
psychology and brain science, philosophy for a
number of years, she's nominated that the new
paradigm could be labeled from separateness to
Into this developing and escalating
crisis in boundaries, wouldn’t ESP simply be the
last straw? There’s a lot of evidence for the
existence of ESP, and most people claim on surveys
that they have had some form of psychic experience.
Yet our scientists haven’t given the go ahead to
society to accept ESP as a reality. Can you imagine
the consequences when it happens?
Secrets. What would happen to spying
an industrial espionage?
You wouldn’t be able to tell lies
The IRS would know when you were
Students would know what questions
would be on their exams, and they could read
teachers mind for the answers.
Congresspersons would not be able to
hide their crimes and picadillos.
Police could justify getting search
warrants on the basis of a hunch.
Criminals would claim that they were
acting out psychically transmitted impulses from
others. That’s already happening, as being a victim
has already becme a defense against being convicted
of murder. A mass murderer could add to the basis of
temporary insandity the defense that they were
acting out other people’s unexpressed hostility.
Jurors wouldn’t have to hear
testimony because they could read the minds of the
accused and know if they were innocent.
There are so many different ways in
which the basic fundamental premises in which
society operates would have to be thought through -
totally anew; if, as a society, we were to accept
that ESP is real.
Our society and the way we come to
think about ourselves is as a unit, as if we had a
boundary, our mind was inside of our skull and that
was as big as our mind was that we talk about, for
example, even in new age groups when we want to
protect ourselves what we do? We surround ourselves
with light. When you surround yourself with light
it's saying "Well, I'm only really about this big,"
so I can start about right here and surround myself.
But really if you think about where really do your
boundaries end? Where do you need to start putting
the light? Realize that maybe we're a lot bigger
than this? The fact of telepathy really starts
undercutting the whole notion of a bounded self.
This is something that is very hard for us to get
Everything is interconnected. We
like that kind of thinking but at the same time it's
kind of troublesome because lots of times we want
some kind of safe little pocket where you can dump
stuff and not have to worry. But the idea that there
is some kind of a pocket with boundaries around it
just doesn't work. Everything is interconnected. It
seems like it's getting to be more and more that
some action we take someplace is going to affect
somebody somewhere else. Which, of course, is the
same kind of thinking when you start admitting to
the possibility of telepathy, that maybe your
thoughts are affecting my thoughts affecting
somebody else's thoughts, who knows? What's the
limit? How does it work? Is there any bounds on
Could people compete as well if they
felt the other person’s feelings? Could criminals
harm others if they felt their pain?
get themselves in a cooperate kind
of a relationship where they are coordinating their
behaviors and coordinating their activities and
intentions, it's more likely that their thoughts and
feelings are going to be coordinated too.
This psychic connection is an
expression of the relationship. This is something we
will be exploring as a natural aspect or extension
of what's going on between people.
Feminist movement. Beyond equal
rights for women, there has also been a lot of women
who have been studying philosophy, science, history,
technology and asking the question: Is the way we
think about things been biased by the fact that most
of our thinkers - our official thinkers - all happen
to be men? If the official philosophers and
scientists were women it might have been different.
A bunch of women philosophers got
together and they're thinking "Well, I wonder if the
basis of science needs to be prediction and control
as by a detached objective observer." They're all
sitting around and they say, "that sounds kind of
like my husband." And maybe there's another approach
to science! Maybe the universe is alive and maybe we
can't separate ourselves from it." Well, one of the
ladies says, "Hey, you know, in science...they
discovered the indeterminate principle. Maybe you
heard about that. You can't separate the observer
from the observed. When you go in to look at
something, you're sending light particles in to look
at those atoms, electrons, those are itself the
light particles - they bounce around and interact,
interfere. Every time you get a look you affect it.
There is no separation between the observer and the
observed." So the ladies think, "Hey, we're on solid
ground here. Let's think a little bit more. Okay.
Well, maybe if you can't separate the observer and
the observed, then every time you look at something,
you're looking at it from a particular point of
view, that sounds like a certain kind of
subjectivity. You can't get away from subjectivity.
Okay. If you can't get away from subjectivity, you
can't get away or separate yourself from what you're
observing - so then maybe predicting and controlling
it maybe isn't so much the ideal or standard. The
standard may be having the dialogue, having a
relationship with the nature that you want to
come to understand. Maybe that would be more of the
ideal and develop some kind of a harmony where
everything gets to sort of get along in a better
kind of way. Well, that starts making some sense."
Women who have, because of their child-rearing
duties and being often a second class role where
relationships are much more important to them, they
can appreciate that this is an important kind of
insight. The men who are trying to climb to the top
- each person for himself - and cooperation is less
of an ideal but instead there's an inherent
separation and competition and model. We have a lot
of rethinking about things. It has originally been
called feminist thinking, but later that gender term
is going to drop away and it's going be called
relational thinking. It's already in physics. You
have field thinking. Field theory as opposed
to objects. This is all going to be coming together.
Then as it's starting to come together, our little
selves who were so used to thinking about having
boundaries around us and being able to keep secrets
and being able to have free will in our own way and
be separate, etc., is going to have to be thinking
in terms of self and relation. What does it mean to
be defined by my relationships as opposed to being
defined by my boundaries. How I stick out. How I'm
unique. How I'm different or what have you. In that
kind of a context, then, the telepathy won't seem so
different, so strange, it's not going to seem so
anomalous, so out of the ordinary and we're going to
have a context - a way of understanding it - that
will help us work with it in a way in which it