Ralph Metzner has been around a long time. Seeing his name this morning brought back memories of psych 101 classes, and paying big bucks for those ‘captive audience’ university textbooks!
But seriously. Metzner was one of those names that kept cropping up over the years. So you can expect a certain level of quality in his writing… both style and content.
Today’s tweeted article is written by Metzner. It gives a nice short history of some of the important events in the scientific study of consciousness. Probably not too many of us remember when REM or biofeedback first hit the scene. More recently, we have brain imaging. But still, that data is all correlation… not causality. So when people say they feel a certain way, some researchers project their preexisting biases onto the observed data.
For example, if subjects say they feel a sense of “oneness” that correlates with an empirical observation, some researchers go on to say that “all religions are the same.” What these lab coats overlook is the possibility that the same external observation could correlate with different internal experiences.
By way of analogy, a mp3 player runs on 1.5 volts. Regardless of the tune we listen to, a technician will always be able to measure the same 1.5 volts. So Mozart is the same as Skrillex?
The Metzner piece has other limitations and unexplored ideas that I hesitate to write about. I already tried at the doctoral level, a place where you’d think advanced theory would be welcome. But after getting through the admissions door, I soon realized that one has to pander to the lowest common denominator—otherwise you fail.
I was admitted to the doctoral program hoping to make a contribution to interactions of consciousness not explored by most depth psychologists.¹ This would involve ideas like “karma transfer,” “intercession,” “the taking of another’s sin” and, even more esoteric, “subtle body sex” (something like tantra at a distance).
Again, these ideas apparently went way over the heads of most at the U. Any who had an inkling of what I was talking about were either closeted mystics or just plain secretive (possibly because they used their abilities to aid and abet questionable activities).
So I shelved the idea of writing about interactions of consciousness and settled on synchronicity. Even that was cutting edge for a PhD back in 1992-97.
But today I feel it’s time to pick up the torch. In my opinion, our world is not as simple as many psychologists and psychiatrists tend to see it. And this lack of insight among some “professionals” could do real harm to budding mystics mishandled by, for lack of a better term, bungling idiots.
¹ Here’s the Projected Thesis Outline I sent to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa in the early 1990s. Soon after admission, the topic was narrowed down to something more “manageable.”
https://mclark.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/phd_jung_stamp.pdf (scroll to second last paragraph: “Moreover, to redefine and broaden our understanding…”).