- by Marjorie Woollacott
Open Sciences was created due to the response of the “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science” published in the journal Explore in 2014 1 . The second manifestation of that response, as chronicled in the 2018, March/April Explore article 2 is the newly established Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences. The AAPS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit membership and education organization whose mission is to promote open minded, rigorous and evidence-based enquiry into postmaterialist consciousness research.
As President of the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences, and with the enthusiastic support of our Board of Directors, I would like to invite you to become a member of our newly founded organization, the AAPS. Our vision is to inspire scientists to investigate mind and consciousness as core elements of reality.
In order for our Academy to have an effect on the scientific and academic community, as well as the world, our goal is to have a membership of two thousand scientists, university students, and science-minded individuals within this first year.
By joining the academy, you will be part of this important community of scientists and science supporters, and you will thus be making a professional and personal contribution to this important cause. Our plan is to build a visionary organization that will have a powerful voice in the world in order to promote open-minded, rigorous and evidence-based enquiry into postmaterialist consciousness research and to positively impact scientific progress, public policy and society.
We encourage you to read the new article in Scientific American, co-authored by Dr. Menas Kafatos, our President-Elect, that makes the strong case for this paradigm change in science.
Below are quotes from our founding president, Dr. Gary Schwartz, Dr. Menas Kafatos, and myself, from our new book on the primacy of consciousness being published by the Academy and provided as part of your membership.
The emerging area of research encompassing survival of consciousness –as strong as it is when viewed in terms of the convergence of evidence across domains of knowledge (e.g. after death communications, near-death experiences, evidence of reincarnation, laboratory studies with evidential mediums, laboratory research with technology), is consistent with the primacy of consciousness hypothesis.
Dr. Gary Schwartz, Professor, Psychology, University of Arizona
If your model includes the understanding that consciousness is primary, and that there is a continuum of consciousness within everything, the feeling of universal connection inherent in this model will naturally generate compassionate action: you understand that what happens to others also happens to you.
Dr. Marjorie Woollacott, Professor Emeritus, Neuroscience, U. of Oregon
The nature of consciousness, however, continues to challenge all of science and in particular how something as “not material” as the mind couples to “material objects.” ….To continue to insist that science has nothing to say about philosophical under-standings or vice versa, is to deny our integrated unity of what it is to be human.
Dr. Menas Kafatos, Professor, Physics, Chapman University
We are in the midst of a historical paradigm shift and the future of science belongs to all of us, if we take an active part.
Together we can unite to create scientific research, education, theory, and applications that are based on including the mind as a component of the nature of reality. The AAPS works every day towards this end, but it can’t happen without your support and wisdom.
I hope you will join us and shape the future! Membership in the AAPS is available in three categories:
Full Member: for scientists and scholars from any academic discipline or professional field, normally with advanced graduate degrees, interested in the advancement of postmaterialist sciences.
Affiliate Member: for community members interested in supporting the advancement of the mission and goals of the AAPS. $150/year
Student Member: for active students enrolled in PhD, MD, other doctoral degree programs interested in careers contributing to the evolution of postmaterialist science. $75/year
The Academy’s first published volume titled, “Is Consciousness Primary? Perspectives from Founding Members of the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences is currently in press and will be offered to members as part of the membership fee.
AAPS Executive Office
1601 N. Tucson Blvd.
Medical Center, Suite 17
Tucson, Arizona 85716
For more information, please be sure to visit us at www.AAPSglobal.com
Kindly and with great honor,
Marjorie Woollacott, PhD
1. Beauregard M, Schwartz GE, Miller L, et al. Manifesto for a post-materialist science. Explore. 2016;12(2):272-274.
2. Schwartz GE, Woollacott M, Schwartz A, et al. The Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences: Integrating Consciousness into Mainstream Science. Explore 2018;14(2):111-113.
- by Dr Mario Beauregard
In Expanding Reality we discover the new science of consciousness and the emergence of a postmaterialist paradigm. This paradigm is leading us to the next great scientific revolution. Visionary scientists from a variety of fields (physics, neuroscience, biology, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, psi research) gathered in Tucson, Arizona, to create the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences. Their interviews play a central role within the film.
But this is no ordinary documentary film. Indeed, the combination of conversations, colors and music produces a very uplifting experience. The fact that nature is watching us, instead of us watching nature, also contributes to create such an experience. By the end we feel an expansion of consciousness, our perception of life, and our sense of reality. We also realize that we are connected with the Universe as a whole.
Dr. Gary Schwartz, Ph.D. Research psychologist, University of Arizona
Dr. Mario Beauregard, Ph.D. Neuroscientist, University of Arizona
Dr. Dean Radin, Ph.D. Psi researcher, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Dr. Lisa Miller, Ph.D. Research psychologist, Columbia University
Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D. Neuropsychiatrist
Dr. Menas Kafatos, Ph.D Physicist, Chapman University
Stephan A. Schwartz Futurist, Scientist, Author
Dr. Julia Mossbridge, Ph.D. Neuroscientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Dr. Marjorie Woollacott, Ph.D Neuroscientist, University of Oregon
Michel Pascal Director, Singer, Meditation Teacher
Gabriella Wright Actress, Humanitarian
Leigh McCloskey Artist, Author, Visual Philosopher
- by Sebastian Penraeth
Headed by philanthropist Christopher Foyle, FRIM supports innovative and controversial science in seven areas:
- Medical Therapeutics
- Aeronautical & Spcace Sciences
- Energy & Environment
- Archaeology & Ancient Civilizations
- Historical Events
- Life Sciences
While the institute accepts unsolicited proposals for funding, any proposal must be highly innovative and impactful. Their focus is on near term applications more than basic research, however they encourage proposals for ideas "outside your area of expertise" or simply "research you would like to see but can't do yourself".
"In order to reduce the amount of paperwork for researchers, the Foyle Research Institute of Monaco (FRIM) will be using a "Pre-Proposal" system, whereby researchers will be requested to submit a 1-3 page executive summary of the research they are proposing. Using such a system serves both the researchers and FRIM, in that researchers do not have to spend a great deal of effort developing a fully detailed proposal and risk it not being accepted for funding. And the Pre-Proposals will also enable FRIM to quickly determine if the proposal being made is one that FRIM would consider funding.
"If a Pre-Proposal is selected for further consideration for funding, then the proposer(s) will be requested to provide a full proposal in greater detail, and forms and/or guidelines for the more detailed proposal will be provided at that time." FRIM Proposal Guidlines
- by Karen Jaenke
Consciousness Studies in Context
With seeds in the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Consciousness Studies is a pioneering field within academia. Still today, Consciousness Studies is a cutting edge, alternative course of study existing in only a handful of universities throughout the nation and world.
The Consciousness and Transformative Studies program at John F. Kennedy University, located in the San Francisco Bay area and established in the late 1970s as the first accredited Masters in Consciousness Studies, stands as a leader in this field.
A Brief History
The Consciousness & Transformative Studies MA program at John F. Kennedy University offers a unique leading-edge interdisciplinary curriculum that has successfully attracted graduate students across a 40-year span.
The program had its inception when Pascal Kaplan, Ph.D. and David Surrenda, Ph.D. teamed up to found a formal MA program in Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies, with a primary focus on self-awareness and spirituality. Kaplan and Surrenda designed and implemented the first accredited graduate program in consciousness studies in the U.S, and the first Masters graduates in Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies completed their degree in 1981.
Since that time, the program has gone through various iterations and name changes, overseen by four program chairs, who have successfully adapted the program to meet emerging cultural trends and institutional challenges. Each program chair has championed the program amidst naysaying voices in order to maintain its integrity and continuing existence.
During the 1980s the program was almost disbanded. Susan Galvan, MA, Program Chair and Assistant Dean from 1982 – 89, was a real fighter and saved the program from demise by bringing more academic rigor along with coursework in professional development. During the 1980s, she also brought in well-known transpersonal teachers, including Fritjof Capra, Angeles Arrien, Ken Wilbur and Arthur Young, to teach in the foundational Paradigms of Consciousness course.
In 1989 the program name was changed to Consciousness Studies. In 1990, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) put the Consciousness Studies program on probation, giving it two to three years to become more academically rigorous. Vernice Solimar, Ph.D. who took over as Program Chair the prior year, staved off potential closure by WASC by raising academic standards and performance. Since then, the program has consistently passed WASC accreditation reviews.
In response to economic demands to translate the degree into right livelihood, in 2003 Marilyn Fowler, Ph.D. was hired as Program Chair to further develop the Professional Development track, adding career-oriented courses in the areas of business, coaching, teaching, curriculum development, writing and publishing.
In 2005, the program underwent a major yearlong redesign and revision, with a name change to Consciousness and Transformative Studies, reflecting a new emphasis on personal transformation as an integral part of the degree. Also, four optional specializations were created for students who want to focus their studies in a particular area – dream studies, culture, healing and philosophy and religion. This more robust curriculum made the program very viable and compelling, and enrollment increased from the mid-30s to a high of 55 students.
During these years, the Consciousness Studies program spawned several leading-edge Certificate programs: Dream Studies Certificate (1998-2008), founded by Fariba Bogzaran, Ph.D.; Personal & Professional Coaching Certificate (2001-2008) (with the School of Professional Psychology and the School of Career Development); and the Ecotherapy Certificate (2010-2014), founded by Craig Chalquist, Ph.D.
In 2013, Karen Jaenke, Ph.D., then Director of the Ecotherapy Certificate, took over as Program Chair. She implemented revisions to the curriculum and Program Learning Outcomes to once again make it more robust, incorporating current emphases on human development, living systems theory, evolution of consciousness, participatory action research and leadership development. Reflecting a growing demand for practical application of the degree into real world situations, the current Program Mission is Consciousness-in-Action— that is, creative action that expands consciousness and human potential and fosters conscious leadership in service of personal, organizational, cultural and ecological change
In 2015-16, Dr. Jaenke mobilized institutional support and WASC approval to expand Consciousness Studies into the online modality, to run in parallel with the existing onsite program. The new online program, designed to meet growing requests for this course of study from national and international audiences, will launch in Fall 2016. The online modality speaks to a growing national and global interest in the breadth and depth that consciousness studies imparts, with an underlying aim of increasing the conscious footprint on the planet.
The current Consciousness and Transformative Studies curriculum draws on three traditional academic disciplines: philosophy, psychology and religious studies. In addition, it incorporates the new sciences of living systems theory, neuroscience, quantum physics and cosmology. Finally, the program addresses cultural perspectives through courses in diversity, myth, ritual and symbol, shamanism and ancestral consciousness. Thus, a rich blend of ancient wisdom and contemporary perspectives inform the study of consciousness.
At JFKU, Consciousness and Transformative Studies brings a dual emphasis on consciousness principles and practices. The “Transformative” part of the curriculum enters into the picture as most courses explore consciousness both conceptually and personally. Students are asked to engage the material by applying consciousness principles to oneself, and by exploring and engaging various transformative practices that aid in the expansion and transformation of one’s own consciousness.
An ideal outcome of the curriculum is that its graduates come to accept responsibility for all states of consciousness arising within oneself, releasing all vestiges of a stance that negates any experience or displaces blame for one’s own subjective states onto external circumstances or others—i.e., victim consciousness, an inherently disempowering stance. Simply put, a major goal of the curriculum is to foster a high level of awareness and accountability for one’s own states of consciousness. Thus one of the formal Program Learning Outcomes targets the capacity to “demonstrate awareness and accountability for one’s subjective states, stage development, and impact on the inter-subjective field, using psychological and spiritual principles and practices.”
The program recognizes that consciousness that is relatively integrated and transparent, in the sense that fragmented and shadow aspects of the self are brought under awareness and accountability, can become a significant force for good and wholeness in the world. Conversely, split or dissociative consciousness is apt to produce division in the world. Thus, it is not just a richer, multi-perspectival conceptual understanding of consciousness that the program seeks to foster; it also seeks to generate more integrated consciousness – consciousness capable of taking creative action in the world from a place of integrity and empowerment. To restate, the core mission of the program is Consciousness-in-action.
In creating practitioners of conscious awareness, a distinguishing feature of this program is its emphasis on cultivating professional skills, alongside fostering consciousness growth. Because graduates are not apt to be greeted by job announcements for a degree in Consciousness Studies, the 58-unit curriculum incorporates 8 units of professional development in order to assist graduates in translating the degree professionally. The professional development courses address areas commonly pursued by our graduates: teaching, facilitation, writing and publishing, coaching, starting your own business, and organizational consulting.
In the final year of coursework, students take four successive research classes, focusing on qualitative research. They identify and define a research topic in the interdisciplinary field of consciousness studies, and one with deep roots in their own life story. They develop a literature review and conduct participatory action research, write up and present their results. Through the rigor of the final integrative project, students cultivate an area of expertise within the broad field of consciousness studies, which can then be applied professionally.
The current interest in online Consciousness Studies, along with the technological capability to deliver that curriculum, may point to a promising trend—the growing popularization and application of consciousness principles and practices. With the findings of neuroscience research, mindfulness practices are becoming mainstream. The business world increasingly recognizes the productive benefits of stress-reduction, mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Google now offers a two-day “Search Inside Yourself Leadership,” a mini-course in consciousness studies. The planetary ecological crisis, wide economic disparities, and the emerging global consciousness spawned by internet technology, are together creating new conditions for humanity to wake up. Amidst these necessities and possibilities, formal graduate education in consciousness studies can play a vital role in generating conscious leaders who can accelerate consciousness growth across the planet.
- by Sebastian Penraeth
Since 1994 the BIAL Foundation has supported 614 projects involving some 1350 researchers from 25 countries, resulting in the publication of 910 articles and abstracts in indexed journals. The current repository of scientific activity supported by the BIAL Foundation is fully searchable through their new database of project documents. Grants for research in Psychophysiology and Parapsychology are between €5,000 and €50,000, determined by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.
Through its Grants Programme for Scientific Research, the Bial Foundation is accepting applications of research projects in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology - projects from Clinical or Experimental Models of Human Disease and Therapy shall not be accepted.
Applications should be submitted in English by the 31st of August 2018, in accordance with the applicable regulation and through the Bial Foundation Grants Management System.
- by Sebastian Penraeth
In his new act The Brain Show British comedian Robert Newman targets the failings of neuroscience in assuming that brain equals mind, saying “the idea that the brain is a wet computer is a philosophical assumption, not a scientific idea”.
After volunteering for a brain-imaging experiment meant to locate the part of the brain that lights up when you're in love, Rob emerges with more questions than answers. Can brain scans read our minds? Are we our brains? If each brain has more connections than there are atoms in the universe, then how big will a map of the brain have to be?
“Maybe what we’ve discovered is the bit of the brain that lights up when we spot an elementary conceptual blunder in experimental design.”
Kerri Smith of Nature's Books and Arts blog A view From the Bridge posted about the show in: Humour on the brain: Robert Newman reviewed. While not agreeing wholeheartedly with his premise, the author gives us a respectful treatment of the show.
[Robert Newman] lays out the shortcomings of these projects’ best-known predecessor, the Human Genome Project, which, he bemoans, never did find half the genes it promised. There was no “gene for getting into debt”; no “low voter turnout” gene. And he explains what the rest of his argument will be: that humans cannot be thought of as machines, and that scientists devalue us all by conceptualising people in this reductive way.
You can catch The Brain Show at the Wells Comedy Festival on June 4th, the Cyc du Soleil Benefit Gig in Oxford on June 9th and the Edinburgh Festival in August. See Robert Newman's website for details.
- by Sebastian Penraeth
Starting on April 15, 2016 the Institute for Venture Science (IVS) will be accepting pre-proposals for the funding of unconventional scientific investigations that challenge mainstream paradigms. Early submittal is key as they may need to limit the number of submissions; the deadline is June 25.
IVS is interested in a wide range of subjects, from gravity, magnetism, relativity and the physics of water to consciousness, NDEs and remote viewing to cancer and global warming. They hope to foster breakthroughs that will enrich the world and create solutions for otherwise intractable problems.
"The Institute for Venture Science (IVS) will fund high-risk, non-traditional scientific inquiries that may produce fundamental breakthroughs. We identify the most promising challenges to prevailing paradigms. We then simultaneously fund multiple research groups worldwide for each selected challenge."
"The IVS will fund the idea, not just the person advancing that idea. That is, it will seek out and fund multiple groups using diverse approaches to pursue the same unconventional idea. A dozen – even a half dozen - groups cannot be ignored. Challenger and orthodoxy will therefore compete on equal footing, and the better of the two approaches will soon prevail."
- by Alexander Moreira-Almeida
The WPA (World Psychiatric Association) has just approved the Position Statement on Spirituality and Religion in Psychiatry that was proposed by the WPA Section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry.
Based on surveys showing the relevance of religion/spirituality (R/S) to most of world's population and on more than 3,000 empirical studies investigating the relationship between R/S and health, it is now well established that R/S have significant implications for prevalence, diagnosis, treatment, outcomes and prevention, as well as for quality of life and wellbeing.
The statement stresses that, for a comprehensive and person-centered approach, R/S should be considered in research, training and clinical care in psychiatry. It will be published as a paper at the February 2016 issue of the WPA journal World Psychiatry.
Alexander Moreira-Almeida, MD, PhD
- Associate Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Brazil
- Director of the Research Center in Spirituality and Health (NUPES) at UFJF, Brazil
- Chair of the Section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association
- by Rupert Sheldrake
The world of science is in the midst of unprecedented soul-searching at present. The credibility of science rests on the widespread assumption that results are replicable, and that high standards are maintained by anonymous peer review. These pillars of belief are crumbling. In September 2015, the international scientific journal Nature published a cartoon showing the temple of “Robust Science” in a state of collapse. What is going on?
Drug companies sounded an alarm several years ago. They were concerned that an increasing proportion of clinical trials was failing, and that much of their research effort was being wasted. When they looked into the reasons for their lack for success, they realized that they were basing projects on scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals, on the assumption that most of the results were reliable. But when they looked more closely, they found that most of these papers, even those in top-tier academic journals, were not reproducible. In 2011, German researchers in the drug company Bayer found in an extensive survey that more than 75% of the published findings could not be validated.
- by Sebastian Penraeth
This essay by Ashish Dalela was written in response to the call for essays by the Royal Institute of Philosophy for their yearly essay contest. For those concerned with post-materialist science, it's a worthy read.
An assumption implicit in this question is that non-living objects probably don’t present a problem for materialism, because if that weren’t the case, we would be asking if materialism is a sound approach for all of science and not just the study of living forms. In this essay I will argue that: (1) the problem of materialism is not unique to living forms, but exists even for non-living things, and (2) the problem originates not in materialism per se but from reductionism which reduces big things (or wholes) to small things (or parts). Reduction has been practiced in all areas of science – physics, mathematics, and computing, apart from biology – and it makes all scientific theories either inconsistent or incomplete. This is a fundamental issue and cannot be overcome, unless our approach to reduction is inverted: rather than reduce big things to small things, we must now reduce the small things to big things. This new kind of reduction can be attained if both big and small were described as ideas: the big is now an abstract concept while the small is a contingent concept, and contingent concepts are produced from abstract concepts by adding information. This leads us to a view of nature in which objects are also ideas – just more detailed than the abstractions in the mind; the abstract ideas precede the detailed ideas. When the reduction is inverted, a new kind of materialism emerges which is free from its current problems. This materialism presents a new theory of inanimate matter, not just living forms.