We are fortunate to have a highly honored guest speaker for our next MeetUp. Dr. Ruth Richards is a professor of psychology at Saybrook Graduate School and a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Ruth is a Buddhist practitioner and has authored many articles and and chapters. She has edited two books on issues of creativity, health, and our greater human potential. The most recent is Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature: Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Perspectives..
Dr. Richards has many beautiful slides to illustrate her fascinating presentation which she gave last month at the International Theosophy Conference in New York. I have asked her to adapt it to a general audience and allow more time for dialogue. Here is a condensed version of her recent paper describing this presentation:
What is called, in the conventional West, the “paranormal” (Radin 2006), may elsewhere be normal indeed. Take clairvoyance: Clairvoyant dreams are accepted among the
Mapuche Indians of Chile (Krippner, et al 2002). Some Western Theosophists advocate the development of clairvoyance. His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1988) notes discussion of clairvoyance in the sutras and tantras of Buddhism. Varied siddhis, or supernatural powers, are well known in Hinduism and other world wisdom traditions (Rao, 2002). Where our human use, if any, may be
unconscious, Mme. Blavatsky asserted that, in the Sixth Root Race, “it will be
used consciously” (Barborka, 1980, p. 333).
By contrast, note the extraordinary resistance today. This
talk looks at three issues as we hopefully move to greater openness. This is all the more important as we practitioners may well meet some “anomalous” phenomena (whether we are interested in them or not) while pursuing our own spiritual path. Happily, now things are changing. Today we consider:
Whence our Taboo Topics?
One sees how blind we humans can be, even violent in our disbelief, and how taboos guard the status quo. This despite Fellows of the Royal Society, Carl Jung, eminent
physicists, and volumes of scientific evidence for psychic and mystical experiences.
Can we ourselves stay open?
Creativity as Antidote, Yet Taboo Topic in turn?
Creatively open-minded people are well placed to welcome the new .....via
alternative ways of knowing. Issues of creativity themselves may bridge over into Taboo Topics!—and new opportunities.
Paradigm Change—Why the Fear? The
so-called paranormal heralds new ways of knowing, of being, of relating to each
other and the cosmos—and knowing who we fundamentally are. What do we face today with a paradigm shift, andhow can we appreciate this, while advancing human growth and benefit for self and others?
Here we advocate open minds, not Position A or B. Yet do note
Dean Radin’s final meta-meta-analytic figure (Radin, 2006) for odds against chance in combined research on 7 paranormal phenomena. This is not
psychology’s “p < .05” or 1/20th chance of a false positive. This is bigger than big: 1.3 times 10 to the 104th power! We can write it out:
Onward our search for truth—avoiding nothing—at this time of growth and opportunity
This presentation is designed to:
Give examples of startling new findings related to “parapsychology” along with probabilities these are due to chance; then, in this light, to give examples of human obstacles to a fair consideration of what may be called “taboo topics”
Explain how a creative orientation can open minds
to the new, while evaluating findings that parts of creativity itself may link
to anomalous phenomena. Suggest ways to get around
one’s own resistance to fair and critical thinking, and to considering paradigm
shifts and new worldviews.