posted on Sep, 7 2006 @ 03:18 AM
It's so funny the way this subject riles the "scientifically minded". Sheldrake is a well-respected Cambridge academic and one of the brightest
guys around. He did a thing on "how does your dog know when you're coming home?" which was filmed by the BBC. They had proper protocols in place
and found that many dogs react at the exact moment their owner (who is with someone else who's going to determine at what point the owner goes home)
starts to head back, often going to sit by the front door to wait.
But these aren't proper experiments! comes the cry... actually they are, it's just that they point to something that those who think of
themselves as "scientifically minded" and "rational" don't want to accept: that there are connections between people and between life forms in
general that have an emotional component.
Modern science has only the vaguest notion of what consciousness actually IS, FCOL. And there's an uncomfortable area of overlap with certain
religious and mystical practices which makes "rationalists" even more uncomfortable, so they tend to stick their fingers in their ears and go "la
la la la laaaa" a lot. And the word "anecdotal" (subtext, "delusional", "distorted") gets bandied around.
Well, here's just one "anecdotal" account from my life: one morning many years ago I woke up with the conviction that I had to 'phone one
of my best friends. I was away from home on a long contract and hadn't called him for a while. I had the strongest possible feeling that it was
urgent and vital that I call him. When he answered the 'phonel, instead of the warm greeting that was usual between us, he sounded numb and in
shock. It turns out that one of his childhood friends had just died in a road accident.
A so-called rationalist would ask me to believe that this was a coincidence. That simply does not sit right with me. I had such a strong feeling
that I had to call him: it was the very first thing I did that day; and it turned out that he was overwhelmed by loss. I don't believe it's
possible, or necessary, to calculate the odds of something like that happening: that it should have happened is enough to demonstrate to me that
humans have connections that operate over large distances, and that my friend and I share such a connection.
One of the things that he and I have in common is that we are musicians, and we have been in an improvising ensemble for many years now. There's an
interesting book called The Field which suggests that there is a growing body of scientific evidence for some sort of connecting field that
unites us all, and they cite some scientists' work with random number generators as part of this evidence.
RNGs are perturbed, it seems, in situations in which people concentrate on the same thing, and their output (as monitored by sophisticated software)
deviates from being truly random. September 11 2001 produced a HUGE deviation, you may not be surprised to know.
There are also studies of portable RNGs being taken to, for example, arts events. One of the most significant departures from random output occurred
at Bayreuth, and the interesting thing is that the spikes of non-random output occurred at those moments in the performance (of the Wagnerian Ring
Cycle) where "you could have heard a pin drop".
Back to me and my friend... in this band we're in, the most important activity, it has emerged, is not playing our instruments, but in
listening. When we make music, there are no rules, except that no-one has to play anything... anyone can start or stop playing at any time.
This means, in practice, that one is listening really carefully all the time, and if you listen carefully enough, the music itself tells you what
to play. There are bands that do improvised music when everyone's playing at the same time but they might as well be in different rooms: our
stuff sounds as if it had been written and arranged beforehand. This is because we all listen.
And over the last couple of years or so, an interesting development has occurred: once in a while everyone will change direction suddenly, without
warning, and all together. This feels as though we're a flock of birds or a school of fish that abrupty change direction... it's weird but that's
the best way I can describe it. And when you look at those groups of fish or birds, haven't you ever wondered how they all do that so fast, all
together? There doesn't seem to be a leader. Changes are sudden and synchronised. How does this happen? Orthodox science seems rather mute on the