|The American Society for Psychical Research|
Annual Gardner Murphy Memorial Lecture Series
The Gardner Murphy Memorial Lecture series was created in honor of Dr. Gardner Murphy (1895-1979), an extraordinary man of science. Dr. Murphy was best known as an integrator who drew from his knowledge of chemistry, biology, anthropology and other sciences to develop and further his biosocial approach. He made important contributions in social, personality and cognitive psychology. He was Assistant Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, which awarded him the Butler Medal in 1932. He was a UNESCO consultant to the Ministry of Education in New Delhi and Director of Research at the Menninger Foundation. He was President of the American Psychological Association (1943-44), and in 1972 he received their Gold Medal Award, which marked his rise to the top of his profession. He was President of the American Society for Psychical Research from 1965 to 1971. His insightful, holistic perspective made him a guiding light in contemporary parapsychology. Each year one distinguished scientist is honored with an award and invited to present his or her work at the Gardner Murphy Memorial Lecture.>
|Presentations from the Annual Gardner Murphy Memorial Lecture Series are available on video and audio tapes (except where noted).|
There are currently more than 150 controlled studies in the field of spiritual healing, also called mental, psychic, distant, or prayer-based healing, over half of which demonstrate statistical evidence that distant healing is effective. Of particular interest are the studies in intercessory or distant prayer. Some researchers believe prayer is a form of psychokinesis (PK), or mind over matter, and that prayer healing is a type of bio-PK. Healers may disagree. Many of them believe a Supreme Being is crucial to the healing effects and that healing transcends the mind-over-matter type of event studied in parapsychology laboratories.
The controlled studies in distant prayer healing are one of the best-kept secrets in modern medicine. We shall examine some of them, as well as the types of prayer strategies that have been investigated. We shall see that the experimental effects of prayer bear no relationship to private religious beliefs or personal images of God, and that the role of love, empathy, and compassion are central to the healing effect. A crucial question--the relationship between one's physical health and one's level of spiritual attainment--will occupy our attention. Why doesn't prayer work all the time? What are the larger lessons of prayer? What is the role of prayer in scientific medicine?
Prayer is fast becoming respectable in scientific medical circles, and intercessory prayer is being investigated clinically at the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine. Parapsychology, medicine, and prayer meet on the stage of healing.
Dr. Larry Dossey is a physician of internal medicine, formerly with the Dallas Diagnostic Association, and is former Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital. After graduating with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, he received his M.D. degree from Southwestern Medical School (Dallas) in 1967. Following internship he served as a battalion surgeon in Vietnam, later completing his residency in internal medicine at the Veterans Administration Hospital and Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Dr. Dossey is past president of the Isthmus Institute of Dallas, an organization dedicated to exploring the possible convergences of science and religious thought. Dr. Dossey lectures widely in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he delivered the annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, India, the only physician ever invited to do so. Dr. Dossey has published numerous articles and is the author of five books, including Space Time and Medicine (1982) and Beyond Illness (1984), which have been translated into several languages, and which examine the role of the human mind in health and illness. His book, Recovering the Soul: A Scientific and Spiritual Search (1989), explores the nature of human consciousness and the possibility of a Universal Mind. Meaning & Medicine: Lessons from a Doctor's Tales of Breakthrough and Healing (1991), shows that the meaning that we perceive in ordinary life-events can make the difference in life or death, and can set the stage for miraculous healings. His most recent book became a New York Times best-seller. Healing Words: The Power of Prayer, The Practice of Medicine (Harper San Francisco, 1993) examines the vital role of prayer in healing as seen through the eyes of a scientifically-trained physician.
Dr. Dossey's goal in all his books is to anchor the so-called holistic health movement in a model that is scientifically respectable and which, at the same time, answers to man's inner spiritual needs. Dr. Dossey is co-chairman of the Panel on Mind/Body Interventions, Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health. He is also the executive editor of a new journal, Alternative Therapies.
Back to top
Traditional physical science deals in three conceptual currencies, each empirically measurable and analytically quantifiable: mass, i.e. tangible matter; energy, in many forms; and information, the index of order in complex systems. Einstein's identification of the convertibility of mass into energy, and vice versa, has impelled much of 20th century physics; the relationship of information to energy, and thereby to tangible substance, will dominate the 21st. But with this shift of focus come two intriguing and immensely challenging problems: the apparently radical distinction between objective and subjective information, and the proactive involvement of human consciousness in the generation, as well as the interpretation, of both categories. Sophisticated scientific procedures for quantitative measurement and analysis of objective information already exist; viable specification of the quantity and character of subjective information, involving as it does aesthetic and impressionistic content, emotional and intuitive stimuli, and issues of perspective, context, and value, will be far more difficult. The operation of the most magnificent of all information processing and generating machines-the human mind-in the establishment, transcription, and utilization of any form of information has so far been comprehended in only the vaguest and most inadequate terms, and its most intimate and critical relationship, that with its own physical body, is no exception. While that body is known to employ an elaborate spectrum of information processing systems ranging from molecular and cellular levels to fully foliated neural networks including, of course, the hard-wired brain itself, the soft-wired, or indeed the wireless, connections between consciousness and the physiological processors may be of transcendent importance, yet are the least well comprehended.
In developing this new science of consciousness, it will be crucial to establish the basic level at which it functions to bring order into the chaotic reservoirs of potential information it encounters. In this regard, the demonstration of distinguishable correlation's between simple conscious intention and the behavior of the most rudimentary of all objective information processors, the random binary generators, is of overarching importance. For if the consciousness, via its own primordial volition, can bring order into a simple string of ones and zeros, there seems little doubt that it can invoke similar or subtler processes to influence the far more elaborate, relevant, and precious information systems that underlie the health of its own body. It then follows that identification of the salient parameters, both objective and subjective, that enable effective interactions of consciousness with elemental binary processes must ultimately benefit understanding and deployment of the full panoply of all traditional and complementary health practices.
Dr. Robert G. Jahn has been Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University for thirty-three years and Director of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program since 1978. He served as Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton from 1971 - 1986 and has directed several major research programs in advanced aerospace propulsion systems, in cooperation with NASA and the U.S. Air Force. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Physical Society, and the Society for Scientific Exploration. He was a Trustee of ASPR from 1988 through 1992. He holds a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Physics, all from Princeton University, and an Honorary Doctor of Science from Andhra University. He is a recipient of the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award of the American Association of Engineering Education, and has authored two major textbooks, Margins of Reality: The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World (with B.J. Dunne) and Physics of Electric Propulsion, as well as several hundred publications in various technical fields.
Back to top
In this nuclear age where the survival of humanity is constantly on the line, we are faced with the responsibility of fully realizing the basic fact that we are all members of a single species. The full implication of this will involve the radical transformation of the self into one capable of working toward repairing and maintaining the basic unity of the species and overcoming the many ways in which we have succeeded in fragmenting that unity. Such a self-transformation might be facilitated were dreams, including paranormal dreams, to have a higher social priority than they now have.
Our dreams are concerned with the issue of disconnectedness between people. The concerns that find their way into our dreams arise when collaborative and affectionate relations between the dreamer and others are challenged and tested by life events and where disconnectedness threatens to arise either because of individual vulnerability or as a consequence of limiting cultural and social arrangements.
This view of dreaming as fundamentally related to species-connectedness is congenial to much of what we have learned about the meaning of telepathic and precognitive dreams as they have been encountered in the anecdotal and clinical literature.
Dr. Montague Ullman is a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst who founded the Dream Laboratory in 1962 at the Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York. In the mid 1970's he resigned as Director of Psychiatry, Director of the Community Mental Health Center, and Director of the Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at Maimonides Medical Center to devote himself to dream research and group approaches to dream work.
Dr. Ullman is the former President of the American Society for Psychical Research, former President of the Gardner Murphy Research Institute, former President of the Society of Medical Psychoanalysts, former President of the Parapsychological Association, a Charter Fellow of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He was formerly a consultant of Mental Health at Skidmore College, Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, and a member of the faculty of the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He is currently Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Ullman is the author of numerous papers on theoretical and clinical studies of dreams and dreaming. He is the author and co--author of several books, including Dream Telepathy (McFarland), Working with Dreams (J. P. Tarcher, Inc.), co-editor of The Variety of Dream Experience (Continuum Press), and co-editor of The Handbook of States of Consciousness (Van Nostrand Reinhold).
(Available on audiotape only)
Back to top
The Relationship Between Bioelectromagnetics and Psychic PhenomenaRobert O. Becker, M. D.
The discoveries in bioelectromagnetics over the past 30 years have indicated that living things, including humans, generate internal electrical currents that control primitive functions such as growth and repair. These currents produce external magnetic fields measurable outside of the body. All living things are closely tied to the geomagnetic field of the earth through specific receptor organs.
This knowledge has led to experimentation on the relationship between these factors and parapsychological phenomena such as ESP and remote viewing. Preliminary results have indicated a direct relationship between the status of the geomagnetic field and the success rate of ESP experiments. The geomagnetic field may be a hidden variable that should be considered in experiments.
Bioelectromagnetics provide not only a validation of the reality of these phenomena, but also a new frame of reference by which they can be studied. This relationship provides new insights into the operations of the brain and the mind-brain problem in particular. Potential areas for fruitful experimentation will be discussed.
Dr. Robert O. Becker is a national authority on the biological effects of electromagnetism. His pioneering research in biological electricity and regeneration has contributed to the emerging field of energy medicine which explores alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture, electrotherapy, visualization and hypnosis, all of which use an invisible common source: the body's innate electrical systems.
Dr. Becker was formerly Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Syracuse, New York; and Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, and Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport. He initiated the first hearing on power transmission line safety (1973-1980, New York State Public Service Commission). He has also served as an expert witness in Congressional Hearings before the House Subcommittee on Water and Power Resources.
Dr. Becker has published over 150 scientific papers in peer review journals, with emphasis on growth and healing electrical control mechanisms and the effects of applied electrical currents and/or magnetic fields on living organisms. He is the author of Cross Currents (Jeremy Tarcher, 1990), and The Body Electric (William Morrow & Company, 1985). He has contributed chapters to numerous medical and scientific books and is the Associate Editor for Volume 1, 2, and 3 of Advances in Parapsychology, (Plenum Press, 1977, 1978, 1982).
Back to top
Whole System Transition in Person and Society:Jean Houston, Ph. D.
A Cross-Cultural View of Emerging Human Capacities
In this time of change and complexity, we need to use capacities that we never knew we had--or ones rarely used, perhaps not since childhood. We are patterned and coded with possibilities, few of which we ever learn to use. It is as if we had in our body and mind a vast orchestral range of a million keys and we have learned to play about twenty. There is no question that a larger life is latent in the human species and that we live only a small part of the life that is given.
Dr. Houston has worked in over forty cultures helping local and international development agencies to create ways that advance the well-being of the society without losing the uniqueness and genius of the culture. In her address she draws from her experience to show how different cultures have developed different kinds of capacities and how today, for the first time in history, they can be harvested and applied toward the enhancement of human beings everywhere. She tracks the patterns and particulars of development of these extended human capacities, including those related to healing in different cultures and suggests ways in which to emulate and evoke similar capacities in our own and other societies.
Dr. Jean Houston is an internationally known psychologist, scholar, philosopher, and teacher. Dr. Houston and her husband, Dr. Robert Masters, are co-directors of the Foundation for Mind Research in Pomona, New York, where the research for almost thirty years has had to do with understanding and applying latent human capacities.
She has worked at the grass roots as well as the highest governmental and cultural levels in over forty countries, helping local and international developmental agencies in their quest for cultural growth and social transition. She has been working with UNICEF to implement some of these programs. In 1991 she worked for UNICEF in Burma. In 1993 she worked in Bangladesh with UNICEF and other NGO programs to help develop a vision of new possibilities for that country. She also worked with Maori groups in New Zealand and Aboriginal societies in Australia as well as giving seminars in both those countries.
Dr. Houston has published numerous books, papers and articles detailing her thirty years of research and practice. Her books include: The Hero and The Goddess, The Possible Human, The Search for the Beloved, Life Force, Listening to the Body and Godseed. Her diverse recent projects have included a television series on the topic of myth and human potentials, and a series of books on myth and transformation which began publication by Ballantine Books in 1992 with The Hero and The Goddess.
Back to top
The Many Roads to Becoming a Psychic Healer:Lawrence LeShan, Ph. D.
A Research Approach and Personal Adventure
Psychic healers appear in all societies of which we have records. They come by very different routes, though they frequently invent or discover similar techniques. Their explanations of what they are doing and of why they get results differ as widely as their cultures and the roads they have taken to healing.
There are a number of general paths including contact with a God or gods, various versions of the spirit world, and a variety of concepts of energy. There is also the approach through scientific research which may lead to different conclusions and possibilities. Although these conclusions are different they are not contradictory to those found on other paths.
Dr. LeShan discusses the scientific path in detail including the major laboratory studies now existing and his own route into the field. This path was full of surprises and unexpected developments that forced him to keep reevaluating not only the field of psychic healing, but also his own viewpoint on the nature of the relationship of human beings to each other and to the rest of the universe.
The talk will describe the path to psychic healing through science and scientific research as an example of the many paths. All have validity, all have assets and liabilities. All lead to a richer concept of what it means to be human and more hope for those in the human condition.
Dr. Lawrence LeShan is an experimental psychologist, known internationally for his valuable contributions to healing research. He received his Master's degree from the University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has worked for many years in parapsychology, and has served as a Trustee and Voting Member of the American Society for Psychical Research. He is the author of over seventy-five articles in psychiatric and psychological journals. He has also written numerous books including The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist (Viking Press, 1966), How to Meditate (Bantam, 1974), and Cancer as a Turning Point: A Handbook for People with Cancer, Their Families, and Health Professionals (Dutton, 1989).
Back to top