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Duane Elgin
I’d like to bring empirical research into this conversation that gives a more complete explanation for why I regard the universe as a living system and, in John Wheeler’s phrase, as a “participatory universe.” This research involves both objective and subjective aspects of knowing. The conversation so far has focused only on the “scientific” perspective of the removed observer. I want to bring in evidence from the side of an engaged participator that is based on years of personal experience in a laboratory setting with double-blind experiments whose results have been published in some of the most rigorous and prestigious journals in the scientific world.
In 1973-1975, for nearly three years, I was a subject in parapsychology experiments at the think-tank SRI International. Although my participation was intentionally, largely anonymous, I was one of four, primary subjects who participated in a wide range of scientific experiments funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to explore our intuitive potentials. These experiments were conducted in the engineering laboratory at SRI International (separate from the “futures group” where I also worked). Results from these experiments (particularly “remote viewing”) have been published in major scientific journals; for example, the scientific paper by two, world class scientists, Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, “A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer Over Kilometer Distances,” published in the proceedings of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, (vol. 64, no. 3), March, 1976. This work is also described in the book MindReach: Scientists Look at Psychic Ability (1977) also by Targ and Puthoff. I also authored the appendix on “Personal Observations on the Use of SRI’s ESP Teaching Machine,” for the SRI report: Development of Techniques to Enhance Man/Machine Communication, by R. Targ and H. Puthoff, for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, June, 1974 [Contract 953653 Under NAS7-100, c/o California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory] These rigorous, double-blind, scientific experiments with empirical data were thoroughly reviewed by NASA, IEEE, NSF, and others—including the CIA. I dropped out of the research program after three years when it was classified as secret and taken over by the CIA (Freedom of Information Act files indicate that the research continued for roughly another twenty years and was one of the longest running programs in the agency’s history).
Below is a personal summary of my three years of experience. Because I worked at the SRI think-tank, I was an easily accessible subject and was paid as a consultant by NASA for engaging in experiments. I would often spend two or three hours at a time, several days a week, engaged in diverse experiments in the engineering laboratory. I’m not presenting this as “proof” or “empirical data” but as a “subjective” summary of my own, first hand experiences (as it includes a brief description taken from of a series of psychokinesis experiments not conducted under “controlled” conditions but instead that relied on my honest participation as a subject). For the peer reviewed, empirical data for controlled, “remote viewing” experiments, please refer to the studies in the previous paragraph.
Beyond my own experience (and that of others in the SRI experiments) the respected scientist and researcher, Dr. Dean Radin, did an exhaustive meta-analysis of psi research involving more than eight hundred studies and sixty investigators over nearly three decades. After weighing the collective evidence from more than 800 studies, he concluded that we do participate in a subtle field or ecology of consciousness where we can both “send” and “receive.” [See: Dean Radin, The Conscious Universe (1997) and Entangled Minds (2006).]
There is an enormous amount of research emerging that is directly related to this theme: see, for example, “Action at a Distance in Quantum Mechanics” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, January 26, 2007 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-action-distance/  My intention in sharing these experiences is to open our dialogue to the possibility that our universe is infused with an ecology of consciousness and is a participatory system in which we can participate meaningfully and measurably.