Hippocrates v Hypocrite  






In The Spiritual Power of Sound the Gnostic writer Samual Aun Weor writes:

‘It is totally impossible to become integral while the mind is bottled within dualism. The Essence of the mind (the Buddhata) is most precious, but regrettably it is bottled in the battle of antitheses. During meditation, when the Essence of the mind escapes from the battle of the opposites, we can then experience the Reality, the Being, the Innermost. There is dualism when I try to reunite all the fragments of my mind in one. There is dualism when my mind is enslaved by good and evil, cold and heat, big and small, pleasant and unpleasant, yes and no, etc. There is also dualism when we divide ourselves between Superior “I” and Inferior “I” and when we yearn for the Superior “I” to control us during meditation. Whosoever has experienced the Being at some time during meditation is cured forever of the danger of falling into mythomania. The Being—the Innermost, the Reality— is totally different from that which the pseudo-occultists and pseudo-esotericists call Superior “I” or Divine “I.”’ (1)

We have already seen how language and dualism are inseparable. And yet the career of Colin Wilson and all the great writers, novelists and poets down the ages, prove that it is possible to express something about Reality in language; but it is only possible if the artist is connected to Reality in the first place.

The writer can only express himself dialectically, something Arthur Koestler recognised when he entitled his last book, Janus, A Summing Up. Janus is the Roman God of beginnings, gates, transitions, doorways and endings. He has two faces one looking to the past, one looking to the future. It was an appropriate title for a book that proposed a holographic vision of the universe, where the whole is contained in the part and the part in the whole, a view summed up beautifully by the Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast who in a recent interview said:

‘What is life? It is a mystery. We cannot know what it is. We can only know that we are in it, and it is in us. We are totally immersed in it. There is not a moment you could continue to live life if life weren’t living you’. (2)

The moment a writer assumes a particular stance and devotes himself to expressing one particular viewpoint he ceases to be an artist and becomes a pamphleteer and polemicist. There was undeniably an element of this in the trajectory of Wilson’s career, which I think developed as a result of the general indifference with which his work was met – particularly in his own country. So inevitably a certain stridency entered into his pronouncements, fuelled I suspect by a feeling of ‘What have I got to lose?’ The sad outcome of this was that his latter-day spats with the establishment only served to obscure the range and depth of his achievement. The publication of Brad Sturgeon’s excellent interview under the title Colin Wilson: Philosopher of Optimism helped to redress the balance, although regrettably such a title suggested a degree of shallowness which was very far from ever being the case.

My sense is that increasingly Wilson experienced Reality away from the typewriter more than he experienced it at it; whereas unquestionably in the early years it was the other way round, and in the flood of books that flowed from his pen in the 60’s and early 70’s we have the sense of a living existentialist in action.

In the last decade of his life Wilson referred on various occasions to having finally acquired the trick of intensity consciousness – which seems an incredible admission coming from a man who clearly had experienced it and honed it, and written about it, for 50 years previously.


In The God of the Labyrinth Gerard Sorme takes issue with a lecture being delivered by the Reichian therapist Otto Körner as follows:

‘I sat at the back of this for twenty minutes or so, and heard him explaining why he was a materialist. ‘Idealists’, he explained, believe that such things as life, thought, ideas, can exist apart from matter, in some sense. His arguments against this view were devastating and, for me, completely convincing. As far as I was concerned, of course, they missed the point. I agree that minds and mental processes are inseparably linked with matter; but I still believe that life has somehow entered matter from outside, not that it is an emanation of matter, as fire is an emanation of coal.’ (3)

What does Sorme mean by ‘they missed the point’? I suspect that Sorme/Wilson has an intuition that neither the materialist nor the idealist position is correct; that we cannot conceive the whole of Reality from either perspective.

The whole tendency of dividing our experience out into polarities – which is the feature of rationality and embedded in the nature of language - is purely and solely a tool for taking control of our lives, allowing us to manipulate the material universe to our own ends, but also, in the process, as we saw in Chapter 3, chronically alienating us from our experience.

The true genius of Wittgenstein lies in his realisation that the whole exercise of metaphysics is a nonsense; that there are vast swathes of our experience that we cannot talk about – that are not susceptible to dissection. The mystics have always known this. William Blake made the point with the concision only an artist can achieve when he painted Sir Isaac Newton bent double over a scroll, entirely oblivious to the universe around him, with a set divider.

Science is beginning to catch up with the inspirational vision of poets and artists. As we have seen in Chapter 1 the quantum revolution has made us aware that all matter is in a state of vibration, that, however opaque the world of matter may appear, every manifestation in the material universe is in a state of seething energy.

This realisation has led many to question the very nature of consciousness. If matter is more or less of an illusion, if our senses and nervous systems are largely responsible for creating the form of the world we perceive, if the whole universe is in a seething state of vibration, including the cells of our bodies, where does one draw the line between what is objective and what is subjective, and to what extent is the universe beyond us influenced by our awareness of it....?

We know that consciousness is not simply confined to human beings; we are beginning to realise that animals have greatly more diversified degrees of consciousness than we have ever given them credit for.

Wilson would frequently refer to the case of Hugh Macdiarmid’s dog who always knew when his master was returning home, long before there was any evidence of the fact and would sit at the end of the lane 48 hours before he was due to arrive. On one occasion he even anticipated MacDiarmid’s return before MacDiarmid himself knew he would be returning home. (4)

Similarly plants and trees have been proven to have emotional reactions. In the chapter entitled Primal Vision of Atlantis & the Kingdom of the Neanderthals Wilson refers to a book called the Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird, which caused a sensation when it came out, because it seemed to prove that plants have an emotional life as rich and varied as any animal – or human being for that matter. This was published in 1989. (5)

The book made considerable reference to the work of Jagadis Chandra Bose, a nineteenth century scientist of distinction, (he transmitted radio waves before Marconi), who devoted much of his career to examining the supposed distinction between living and dead matter, and coming to the extraordinary conclusion that there was none; and in this chapter of his penultimate published book Wilson reviews Bose’s contribution.

Bose established his reputation with research into microwaves. His first scientific paper was entitled ‘On polarisation of electric rays by double-refracting crystals’.

Bose not only experimented on trees and plants but also on metals which he discovered seemed to have a sort of elementary memory (something which psychometrists would have no problem accepting).

He summarized all his work in the following paragraph:

‘Thus when animal, plant and metal have been subjected to the same questioning shocks they have in all cases given similar replies. They exhibit similar fatigue and show similar exaltation under stimulants. If further confirmation of the unity of reaction is needed, there remains one test by which physiologists distinguish the characteristic phenomena of life. That which is living is capable of dying, and death may be hastened by poison. The pulses of response then wane until they cease altogether. Is it credible that we may in like manner ‘kill’ by means of poison?’ (6)

And Bose goes on to say that indeed his researches confirm that even metals respond in the same way as plants and humans to the administration of poison. He draws a parallel with the medical profession wherein administration of small doses of poison may have a stimulating effect, whereas  large doses may prove fatal, and concludes:

‘Among such phenomena, how can we draw a line of demarcation and say ‘Here the physical process ends and there the physiological (living) process begins?’ Such a line can hardly be drawn’. (7)

At the age of 59 Bose was awarded a knighthood for his pioneering work and was able to open his own research institute.

Wilson writes: ‘For the remaining twenty years of his life he continued to devise experiments to show that there are no ‘gaps’ in nature: that animal life, plant life, and so-called ‘inanimate nature’, all shade gently into one another. In one lecture he talked about the ‘pervading unity’ of all things and added that it made him understand ‘that message proclaimed by my ancestors on the banks of the Ganges thirty centuries ago’ – of the oneness that lies behind the multiplicity of nature’. (8)

And where does one hear of Bose’s research today? How come we are still locked into an absurd dualism that proclaims the absolute distinction between living and inanimate matter?

Wilson in this same chapter from the Neanderthals book proceeds to examine the thinking of Charles Hapgood who used Bose’s work as the launch pad for his own researches. Hapgood was a respected scientist who incidentally had achieved the considerable accolade of receiving endorsement for his theories about the development of the earth’s crust from Albert Einstein.

In the introduction to his book Visions of Spirit Hapgood provides a useful resume of all the evidence that has been gathered since the time of Bose, that effectively corroborates the Indian’s researches. (9)

There was the research of Cleve Backster, who was an authority on lie detectors and one day accidentally found that plants responded in precisely the same way as humans to the polygraph which led him to extend his researches, and eventually conclude the ‘possible existence of some undefined perception in the plant’ which he called ‘primary perception’:

‘this perception applies to all cells we have monitored, without regard to their assigned biological function....we have found this same phenomena in the amoeba, the paramecium, and other single celled organisms, in fact in every kind of cell we have tested’

Hapgood points out: ‘Bose measures physical reactions that implied but did not directly prove consciousness and emotion in plants and metals. Backster has shown, at least as far as plants are concerned, that the implication of consciousness is correct: plants do have consciousness, they do have emotion; and since Bose showed that metals register the same reactions, we cannot reasonably exclude consciousness even in metals’. (10)

Now extending Backster’s work with plants to include metals may be stretching a point, and nothing that Hapgood  itemises hereafter has anything to add to the all important question for Bose of whether there was a hard and fast delineation between living and inanimate matter. However we will in a minute review the work of a pioneering scientist whose work would appear to confirm Bose’s findings.

In the meantime Hapgood proceeds to examine the work of the Rev Franklin Loehr who assisted Dr Rhine at Duke University (Rhine achieved international renown for his work on ESP) in experimenting on plants with the power of prayer. Rhine and Loehr experimented on groups of seeds which were divided out into 3 cohorts – one of which would be subjected to positive prayer, one to negative prayer and one would be ignored. Whatever one’s conception of the nature of prayer one thing could not be denied and that is that the power of focussed attention induced by the act of prayer had directly observable influence on the seeds – those being encouraged with positive prayer far outstripped those that were ignored, while those given blast of negative emotion wilted and died...

And I think at this juncture it is important to mention the work of another researcher mentioned in The Secret Life of Plants – Marcel Vogel (1917-1991), who from his researches came to the significant conclusion that the empathy of the experimenter was a crucial ingredient in the success or otherwise of the experiment.

Vogel discovered something that every investigator into the paranormal has come up against at some point namely, that it was extremely difficult to replicate results achieved in ordinary circumstances when subjected to either peer pressure or the gaze of the media. Experiments in laboratory conditions in the early 1970’s appeared to frustrate the researchers until they realised that the state of mind of the experimenters was absolutely critical to the outcome of the experiment. Here is Curtis Lang’s commentary on Vogel’s original text from the website for the Satya Centre:

‘Adults, according to Vogel, are much less successful than children, which leads him to surmise that many scientists are not going to be able to repeat his or Backster's experiments in laboratories. "If they approach the experimentation in a mechanistic way," says Vogel, "and don't enter into mutual communication with their plants and treat them as friends, they will fail. It is essential to have an open mind that eliminates all preconceptions before beginning experiments"......

‘Hundreds of laboratory workers around the world," says Vogel, "are going to be just as frustrated and disappointed as these men until they appreciate that the empathy between plant and human is the key, and learn how to establish it. No amount of checking in laboratories is going to prove a thing until the experiments are done by properly trained observers. Spiritual development is indispensable. But this runs counter to the philosophy of many scientists, who do not realize that creative experimentation means that the experimenters must become part of their experiments.’ (11)

Thus Vogel achieved first hand verification of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle (or the observer effect), which indicates that the observer and the observed cannot be separated.

Tomkins and Bird describe how:

‘Entertaining a group of sceptical psychologists, medical doctors, and computer programmers at his house, Vogel let them look over his equipment for hidden devices and gimmicks which they insisted must exist, then asked them to sit in a circle and talk so as to see what reactions the plant might pick up. For an hour the group conversed on several topics with hardly a response from the plant. Just as they had all concluded that the whole thing was a fake, one of them said: "How about sex?" To their mutual surprise, the plant came to life, the pen recorder oscillating wildly on the chart. This led to speculation that talking of sex could stir up in the atmosphere some sort of sexual energy such as the "orgone" discovered and described by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, and that the ancient fertility rites in which humans had sexual intercourse in freshly seeded fields might indeed have stimulated plants to grow.’(12)

This would seem to underline Backster’s identification of the consciousness in a plant as being primal; there is no more primal topic of conversation than that of sex. The very mention of the word is likely to raise the temperature in the room.


In the concluding chapter of Religion and the Rebel, Wilson describes one of the philosopher A.N.Whitehead’s examples of the bifurcation of Nature from Whitehead’s book The Principle of Relativity:

‘. . . when the scientist knocks a molecule to pieces, he does not see a molecule, but a flash of light. The same scientist will then say: ‘Yes, this is what I saw happening [the flash of light], but what really happened is. . . .’ He is making a sharp bifurcation (division) of the world into things as they really are and things as they seem.

Whitehead opposed this splitting of Nature. He believed that Nature was a unified organism:

‘If we are to avoid this unfortunate bifurcation, we must construe our knowledge of the apparent world as being an individual experience of something which is more than personal. Nature is thus a totality including individual experiences, so that we must reject the distinction between nature as it really is and experiences of it which are purely psychological. Our experiences of the apparent world are nature itself.’ (my italics) (13)  

In other words they cannot be divided. This is the true meaning of Kierkegaard’s dictum ‘Truth is Subjectivity’, which is not an incitement to narcissism but should be seen as a scientific observation of fact. Whitehead, through the employment of his exceptional intelligence, was coming to the same conclusions in 1922, that had been reached by the Shaivite mystics more than two millennia previously – namely that we live in a unitary universe.

The importance of Vogel’s research is that it gives clear illustration not only of ‘the observer effect’ in physics but also to Julian Jaynes’ revelation, often referred to by Wilson, that we must always ‘include the knower in the known’.

Hapgood repeatedly points out that all the research and evidence that proves the fact there is no hard and fast distinction between living and dead matter has ‘profound philosophical consequences’, which is perhaps an understatement ....

Burr’s associate Edward T Russell elaborated on his mentor’s work with his research into Thought fields (T fields). Russell provided a useful definition of what constitutes a field:

‘When something occurs somewhere in space because something else happened somewhere else in space, with no visible means by which the cause produced the effect, the two events are connected by a field.’ (14)

Through his researches into hypnosis Russell came to believe that the life field of the body (which he called the L field) could be directly affected by the mind. Indeed he came to the conclusion that this being the case thought must be the primary force in the universe...

The findings of Hapgood’s researches only corroborate the speculations of Fritjof Capra in The Tao of Physics, the anthropologist Loren Eiseley, Swami Chetanananda (whose speculations we reviewed in Chapter 1) and how many other brilliant minds that have looked at the universe with impartial eyes –i.e. eyes that are not fixated on the Aristotelian paradigm. One of these was Wilhelm Reich.

We touched on the work of Reich in Chapter 1. Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957) was an Austrian doctor of medicine and psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of analysts after Sigmund Freud. In Chapter 1 of The Function of the Orgasm Reich wrote:

‘The question, "What is Life?" prompted each new acquisition of knowledge. Life was characterized by a remarkable rationality and purposefulness of instinctive, involuntary action....It was clear that the mechanistic conception of life, which also dominated our medical studies, could not provide a satisfactory solution.....’

And having described how he became interested in the theories of Henri Bergson he comments:

‘The principle of a creative force which governed life could not be gainsaid. Yet it was not satisfactory as long as it could not be made tangible, described and dealt with concretely. Practical applicability was justifiably looked upon as being the supreme goal of natural science.’ (15)

He thus became absorbed in finding a practical, biological explanation for his psychotherapeutic discoveries. When experimenting with dry sterile hay in distilled water he discovered that the water became infested with hundreds of tiny living organisms. This in itself was not extraordinary. The hay could well have become contaminated or not have been sterilised properly; but Reich went on to repeat the experiment with various other forms of organic matter – wood, coal, dust, metal and dead plant matter – always with the same results.

When Reich studied the experiment through a microscope he found that the cells at the edge of the hay (or whatever material he was investigating) disintegrated into ’vesicles’, and that the vesicles would tend to cluster together. He became convinced that the vesicles were the basic unit of life, and called them ‘bions’.

Reich never claimed that he had created life. All he claimed to have discovered was a basic unit of life that was observable in all organic material – thus seeming to suggest that the potential for life was present throughout the universe and it only needed the right circumstances for that basic unit of life to be activated.

We will look more at the work of Reich and its relation to the work of Colin Wilson in the next chapter.

In the meantime it should be plain why these experiments of Wilhelm Reich would only seem to confirm Bose’s hypothesis in the 19th century that there are no hard and fast distinctions to be made between what would appear to be living and what would appear to be dead. (16)

What links all these researchers together is a basic conviction that the nature of life is in some way electrical. In the Introduction to Visions of Spirit, already referred to, Charles Hapgood devotes considerable space to the researches of Harold Saxton Burr.

Wilson had written about Burr in Mysteries and subsequent books in the Occult cycle. Burr was a professor in the Yale University School of Medicine, and he became aware of anomalies in the prevailing paradigm which failed to explain the phenomenon of growth in living organisms or the ability of organisms to heal themselves (something the current medical profession is reluctant to acknowledge anyway...)

Burr observed that a comparatively simple structure like the DNA molecule could hardly be responsible for the development of a whole human being and he developed a theory of electrodynamic life fields whereby electrons are pulled together into specific shapes and forms by a process not much different than might be observed if you were to bring a large magnet into contact with a pile of iron filings.

The crux of his argument was that the electrodynamic field precedes the emergence of the form it surrounds. Observing the fields surrounding a frogs’ egg he noticed how the frog’s nervous system always developed along an axis previously delineated by the largest voltage gradient previously observed in the eggs; in other words the field he reasoned must in some way be responsible for the emergence of the resultant organism.

Hapgood is at pains to point out that we do not know the nature of Burr’s electrodynamic field – any more than to this day do we know the nature of the gravitational field discovered by Sir Isaac Newton 400 years ago. Newton observed a force and developed a mathematical equation to explain its operation but could never explain the origin of that force. (17)

In the same way Burr developed extremely sensitive volt meters that could measure electrical fields surrounding living organisms but this did not mean he was making any claims as to the origin of the fields – he was merely investigating an observable fact.

Burr also discovered that the life field could provide indications of incipient disease in apparently healthy subjects. In New York’s Bellevue hospital Burr’s assistants examined about a 1000 women with Burr’s instruments and found unusual voltage readings in 102 instances. Of those 102 instances 95 were later operated on for cancer....

Burr also discovered that the L-field could be influenced adversely by external electrical fields. He would not be surprised to learn what we are only now beginning to wake up to, namely the pernicious effect on the human organism of all our electronic devices – particularly mobile phones and microwaves.

All we can conclude from all these researches is that the world is a great deal more mysterious than we used to think it is, and the boundaries between life and so called dead matter are considerably more blurred than we’d like to think. This being the case it is extremely dangerous to make any hard and fast delineation.

The prime polarity – the one to which all other polarities have to do obeisance – is that of the Body and Spirit – or Mind and Matter.

It would appear from all the experiments that Hapgood explicates in the introduction to Voices of Spirit that mind precedes matter – is indeed in some way responsible for matter, and this would seem to give corroboration to Wilson’s conviction of the primacy of mind. But I’m not sure it’s as simple as that....

The best way to get a handle on this is to look at the subject of health.

Our whole civilization is teetering on a health crisis that originates in a paradigm that views the human body purely as a machine and insists on servicing the body in the same way as we may service our cars and motorcycles. But our bodies are not machines!

Our bodies are living, breathing organisms and have evolved from within. They haven’t been built they’ve grown from the inside out – organically, no different from a plant or a tree. They haven’t been constructed by us – they have a life of their own. And the matter of our bodies is radically different from the matter that comprises a car or motorcycle; and it is this radical difference that is responsible for the phenomenon of consciousness.

But what the experiments of Bose and Reich would seem to indicate is that it is a difference in quantity rather than quality. That is that everything in the universe may be formed out of the same basic building blocks, and it is only a question of how those building blocks combine that determines the way in which they manifest and the extent of the animate life and/or consciousness, or even self consciousness, they contain.

These researches would seem to indicate that it is a mistake to think of life as being injected into matter – because this simply perpetuates the notion of a dualistic universe and a fundamental split between the two. And this is surely the essence of the profound philosophical implications Hapgood refers to.

If it were proved scientifically there were no fundamental separation between animate and inanimate matter, between matter and spirit, only varying shades of distinction – as Bose’s investigations seemed to prove – then we would have to radically revise the way in which we think about human functioning and the way in which we approach the body.

The entire medical profession is locked into a Mendelian determinism whereby it is axiomatic that each individual’s progress through life, including susceptibility, or not, to disease, is entirely determined by genetic inheritance. This is particularly the case with regard to cancer research and is entirely responsible for the deadlock in this field.

A school of Biology is emerging which refutes this position, in particular the primacy of the Mendelian version of genetics whereby genetic information can only be transferred through sexual reproduction and reinstates the Lamarckian view that argues for the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

The researches of Mina Bissell and Bruce Lipton in particular have proved that environmental factors are largely responsible for gene expression; that is you may have inherited a genetic predisposition to breast cancer but whether that genetic predisposition chooses to express itself is entirely dependent upon whether the renegade genes are triggered by environmental factors.

If this paradigm were adopted it would be ludicrous for a well known celebrity actress to submit herself to a double mastectomy on the basis that breast cancer ‘runs in the family’ as was recently the case.

The Lamarckian view of evolution argues for a symbiosis between that which is and that which is experienced, between that which is inherited and that which is endured, in short between mind and matter, with no clear demarcation between the two – although Lamarck would never have articulated it as such.

The Darwinian Theory suggested an unprecedented degree of determinism that means you are either born with the attributes to survive – or not. Hence mystics and visionaries, the likes of George Bernard Shaw and Henri Bergson (in his early thinking) rejected the theory in favour of the Lamarckian view which suggested a vast melting pot into which we are all thrown and onto which we have an option to impress ourselves and our genes through the exercise of a degree of self determination and free will.

Bergson’s view of evolution is admirably summarised in an essay entitled Bergson's Encounter with Biology: Thinking Life by Keith Ansell Pearson published by the University of Warwick:

‘The language of ‘transformism’ (Lamarck’s term for his theory of evolution), he writes, 'forces itself now upon all philosophy, as the dogmatic affirmation of transformism forces itself upon science'. On the one hand it shows us that the highest forms of life - highest in terms of complexity - emerge from a very elementary form of life, thus 'the most complex has been able to issue from the most simple by way of evolution'. On the other hand it shows that life can no longer be treated as an abstraction. Life can now be described in terms of the continuity of genetic energy that cuts across the bodies ‘it has organized one after another, passing from generation to generation, [and that] has become divided among species and distributed amongst individuals without losing anything of its force, rather intensifying in proportion to its advance.’(18)

The significance of Bergson’s viewpoint, as of all his philosophy, was that he was arguing for a degree of indeterminacy at a time when science was becoming increasingly deterministic, and the prevailing orthodoxy was increasingly impervious to any theoretical – or practical for that matter - demonstrations that did not fit the official paradigm. The irony now is that indeterminacy is on the way to becoming the official paradigm - the new orthodoxy - although it has to be said any notion of indeterminacy has yet to filter through to the practical sciences, to the medical profession in particular.

The crux of the matter for our discussion here is that environmental factors have entered the equation; and environmental factors do not just include biological and physical influence, but when it comes to human experience, the life of the mind and of the psyche.

For Wilhelm Reich it was axiomatic that the human being is a functional unity; that is the life of the mind and the life of the body cannot be separated. The health or dis-ease of one or the other influences the health or disease of the other.

The implications of this are clear. If Man is a functional unity and his physical state cannot be separated from his mental state, and vice versa, then environmental factors include all that impinges upon the organism – both from within (mental processes and emotional tendencies) and from without (the external environment);

In the next chapter we’ll look at how the science of epigenetics suggests that everything that occurs to me in this life not only influences the expression but also influences the expression of my genes for generations to come; not only how I live, breathe, eat and sleep, but how I think and feel, influences the expression of my genes. To what extent we cannot possibly say. All we can say is that mind and matter are inextricably entwined.

One attempt at an explanation for this indeterminacy at the root of our lives is Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphic resonance – best explained in his own words:

‘Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past. And biological inheritance need not all be coded in the genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes; much of it depends on morphic resonance from previous members of the species. Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future.’ (19)

The conclusion must be if laws of nature ‘are more like habits’ – they can be broken...and this opens the window to the possibility of free will and self determination that has made Sheldrake a pariah in the scientific establishment.

Julian Huxley’s view of Man as the evolutionary spearhead was at the core of the New Existentialism, and if we consider the degree of complexification to which human consciousness is capable this is undeniable - from a hierarchical perspective; but if we cease to think hierarchically then complexification is not necessarily an improvement – it is merely an elaboration of something that was already there.

I want to finish this chapter with a glancing look at a radically different theory of evolution proposed in a remarkable book called Human by Design by Gregg Braden (already referred to in Chapter 1):

‘The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that: We are the result of an intentional act of creation.

The mutations in FOXP2 and human chromosome 2 are precise.

The mutations in FOXP2 and human chromosome 2 appear to have happened quickly rather than through a long, slow evolutionary process.

The optimization of human chromosome 2 that occurred after the fusion appears to be intentional.

After 150 years of searching, the fact that no physical evidence has been discovered to link us to other forms of life on the tree of primate evolution suggests that we may be a species unto ourselves, with no evolutionary history. We are the products of an intelligent form of life. The timing, precision, and accuracy of our genetic mutations, and the technology required to yield such mutations, implies the forethought and intention of an advanced intelligence. The intelligence that carried out the genetic modifications giving us our humanness had the advanced technology to do 200,000 years ago what we are only learning to do today (for example, DNA fusion and gene

splicing) To honestly acknowledge these possibilities opens us to a paradigm that shifts the way we feel about ourselves and view our place in the universe.’ (20)

Even if this may appear to be the wildest speculation I believe Colin Wilson would wholeheartedly have endorsed the notion.

Chapter 4 Footnotes

1 Weor, Samael Aun. Spiritual Power of Sound: The Awakening of Consciousness and the Laws of Nature (Kindle Locations 812-814). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition. 2 See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap2SNCNN_Fw

3. Wilson, Colin. The God of the Labyrinth (Kindle Locations 4694-4698). Valancourt Books. Kindle Edition.

4. See The Occult Granada Publishing 1978 page 125

5. Atlantis & the Kingdom of the Neanderthals Bear & Co 2006 page 260

6. Bose, Sir Jagadis Chandra. Plant Autographs and Their Revelations. New York: Macmillan, 1927

7. Ibid

8 Atlantis & the Kingdom of the Neanderthals Bear & Co 2006 page 260

9 Voices of Spirit Charles Hapgood Channel One Communications Inc 1992 page 13-30

10 Voices of Spirit Charles Hapgood Channel One Communications Inc 1992 page 16-17 11 See https://www.satyacenter.com/crystal-wisdom-of-marcel-vogel

12 The Secret Life of Plants Tompkins and Bird 1973 Harper Collins page 29

13 Religion & the Rebel Ashgrove Press 1984 page 307-308

14 Voices of Spirit Charles Hapgood Channel One Communications Inc 1992 page 19

15 Wilhelm Reich The Function of the Orgasm Souvenir Press 1999 trans Vincent R. Carfagno page 22-24

16 The topic of spontaneous generation - the notion that life can arise from non-living matter - was in fact a hotly debated topic in Victorian England. See James E. Strick Sparks of Life Harvard University Press 2000.

17 Voices of Spirit Charles Hapgood Channel One Communications Inc 1992 page 18-19

18 Bergson's Encounter with Biology: Thinking Life by Keith Ansell Pearson pub by the University of Warwick See: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232896137_Bergson's_Encounter_with_Biology

19See https://www.sheldrake.org/research/morphic-resonance

20 Gregg Braden Human by Design Hay House 2017 page 6