AND SOCIAL POLICY
Part II: CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOCIAL POLICY
With STEPHAN A. SCHWARTZ
JEFFREY MISHLOVE, Ph.D.: Hello and welcome. I'm Jeffrey Mishlove. This is Part 2 of our two-part series on the interconnectivity of consciousness. We will be looking at social policy. My guest is Stephan Schwartz. Stephan is a founder and past president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness. He is also a founder and past vice-president of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine. He is the author of several books, including The Alexandria Project and The Secret Vaults of Time, and he is the founder of the Mobius Society in Los Angeles. Welcome again, Stephen.
STEPHAN A. SCHWARTZ: It's a pleasure.
MISHLOVE: It's a pleasure to be with you. We've been talking about how throughout the world, throughout the ethno-historic record, in indigenous cultures world-wide, in ancient cultures world-wide, and even in Western society as recently as the 1960s, '50s, '30s, '40s, there was a greater sense of interconnectivity. People felt more and more a part of each other, and we've lost that, and this has enormous ramifications for the life in which we live and for social policy. It seems to me that what we've been talking about, if we were to look at it from the reverse, is what sociologists going back as far as Karl Marx have called alienation.
SCHWARTZ: I think that's right. I believe that the price that we have paid with the rise of technology is this sense of disconnectedness. Now, oddly enough, I think technology ultimately is going to bring us together again, in a way. The rise of what's being called the information superhighway, and the movement toward virtual reality, I think is going to allow a whole new level of interaction, but of a very different kind that we are not preparing for.
MISHLOVE: Sort of a symbiosis between humans and machines.
SCHWARTZ: Yes, that's right, that's right. Indeed I would say that the next great drug addiction is going to be the virtual reality addiction -- people who will retreat into virtual reality to such extremes that it will render them dysfunctional in their normal life.
MISHLOVE: I suppose in a sense people who are listening to this program on the radio, or watching us on television, are entering into a sort of virtual reality. But maybe we'd better define that term.
SCHWARTZ: Well, by virtual reality I mean a kind of simulacrum, something that is a kind of electronic reality but is not the physical time-space reality that we know on a day-to-day basis. And we are now at a place where people are able to literally adopt, to move into this virtual reality that's interactive. For instance, you and I and three other friends could be in different cities of the United States. We could put on our interactive hoods and gloves and everything so that we were getting sensory input -- and it's going to get more and more sophisticated until all the senses will be reporting there -- and we could elect to, say, go to an imaginary planet, and just like Star Trek, we would appear on this imaginary planet; we would each be creatures that we chose in advance, and we'd interact with one another, just like I'm interacting with you, or as viewers sitting at home or listening are interacting with their family members.
MISHLOVE: And it would be more than just little glyphs on a television screen.
SCHWARTZ: Oh, absolutely.
MISHLOVE: We could actually have the sensation of being there.
SCHWARTZ: Within ten years it's going to be indistinguishable from -- it'll be different than, but largely indistinguishable from, what we think of as reality now -- the quality of the images, the sensory input. We need to be begin to plan as a society -- I mean, as we were saying in the last segment of our show, what's going on is we have not fully understood the gift that the past has to give us, and that is this recognition that we are a part of a living network, and because we don't see ourselves in that context, because we see ourselves as sort of trapped in our flesh, if you will -- sort of "I stop at the limits of my head." In fact the experimental laboratory evidence says that's not true. I'll just give you one example. This is a study that was published in a Southern Medical Association journal. It was done by a physician who took the patients being admitted to a cardiovascular ICU ward, and he arbitrarily, using a computer, using a randomization procedure, broke them into two populations, the treated population and the control population. Now, they didn't know any of this was going on; they just simply were checked into the hospital. They had serious cardiovascular difficulties, and were put into the Intensive Care Unit. But unbeknownst to them, these people were being prayed for. Half of them got prayer; half of them didn't. And what they found was that those people who received prayer had fewer complications, lower anxiety levels, less discomfort, they stayed in the hospital less time. Now, that has huge implications.
MISHLOVE: What are those implications?
SCHWARTZ: Well, to begin with, think for a minute how the world looks to you when you realize that your consciousness, your intent, has an effect on the others around you. That's what this is about. I mean, it's framed in prayer in this instance, but there are other studies -- for instance there was a fascinating study that was done where they anesthetized mice, and they had a healer send healing to some of the mice and other mice were controls, and they found out that the mice who got sent healing -- now, there's no touching involved here. In fact they were some distance apart.
MISHLOVE: And when you say send healing, do you mean prayer again, or something else?
SCHWARTZ: I mean prayer, whatever that means. You see, it doesn't mean the same thing to different people. If you talk to a Buddhist, prayer means one thing. If you talk to a fundamentalist Christian, it means another. If you talk to a Muslim, it means something a little different. But prayer is a --
MISHLOVE: They haven't done the study yet comparing which religions can invoke more healing by praying.
SCHWARTZ: Well, no, we have; we have, actually. I did it myself. But let me finish this mouse thing. What they found was that the mice that got the healing woke up faster -- they were anesthetized -- than the control mice.
MISHLOVE: In fact I myself have replicated that same study using fruit flies instead of mice, working with a Brazilian healer, and got significant results as well.
SCHWARTZ: That's right. What that's telling us is there's some kind of connection.
MISHLOVE: With a healing intentionality.
SCHWARTZ: Yes. I would call it therapeutic intent. We don't know what the mechanism is. We simply know that if you have the intent to be of therapeutic benefit, just your intent alone to another person -- or cell colonies, or plants, or animals -- that there is some kind of connectedness that can be measured. We don't know what the mechanism is, but we can measure its effects. Now, there are also experiments, and I will just describe one that I did myself, that show that there are physical changes that take place. I did a series of healing experiments where we had fourteen healers who were randomly assigned to fourteen patients who had very real illnesses, from AIDS and cancer to crippling arthritis, and they were asked to do healing -- whatever that meant to them. We had two groups; within the fourteen healers there were two groups. There was one population of seven healers who had never done healing, and another population who did it regularly, and thought of themselves as healers.
MISHLOVE: Now, the healers who had never done healing were just volunteers who said, "Well, I've never done it, but I'll give it a try."
SCHWARTZ: That's right. They were just people to whom we said, "Would you like to try this?" Now, we told them they could do anything they wanted, but they couldn't touch the people; they couldn't give them anything -- that they could move their hands over their bodies, whatever that worked. The healers used everything from Christian healing to channeling Xerxon and the Council of Nine space people. It didn't matter. I didn't care. While they were doing the healing, we had on the palms of their hands, tied with a little cloth, sealed bottles of extremely pure water, and we measured those bottles of water that were on the palms of their hands using a very conservative technique called infrafred spectrophotometry -- any chemist would be familiar with this -- and we measured the treated bottles, that is, the bottles that were on the palms on the hands, in comparison with control bottles, bottles that were exactly the same kind of water but that had not been exposed to the healing, the therapeutic intent. And we found that there was a very specific, predictable change in the structure of the water -- you know, H2O, oxygen and hydrogen. There was a relationship between the oxygen and hydrogen that was altered as a result of the healing.
MISHLOVE: Something to do with the molecular bonding.
SCHWARTZ: That's right. And I got interested in water because again, if you look at human history, you see that there is a long association of water with healing ceremonies. Every religion in the world that I have been able to find has some sense, whether they think of it as God is doing it, or some other kind of deity is doing it --
MISHLOVE: Like at Lourdes, where it's the vision of the Virgin Mary somehow has come and has affected the water.
SCHWARTZ: Right. Well, the idea that there's a capacity for healing that's a part of the human functioning.
MISHLOVE: And related to water.
SCHWARTZ: And it is often related to water. That's why I chose the water. I thought there must be something about water that this constant association keeps coming up. So we designed this experiment for people to do the healing. Now, what we found was that the people who had never done healing also produced significant changes. The changes were not as significant as the people who were the practiced healers, which suggests to us that -- this therapeutic intent idea -- that we have a certain capacity for it that is innate, and it can be brought out and made more effective by any kind of discipline. It didn't seem to make any difference. I know this is very controversial, but it didn't seem to matter whether they doing Christian healing, or Buddhist healing, or any kind of healing. It was the intent to bring healing. Now, about 30,000 doctors and nurses have now been trained in this, and there is a potential here that I think we have not even recognized. For instance, in the midst of our health crisis, where money has become a major issue in health care in the United States, imagine what would happen if every doctor and nurse treated the patients under their care from the perspective that their consciousness alone, just their consciousness, would have an effect on the physical well being of their patients and the outcome of their illness. I mean, to begin with, people would be a great deal nicer.
MISHLOVE: It goes against the whole trend of alienation that we have been talking about.
SCHWARTZ: That's right, because -- well, just to finish that thought, and then to go on -- the result would be, imagine what would happen if you could save one prescription with each patient, just that you wouldn't write one prescription; that they would be in the hospital one less day. We're talking about savings of billions of dollars. This way of looking at things -- you're correct -- is very different than the current model, because the current model basically sees illness as a war in which the physician is the warrior and he or she is going to do battle. People are not seen as whole living beings; they're seen as organs -- I'm doing livers today; or I've got a bad kidney. We tend to -- in the struggle, the physician is at war or she's at war.
MISHLOVE: The kidney in Room 233.
SCHWARTZ: That's right. And in fact if you talk with medical personnel you hear them refer to patients by the disease, not as people, whereas in the traditional, non-technological medical systems they see a very different picture. First of all, they see the total person; they see the illness as an imbalance in the total system, not just as a breakdown in a single organ. The practitioner sees him- or herself not as a warrior, but as an assistant, as an ally who is assisting the person who is ill to return to balance. It's a very different perspective. I'm not saying -- and I don't want to be misunderstood; I'm not deriding modern medicine. I'm simply saying that along with the technology we have paid a tremendous price as a result of the alienation that we have accepted as a given, that does not recognize that every healing transaction is a transaction between whole people.
MISHLOVE: So there's a paradox to our current society. On the one hand we're becoming more symbiotic with the silicon world.
MISHLOVE: On the other hand, our science, our materialist science, is pointing us in a direction of suggesting that we have to now look again at consciousness itself as being an influence in the physical universe, as having some primary capacity.
SCHWARTZ: That's right. And I think we're at a crossroads. We are now at a place in our society where we are making social choices -- whether we're going to principally align ourselves with machines, the virtual- reality addiction I'm describing, or whether we are going to make technology serve a new kind of communal activity and awareness. We have a choice. The machines aren't going to make this choice.
MISHLOVE: When you say communal, it strikes me as a funny word. It almost sounds like communist, or something dangerous.
SCHWARTZ: No. Well, I think communism -- I think everybody's agreed it's pretty dead. I have a lot of activities in Russia, business and research activities, and I don't think anybody, particularly the Russians, thinks much of communism.
MISHLOVE: But what do you mean by communal?
SCHWARTZ: I mean by communal that we are in a shared space, that we are in a network of life, that we are interconnected, and that when we harm some part of the network the whole network pays a price. This is of course very current in the ecological area, where we recognize now that cutting down the rain forest has an effect on the global weather system, where we recognize an interconnectedness between ecosystems. But we need to take it, I think, up to another level yet.
MISHLOVE: What you're saying is that these fundamentally spiritual principles of interconnectedness have a bottom-line effect on the way in which the global economy and national economies will function.
SCHWARTZ: Right; and -- let's be even more explicit than that -- and that by recognizing this interconnectedness we become more efficient, safer, calmer, better educated, more functional, happier, healthier. Every one of the plus things that we want, that we say we want, we find by recognizing this interconnectedness. Every time you alienate yourself from another being, when you write people off, you do so at the cost of trauma to yourself. It's more costly. Look at what we are spending on prisons now. We spend more on prisons in the United States than we do on education. It's preposterous. I mean, the values have been stood on their head.
MISHLOVE: Stephan, I didn't mention by way of introducing you that you've done a lot of work with the Navy. Some decades ago you were involved, I believe, working with Admiral Zumwalt in redesigning the American Navy, and you had an opportunity then, if I'm correct, to apply some of these very same principles to a very difficult situation.
SCHWARTZ: Yes, actually -- that's correct. I was the Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations under Elmo Zumwalt and James Holloway, and was involved, was one of a small team of people, and had the privilege of being involved in redesigning the military in preparation for an all-volunteer armed forces in the year 2000. Actually I'm glad you brought that up, because I would contrast that experience with the experience, for instance, of the Great Society programs, just to make the point we've been talking about. In the Great Society programs of the Johnson administration, the intention was to do good. I don't question the intention. I was involved; I had a small role in some of those things as well. Everyone meant to do well. But the programs were designed from the top down. They were designed from abstracts. When we started the changes in the military we started from a different direction. We started from the bottom up. The very first thing we did was to create what were then called rap sessions -- a quaint and old-fashioned word now, but basically just discussion groups where we would get people in the military together and we asked them, "What works for you about this career? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it? What would it take to keep you in the career? How would you balance what you need and want with the needs that the military has for discipline and good order?" And we had very intensive discussions that went on for months, and out of those discussions the programs developed -- as opposed to designing the programs in the abstract with a bunch of just sort of academic visions and then trying to enforce them. Now, it's twenty-five years later, and I think we can now take a look at both of those efforts. The Great Society effort I think all but the most determined social liberal would now acknowledge has failed.
MISHLOVE: I think Project Head Start is the only one still going.
SCHWARTZ: That's right. I think Project Head Start, and partly because it dealt with working with the people that actually participated in it.
MISHLOVE: We might just mention that's the project involving working with young children before the age of four years old.
SCHWARTZ: That's right -- giving them a head start. But for instance, the decision to develop social support programs, I think one could make a very good case that they have been largely responsible for the destruction of the African-American family, the incredible rise in illegitimacy. When you make it more difficult for a man to be in the family than not, it's not surprising that you develop a whole generation of women -- now we're into our second generation -- who have never known any other kind of life but the broken family. Conversely, if you look twenty-five years later at the military situation, I think you see that the military of Desert Storm -- I don't want to get into the politics of it, just the structure of the military -- is an extraordinary organization, as an organization; that in many ways -- not in all ways; there are still things that the military is struggling with -- but in many ways the military is the most egalitarian meritocracy in American society today. I think the fact that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs recently was a black man, the role of women, the whole opening up for both women and minorities of opportunity within the military, which is still going on, bespeaks what happens when you say, "We're all in this together. This is a team effort. We've got to deal with things based on what people are actually experiencing, not what we theoretically would like them to experience." The military process that was begun under Zumwalt, and which really owes much of its genesis to Melvin Laird, who was the Secretary of Defense, and who goes largely unacknowledged for this, I think has had a tremendous effect on American society, where the Great Society programs, which were well meant but ill designed, have done tremendous damage.
MISHLOVE: Now, we were a moment ago talking about therapeutic intent, and we were talking about this sense of the power of consciousness and the unity of consciousness. Can you ascribe any of that to the work that went on in the military?
SCHWARTZ: Oh, absolutely. I mean, again, once you recognize, once you start looking at the world from the idea that it was not only what you were doing, but your beingness that makes a difference -- in fact there's a very famous interview with Gandhi right before he was killed, in which they said, "How did you do this? I mean, you were never a government offical; you're not a man of great means. What was it that you did that brought India to independence? Certainly the British never anticipated it." And he said, "It's hard. People don't understand it. It's not what we did, although that was important. It's not what we said, although that was important. It was our beingness" -- this intent. Because we do not recognize the interconnectedness, we don't see anything other than the physical dimension of this. As a result we do not understand that it is the nature of our beingness, and the possibility for change that it represents. I'll tell one story. I gave a talk years ago, and I talked about something that I believe could transform our society, and that was I said to everyone, and I say it to your viewing audience now, "Spend thirty minutes a day doing something for others than yourself." Thirty minutes a day. I said this in a talk, and a year later I went back, as it happened, and I was at the same conference, and a woman came up to me, a very elderly lady, a lady in her eighties, and she said, "I took very much to heart what you told me, and I thought, 'But what can I do? I'm an old lady. I don't have any money. I have no influence. I live all alone on my Social Security.'"
MISHLOVE: We have just two minutes.
SCHWARTZ: This will close it out then. She said, "I started walking around the park, and I realized, well, what could I do? I could pick up the paper in the park, and so I started picking up the paper, and after awhile another woman came along and said, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'I'm picking up the paper.' And she said, 'Well, I'll help you.'" And then some other women came along, and they had young children, and pretty soon the women started talking to one another. Then one of them had a husband who was a policeman, and he said, "Well, if you're going to be out there I'll have some black-and-whites drive by a little more." Then a city alderman heard about it, and came down and said, "Well, we'll put trash barrels there." And she said, "In a year we have been able to reclaim and transform our park." And then she leaned down and picked up a piece of paper on the floor, and she said, "And I can touch my feet for the first time in fifty years." That's what one woman did, all by herself, with no money, just giving thirty minutes a day."
MISHLOVE: And that's the quality of beingness that you're referring to.
SCHWARTZ: That's right.
MISHLOVE: It's a willingness to stand for something, a willingness to be selfless, a willingness to feel yourself as part of the human family.
SCHWARTZ: That's right. If we do that, we can have the kind of world we want. If we don't do that, I believe that the future will be very bleak indeed.
MISHLOVE: Stephan Schwartz, what a pleasure and an enlightening experience and a joy to spend this time with you. Thanks so much for being with me.
SCHARTZ: Thanks for letting me share it.
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