Paradigms and Inner Knowing | Nov 1987

FMBR Editorial: Nov, 1987

Paradigms and Inner Knowing

Marshall Pease

The paradigms of science will limit how the world can realize the hope implied in our theme this year -- Science and Inner Knowing. For many scientists, there will have to be a radical change before they will even consider accepting psychic phenomena as possibly true.

It is curious that this is so. Physicists who deal with quantum mechanical or astronomical phenomena, or cosmological theory, confront realities daily that stretch the imagination beyond all limits. This is so in other fields also, though not so dramatically -- for example, the new field that examines how order arises out of apparent chaos. Yet there are many brilliant people in all these fields who seem to insist that our mundane world must be ordinary, with nothing in it that cannot be touched and felt by anyone. They seem appalled at the idea that the world might be more interesting than is immediately apparent. They label all those believing in psychic phenomena as either predatory quacks, or deluded people bemused by their own fantasies.

Why is this? Why is there such sharp resistance to any psychic study? Argument is to be expected, of course; there is always argument until a phenomenon becomes doctrine. ( Then there may not be enough!) But why the attempt to suppress any interest in, or attention to, evidence? The answer usually given by the advocates of suppression is that the public needs to be protected. They do not say who appointed them the guardians.


A slightly more sophisticated answer is based on the argument that rationally is needed to deal with the overwhelming problems of the world, and that any diversion into what they label as irrationality can only divert attention and effort from the true path. What this fails to recognize is that rationality can only build on the assumptions it starts with, and what is being questioned here are the assumptions it starts with, and what is being questioned here are the assumptions of the paradigm. If that foundation is wrong, their vaunted rationality can only perpetuate, and perhaps exacerbate, the world's problems.

I, too, can be a cynic. I think a more likely answer is that these people really do sense the implied challenge to their assumptions -- and find it unbearable! I suspect they cannot face the thought that their deepest assumptions might possibly be wrong! Perhaps their credulity has been so badly overtaxed by the phenomena and theories they must accept in the routine of their specialties that they cannot face any more uncertainty. I suspect they dare not contemplate anything that might threaten the stability of the world of their ordinary experience.

If they are truly that rigid, that fact may well be more dangerous to the world than the beliefs of any mystic. How, then, can we change their paradigms? How can we encourage freedom where there is only fear? I wish there were an easy answer.

Marshall Pease