Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Robert Jahn and the Freedom of the Will
The 20th century passed without realizing that one of the greatest scientist/engineers who ever lived had broken through to credible evidence of one of the most significant aspects of how our universe works, and more specifically how we humans employ our consciousness within it. This scientist was the Dean of the College of Engineering at Princeton, Robert Jahn.
The picture at the right is of Dr. Jahn and his associate director of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, Brenda Dunne. It was/is a privilege knowing both of them. Once he completed his career as a NASA expert, Bob Jahn decided to explore something of greater significance and far tougher than mere "rocket science". He wanted to see if it was possible to measure whether an "observer" could intentionally affect a situation where the outcome was as yet undetermined.
Put in laboratory terms, could a person, simply by wanting to [employing any sort of mental approach they wished], skew the expected results of a random process? Science, of course, as an "establishment", hated the concept without even waiting to see any results. Once again, someone was trying to include consciousness in a "pure" physical process--of course, people who had "absolute denial" objections to such experiments believed that nothing but "pure" physical processes exist anyway. Such things were not only anathema; they were a waste of time. Robert Jahn, thankfully, was a brilliant successful engineer. Engineers unlike many scientists tend to believe that things are possible rather than a priori impossible. Got a problem? Well, let's see what we can do/engineer to solve it. It was an astronomer, not an engineer, who said "space travel (as a concept) is utter bilge". ------------------------------
Bob Jahn and his long-time associate, Brenda Dunne, using private funds (because the hide-bound narrowness of academia could find neither courage nor open-mindedness to support the lab), began a series of creative testing regimens to see what they could see. The important results were in the area of what we might call "micropsychokinesis": the ability of the mind to intentionally affect a random process at the levels of smallest physical scale. An example makes what they found clear: a witness/intentional-observer, if you will, could, without any physical contact with an apparatus, influence the supposedly unpredictable and random decay process of a radioactive source so as to give a clear non-random reading on the device measuring that decay. This of course should not have happened. The machinery behaved quite normally when "left alone" by meddlesome consciousness, but when intention/observation was applied, the microworld was affected. Conservative, materialistic physicists went crazy.
This was an embarrassment to Princeton, to Science, and to their "sacred" hope that there was nothing sacred in the universe, like maybe the Spiritual. Bob Jahn never talked about it this way in his scientific papers describing the work. He had set up experiments to test something, checked out all the variables, analyzed the data, and reported the results. Pure objective Science. The hypocrites screamed at the top of their registers about methodology but it was a smokescreen. This was impossible; and very undesirable. One editor, violating everything that editorship, let alone Science, should be about, told Bob that he'd publish the work only if Bob could telepathically send the paper to him. I cannot resist at this moment referring to that man as a pathetic, arrogant jerk, and an enemy of real science. --------------------------------------
The Princeton results were astonishingly consistent. They were also not dramatically large. No one showed up and "bent spoons" nor blew up the Random Number Generator devices. But the results were there. Test after test after test. Sitting listening to Bob and Brenda and Roger Nelson describe their work for, literally, a decade, I came to see that they were measuring something very like the way the consciousness, the Will, may influence the microworld of atoms and particles. And that's going on in our brains all the time. When we "decide" to do something, rather than just stay in stasis, we must get the processes of our cortexes "moving".
How does that happen? The motor cortex is sitting "up there" happily and obediently waiting for something to start an electron event going "one way or another" so that it may begin a sequence which ends up with us getting up and walking , turning left or right, or scratching our nose. Something has to begin this. Something has to, at least in "thoughtful" situations, "choose" to affect this microworld in our brains and get things happening non-randomly. Our Will intentionally affects the electrons in our brain to get the body doing what we "want" it to do. I don't know if Bob, Brenda, or Roger would model it this way, but this is what their work is screaming out to me.
Unlike what the nay-saying jerks might want to believe, this breakthrough places consciousness squarely into the context of what goes on in our Universe and in our minds. It is part of the revelation of how we are observers, of how the "psychic" spiritual side of us interfaces with the law-bound physical. It is how indeterminism allows freedom of choice due to the intention of the Will. "Science" has demonstrated over and over that it, irrationally, hates Jahn's work---it would have been OK and publishable if he had gotten negative results--even could have relaxed now that their "religion" was safe. I, obviously, love it. But I don't count with the important people who guard the small-box orthodoxy.
Bob finally closed the Princeton lab after nearly thirty years of results. "If people don't believe us after all the results we've produced, then they never will". And, in matters of religion, he is correct, as usual with him.
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