The words in the title were used by Freud when he was talking to Jung about the possibility of doing work together. He was utterly opposed to even the discussion of the possibility of occult phenomena, and Jung, who was psychically very gifted, was not happy with Freud’s closed mind.
Nowadays there is a huge sub-culture in America that has experienced what are called occult phenomena. People in this group have practiced skills or activities that have brought them into contact with mental and physical phenomena unknown to those who have not done the practices.
They have practiced such skills as Hatha Yoga, Oriental martial arts, astrology, self-hypnosis, meditation, Reiki, Cranio-sacral therapy, acupuncture, meditation and other things. They are different from those people who have not done such things, and can often recognize other people who have done them by subtle clues imperceptible to those who haven’t.
Many are well-educated, rational, and literate, and they are not going to be easily silenced or dismayed by the always-present chorus of skeptics, who think they are being scientific when they are merely being ignorant. No amount of words or body language or scornful intonations from someone who hasn’t been there can affect someone who has had the experience considered impossible by another.
It seems to be human nature to oppose anything that may cause a change in one’s specialty unless immediate gain can be demonstrated.
The Parapsychological Association tried three times without success to be accepted into the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They presented a whole body of evidence to the screening committee under the illusion that truth was important to all scientists. The material was not even examined by the committee who considered it beneath their notice. This attitude has been consistent among medical men and physical scientists for several hundred years.
However, by political type maneuvers, Professor Dean of the Newark College of Engineering managed on the FOURTH attempt to get the papers read, and the application finally got right through to the voting procedure.
When the AAAS screening committee announced that their examination of the methods of the PA showed that all its procedures were in fact scientific, and therefore it could be regarded as a scientific association, there was a minor uproar.
Scientists in the audience began jumping up in outrage to make speeches about the impossibility of psychic phenomena.
Then Margaret Mead, the world famous anthropologist, who had written the introduction to Gardner’s History of Witchcraft, pointed out what the objecting scientists had forgotten, or more likely didn’t know.
She said: “The whole history of science is full of scientists investigating phenomena that the establishment did not believe were there.” Obvious examples are hypnotism, wireless, radioactivity, atoms, the circulation of the blood, square roots of negative numbers, moons of other planets, evolution of species, flying machines, trains with metal wheels running on metal tracks, the screw propeller in ships, vitamins, radioactivity etc. There are thousands and thousands of examples.
All of these were scoffed at by the then-current experts. After further speech by her, the PA was voted into the AAAS by 170 votes to 30.
We still have to contend with this pseudo-scientific attitude, held by many scientists and wannabees, apparently without their knowledge, that if something can’t happen according to known scientific laws, then it can’t happen at all. The error in this arrogant attitude is the unexamined assumption that all laws are now known.
If a course in the history of science and medicine was required in those two disciplines in order to graduate it would do a lot of good.
A very competent and informed scientist was once arguing with me about telepathy. He said it was impossible because of the inverse square law that governs the strength of radiation and gravity as they move out into space.
My response was, that as a scientist myself, I had to say that since telepathy was a demonstrable and demonstrated fact, that the inverse square law was obviously incomplete, because in science it is the OBSERVATION that is primary, not the hypothesis. Facts first, guesses later. If the laws do not explain a phenomenon, so much the worse for the laws.
You modify the law as a scientist. You do not IGNORE the fact, just because it doesn’t fit the current systems.
Further, I had to point out that the answer to some questions is an experience, not a sentence. He could not prove to me using the scientific method, that he loved his wife, and did the inverse square law modify his affection depending on how far apart they were.
The realization that they have been deceived by their elders in government, religion, and education, has led many young people to look for some certainty in various fields of the occult. In this connection it is really unfortunate that many otherwise well-qualified people talk nonsense about occult matters with the authoritative manner stemming from an expertise in something else.
The result is that they are not listened to when they talk about things they really know. I believe strongly that the “authorities” bear much of the responsibility for the drug problem because of this confusion. Not counting the deliberate use of drugs as currency by the CIA during the War in Vietnam.
The first publicity about marijuana, for example, was a tissue of deliberate lies with the aim of discrediting a business competitor.
The Hearst newspapers colluded with Du Pont Chemicals to make hemp a bad word so that Du Pont could make billions from their patents on paper-making, using wood as a raw material. Hemp is far superior in every way and has over twenty thousand substances that can be made from it, including cloth, fuel, and plastics. It is a completely renewable resource that we now need desperately. It could easily replace tobacco as a cash crop, and needs no insecticides.
But Du Pont and Hearst and Hollywood swayed the public and the government in the direction of banning anything to do with the word hemp. The taint still exists.
Commercial hemp and marijuana are not even the same thing but the money involved kept the lies in full production. Now we have cut down millions of acres of trees to make paper with the resulting terrible impact on the environment. Not one of them needed to be felled for this purpose. But that’s another story; another article maybe.
Those that knew the truth about marijuana were lying, those that parroted the "facts" were in error. Either way the users of marijuana knew that what they were told was pretty much nonsense. So they didn’t believe the same people when they told the truth about the hard drugs.
Everything the authorities frowned upon was tried during the 60’s by those who didn’t think that the frowning authorities were people worth emulating. Among the good things that came from this experimentation is the current explosion in awareness thatwhat we see is not all there is. There are now close to 2000 different religious and spiritual groups in this country ranging from A Candle through Sabians to Zen Buddhism.
Many people have gone through the plastic superficialities of California Zen into the real thing, and have encountered the right brain centers that gave Japan most of its great art forms in brush, pen, haiku, sword, flower arrangement, martial arts, cooking and tea.
Many others have tried some of the many ways of meditation and have found that a 5000 year old procedure really did have empirical backing, and that ‘old’ and ‘obsolete’ aren’t the same thing in spiritual practices, only on Madison Avenue.
This flexible ability to try something different is quite opposite from that shown by the establishment, which labelled acupuncture as ‘an experimental methodology’ even though it has been studied for many centuries, demonstrably works, and has cured more people over those centuries than every orthodox method since America began.
There was no Western science explanation for how it worked. Therefore it didn’t work, according to the sceptics. They are wrong, as everyone who has actually studied acupuncture knows.
But the big money is behind drugs, not preventive health practices, and the law always obeys the big money.
The official refusal to even look at anything in which some conservative establishment member is not an expert, is one of the reasons for the gross dissatisfaction of so many with the timid, and erroneous views of that same establishment.
The major surprise experienced by those who try these ‘new’ things is how deep they go. Some have begun with a superficial study of Tarot, only to discover that the 22 trumps alone are a life’s work for a serious student. Many dip into astrology as a superficial thing to do with fortune telling and end up encountering galactic minds like those of Dane Rudhyar, a man unknown to the critics who think that magazine horoscopes are the limit of astrological knowledge.
Well-advertised metaphysical orders like A.M.O.R.C collect hundreds of students and do most of them a lot of good. Less well-known orders such as B.O.T.A. enlist students for a lifetime of work and progress in the Hermetic Arts. Societies such as O.T.O deal expertly with what can only be called magickal practices, and it was scientists who belonged to the O.T.O group of scientists, Freemasons, and magicians that gave America the rocket fuel technology that sent the 33rd Degree Masons among the astronauts to the Moon. The government intelligence officer (snoop) investigating them learned a lot and Ron L. Hubbard became the inventor/founder of Dianetics and Scientology.
Do-it-yourself metaphysical books abound by the thousands in bookstores now. There was only one metaphysical bookstore in London when I was young. It is still there, Watkins of Cecil Court, near Trafalgar Square. Every magician and occultist in Europe could be seen there at one time or another.
Now you can get books everywhere on becoming a witch, a wizard, an astral projector, a water diviner, a runist, and much else. And every book in some sense causes an extension of the consciousness of the reader—even if the book is a hastily compiled pot-boiler to fill a nitch that another publisher had opened, a very common occurrence.
The Web of course has every kind of knowledge on it occult or otherwise. All the societies mentioned two paragraphs back have extensive and informative web sites. Just Google the initials.
Since an article like this could go on for hundreds of pages and still just scrape the surface I had better stop by saying that discontent is the great human attribute that brings about progress, and that the discontent with ignorant and oppressive authority that brought about the occult explosion, is, in the last analysis, a very good thing for humanity.
And to balance the beginning statement made by Freud—towards the end of his life he said that if he had to do it over he would study the occult and paranormal.