Part 4

Changing Science, Changing Mind

By Sarah Leslie, Herescope

Part 1: Rick Warren’s New Age Health Gurus | Part 2: Reiki "Power"

Part 3: The “WOO” Factor  | Part 5: Rick Warren and the Aquarian Conspiracy

Index to articles by Discernment Group



“A new world, as the mystics have always said, is a new mind.” –Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy[1]

"…The core of the current challenge to the scientific worldview can be taken to be ‘consciousness,’ which has come to be a code word for a wide range of human experience, including conscious awareness or subjectivity, intentionality, selective attention, intuition, creativity, relationship of mind to healing, spiritual sensibility, and a range of anomalous experience and phenomena." –Willis Harman

From the start, healthcare was part of the New Age vision. This may surprise people who think that today's healthcare reform is just a secular political agenda. It was actually intended to be the chief conduit for global mind change. To New Age “Aquarians,” the transmission of healthcare was viewed as a channel in an occult sense, a pathway to communicate a New Age worldview. To pull off this massive shift would necessitate a transformation from a scientific to a mystical paradigm. Medicine needed to become holistic with an active spiritual component: the New Age/New Spirituality.

Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy, outlined a specific plan for a “body-mind-spirit”
[3] paradigm shift to a new mysticism. She touted this as a new way of “seeing”—i.e., thinking, or mind. By tampering with the brain, New Age leaders actively sought to create pathways to the spirit world. Ferguson outlined a bold plan whereby people could become vulnerable to psychic experiences by subjecting their minds to alterations in both body and spirit:

“Deep inner shifts may occur in response to disciplined contemplation, grave illness, wilderness treks, peak emotions, creative effort, spiritual exercises, controlled breathing, techniques for ‘inhibiting thought,’ psychedelics, movement, isolation, music, hypnosis, meditation, reverie, and in the wake of intense intellectual struggle.”[4]

Ferguson extolled ancient so-called “technologies for inducing such experiences” which would be “shared among a few initiates” who had “esoteric doctrines.” She wrote that many of these occult techniques, formerly part of “brotherhoods” and “religious orders,” were not “available to whole populations.” But now they could become more accessible via pop culture’s interest in “new sources of personal energy, integration, harmony.”[5] Ferguson said the key to societal transformation would be the brain, and she actually published a Brain/Mind Bulletin newsletter for a time. She wrote:

“These systems aim to fine-tune the mind and body, to expand the brain’s sensing, to bring the participants to a new awareness of a vast untapped potential. When they work, it’s like adding sonar, radar, and powerful lenses to the mind.”[6]

This brain/mind was tied to an evolutionary worldview. Ferguson and her esoteric cohorts were hoping that by accessing the occult world the human mind would evolve. They believed that there would be a “rapid transformation of the human species” thorough “all of the systems for widening and deepening consciousness” of the mind. It was claimed that “laboratory investigation” was revealing that these psychic methods would “integrate the brain’s activity, making it less random, provoking it into higher organization. Brains undergo a quite literal accelerated transformation.”[7]

Ferguson called these psychic experiences “transformative technologies” which would “offer us passage to creativity, healing, choices.”
[8] These “subtle sciences of the mind” would give mankind psychicinsight” and “shifts in awareness” and spiritual “awakening.” Furthermore, once “minds are transformed,” people would become more open to “innovate,” which means discarding old notions (such as traditional Christian beliefs) in exchange for esoteric new worldviews.[9] This would become the essential component of the Aquarian Conspiracy’s paradigm shift. A global mind change.[10] And it would be evolutionary and revolutionary. The Aquarians (i.e., Luciferians) viewed the mind in a Teilhardian sense,[11] i.e., a way to activate a collective change in global consciousness. Therefore, when New Agers talk about MIND and BRAIN they mean a mind open to psychic spirituality, i.e., the occult!

Ferguson wrote that the “Aquarian Conspiracy creates opportunities wherever possible for people to experience shifts of consciousness. Hearts as well as minds must change.”
[12] She explained that the “key to success of the movement would be its embodiment in the lives of its most committed members, who would work in small groups toward personal transformation…. They would probably engage in meditation and other reflective states of consciousness….”[13] This would all be done, she said, as part of “new spiritualitynetworks which “became the long-prophesied conspiracy.”[14] (This parallels today's emphasis on meditation and "contemplation" in many evangelical churches)

Changing the Mind of Man

Ferguson cited Willis Harman’s work on “The Changing Images of Man, a landmark study prepared for the Charles Kettering Foundation by the Stanford Research Institute in 1974” as the “remarkable document” that “laid the groundwork for a paradigm shift in understanding how individual and social transformation might be accomplished.”[15] Social transformation would involve changing the entire concept of “science.” This would be a radical shift from science to mysticism. In a report by Dr. Martin Erdmann titled “The Spiritualization of Science, Technology, and Education in a One-World Society” he explained that Willis Harman was an “electrical engineering professor at Stanford University” who had

“involved himself in researching the cognitive and societal effects of LSD consumption - conducted seminars at Esalen on 'Human Potentialities.' Under his directorial supervision at the Stanford Research Institute, a scientific study entitled Changing Images of Man was carried out from 1972-74, with the purpose of changing the 'conceptual premises underlying Western society' – including a radical modification of the rational worldview of western scientists. As the president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences from 1977 to 1996, Harman openly advocated a mystical outlook on life, claiming that a spiritual approach to scientific research and technological development would greatly enhance our understanding of the monistic unity of the universe.”[16]

This significant report called for the “obsolete pursuit of industrial progress... [which] needed to be abandoned in favor of a renewed dedication to religious mysticism” especially as a way to anticipate the “future of humankind’s spiritual evolution.”[17] According to Dr. Erdmann, the “central ideas of Harman’s urgent plea to adopt a holistic outlook on life can be gleaned from his essay “Bringing About the Transition to Sustainable Peace.” This essay by Harman stated:

“This emerging trans-modern worldview, involves a shift in the locus of authority from external to ‘inner knowing.’ It has basically turned away from the older scientific view that ultimate reality is ‘fundamental particles,’ and trusts perceptions of the wholeness and spiritual aspect of organisms, ecosystems, Gaia and Cosmos. This implies a spiritual reality, and ultimate trust in the authority of the whole. It amounts to a reconciliation of scientific inquiry with the ‘perennial wisdom’ at the core of the world’s spiritual traditions. It continues to involve a confidence in scientific inquiry, but an inquiry whose metaphysical base has shifted from the reductionist, objectivist, positivist base of 19th and 20th-century science to a more holistic and transcendental metaphysical foundation."[18]

According to Constance Cumbey, the Michigan attorney who first warned evangelicals about the dangers of the New Age, Willis Harman’s “influence in the New Age Movement is virtually unlimited.” She wrote that his work in the “Changing Images of Man study… was heavily relied upon by New Age activist Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy.[19] This fact explains the why the two of them were advocating the same shift from science to mysticism. Harman wasn’t just a New Ager, however. He was also one of the leaders working on building a New World Order. Cumbey explained how

“Harman also substantially influenced the notorious and disturbing Global 2000 Report to President Carter. Harman is also a part of Planetary Citizens/Planetary Initiative as well as one of its convening organizations: the limited membership United States Association for the Club of Rome.”[20]

Harman spent his life working on modernizing the occult. He wanted to take it out of its ancient origins and primitive traditions and make it acceptable and normative in pop culture. His Institute for Noetic Sciences was formed in 1977, and one of its purposes was to market the paranormal psychic as if it were hard science, and to mainstream the occult into the culture. His used the word “noetic,” which is derived from the Greek word “gnosis,” to describe his new science. Note that from this word we get the term “Gnostic,” (or Gnosticism) which means an inner mystic knowledge. Thus, the very word “noetic” epitomizes the oxymoron of “mystical science.”

Wooing the Evangelicals

Several years before The Aquarian Conspiracy was published, launching the New Age movement officially into American mainstream, this same occultist, Willis Harman, was invited to present his new ideas about science to evangelical leaders at a second Consultation on the Future sponsored by the Billy Graham Association. His topic was titled “A Utopian Perspective on the Future” and he advocated that science be broadened to include the psychic.” Remarkably, his talk met with little or no opposition.[21] He stated that

“Once-taboo areas of science – notably sleep and dreams, creativity, hypnosis, unconscious processes, psychosomatic theories of illness – have become legitimatized. Psychic phenomena such as 'remote viewing,' precognition, and psychokinesis are being explored with renewed interest. Altered states of consciousness related to those traditionally known by such terms as meditation, contemplation and ‘graces of interior prayer,’ are being tentatively explored via biofeedback training and other routes.”[22]

Note that Harman’s examples of the mystical new science all had to do with the mind, the body and the spirit of man, i.e., man’s health.” Harman challenged evangelical leaders to reconsider" the "outmoded 'warfare between science and religion'...."[23] He explained how his concept of noetic science would permit a profound new syncretism between world religions:

“This new ‘noetic’ science would eliminate the apparent contradiction between the experiential understanding of Hindu, Moslem, and Christian. For the first time in history we see emerging a growing, progressively funded body of empirically established experience about man’s inner life – particularly about the perennial wisdom of the great religious traditions and Gnostic groups. For the first time there is hope that this knowledge can become, not a secret repeatedly lost in dogmatization and institutionalization, or degenerating into manifold varieties of cultism and occultism, but the living heritage of all mankind.”[24]

In his address to these prominent evangelicals, Willis Harman promoted a new “paradigm-shaking” psychic science of “unconscious knowing… ‘involuntary’ bodily processes… biofeedback… psychic phenomena… unsuspected powers… ‘remote viewing’ and precognition… Minds are joined… psychokinetic phenomena… ‘losing one’s mind’….”[25] Harman urged the leaders to adopt his paradigm of syncretism, which was based on a collective consciousness of shared “inner experience” and “inner wisdom” that would bind “all societies” together. He claimed,

“The deepest value commitments and the ultimate goals of all societies that ever existed have come from the profound inner experiences of some group of people – religious leaders, prophets, mystics, poet-philosophers, or in some visionary cultures the majority of the adult population. Some form of systematic knowledge of the world of inner experience, publicly validated and widely disseminated, would seem to be among the knowledge most needed to guide society in its crucial choices.”[26]

Noetic Research Methods

In an interview before he died, Willis Harman explained the unorthodox scientific research methods of his new mystical paradigm:

"the spiritual traditions have had a tradition of validating data in various ways, just as the sciences have. But because it's a different kind of data, describing a different kind of experience, the validation procedures had to be different. You can't very well do a controlled experiment with spiritual experience. It doesn't work that way."[27]

Harman explained that in his model there should be “at least three tests” that could be used to validate spiritual data:

  1. a “check with tradition” or “dogma,”
  2. experience; asking “how would the world be” if everyone adopted this new spiritual data, and
  3. “does it still feel noetically true?”[28]
These pseudo-scientific suggestions might seem ridiculous if it weren’t for the fact that millions of people are applying these same subjective principles daily on their journey into New Spirituality. Harman's noetic science model for scientific inquiry now forms the foundation of the entire body-mind-spirit paradigm of New Age holistic healthcare.

The Noetic Mind

It is at this very juncture -- at the crossroads of a neo-gnostic [noetic] emerging science paradigm -- that key evangelical leaders have positioned themselves as cheerleaders for the new science paradigm. Emergent leaders such as Leonard Sweet[28] and Brian McLaren[29] have been at the forefront for well over a decade. Brian McLaren even described his “deep shift” into this new paradigm as a “revolution” that starts “in our minds, our hearts--as an act of faith, a transfer of trust from the dominant system to a new way of seeing, believing, and living."

The neo-gnostics who hold to the new paradigm, however, have disparaging things to say about the minds of those people who won’t “shift” into the new way of thinking. Brian McLaren called old-time believers “defensive, deranged, out of touch, manic” and "tense, judgmental, imbalanced, reactionary, negative, and hypocritical."[31] Marilyn Ferguson claimed that those who did shift, who underwent this "awakening" process, had a more "sane, healthy center, the wherewithall to deal with stress and to innovate."
[32] She explained how

"The Aquarian Conspiracy is using its widespread outposts of influence to focus on the dangerous myths and mystiques of the old paradigm, to attack obsolete ideas and practices.... We can conspire against the old, deadly assumptions… our crippling belief systems [probably refers to faith in the unchanging truths of the Bible]. The Aquarian Conspiracy creates opportunities wherever possible for people to experience shifts in consciousness. Hearts as well as minds must change. Communication must be not only wide but deep..... Penetrating to the roots of fears and doubts, we can change radically.... A new world, as the mystics have always said, is a new mind."[33]


In the context of this article, and article series, it is important to note that Rick Warren’s new Daniel Plan is ensuring that this same noetic sciences paradigm will be marketed to the masses, but in slightly different garb – this time around it is coming via a healthcare mode. It may account for why none of the doctors advising him on the Daniel Plan are adhering to established standards of credible and scholarly scientific research methods. (See previous Herescope post.)

His three guru-doctors place an inordinate emphasis on the brain, i.e., the mind. But there are dangers to doing this. It is the human mind that is most susceptible to the occult. This is why Willis Harman spent his lifetime researching it. And this is why the neo-gnostics and Emergents are emphasizing it. And this is why the old science paradigm of research and rational inquiry is shifting over to the subjectivity of mystical "noetic" body-mind-spirit science.

The Truth:

Scripture warns us to avoid the so-called "sciences" of the body-mind-spirit. There is nothing new under the sun. Nearly two thousand years ago Paul wrote to Timothy,

"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith." (1 Tim. 6:20-21a)

And the Apostle Peter wrote,

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;" (1 Peter 1:13)

1. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (JP Tarcher, 1980, p. 36.
2. Quote by Willis Harman cited by Dr. Martin Erdmann, “The Spiritualization of Science, Technology, and Education in a One-World Society,” originally published in the European Journal of Nanomedicine, Jan. 2009, http://www.clinam.org/images/stories/pdf/volume2.1.pdf. Also published in Forcing Change, Vol. 5, Issue 1, January 2011, now published on the Discernment Ministries website at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Articles/The%20Spiritualization%20of%20Science,%20Technology%20and%20Education.pdf, page 14, citing footnote 54 at http://www.newciv.org/ISSS_Primer/seminrzh.html
3. p. 248.
4. p. 31.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid., p. 32.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. See the article “Global Mind Change” by Berit Kjos posted at: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/global-mind-1.htm
11. A reference to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who the Father of the New Age Movement’s evolutionary philosophy, that man is evolving to a higher order species and will perfect himself on earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teilhard See: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/009/discernment/7-emerging-5.htm for additional context.
12. The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 36.
13. Ibid., p. 57.
14. Ibid., p. 63.
15. Ibid., p. 61.
16. Dr. Martin Erdmann, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Articles/The%20Spiritualization%20of%20Science,%20Technology%20and%20Education.pdf, Abstract.
17. Ibid., p. 12
18. Ibid., p. 13-14, citing footnote 54 at http://www.newciv.org/ISSS_Primer/seminrzh.html
19. Constance Cumbey, A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age ‘Messiah’, Pointe Publishers, 1985, p. 39.
20. Ibid.
21. See this Herescope post: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/why-was-theosophist-teaching.html. At this post one can read a partial listing of the evangelical leaders who were present at this Consultation.
22. Harman and other speakers’ presentations were published in An Evangelical Agenda: 1984 and beyond, copyright 1979 by the Billy Graham Center and published by the William Carey Library (Fuller Theological Seminary), p. 35. The book contains “Addresses, Responses, and Scenarios from the ‘Continuing Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns’ held in Overland Park, Kansas, December 11-14, 1979.” The event was sponsored by the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. This material is excerpted from an earlier Herescope post: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/willis-harman-consults-with.html.
23. Ibid, p. 37. See this Herescope post for details: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/willis-harman-proposed-gnostic-science.html
24. Ibid. Also published here: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/9-20-harman-evangelicals-gnostic.htm
25. See this Herescope post: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/willis-harman-introduces-psychic.html Quotes from An Evangelical Agenda: 1884 and beyond, pp. 35-36.
26. Ibid., (p. 33) See: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/willis-harman-speaks-to-evangelicals.html
27. "Science and Religion," Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove interview with Willis Harman [Abridged], http://twm.co.nz/harm_scirel.htm. Cited on the Herescope post: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/leonard-sweet-willis-harman-spiritual.html
28. “Leonard Sweet & Willis Harman: ‘Spiritual Sciences,’” Herescope post, 9/29/05, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/09/leonard-sweet-willis-harman-spiritual.html
29. “Emergent MIND Change,” Herescope post, 4/25/08, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/04/emergent-mind-change.html
30. Brian McLaren, everything must change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, p. 271. Cited at http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/04/emergent-mind-change.html
31. Ibid., pp. 33-34.
32. The Aquarian Conspiracy, pp. 31-32.
33. Ibid., p. 34-36.

Ed. Note: All emphases in quoted material has been added.

This article is part of an ongoing series which is being written by Sarah Leslie and Berit Kjos about Rick Warren's new Daniel Plan for healthcare reform. Click to view Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Part 1- Rick Warren’s New Age Health Gurus

Part 2 - Reiki "Power" | Part 3 - The “WOO” Factor

3-Legged "Health" Care: The Agenda of Rick Warren's "Daniel Plan"