Volume 5, Issue 1

The Spiritualization of Science, Technology,
and Education in a One-World Society

By Dr. Martin Erdmann ~ Source article

Forcing Change, Carl Teichrib, Editor



Index to previous articles




Editor’s Note: The following report, penned by my friend Dr. Martin Erdmann, weaves together the early LSD/psychedelic movement with the rising tide of Western transformation. Although it’s an historical piece, this article deals with a topic that impacts nearly every family in the Western world - for we are the drugged society.

Dr. Martin Erdmann studied theology in Columbia, SC (Master of Divinity), Basel, Switzerland and Aberdeen, Scotland (Master of Theology). In 1999, he was awarded a doctrinal degree in modern Church History at Brunel University, Uxbridge, England.

Dr. Erdmann has taught in various capacities, and for four years he headed up the New Testament department of the Staatsunabhaengige Theologische Hochschule, Basel, Switzerland. As a senior scientist he worked on a clinical nanomedicine project at the University Hospital, Basel. Dr. Martin Erdmann’s article was first published in the European Journal of Nanomedicine, 2009, volume 2.

Western Christianity has always provided a rational and moral basis for the development of science and technology, including clinical Nanomedicine. Yet this sensible basis has been strongly disputed for about half a century. This paper will outline some of the pivotal reasons why influential intellectuals in England and America, mostly in the later part of the 20th century, concluded that irrationality would be a better foundation for the scientific enterprise.

Aldous Huxley envisioned a future world society totally controlled by an elite group of scientists. His best-known fictional work explicating this dire prospect bore the title Brave New World. Years later he would “revisit” his prognostications only to conclude that he had underestimated the rate of change realizing his darkest fears. Turning to mysticism, both in its meditative and drug-induced varieties, he prepared the way for the burgeoning Human Potential Movement which was initially formed at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA in the early 1960s.

Moreover, the electrical engineering professor at Stanford University, Willis W. Harman - 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. [Editor’s Note: Monism is defined in Nevill Drury’s Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult as, “the mystical and religious belief that all is One, that a supreme and infinite Being encompasses all creation. In Hinduism, this belief is called Advaita.”]


In bygone centuries, science, technology, and education in Western society have benefited greatly from the foundation of rational thinking which the Christian faith affords. It seems logical, therefore, that the development of a highly sophisticated and complex field such as clinical Nanomedicine will be best facilitated by a continued affirmation of the Christian view of a rational and moral universe. However, a strong thrust to discard this foundation is observable since the early 1960s.

Inspired in part by Aldous Huxley’s publications and his advocacy of psychedelic drugs, intellectuals such as Willis W. Harman emphasized irrational meditative/mind emptying exercises, or the use of hallucinogens as a more congenial basis for scientific and technological progress. Calling for a new metaphysic of science/technology, the proponents of the Human Potential Movement perceive the religious heritage of the West - based on Christian premises - as the greatest impediment of an evolving “cosmic conscience.” In gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the spiritual and material processes of the universe, a mystically inclined elite of technically enhanced human mutants would be able to usher in a homogeneous world socialist society, perhaps not altogether different from the one envisioned in Brave New World.

Brave New World

The famous novelist Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) expressed his growing dissatisfaction with Western civilization in the dystopian satire Brave New World (1932).[1] Despite its frightful tone and horrific outlook, it was destine to become his most acclaimed literary work. Masterfully depicting the inhumanity prevalent in a technocratic society - which had outlawed art and religion while intimately controlling the private affairs of its citizens - the author’s disdain for the spiritual emptiness of modernity broke frequently to the surface in his narrative. The novel depicted the dark side of futuristic totalitarianism.

To distract the people’s attention from the grim reality of being serfs, the governing regime entertained them in the movie theatre by “feelies.”[2] Men were allowed to enjoy the questionable pleasures of “pneumatic girls.”[3] In order to produce an artificial sense of both tranquility and ecstasy, an ample supply of the potent psychedelic “soma” was handed out regularly to the suppressed population.[4] It was an “[e]uphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant… all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.”[5]

While perverted sexual behaviour was encouraged, normal human reproduction was considered immoral and embryos were produced by artificial fertilization in factories; a lifesupport mechanism referred to as a “bottle” took the place of a mother’s womb.[6]

In Brave New World Revisited [7], Huxley expanded on his earlier prognostications of a dictatorial future society in which the ruling elite would employ highly effective brainwashing techniques – “orthodoxies drummed in by nightly courses of sleep teaching” [8] – to subdue their subjects’ rebellious inclinations.

To submit willingly to the imposed confines of a completely organized society, the hapless victims of a “scientific caste system” would undergo “methodical conditioning.”[9] These mind-bending procedures would be supplemented by “regular doses of chemically induced happiness.” The need to use unmitigated violence would then be a disagreeable aspect of past tyrannies:

“Under the relentless thrust of accelerating over-population and increasing over-organization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; and quaint old forms – elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest – will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism.

"All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial – but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.”[10] [Editor’s Note: “Pickwickian sense” has the connotation of a whitewashed insult].

In 1961 the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center sponsored a conference to discuss the societal effects of technology. Never wont to pass up an opportunity to point to his anticipated vision of a “scientific dictatorship of the future,”[11] Aldous Huxley, one of the featured conference speakers, said the following:

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak. Producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel – by propaganda, or brainwashing, or brain-washing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” [12]

Chemical Ecstasy

In his book, The Doors of Perception [13], Huxley published the detailed elucidations of his mystical experiences after the British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond [14] had introduced him to the hallucinatory drug mescaline (derived from the cactus peyote) a year earlier [15]:

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.” [16]

Huxley explicitly referred to H. G. Wells’ phrase “Doors in a Wall” which had originally described the taking of drugs in death cult rituals. Both authors knew that the use of hallucinatory substances had always been an essential part of the initiatory rites of ancient mystery cults.

The priesthood of the Isis Cult was especially keen on using drugs to induce in its initiates euphoric and transcendental experiences. Nearly a decade earlier, in 1946, Huxley’s annotated anthology of mystical writings had appeared under the title The Perennial Philosophy, indicating his intimate knowledge of the mystical tradition of ancient, medieval, and eastern spirituality. [17]

Captain Alfred M. Hubbard (see “The Captain” sidebar) and Gerald Heard were present when Huxley took another dose of mescaline in 1955. At the time he was writing the sequel to The Doors of Perception, which he named later Heaven and Hell.[18]

In a letter to Dr. Osmond he wrote,

“Your nice Captain tried a new experiment – group mescalinization… Since I was in a group, the experience had a human content, which earlier, solitary experience, with its Other Worldly quality and its intensification of aesthetic experience, did not possess… It was a transcendental experience within this world and with human references.” [19]

Shortly thereafter Hubbard convinced Huxley to try LSD. In Acid Dreams Lee and Shain state,

“Huxley and Hubbard shared a unique appreciation of the revelatory aspect of hallucinogenic drugs. It was Hubbard who originally suggested that an LSD-induced mystical experience might harbour unexplored therapeutic potential.” [20]

Huxley harboured a deep-seated aversion to Christianity. In a conversation with Timothy Leary, a former lecturer in psychology at Harvard University and front man of the Hippie counter-culture, Huxley seemed confident that his advocacy of psychedelics would overcome any resistance to his ideas of largescale social engineering:

“These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.” [21]

Fully agreeing with the opinion of his mentor, Leary, in his autobiographical account of the Harvard University Psychedelic Drug Project Flashbacks, added the following remarks:

“We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, goodnatured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.” [22]

Human Potential

In 1960 Huxley was diagnosed with cancer; his delicate constitution, ravaged already by his drug-habit, began to deteriorate visibly in the years following. Undeterred, the British littérateur accepted in the same year he fell sick an invitation by the university of California, San Francisco Medical Center to deliver a lecture on “Human Potentialities.”

Although “we are pretty much the same as we were twenty thousand years ago,” said Huxley, we have “in the course of these twenty thousand years actualized an immense number of things which at that time for many, many centuries thereafter were wholly potential and latent in man.”

Following these remarks, he put forth the theory that humans possess within themselves still other unrealized abilities that need to be discovered and actualized by utilizing appropriate techniques and chemicals.

“The neurologists have shown us that no human being has ever made use of as much as ten percent of all the neurons in his brain. And perhaps, if we set about it in the right way, we might be able to produce extraordinary things out of this strange piece of work that a man is.” [23]

Soon thereafter Aldous began to write his final work, the utopian novel Island, and lecture regularly on “Human Potentialities” at the Esalen Institute.

Esalen Institute

Attending the “Human Potentialities” lecture at the San Francisco Medical Center, Richard Price was fascinated by Huxley’s appeal to explore the hidden powers of the human psyche. In a letter to Huxley, Price’s friend Michael Murphy wanted to know how to tap into the hidden powers of the mind. In response Huxley highlighted the complementarity of science and mysticism, and pointed to the writings of ancient mystics and eastern swamis as the source of his own inspiration.

In 1962, Price and Murphy established a retreat centre, the Esalen Institute [24], at Big Sur, California and asked Willis W. Harman, known for his LSD research, to lead the first conference on human potentiality called “The Expanding Vision.”[25] In the late 1950s Harman had volunteered to be one of Captain Alfred M. Hubbard’s early test cases in psychedelic drug research.[26] Hubbard, a high-level OSS officer in the Second World War and an undercover agent for several agencies including the FDA and FBI in the 1950s, was put in charge of studying the therapeutic potential of LSD. Of particular interest to him were the drug’s mind-altering potencies, supposedly producing a harmonious state of being. The societal implications of an extensive use of LSD in reducing civil strife were considered advantageous if scientifically proven.

To be able to conduct his research more efficiently, Hubbard asked Myron J. Stolaroff and Paul Kurtz to set up the International Foundation for Advanced Studies (IFAS) in Menlo Park, CA as an institutional base.[27] Also involved with the IFAS were Charles and Ethel Savage, Robert Mogar, and James Fadiman. Stolaroff served as its president from 1960 to 1970 while being the executive administrator for a research group conducting clinical studies on the cognitive effects of psychedelics.[28] The research findings of the experiences of about 350 volunteers, who had taken LSD and Mescaline under strict supervision, were published in six scientific papers.[29]

Quickly moving from the experimental stage to an administrative post, Harman accepted the vice presidency of the IFAS and guided the organization through mounting public criticism in the early 1960s. The exorbitant fee of $500 for a single session of high-dose psychedelic therapy had stirred up bad publicity at a time when the FDA began thinking about outlawing the usage of LSD.[30]

In late 1962, the foundation released its first academic paper “The Psychedelic Experience: A New Concept in Psychotherapy.” Its abstract read in part as follows:

“The authors, by the simultaneous administration of massive doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline, tried to produce a unique experience for the patient which is to be so profound and impressive that it changes the patient’s own evaluation of his past life experiences and consequently may lead him to establish new values and a more realistic frame of reference than had been established before. The experience, in a broad sense, is not unlike a religious conversion.” [31]

More on Esalen: Located on California’s coastline, Esalen is a retreat center and information clearinghouse that offers workshops on community experiences and consciousness/human potential expansion. Over the years it has been a platform for such notables as B.F. Skinner, Abraham Maslow, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Paul Tillich, Carl Roger, Joseph Cambell, and David Korten.

Esalen has been described as a place where the West merges with the East. It’s a hub were cultural leaders engage in mind-changing encounters, and then inject these experiences and new worldviews into society. Since its inception, Esalen has hosted conferences and workshops on shamanism, esoteric philosophy, evolutionary metaphysics, “paranormal intelligence” and psychic phenomena, quantum physics and global consciousness, transformative psychology, yoga, ecology and spirituality, and education for social change. Psychedelia played a major part in the Esalen experience, especially during its first decade of operations.

International affairs and global issues have also been high on the Esalen agenda. During the 1980s it hosted workshops on “citizen diplomacy,” organized by Jim Garrison; and Joseph Montville’s phrase, “track two diplomacy,” was coined at Esalen. Throughout that decade it tirelessly worked to bridge Soviet and American leaders, hosting Congress-to-Supreme Soviet teleconferences, and setting up meetings between Boris Yeltsin and US President George H.W. Bush. In 1987 Jim Garrison convened an Esalen conference titled “Sino-American Dialogues on Social and Economic Transformation.”

Esalen is one of America’s premier, New Age/political connecting points.

Hubbard’s connections to the political establishment in Washington, D.C., aided by his secret service credentials, strengthened Harman’s resolve to continue the research program at IFAS until its final demise in 1965. Keenly interested in continuing his sociological studies of the psychedelic subculture and its relationship to the political upheavals of the New Left, Harman accepted the directorial position at the Stanford Research Institute’s Educational Policy Research Center.

Stanford Research Institute

The Stanford Research Institute [32] (SRI; later renamed SRI International [33]) was incorporated by the trustees of Stanford University in 1946 as a non-profit research institute similar to the more established Mellon and Battelle Institutes. Originally a centre of innovation to support economic development in northern California, it became one of the world’s largest contract research organizations. Some of Stanford’s major clients included at first different branches of the US military – such as the Department of Defense Directorate of Research and Engineering and the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Aerospace Research.

SRI quickly assumed a vital role in the development of new military technology being used by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (until 1972 and from 1993-1996 it was known as ARPA: Advanced Research Projects Agency). [Editor’s note: Today this agency is best known by its acronym, DARPA].

Its computer network, a precursor of the Internet, linked thousands of processing consoles, including those of the CIA, U.S. Army Intelligence, The Office of Naval Intelligence, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Rand, MIT, Harvard and UCLA, with one another. The Institute’s database functioned as the ”library“ of the entire system, cataloguing all DARPA documentation.

Outside of the defense sector, the Institute offered a diverse palette of research projects such as the SRI Business Intelligence Program to a growing number of prestigious clients. Among corporations contracting its advanced research services were Bank of America, Bechtel Corporation, Blyth, Eastman Dillon, Hewlett Packard, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, TRW Company, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Bereft of the invaluable services of Captain Alfred M. Hubbard, who had semi-retired and moved to British Columbia, Willis W. Harman succeeded in reactivating his former mentor in October 1968. Outlining the reasons for his invitation to Hubbard, Mr. Harman wrote:

“Our investigations of some of the current social movements affecting education indicate that the drug usage prevalent among student members of the New Left is not entirely undesigned. Some of it appears to be present as a deliberate weapon aimed at political change. We are concerned with assessing the significance of this as it impacts on matters of long-range educational policy. In this connection it would be advantageous to have you considered in the capacity of a special investigative agent who might have access to relevant data which is not ordinarily available.”[34]

Hubbard agreed to work as a well paid “security officer” at SRI.

“‘Although,’ Harman admits, ‘Al never did anything resembling security work.’ Hubbard was specifically assigned to the Alternative Futures Project, which performed future-oriented strategic planning for corporations and government agencies. Harman and Hubbard shared a goal ‘to provide the [LSD] experience to political and intellectual leaders around the world.’ Harman acknowledges that ‘Al’s job was to run the special [LSD] sessions for us.’ According to Dr. Abram Hoffer, ‘Al had a grandiose idea that if he could give the psychedelic experience to the major executives of the fortune 500 companies, he would change the whole of society’.” [35]

Six years later Harman explained why he had appreciated Hubbard’s expertise as a “special investigative agent” so highly:

“His services to us consisted in gathering various sorts of data regarding student unrest, drug abuse, drug use at schools and universities, causes and nature of radical activities, and similar matters, some of a classified nature.” [36]

In meting out high compliments to Hubbard, Harman was well aware of the invaluable service the Captain had rendered to the research team at SRI – which was commissioned in 1972 to write an academic study identifying, “insofar as possible, what changes in the conceptual premises underlying Western society would lead to a desirable future.” [37]

Changing Images of Man

The Charles f. Kettering Foundation [38] provided the funding for the May 1974 report Changing Images of Man. SRI’s Urban and Social Systems Division prepared the 319-page mimeographed report [39] under the general guidance of executive director Harvey L. Dixon and Willis W. Harman, by then director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Twelve years later Pergamon Press published the academic study in its Systems Science and World order Library series. [40]

The original report was prepared by a team of thirteen researchers [41] and supervised by a panel of six advisors, including anthropologist Margaret Mead, Yale University physician Henry Margenau, and British Intelligence operative Geoffrey Vickers.[42] Although the final editorial responsibility lay with the SRI staff, the report was thoroughly reviewed by eighteen additional academicians such as Ervin Laszlo, Carl R. Rogers, and B.F. Skinner, before it was released.[43]

Spiritual Dimension

In pointing to Elise Boulding’s essay in “Appendix A” [44] (“An Alternative View of History, The Spiritual Dimension of the Human Person, and a Third Alternative Image of Humanness”[45]), the report prognosticated a seismic change in the thinking of Western intellectuals. The obsolete pursuit of industrial progress, said the authors, needed to be abandoned in favour of a renewed dedication to religious mysticism. They concluded that despite its abundant material benefits, the incessant quest for industrial and technological development in modern society was harmful to the anticipated future of humankind’s spiritual evolution:

“Many of our present images appear to have become dangerously obsolete, however… Science, technology, and economics have made possible really significant strides toward achieving such basic human goals as physical safety and security, material comfort and better health. But… many of these successes have brought with them problems of being too successful – problems that themselves seem insoluble within the set of societal value-premises that led to their emergence.

"Improved health, for example, has caused population increases which exacerbate problems of social organization, food distribution, and resource depletion. Our highly developed system of technology leads to higher vulnerability and breakdowns. Indeed the range and interconnected impact of societal problems that are now emerging pose a serious threat to our civilization… If such projections of the future prove correct, we can expect the problems associated with multifold trend will become more serious, more universal, and to occur more rapidly than will growth of the trend itself.” [46]

Therefore, said the SRI report, a fundamental and radical alteration of the industrial-technological, self-understanding of humans would be needed to create a more harmonious world society:

“Some characteristics of an adequate image of humankind for the postindustrial future were derived: (1) by noting the direction in which premises underlying the industrial present would have to change in order to bring about a more ‘workable’ society; (2) from examination of the ways in which images of humankind have shaped societies in the past; (3) from observation of some significant new directions in scientific research.” [47]

Willis W. Harman

Willis W. Harman (1919-1997) was the leading social scientist and futurist at SRI in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and previously a professor of electrical engineering and system analysis at Stanford University. He led the Institute of Noetic Sciences [48] from 1977 until late 1996. Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell and oil billionaire Paul N. Temple [49] had established the Institute of Noetic Sciences [50] in 1973 to promote the vision of ”expanding knowledge of the nature and potentials of the mind, and applying that knowledge to the advancement of health and well-being for humankind and the planet.” [51]

As the author of several books – including Creative Work: The Constructive Role of Business in a Transforming Society (with John Hormann), An Incomplete Guide to the Future, and Global Mind Change and co-editor of The New Business of Business:

Sharing Responsibility for a Positive Global Future (with Maya Porter) – Harman’s influence as a prime change agent of his time in science, technology, education [52] and business [53] was felt around the globe.

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 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.

"...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.

"...The epistemology we seek will recognize the partial nature of all scientific concepts of causality... In some ultimate sense, there really is no causality – only a Whole evolving.” [54]

“Spaceship Earth”

In 1972, the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) [55], an intergovernmental organization connected with the United Nations, published Alternative Educational Futures in the United States and in Europe.[56] The Ford Foundation and the Royal Dutch Shell group of companies financed the study. In this book, Willis W. Harman stated that educators had a responsibility to preside over global transformation.

“...a shift from a parochial to a ‘one world’ view of ‘Spaceship Earth’ ...Emergent change, not homeostasis, is the order of the day... It is apparent that ‘new’ values are currently challenging the traditional ones.” [57]

Harman was remarkably successful in bringing about this dramatic “shift.” In his capacity as consultant to the White House National Goals Research Staff, he

“...formed and led a team to assist the U.S. office of Education in efforts to apply the newly emerging discipline of futures research to guiding the nation’s policies in education and educational research.” [58]

Harman was been a prominent participant at Mikhail Gorbachev’s State of the World Forums. In a PBS interview in April 2001 the former chairman of the Soviet politburo revealed that his vision of “perestroika” was inspired by the “spaceship earth” concept. [59]

In 1992, the Esalen Institute sponsored a lecture tour of Mikhail Gorbachev in the United States. On 6 May 1992, Gorbachev delivered a speech in Fulton, Missouri where Winston Churchill had identified the ideological and political barrier separating the capitalist from the communist nations as the “Iron Curtain.” Speaking to more than 20,000 people gathered on the campus of Westminster College and thousands more who listened to the speech live in 132 countries, former Soviet President closed the curtain on the Cold War with his speech, “The River of Time and the Imperative of Action.” [60]

At this historical site, Gorbachev noted that,

“...[a]n awareness of the need for some kind of global government is gaining ground, one in which all members of the world community would take part.”[61]

After pointing out the grave problem of “exaggerated nationalism” which had “already led to much bloodshed,” he presented the solution of a “global inter-national security system.” [62] Yet the worst of dangers faced by every human being would be the accelerated destruction of the environment; Gorbachev referred specifically to the following ecological crises:

“Global climatic shifts, the greenhouse effect, the ozone hole, acid rain, contamination of the atmosphere, soil and water by industrial and household waste, the destruction of forests.” [63]

Gorbachev concluded his speech with an appeal to imbue the United Nations with indisputable authority:

“However, I believe that the new world order will not be fully realized unless the United Nations and its Security Council create structures, taking into consideration existing United Nations and regional structures, which are authorized to impose sanctions and make use of other measures of compulsion, especially when the rights of minority groups are being particularly violated.” [64]

At the September 1995 State of the World Forum in San Francisco, which was organized by the Gorbachev Foundation, the former Soviet leader called for a “global brain trust” consisting of great thinkers “who are widely respected as well as global citizens.” They should be put in charge of monitoring “social change” and “focus on the present and the future of our civilization.” [65] These proposals were identical with those of the Esalen Institute, which suggested for some time the creation of a Council of Wise Persons. To accomplish this immensely important work, the future world rulers would need to tap into the cosmic reservoir of a higher intelligence.

“Cosmic Consciousness”

Turning to the subject of psychedelic drugs, the SRI study Changing Images of Man referred to Masters and Houston’s work Varieties of Psychedelic Experience (1966). [66] In producing changed levels of consciousness certain effects of hallucinogens on the brain are perceived “as transcendent experiences of a religious or cosmic nature” [67]:

“In the last 15 years there has been increased interest in chemical substances that change the quality and characteristics of normal everyday consciousness, particularly through such drugs as lysergic acid, mescaline, psilocybin, and others. These drugs, referred to as psychedelics, hallucinogens, or psychoactive chemicals, expand or contract the field of consciousness; they seem capable of enhancing perceptions and sensations, giving access to memories and past experiences, facilitating mental activity, and producing changes in the level of consciousness, including what are reported as transcendent experiences of a religious or cosmic nature.” [68]

In Alternative Educational Futures, Harman stated further that what Aldous Huxley had called “The Perennial Philosophy” is present in the Rosicrucian and Freemasonry traditions and meant that “man can under certain conditions attain to a higher awareness, a ‘cosmic consciousness,’ in which state he has immediate knowledge of a reality underlying the phenomenal world.”

Harman further highlighted Lawrence Frank’s remark that ”a social order which tolerates such wide-ranging pluralism of norms must seek unity through diversity.” To achieve this goal:

“Nothing less than a new guiding philosophy will do. Ferkiss [1969] outlines three basic and essential elements for such a new philosophy... a ‘new naturalism’...‘the new holism’... and ‘the new immanentism’… Educational experiences must be contemplated which are akin to psychotherapy… that result in a felt realization of the inevitability of one inseparable world, and a felt shift in the most basic values and premises on which one builds one life. In a sense, this means bringing something like ‘person-changing technology’ into the educational system (e.g., meditation, hypnosis, sensitivity training, psychodrama, yoga, etc.).” [69]

The “modus operandi” of how Harman envisioned this “new guiding philosophy” to mould the thinking of the world’s population was outlined by him in a World Goodwill (Lucis Trust) occasional Paper, For a New Society, a New Economics – published in the April, May, and June 1987 issues of Development Forum, by the United Nations Division for Economic and Social Information and the United Nations University. In this essay, Harman referred to Abraham Maslow’s “self-actualization” theories and postulated that

“...a re-spiritualization of society is taking place, but one more experiential and non-institutionalized, less fundamentalist and sacerdotal, than most of the historically familiar forms of religion. With this change comes a long-term shift in value emphasis.”

In conclusion, he averred that,

“…there may indeed be a conflict between dogmatic esoteric religion and positivistic science. However, there is not an inevitable conflict between the esoteric ‘perennial wisdom’ of the world’s spiritual traditions and a science based on certain metaphysical assumptions.” [70]


Since the publication of the academic study Changing Images of Man in 1974 the spiritualization of science, technology, and education has unquestionably made great strides. Its proposed change from a traditional value system, based on analytical and rational thinking, to a holistic view that imagines all aspects of intellectual pursuit to be in harmony with the mystical underpinnings of monism, has led to the emergence of a global community having a heightened sense of cosmic spirituality that supposedly permeates all existence.

We believe, however, that a scientist or technician who is dedicated to the advancement of the theoretical and practical knowledge of humankind, especially in the area of clinical Nanomedicine, should avoid adopting an irrational methodology in this research.

Otherwise, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian vision of a “scientific dictatorship of the future” may come true after all. FC

Source article: http://www.clinam.org/images/stories/pdf/volume2.1.pdf


1. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (London: Chatto and Windus, 1932). 2. Ibid., p.37, passim; see also online edition: [www.huxley.net/bnw/index.html]

3. Ibid., p.47.

4. Ibid., p.55, passim. See also Aldous Huxley, “The ultimate Revolution”, Berkeley Language Center - Speech Archive SA 0269, March 20, 1962; [ www.archive.org/details/AldousHuxle-TheUltimateRevolution]: “But then there are the various other methods one can think of which, thank heaven, as yet have not be used, but which obviously could be used. There is for example, the pharmacological method, this is one of the things I talked about in BNW. I invented a hypothetical drug called SOMA, which of course could not exist as it stood there because it was simultaneously a stimulant, a narcotic, and a hallucinogen, which seems unlikely in one substance. But the point is, if you applied several different substances you could get almost all these results even now, and the really interesting things about the new chemical substances, the new mind-changing drugs is this, if you looking back into history its clear that man has always had a hankering after mind changing chemicals, he has always desired to take holidays from himself, but the, and, this is the most extraordinary effect of all that every natural occurring narcotic stimulant, sedative, or hallucinogen, was discovered before the dawn of history, I don’t think there is one single one of these naturally occurring ones which modern science has discovered.”

5. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, p.55.

6. Ibid., p.4, passim.

7. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (Harper & Row, 1958; online edition; www.huxley.net/bnw-revisited/index.html).

8. Ibid., I. Over-Population.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid., XII. What Can Be Done? See also Aldous Huxley, “The Ultimate Revolution”: “Traditionally it has been possible to suppress individual freedom through the application of physical coercion through the appeal of ideologies through the manipulation of man’s physical and social environment and more recently through the techniques, the cruder techniques of psychological conditioning. The Ultimate Revolution, about which Mr. Huxley will speak today, concerns itself with the development of new behavioral controls, which operate directly on the psycho-physiological organisms of man. That is the capacity to replace external constraint by internal compulsions… [Huxley] Well now in regard to this problem of the ultimate revolution, this has been very well summed up by the moderator.”

11. See Aldous Huxley, “The Ultimate Revolution”: “Whereas my own book which was written in 1932 when there was only a mild dictatorship in the form of Mussolini in existence, was not overshadowed by the idea of terrorism, and I was therefore free in a way in which Orwell was not free, to think about these other methods of control, these non-violent methods and my, I’m inclined to think that the scientific dictatorships of the future, and I think there are going to be scientific dictatorships in many parts of the world, will be probably a good deal nearer to the Brave New World pattern than to the 1984 pattern, they will a good deal nearer not because of any humanitarian qualms of the scientific dictators but simply because the BNW pattern is probably a good deal more efficient than the other.”

12. Cit. in Robert Ellis Smith, Deborah Caulfield, David Crook and Michael Gershman, The Big Brother Book of Lists (Los Angeles: Price, Stern, Sloan, 1984).

13. Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception (London: Chatto & Windus, 1954).

14. Osmond first offered the term “psychedelic” at a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1957. He said the word meant “mind manifesting” (from “mind”, ψυχή, and “manifest,” δήλος) and called it “clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations.”

15. See Douglas Martin, “Humphry Osmond, 86, Who Sought Medicinal Value in Psychedelic Drugs, Dies,” New York Times, New York, Friday, 22 August 2008; and also Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams. The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, and Beyond (Grove Press, 1985), p.44. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9803E0DA1E3Df931A15751C0A9629C8B63

16. Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, p.24.

17. Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (London: Chatto & Windus, 1946) Dustcover flap: “The Perennial Philosophy is an attempt to present this Highest Common factor of all theologies by assembling passages from the writings of those saints and prophets who have approached a direct spiritual knowledge of the Divine and who have recorded not only the method of that approach but also the clarity and tranquillity of sol they derived form it. Mr. Huxley quotes from the Chinese Taoist philosophers, from followers of Buddha and Mohammed, from the Brahmin scriptures and from Christian mystics ranging from St. John of the Cross to William Law…”

18. Aldous Huxley, Heaven and Hell (London: Chatto & Windus, 1956).

19. See Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, pp.43-46, 52.

20. Ibid, p.46.

21. Timothy f. Leary, Flashback: An Autobiography. A Personal and Cultural History of an Era (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, [1983] 1997), p.44.

22. Ibid.

23. Cit. in Jeffrey J. Kripal, Esalen. America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007) p.85.

24. Esalen Institute; http://www.esalen.org

25. See Walter Truett Anderson, The Upstart Spring (London: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1983) p.68.

26. Willis W. Harman dedicated his book Global Mind Change (1998) to Hubbard among others: “I wish to dedicate this book to four persons who have profoundly affected the latter part of my life: Alfred M. Hubbard…”

27. See Walter Truett Anderson, The Upstart Spring, passim. The IFAS is also referred to as the International Federation of Advanced Study; see e.g., Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, p.156.

28. Stolaroff stated the following in The Secret Chief (Ben Lomond CA: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 1997), p.60: “You see, again, a spiritual trip is what’s involved here. This I have to say - it’s the only way I know how to talk about it - what I do and even how I do it is not up to me. I’m guided. I can’t define that, I can’t explain it. If God didn’t want me to do it, He would have stopped me a long time ago. I have a lot of faith that that’s true. At the same time I keep a close eye on my integrity and my security... We’re all in it together.“ [  www.maps.org/secretchief/scchpt2.html].

29. (1) Sherwood, JN. Stolaroff, MJ. Harman, WW. (1962). “The Psychedelic Experience - A New Concept in Psychotherapy”. J Neuropsychiatry. 4:69-80. (2) Savage, C. Stolaroff, M. Harman, W. fadiman, J. (1963). “The Psychedelic Experience”. J Cardiovasc Nurs. 15:4-5. (3) Savage, C. Stolaroff, MJ. (1965). “Clarifying the Confusion Regarding LSD-25”. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. (4) Harman, WW. McKim, RH. Mogar, RE. Fadiman, J. Stolaroff, MJ. (1966). “Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving: A Pilot Study.” Psychol Rep. 1:211-27. (5) Stolaroff, MJ. Wells, CW. (1993). “Preliminary Results with New Psychoactive Agents 2C-T-2 AND 2C-T-7”. Yearbook for Ethnomedicine. (6) Stolaroff, MJ. (1999). “Are Psychedelics Useful in the Practice of Buddhism”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 39:1. pp.60-80.

30. See Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987; Grove/Atlantic, 1998), pp.177-179.

31. Sherwood, JN. Stolaroff, MJ. Harman, WW. (1962). “The Psychedelic Experience - A New Concept in Psychotherapy”. J Neuropsychiatry. 4:69-80.

32. http://www.sri.com/

33. SRI International; Restated Articles of Incorporation. Dated 11 January 1972: www.icann.org/en/tlds/geo1/ModCE/C1_1_SRI_ART_INC.htm

34. Willis W. Harman, Director, Educational Policy Research Center, SRI, to Dr. A. M. Hubbard, October 2, 1968, as cited in Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, p.156.

35. See Todd Brendan Fahey, “The original Captain Trips”: “His services were eventually recruited by Willis Harman, then-Director of the Educational Policy Research Center within the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) of Stanford University. Harman employed Hubbard as a security guard for SRI. [http://www.fargonebooks.com/high.html].

36. Willis Harman, Director, Center for the Study of Social Policy, SRI, “To Whom It May Concern,” January 14, 1974, as cited in Lee & Shlain, op.cit., p.156.

37. O. W. Markley & Willis W. Harman, eds., Changing Images of Man. Prepared by The Center for the Study of Social Policy/SRI International (Pergamon Press, 1982), p.xvii.

38. The Charles F. Kettering Foundation; http://www.kettering.org/about/history.aspx. “The Charles F. Kettering Foundation was founded in 1927 to sponsor and carry out scientific research for the benefit of humanity. Inspired by the openmindedness and creative philosophy of its founder, the American inventor Charles F. Kettering, the foundation’s work has expanded to include research on education, international affairs, and democracy.”

39. Contract Number URH 489-215O, Policy Research Report No. 414.74

40. O. W. Markley & Willis W. Harman, eds., Changing Images of Man. The General Editor of the Systems Science and World order Library was Ervin Laszlo, who also published, besides two of his own books, E. Jantsch, The Self-organizing Universe: Scientific an Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution and P. Laviolette, ed., Systems Anthropology. Selected Papers by Ludwig von Bertalanffy.

41. The core research staff for the study consisted of Duane Elgin, Willis Harman, Arthur Hastings, O. W. Markley, Dorothy McKinney, and Brendan O’Regan. Major contributions were made by Joseph Campbell and Floyd Mason, and less extensive ones by Magoroh Maruyama, Donald Michael, Leslie Schneider, Barbara Pillsbury, and John Platt. Markley & Harman, eds., Changing Images of Man, vii.

42. Other members of the Advisory Panel to the project consisted of Rene Dubos and Charles F. Kettering Foundation employees Kent Collins and Winston Franklin.

43. Ibid., p.xv.

44. Ibid., p.151 fn: Note: See also Elise Boulding’s compelling statement of ‘The Spiritual Dimension of the Human Person’ in Appendix A.” Prof. Boulding taught at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado.

45. Ibid., p.219ff.

46. Ibid., pp.4, 5-6, 9.

47. Ibid., p.202.

48. “Noetic” comes from the Greek word for intuitive knowing. In its article “The Higher Self Gets Down to Business“ Christianity Today reported the following on Harman’s understanding of Noetic science: “Intuition was... for Harman... the very means of connecting to the one Universal Mind. Nor was visualization merely a means of clarifying goals, but of altering material reality. Both intuition and visualization were central in the evolution of consciousness that Harman envisioned.“ http://www.christianitytoday.com/workplace/articles/ct-2003-002-1.34.html

49. Paul N. Temple has been a member of the institute board of directors since 1973 and served as its chairman from 1983 to 1999. He is a businessman, investor and a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He and Diane Temple are founders of the Temple Awards for Creative Altruism, administered by the institute.

50. See http://www.ions.org

51. Cit. in W. W. Harman, Global Mind Change: The Promise of the 21st Century (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers), p.ix. See also www.bkconnection.com/BB/ProdDetails.asp?ID=1576750299 - “Global Mind Change, first published in 1988 and revised and expanded by the author just before his death in 1997, connects every major field of human endeavor in its exploration of the possibilities for social transformation through internal change. Harman, whose career spanned both the technical (electrical engineering) and psychological sciences, examines the role of consciousness in five areas: - Mature science, which validates subjective, religious, and spiritual insights along with objective data as a way of describing reality; - Spirituality and consciousness research, which shows the compatibility between the world’s religions and the insights of thousands of years of exploration of consciousness; - Health and healing, where the mind’s role is increasingly recognized as a crucial influence on human wellness; - Psychology and psychotherapy, where research into unexplained phenomena and exceptional mental and physical abilities proves the only human limits are those we believe in - Economics and management, where managers are utilizing brain-mind research to release employees’ creativity, and corporations are addressing global issues of poverty, security, and the environment.“

52. Harman was a founder of Futures Research Group at Stanford University and a board member of Planetary Citizens, two goals of which are to redesign education for global awareness and to give the U.N. the authority to act on behalf of the common will of humanity.

53. In 1988 Harman co-founded the World Business Academy.

54. http://www.newciv.org/ISSS_Primer/seminrzh.html

55. CERI was established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1968.

56. Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), Alternative Educational Futures in the United States and in Europe: Methods, Issues and Policy Relevance (Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1972). This report was prepared by the CERI as Volume 8, background report No. 12, of Proceedings from the Conference on Policies for Educational Growth, organized by the OECD in Paris, France, June 3-5, 1970. Abstract: This book contains four papers by noted educational planning experts that, together, cover practically all the implications of undertaking ‘futurological’ studies in education. Louis Emmery, in his Alternative Educational futures and Educational Policy-Planning, summarizes the three papers that comprise the remainder of the document and stresses the importance of viewing alternative educational futures in the context of policy planning or „second generation“ educational planning. Torsten Husen then describes three major purposes for exploring alternative educational futures. In the third paper, Warren Ziegler develops a taxonomy consisting of five models, which purports to synthesize the current practice of American educational planning as it views the future. Finally, Willis Harman focuses on alternative future states of American society that represent, in some sense, alternative dominant belief and value systems.

57. Ibid., p.167.

58. Ibid., p.171.

59. “The Impetus for Change in the Soviet Union” – PBS interview conducted 04/23/2001; www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitextlo/int_mikhailgorbachev.html: “And therefore a reformist leadership was necessary, and that leadership came in 1985 when we started to lay down our plans for our country, perestroika and new thinking for the International Community. The new thinking postulated [that] we are one planet regardless of confrontations, ideological and physiological struggles; we are one planet, one human civilization. There are others living in the world, so why should we act in a way that could blow up our planet, our spaceship Earth?”

60. Mikhail Gorbachev, “The River of Time and the Imperative of Action,” Fulton, Missouri, May 6, 1992 -http://www.churchillmemorial.org/lecture/gorbachev/speech.html

61. Ibid.

62. Ibid.

63. Ibid.

64. Ibid.

65. See Keay Davidson, “Gorbachev: ‘Brain trust’ should guide our future. Great thinkers’ meet in S.F. for 5-day forum to discuss world after the Cold War,” San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, September 28, 1995. http://sfgate.info/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1995/09/28/NEWS1255.dtl

 66. See also R. E. Masters & J. Houston, Varieties of Psychedelic Experience (New York, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966).

67. O. W. Markley & Willis W. Harman, eds., Changing Images of Man, p.92.

68. Ibid.

69. CERI, Alternative Educational Futures, p.173.

70. Willis W. Harman, “For A New Society, A New Economics, World Good Will,” The United Nations Division for Economic and Asocial Information, Development Forum XV, 3-5 (1987).

Index to previous Forcing Change articles