|Psychic Readers, and other
people who have experienced paranormal phenomena of all
kinds, are frequently the target of self-appointed
skeptics from the academic and scientific community. As a
response, The Psychic Internet has created an archive of
articles about the many great and world-famous
philosophers and scientists who have either had
paranormal experiences or have given credence to their
An Online Paranormal Journal for Scientists
Edited by Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., a Core Faculty member of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, TASTE is an online journal for "scientists from all fields - from anthropology through botany through mathematics through physics through psychology through zoology, to name just a few - to share their personal, transcendent experiences in a safe, anonymous, but quality controlled space..."
Dr. Tart has been a pioneer in the field of consciousness studies. His book, Altered States of Consciousness (1969) was selected by Common Boundary as one of the hundred most influential books in the field of psychology published during the 20th century. Together with Transpersonal Psychologies (1975), it has become a widely used educational text. His research and writing about hypnosis, meditation, ESP, out-of-body experiences, lucid dreaming and drug-induced states has been instrumental in legitimizing these subjects in the field of modern psychology. He has published over 250 articles in leading scientific and professional journals including Science and Nature.
Pinpointing precisely the nature of resistance to intelligent discussion of paranormal phenomena among many scientists, Dr. Tart has written, As scientists, we have discovered a body of precisely observed factual data about the world, created a lot of good theories that make sense of much of that data and we are part of a cultural heritage of scientism. Sociologists coined the term "scientism" back in the 1940s, when they realized that many scientists unthinkingly accepted many scientific theories as simple, unquestioned Truths, just like believers in any "ism," and thus we often acted like any prejudiced "believer," especially outside our immediate areas of expertise.
Dr. Tart is also very clear with respect to practical reasons for reluctance among scientists to publicly express whatever interest in paranormal phenomena they may actually have. Over the years I have had hundreds of fellow scientists from all sorts of fields quietly come up to me at meetings or write or phone me when they had decided I was safe to tell me about their unusual experiences apparently going beyond everyday reality, challenging our concepts of what the world is. These were experiences that intrigued them and/or were emotionally important to them, but which they could not tell to their colleagues or friends for fear of rejection or ridicule. Without worrying about more formal definitions, these transcendent experiences have included things such as:
Sometimes being able to tell me about such experiences in confidence has gotten them off people's chests or even been "therapeutic" (although I'm not a therapist). Sometimes I've been able to give scientific information about these experiences that relieves the reporter, producing a reaction something like: Oh, it happens to other sane people? There's an established name for it? I'm not alone, it doesn't mean I'm crazy?! And often the reaction is further on the order of We only know it happens? But we don't know why? Why aren't we intensively researching these things? I ought to research it, but I can't, I would be. . . . (reasons to not research it have included being laughed at and rejected, thought crazy, not getting tenure, losing a job, couldn't get any results published, etc.).
TASTE, therefore, provides an invaluable outlet for scientists to be honest about their own experience. TASTE is an acronym for The Archives of Scientists Transcendent Experiences. According to its editor, It lets scientists express these experiences in a safe space, collects and shares them to debunk the stereotype that real scientists dont have spiritual or mystical or psychic experiences, builds a database of these experiences for future research, and helps us understand the full range of the human mind.
This after all is a goal to which we could all of us subscribe, to understand the full range of the human mind. Admittedly, opening our consciousness to the full range of human potential may indeed result in a full-blown reassessment of what it means to be human. Can this be such a bad thing? Isnt it defensible purely as an expansion of the body of knowledge that informs our daily lives? We hear so often statements from prominent academics and scientists, such as Well, if the Sphinx REALLY is 12,000 years old, we should have to rewrite all of our history books. Or, If UFOs are REALLY out there, we should have to rewrite all of our physics texts. Whatever else are academics and scientists for? Shall we be condemned instead to live forever after with the books and texts that we already have? We moderns laugh (all too easily and without sufficient consideration in many instances) at the theories and beliefs of our ancestors? Are we, then, so wholly unamusing in our own theories and beliefs?