I’ve been fortunate in leading a very interesting life, encountering and working with unusual, often little known ideas and observations about the nature and possibilities of our minds, perhaps of our souls*. I’ve been able to make a few contributions bringing more attention there, to scientists, as well as to anyone interested in the spiritual, hopefully bringing some understanding to the spiritual side of life, practically as well as scientifically. But there are so many observations I’ve made and ideas I’ve had that I’ve never had time to develop and write about, to share with others. Now, being “retired” and in
my 80s, with greatly lessened energy, I know I won’t have time to properly develop and publish most of these. I have many essays started, e.g., calling attention to interesting things. But, to my mind, they are significantly incomplete, and I’ll probably never get around to expanding and completing them fully the way I want to. Thus this series of usually brief essays, the IBPUOI Essays, marked by this icon, to make them available in the hope that others will find them interesting (“He really saw that? I want to check it.”) or needingcorrectionand expansion (“How come he didn’t consider such-and-such a factor?”), develop them properly, and so add to human knowledge.
This incompleteness undoubtedly applies in various degrees to essays already published on this blog, but if I take the time to review all the earlier ones to see which deserve having the icon added, I won’t get to posting any of the new ones…
A Note on “Soul:”
* There is a social taboo against scientists using words like “soul.” We mistakenly think real science is only about physical things, and spiritual concepts like soul are fantasies, or best left alone. As much as I appreciate and am fascinated by our steadily increasing knowledge of the mind and body, using methods and understandings from physical world science, there is much evidence that there is more to our nature, to our potential future development, than only the physical, so it severely handicaps the growth of our knowledge to ignore this bigger picture. Yes, “soul” has all sorts of connotations and associations that are misleading, but I don’t know of a better word at this time to point our attention in that vital direction… So take “soul” as a pointer, not any claim of final knowledge…
Charles T. Tart
Thank you Charles for sharing you ideas and experiences of such extraordinary aspects of our minds and souls – our consciousness. I have only recently come across you and your work through exploring the You Tube interviews you have given. I have had several experiences in my own life involving synchronicity and also predictions or knowledge of future in dreams that were way beyond statistical coincidence explanations. I have also had a few things happen that I have no explanation for. I don’t know if you have time or interest to respond or exchange specific information with individuals, but if you do, I would love to get your opinion on a couple of my experiences that I have not found covered in my 50 plus years of researching consciousness.
Regretfully, my energy is lower as I age, the things I need to share pile up, so I just don’t have time to engage it what would be otherwise good exchanges with people.. Sorry!
Soul, consciousness, self awareness, all conceptual models with less than literal words associated with them.
Models for thinking are like languages; some offer easier transmission of certain concepts, others work better for other concepts.
People who get hung up on the label rather than the thing are missing out!!
Dear professor Tart,
I do not know whether this could be something useful for a potential IBPUOI, but it is something that interest me very much, and I believe it is a subject worth being investigated in depth. While reading your Mind Science, I came across a story you recount about your colleague Alan Wallace that intrigued me much. It is when he mention “he could not keep his mind focused and absolutely free of thought for more that two hours at a time before a thought intruded”.
Since everyone practicing meditation knows how difficult is to meditate longer than a few seconds without a disturbing thought, I have always wondered how the above story should be understood, and what you think of it. Was Alan affirming that he could literally stay up to two hours without any inner word, image or sound emerging into his mind? (a kind of experience that I can hardly even imagine). Or was he saying that he could go meditating for two hours without being distracted and taken away by passing thoughts, yet emerging in his mind but readily dismissed? (something that I can understand being possible, though it requires years of practice to be achieved).
I would really appreciate your point of view on the above, so I thank you in advance not just for your reply, but for having been for me for many years a source of inspiration in seeking links between science and spirituality.
I understand your curiosity, but this event was long ago and my memory is not that good that I should speculate about what was really meant…
Dr. Tart, I contacted you about 20 years ago to discuss some phenomenon I experienced during my life, especially recent events that made me question my mental health. I believe you were living in Berkeley, CA at the time. You provided guidance on how I might handle my experiences that has served me well. You also indicated you were going to start a website designed for scientists to share their experiences. While my experiences were certainly interesting, I had not yet joined that targeted group. Inspired by a desire to learn more about my experiences and realizing the difference between being a layman and a scholar, I chose to continue my education. I now understand why you chose to include only scientists in your new group. The rigor required to assess and analyze paranormal experiences in a way that lends credibility to the process is not for the faint of heart or those who are aware of the requirements of the process. I appreciate the way you spoke to me as a layman seeking counsel on something completely beyond scientific explanation at the time and for the inspiration you provided that has led me to where I am today. Thank you.
Kevin Sorbello, PhD