Bill Sweet, author of Journey into Prayer – Pioneers of Prayer in the Laboratory, and former President of Spindrift Research, a group of Christian Scientists founded by the late John and Bruce Klingbeil, has been studying the efficacy of prayer since the late 60’s. Spindrift’s experiments were some of the first formal experiments into the nature of prayer, and represent a foundation for much of the research that has been conducted since then, including recent experiments in prayer as an aid to medical treatment.
Many of the tests conducted by Spindrift focused on plant growth, and the effects that prayer had on the development of vegetation. They were, however, also pioneers in testing the effect of using prayer as a focus for intention on changing the outcome of random number generators, a test that has been used in other laboratory settings to test psi capabilities and retro-causal action at a distance phenomenon. In the following essay, Bill answers a question posed to him on a Christian Science message board, and in doing so provides an interesting look at the experiments that Spindrift Research has conducted over the years.
“For Plotinus, the emanations from the One are real, including matter, though their reality is of a lower order to that of the One. While there is a soul and mind within each human, for Plotinus these also exist on a cosmic level. At a cosmic level they are in fact the two highest emanations of the One: Mind (nous) and Soul (psyche). They are divine and together with the One constitute a Triad. In the emanation of the Mind the undifferentiated state of the One is made intelligible. Soul is inferior to Mind and grasps things discursively by moving from one thing to another. Like everything else, human beings come forth from the One. Their highest aim is to return to the One. This must be done by rising above material and sensible reality first to the Mind and from there, by an ecstatic leap, to the One.”
– from Christian Mysticism: An Introduction to Contemporary Theoretical Approaches, by Louise Nelstrop, with Kevin Magill and Bradley B. Onishi
With the increasing focus on technical standards for commercial development in technology, medicine and government it’s odd to come across reminders that the life of thought was not always so streamlined and efficient. The materialist focus of science has left to drift unorthodox inquiries that don’t play into the hands of profit.
The New Thought movement is an interesting point of reference for these fragments as it represents the concretion of potentials implicit in Hermetic and Neo-Platonic thought filtering through the holes in a materialist paradigm. Where as in the past these lines moved more towards meditation and contemplative goals, with the materialistic scientism that arose in the 18th and 19th centuries there emerged those who brought the ephemeral concepts of Nous and Psyche to bear on physical results.