Tag Archives: Consciousness Studies

What happened to the ‘experimental counter-culture’?

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The ‘experimental counter-culture’ – its a wonderful term that highlights the potential of digital collaboration for enhancing the avant-garde experimentalism that produced some of the most deep reaching science of the 20th century.  In an interview with pioneering consciousness researcher Dr. Charles Tart, Greg Taylor, Founder of The Daily Grail, highlights how science can become a rigorous adventure into the unknown:

GT: Do you think that the revolutionary work undertaken by individuals and groups in the 1950’s (such as the Round Table Foundation) had an influence on the rise of the experimental “counter-culture” of the 1960’s and 70’s…or were they simply parts of a larger trend in the way humans thought about themselves?

CT: No, I’m sorry to say that Puharich’s research has been almost totally ignored by scientific parapsychologists at the time and since then. I fear this has been a big loss. Puharich had a lot of influence in more fringy, “New Agey” circles, but that has not resulted, to my knowledge, in any solid scientific discoveries. As to the counter-culture, that was created by a combination of existential discontent with a shallow, materialistic culture, plus a desire for actual spiritual experience, not just being told what to believe, plus the introduction of oriental meditation techniques – something you could actually *do* instead of just believe – plus psychedelic drugs, which showed many, many people that there were more profound experiences possible than consumerism – to vastly oversimplify a complex historical phenomena, of course.

CTT-at-Round-Table1The Round Table Foundation, mentioned by Greg, was the brainchild of Andrija Puharich. Consisting of a fully equipped laboratory set up in a rural location in Maine, the original group saw collaboration between figures such as psychedelic explorer, Aldous Huxley, the famous medium, Eileen Garrett, and a number of prominent socialites and inventors to create a think tank that put experimentation before assumptions and produced viable medical technology as well as insights into anomalous cognition and consciousness. As a protege of Puharich’s, Charles Tart’s own work would go on to influence the development of scientific investigations into Altered States of Consciousness, lucid dreaming and Out of Body Experiences. Continue reading