REDWOOD: Anything else?
SCHWARTZ: We know, for example, based on work done by Michael Persinger in Canada, James Spottiswood in Los Angeles, Ed May in Palo Alto, that geomagnetic field strength, the magnetic field of the Earth itself, has an effect on your ability to perform well. When the earth’s geomagnetic field is strong and there is a lot of solar turbulence -- which affects the earth’s field -- people don’t do very well when asked to access nonlocal awareness. When the field is quiet and unruffled, they do better. People who meditate, for instance, do better than people who don’t meditate. The reason, we think, is that this kind of awareness is partly a function of your ability to focus; it’s a coherence phenomenon. It is not a coincidence that almost every training that attempts to teach how to make contact with this aspect of the self emphasizes focus, whether it’s a martial art or a meditative art, or some sort of spiritual path.
REDWOOD: Many roads leading to the same destination?
SCHWARTZ: Yes. When you strip away the differences, you get down to the commonality. And the commonality is focus. There are two ways to achieve it. One is neurotic obsession. If you think about all the psychics you have known over the years, you will probably remember that many of them have weight problems, or alcohol or drug problems. They have very complex emotional family situations. They develop neurotic behaviors, personally relevant rituals that they become very protective of, and the reason they become very protective is that they associate their ability to access this aspect of their consciousness with these obsessive focusing behaviors. It’s the focusing that’s the important part, not the behaviors. But they often don’t see it that way.
The other way to get at it is through the disciplined development of some kind of technique which allows you to focus your consciousness. Meditation, whatever kind you do, turns out to be the best of all these techniques. It gives you the ability to sit quietly for a period of time, without constantly having the chatter of your mind going on, and it’s in those quiet spaces that these experiences of access are most easily achieved. So meditators do better than non-meditators. We have learned over the years that extraverts and introverts have very different ways of accessing nonlocal awareness, but they get to the same place. I say to people, particularly when they get fixated on “this is the only way it can be done,” that there’s only one mountain in town and it’s an illusion, so how you get up it is purely a matter of personal taste.
REDWOOD: The project of yours that I find most intriguing is the 2050 Project. Could you tell us about that?
SCHWARTZ: That’s another variant of all this. When I was in government, I was asked to participate on a committee that the Secretary of Defense and the president of MIT put together, called, “Innovation, Technology and the Future.” And then I was asked to host a television program called, “Conversations at the Smithsonian: Innovation, Technology and the Future.” So I began reading a lot of futurist stuff. And if we all look back at what we were concerned about in the 1970s, the great fear was overpopulation, that we would run out of natural resources, nuclear war, just dreadful stuff. That was the settled wisdom of the futurists. If you read the futurist literature of that period, the Club of Rome or Paul Ehrlich’s work, that’s what it was saying. Well, none of it turned out to be true. So by 1978 I could see that pretty much all of what we had said about the future was wrong. And as I began to look at it, I realized that almost all predictions about the future are wrong. Not just details, but even the broad trends are not correct, despite the fact that people who write them up are very smart and diligent.
So I thought that if we could use remote viewing to accomplish all that we had already done, why couldn’t we get it to look at the future? This made me think, well, how far into the future would you go? Reading about various kinds of predictions, I realized that if you get even a century or so down the time line, things change so much that they become incomprehensible. As an example, if you had tried to explain the Internet to your grandmother 80 years ago, what would you say? I have this box on my desk and it links me up with a box on every other desk in the world, and it also stores all the information, and I can get it all and transmit. It’s incomprehensible. If you were talking to a 17th century thinker, how would you possibly explain either the technology or the cultural effect of television? “There’s a box that sits on a table and it’s got dancing people in it.” The whole concept is very hard to get hold of. In the late 19th century, before Pasteur, people couldn’t think of germs.
REDWOOD: Somewhat along these lines, I read in the paper today that last year in Boston a paralyzed man became the first person to send an email with his thoughts. There was a chip implanted in his brain that enabled him to do this.
SCHWARTZ: Really! Well, all of these kinds of things led me to realize that I should not go too far down the timeline, because I wouldn’t understand what I was being told. So I settled on the year 2050. And in 1978 I began collecting this data, and I’ve gotten about 4000 people to do this. I asked them to go forward in time to the year 2050 [while in a state of nonlocal awareness] and to describe what they see, what people wear, what kind of health care is there, very mundane stuff. How do you pay for things, what does your house look like, how many people live in your area. Not big, grandiose questions, just mundane stuff. How many children do you have? How do the children communicate? How do people travel? And I began to get, immediately, a view that was utterly different than the view that I had expected. It contradicted just about everything that I thought the future was about.
REDWOOD: What did they see in 2050?
SCHWARTZ: First of all, virtually every single person said that there is no overpopulation. Now this was very, very surprising. Because all of the predictions of the futurists were that we were going to have ten billion people and the world was going to crash. The 2050 viewers said no, overpopulation’s not a problem, but underpopulation is a problem in many parts of the world. I couldn’t figure out what that meant. But now we know that no Western democracy has a sustainable birth rate. The only reason America has a sustainable birth rate is because of immigration. The Japanese, for instance, are beginning to really seriously consider what happens when Japan becomes a fragment of its former self. There are now about 130 million Japanese, and the Japanese ministries are producing studies projecting that by 2050 there’ll be about 60 million, about half the population they have today. That produces a very different looking country. The Italians don’t have a sustainable birth rate. It goes on. The Islamic countries are among the only ones that do have sustainable birth rates.
REDWOOD: These projections don’t factor in major epidemics or wars.
SCHWARTZ: The 2050 viewers also started talking about this blood disease. They said it came out of Africa and it crossed over from primates into human beings because they killed the primates and ate them. They said it swept across the world and killed millions and millions of people. This was the late 1970s, and I had no idea what that was. When I kept getting this I went to a friend who was, I believe, the Deputy Director of Cardiovascular Research at the National Institutes of Health and asked him, “What is this?” He said, “I haven’t a clue.” Not a clue. Then a few years later AIDS entered the scene, and of course we now know that AIDS crossed over from primates and came out of Africa, exactly as they described.
I asked them, “ Has there been a huge nuclear cataclysm?” Because, if you remember, this was during the Nuclear Freeze period when everybody was really seriously worried about nuclear exchange, atomic war. And these people said, “Nope, that didn’t happen.” They said one of the great powers has fallen (this is before the Soviet Union fell). Can you imagine anyone in the 1970s talking about the Soviet Union falling? So I said, “Oh, so things get better.” They said, “No, they get more dangerous.” Now, instead of having relatively stable conflict, you have all these little pockets of conflict that grow up, and they “tear the world apart,” is the way they described it. Now we can see the process. But at the time I was getting this in the Seventies and Eighties, the idea that international terrorism and fundamentalist Islamists were going to become a major issue in the world, there was no one who predicted that.
REDWOOD: What were some of the other key areas of agreement among most of the people involved in this 2050 project?
SCHWARTZ: That there has been an energy revolution, that energy is no longer an issue. There’s some decentralized kind of energy. This is a case where even though I was only looking less than a hundred years into the future, the descriptions don’t mean anything to me or anyone else that I’ve shown them to. All I can tell you is they describe this thing, that’s probably three feet high and maybe three feet wide, like a big box. There are various sizes of them. They sit in either individual homes or in neighborhoods and they provide power. In 2050, nobody thinks much about power anymore. I can’t tell you what it is. I thought for a while that it was cold fusion, but we don’t know yet whether cold fusion is real. I just don’t understand. They try to describe it to you, but the technology has not yet been invented, the concept is not here yet. People say, “Well, it’s a box.” I said, “Does it get very hot?” thinking there might be something inside the box. They said, “No, it just kind of hums along and produces power. So I said, “How does it do that?” and they said, “Well, there are these wires.” The net of it is, there has been an energy revolution, that’s a big one, and also a medical revolution. Most illnesses, most chronic illnesses have disappeared. Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy. The chronic genetic diseases have largely disappeared because they’re engineered out at birth, or at pre-birth.
REDWOOD: Engineered out a birth worldwide, or just in areas of affluence?
SCHWARTZ: That’s a really interesting question, Daniel. I think that is one of the central questions that we face. You know, when we think about what’s going on in the world, we get lost in the local epiphenomena of the news, and we don’t really see the bigger trends. That’s why I started the Schwartzreport (www.schwartzreport.net), to look at long range trends.
One of the things I’m very concerned about is that I foresee the rise of a homo superioris, that another species is going to be created. That the affluent technologically advanced countries will have access to this and that the non-technological countries won’t. You can already begin to see this, as genetic engineering continues to develop. The genome has been mapped, and we’re beginning to figure out where the switches are that turn things off and on.
People are going to order up children. You know, you want to have a child, so you go in, and you’ll see some kind of health professional whose specialty doesn’t exist at the moment, and they’ll flip the switches. You’ll say, “I want a child that’s as smart as Stephen Hawking and as athletically endowed as Michael Jordan, and is as good looking as Angelina Jolie.” Out of that will come this race of people, this subspecies of people who get engineered. And they will in turn pass this on to their progeny, and over centuries (this isn’t all going to happen by 2050), what’s going to happen is that the human species is going to diverge. So that people who do not have access to these technologies will continue to have illnesses, but people who are affluent will be able to avoid most of the chronic illnesses. People won’t be born nearsighted anymore, diabetes will disappear, heart disease and hypertension, all of that. That’s going to get tweaked. So our children or our children’s children will benefit from that and will look very different.
REDWOOD: So revolutions of the future might involve trying to spread this democratically to all. Or, more ominously, might also involve dealing with the side effects of what you have been describing.