Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and senior scientist at the Geraldine Brush Cancer Research Institute at the California Pacific Medical Center. Trained in medical anthropology and psi research, Marilyn has published numerous articles on cross cultural healing, consciousness studies, distant healing and the discourse of controversial science. She has conducted research at Stanford University, Science Applications International Corporation, the Institute for Parapsychology, and the Mind Science Foundation; has taught at Trinity, Stanford and Harvard Universities, and has lectured widely, including talks at the United Nations, and the Smithsonian Institution. She serves on the Editorial Board of Alternative Therapies, is the leader of Esalen's Center for Theory and Research Working Group on Distant Healing Intentionality, and is on the Scientific Program Committee for the Consciousness Center at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
In this interview with Dr. Daniel Redwood, Dr. Schlitz discusses well-controlled research studies including pioneer work that demonstrates the power of the human mind to contact other minds at a distance, and its power to influence nervous system function at a distance. As a cutting-edge researcher and thinker, Schlitz' comments on the influence of experimenters upon their results, and the consequent need to rethink the possibility of pure objectivity, raise important questions, the answers to which will shape the science of the future.
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Daniel Redwood: What first stimulated your interest in the study of consciousness?
Marilyn Schlitz: I was an undergraduate at Wayne State University in Detroit. I had been steeped in the tradition of Thomas Kuhn and the paradigm shift, and I was very intrigued by the notion that our view of reality is arbitrary and that it is something that has changed periodically throughout history. Then I stumbled upon a book called Psychic Exploration by Edgar Mitchell, the astronaut, and that book is actually the thing that stimulated me most in terms of my own career path.
Redwood: What was it in Edgar Mitchell's experience that really caught your attention?
Schlitz: What the book said to me was that there was this area of psychical research, or parapsychology, where a group of serious scientists were attempting to explore something that had truly paradigmatic or revolutionary implications. They were doing it in a very rigorous and disciplined way, and that there was a lot of resistance to that. It was a mixture of those three aspects that excited my imagination.
Redwood: What studies of this type have you been directly involved in?
Schlitz: I started doing remote viewing experiments in 1977, and that was essentially an experimental design where one person attempts to describe the physical characteristics of a geographical location that they have no sensory information about. We did several experiments, including one which we called "transcontinental remote viewing," where it was a long distance study between the United States and Italy. The viewer was in Michigan, and the agent was in Rome, Italy.
Redwood: What was the role of the agent?