Stephan Schwartz is one of the world’s foremost researchers of consciousness, one whose interests and areas of expertise cannot easily be pigeon-holed by category. He has published dozens of scientific papers on topics including remote viewing, creativity, consciousness, intuition, therapeutic intent, as well as earlier works on the history and philosophy of science and on geopolitical and strategic analysis.
In 1971, after serving on the editorial staff of National Geographic magazine, and as editor of Sea Power magazine, he was offered the position of Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. In this role, he wrote speeches for political figures including the Chief of Naval Operations and the President of the United States. He left government to write his first book, The Secret Vaults of Time, which has been in continuously in print for over 30 years, and is considered a classic in the field. He, then, began his own work as an experimentalist, along the way co-founding The Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, now a subset of the American Anthropology Association, as well as being a co-founder of the International Society for Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, and the founding editor-in-chief of Subtle Energies, the society’s peer-reviewed journal of the. Much of his seemingly boundless energy is currently devoted to the Schwartzreport, (www.schwartzreport.net), a website with over 60,000 readers that he updates daily, focusing on trends he considers vital to understanding where human society is headed.
In addition to Secret Vaults, Schwartz is the author of several books including Remote Viewing: The Modern Mental Martial Art; Mind Rover: Explorations with Remote Viewing; and The Alexandria Project. On his personal website, www.stephanaschwartz.com, he makes available, at no cost, a selection of his papers as well as magazine articles for publications such as Smithsonian, and American Heritage. His website also has links about his many CD and DVD presentations and courses.
Schwartz is best known for his studies of remote viewing. In this interview with Daniel Redwood, he describes the rigorous scientific methods he has employed, first to confirm the reality of communication at a distance, and then to determine that it occurs by some means other than electromagnetic sending and receiving. Among his many projects, Schwartz has also used remote viewing to locate previously undiscovered archaeological sites including the site of Columbus’ caravel from his fourth and last voyage, the Ptolemaic Palace Complex of Cleopatra, Mark Anthony’s palace in Alexandria, and the remains of the Lighthouse of Pharos, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Schwartz’ intriguing 2050 Project involved interviews with over 4000 people, who were guided into a state of nonlocal awareness and asked to project forward to the year 2050 and answer a series of questions about what they saw there. A discussion of the remarkable agreement among participants on a wide range of future developments comprises the second half of this interview.
Schwartz hosts an annual conference. The Fourth Annual Schwartzreport Conference on Issues in Consciousnes will be a two-day practicum, Accessing Nonlocal Mind Through Remote Viewing: The ‘How to’ Intensive Seminar. The conference will take place November 3-6, 2005 at the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. For information, call (800) 428-3588 or visit www.schwartzreportconference.com.
REDWOOD: What first led to your interest in using the scientific method to study consciousness?
SCHWARTZ: I had a number of personal experiences that made me aware that there was more to consciousness than I had previously thought. I had been raised in an utterly secular house and had not ever thought much about issues of consciousness, or if I did, I probably thought it was just the result of biochemical processes in the brain. I didn’t see anything extending outside of your skull. So my worldview at that point – this is when I’m about 23 – was materialist, to the degree that I thought about it at all. Then I had some altered state of consciousness experiences, spontaneously, nothing to do with drugs, and I realized that in the timelessness of the moment of the experience, there were other ways to think about consciousness.
So I started reading metaphysical literature very extensively. It took me about four years. I read all of the Edgar Cayce readings from start to finish, I read Rudolf Steiner’s works, Blavatsky, Ernest Holmes, as well as many more writers from what, in the early 20th century, was called the New Thought Movement. I found this curiously unsatisfying because it sort of lived in a parallel world with science. They didn’t really have very much to say to one another. But what I extracted from those years of immersion was not the things that were specific, but the things that were general to all of these people.
Because when you strip away the speculative or personal biases that each of them have, you get a sort of essence that is common to all of them: that there is an aspect of consciousness that exists outside time and space, that people who have these experiences experience them as a timeless time, that there is a sense of connection with a greater whole. And a sense that all consciousness, in whatever form, is related, whether it’s single celled organisms or human beings. So as I read the material and extracted these fundamentals out of it, it seemed to me that it ought to be possible to use the tools of science to find out what was really going on.
REDWOOD: Did you find a body of work already done by other people that you could draw from, or did you have to start from scratch?
SCHWARTZ: Yes, I found that parapsychology was a discipline specifically set up to design protocols that would extract the aspect of this expanded consciousness from normal waking awareness. And that there were protocols for blindness and randomizing and ways in which you could tease out the information from the background noise. In physics as well, there was a lot of material that was beginning to develop. This is 1965 or 1966. There was starting to be a lot of discussion in physics and biology about consciousness. I was struck by the quality of the people who had gone before me – William James, J.B. Rhine, Charles Richet (who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1913 and who founded the Institute Metaphysique in France), and many others. Sinclair Lewis, who we usually think of as a social commentator, had done a number of experiments with his wife, which he had written up as a book, for which Einstein wrote the introduction. Harold Sherman, a writer in New York, had worked with Sir Hubert Wilkinson, receiving impressions that Wilkinson was sending back from the Arctic. I discovered that there were bits and pieces of stuff that had been done for quite a long time, at least dating back to the 1870s. Significant players in science had taken this very seriously, had looked at it and made attempts to help us understand how these aspects of consciousness work. Following in their footsteps I thought would be a very useful thing to do. I had been working at the National Geographic and then got drafted. When I came out of the service, I was primed, I think, to have these timeless experiences that I mentioned earlier.
REDWOOD: Primed how?
SCHWARTZ: I was working in New York as a screenwriter and I broke up with a girl I had been courting for seven years, I finished my job, and I went to a party that Truman Capote gave out at Fire Island. I looked at all these people and I looked at my life, and in an instant, in a timeless moment, I saw that I was wasting my time; that most of the things I thought were important really weren’t, and other things, which I had dismissed as of not much consequence, actually were very important.
So I left New York and came back to Gloucester, Virginia, where my family lived, and through an odd set of coincidences was introduced to the Edgar Cayce material. Reading this material helped me to see a way through. I thought it would be a really good thing to make a contribution to understanding this aspect of the self. I thought there was no reason that you had to abandon science to understand expanded awareness. In fact science offered a way through that gave you both intellectual rigor and access to this expanded awareness. So that’s what got me started. I discovered I was happiest as an experimentalist, and began thinking about how to do consciousness research. I decided that the way to get at the problem, for me, was to begin what I then called distant viewing.
REDWOOD: Among your early ventures in this realm were some archaeological explorations using remote viewers.
SCHWARTZ: I got interested in archaeology, not because I’m an archaeologist but because I wanted to find a scientific protocol in which you could very clearly isolate the perceptions of the viewer so that fraud or fakery was eliminated. There were obvious benefits to the archaeological approach. Everybody agreed that everyone was blind to the correct answers to the questions I was asking, so the only way you could get the answer was by moving into this expanded awareness. In an archaeological experiment the answer will only be known in the future. Actually, before archaeology I had in mind locating black holes [in space], which were just beginning to be talked about at that point. But I discovered very quickly that no one was going to give me time on a telescope to do that.
What else could you do, I thought? Pondering this I realized that almost every time I read something about archaeology, the discoveries seemed to be mostly serendipitous. You know, a bunch of peasants are digging a well and discover a tomb, or hunters take shelter in a cave and discover an Early Man site. Most of these archaeological sites at that time were not found by design, but by serendipity. For archaeologists the game really got interesting only when they had the site. Then, there were lots of things they could do to figure out what it meant, what the site was telling us. But the location part seemed to be a real problem. And I thought, that’s perfect! I could get viewers to describe where a site was located, and then describe what would be there, what things looked like at the site. For instance, if a man tells you, “You go to a place 200 miles away and there you’re looking for a big oak tree, and underneath the oak tree you dig down and you find the carbon zone where the fires were, and you’ll find the axe heads and the remnants of the pottery.” And then you actually go those 200 miles to that location and discover that there is such a tree and that the surface geographical description is accurate, and you can locate the place that they described, and you locate the carbon zone and the axe head and the pottery. You’ve got to ask yourself, “How did they do that? What part of them understood where that was? Because it’s clearly not something they’re doing with their intellects. And so archaeological research just seemed perfect for this sort of task and I began developing a protocol for using this awareness in the service of locating and reconstructing archaeological sites.
REDWOOD: What success did you have?
SCHWARTZ: We had a lot of success. That was part of what kept it going. By the early 1970s I had developed the protocol for how to do it . . . Along the way, I discovered that scientists had been using nonlocal awareness for a long time in locating archeological sites. Norman Emerson, the founder of Canadian archeology was one . . . I wrote a book called The Secret Vaults of Time, which I finished in 1976. It essentially was the textbook I wrote to teach myself how to design the archeological protocol.
REDWOOD: Then what happened?
SCHWARTZ: If you read the research literature of the period, and still today, you will see much of it is couched in what might be called the electromagnetic model. People talk about senders and receivers and signals. I’m sending you a message, or I’m receiving what you’re sending. One consciousness is sending something to another consciousness. But the more I thought about it the more that seemed wrong. I understand now, looking back on it, why that view developed. Many of the people who were pioneers in the development of radio and electromagnetic research were also very interested in expanded consciousness. It is the nature of human beings to try to get an explanation for things. So they developed a radio model, that we were all radio receivers, like walkie-talkies, going around sending stuff. But that didn’t make sense to me. There’s only so much electrical energy the human brain can generate. How can it possibly be sending it out all over the Earth? It just didn’t make sense.