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Pagels Letter

Unfiltered

THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

letterhead, Heinz R. Pagels, Ph.D., Executive Director

July 1,1986

Robert Kropinski
P.O. Box 27352
Philadelphia, PA 19150

Dear Mr. Kropinski:

My comments here are intended to serve as an affidavit in the civil action No. 85-2849, United States District Court for the District of Columbia. They may not be used or published for any other purpose without my written permission.

My summary opinion, as a theoretical physicist specializing in the area of quantum field theory, is that the views expressed in the literature issued by the Maharishi International University, and appearing in the "World Government News" and other publications associated with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that purport to find a connection between the recent ideas of theoretical physics--unified field theory, the vacuum state and collective phenomena--and states of consciousness attained by transcendental meditation are false and profoundly misleading. No qualified physicist that I know would claim to find such a connection without knowingly committing fraud. While I am not an expert on the meditation techniques advocated by the Maharishi I have experienced and studied meditation methods in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. There is no known connection between meditation states and states of matter in physics.

Individuals not trained professionally in modern physics could easily come to believe, on the basis of the presentations in the Maharishi literature, that a large number of qualified scientists agree with the purported connection between modern physics and meditation methods. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What was especially interesting to me, in reviewing this literature, is the claim put forth by the Maharishi and his followers, that transcendental meditation and "The Science of Creative Intelligence" qualify as science. Although the word "science" is much abused, it continues to imply an adherent to logic, the clear presentation of assumptions and deductions, and the experimental method. Most importantly, any science necessarily contains a recipe for its own falsification. None of these central features of the Western concept of science are present in "The Science of Creative Intelligence." This is not science.

Many of the ideas of modern physics written about by Dr. Lawrence H. Domash in "The Physics of Unity" (World Government News, Oct., 1978) are correctly presented. But Dr. Domash goes on in his article to interpolate these ideas as a vindication of transcendental meditation and "the unity of consciousness." The claim that the fields of modern physics have anything to do with the "field of consciousness" is false. The notion that what physicists call "the vacuum state" has anything to do with consciousness is nonsense. The claim that large numbers of people meditating helps reduce crime and war by creating a unified field of consciousness is foolishness of a high order. The presentation of the ideas of modern physics side by side, and apparently supportive of, the ideas of the Maharishi about pure consciousness can only be intended to deceive those who might not know any better.

Reading these materials authorized by the Maharishi causes me distress because I am a man who values the truth. To see the beautiful and profound ideas of modern physics, the labor of generations of scientists, so willfully perverted provokes a feeling of compassion for those who might be taken in by these distortions. I would like to be generous to the Maharishi and his movement because it supports world peace and other high ideals. But none of these ideals could possibly be realized within the framework of a philosophy that so willfully distorts scientific truth.

Sincerely yours,

[signed]

Heinz R. Pagels, Ph.D.
Executive Director


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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence.

The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.