Comment on Charles Tart’s ISSSEEM video on the END of MATERIALISM






the end of materialism by Charles Tart



Summary : in an e-mail exchange with Scott Anderson of ISSSEEM (International Society for the Study of Subtile Energies and Energy Medicine),I explain why the search for subtle emanations and the use to prove non-material or even spiritual aspects of our existence in that way, is naive. I explain that the orthogonal dimension to matter is not some subtle energy but Information and Spirit that follow very different laws and principles. This is the study of the science of Informational modalities.

With Scott I know that even the concept of “orthogonal” is only a first approximation and that more correctly all is contained (nested as Scott calls it) in each other according to the holographic (fractal) principle of self-similarity. I can recommend you to have a look at the extensive work Scott has done at and I hope he will contribute more on our site as well.

Woven in below are  comments by Scott to my message to him

Dear Scott,

Anyway I think the spirit at ISSSEEM as an organization, individuals can always differing attitudes, is well expressed in  Tart’s new book “The end of materialism – long live material spirituality”. Sitting in a room filled with crystallized information (library) he refers about an experiment a Hungarian made a hundred years ago to show that holding injured rats in a bag in ones hands improves healing tendencies,:

According to him that shows clearly that spirituality exists – and is a proof that Materialism is REALLY ending.

I complained to the Board—when it was announced that Charley was being asked to be the President of ISSSEEM for 2010—that in his End of Materialism he advocates a seriously antiquated philosophical position (“dualist-interactionism”).  I was not aware at the time that the position had been specifically dubbed “irrelevant” by the ISSSEEM President of just two years earlier, Bernard O. Williams (link to article).  So, to me it is hard to argue that Charley “represents” anything like an “ISSSEEM position.”

To search for invisible emanations and to take them as a prove that the universe is not  only Matter – I think is very naïve and about 100 years behind our everyday experiences.

I agree.

Energy as invisible as it may be, is very similar to matter in that it has quantity and is dependent on space and time. We move matter with intention – so what is so magical about many being able to move energy with intention – nothing.


However, I do think there is a useful distinction to be made between energy as measured objectively in science, and energy as known and worked with subjectively in daily life, in healing, and in spiritual practice.

The “move matter with intention” part is where contemporary science remains hung up, don’t you think?  Because science has not a clue how we actually do this, the topic has been relegated to the “magical pile” (i.e., “not a fit subject for science”) by most practicing scientists, no?

Effects of energy and matter are widely independent of the experimenter and are generally reproducible.

Right.  This is where science is strongest—these effects include the bases of the technologies that I’m using as I write this.

Tart’s idea of “being scientific” is exactly that – reproducibility and that it can be measured. What he does not see that this is the very basis of Materialism which certainly does not exclude the existence of yet unknown forms of “invisible” energy.

I think I agree with you here—my sense being that Charley has not taken aboard the possibility of subjective sciences—genuine forms of science, but ones that do not depend on measurement in the usual objectivist sense.

A new approach, that is the basis of my philosophy, is that the orthogonal complement to Matter is NOT Energy or something else more subtle and invisible but Information and Spirit.

Here I’ve found what I feel is a simpler “philosophy”—if you will.  The analysis afforded by the simple “Anthropic Cosmological Timeline” (that you may have already looked at, I’m not sure), suggests that these four terms—matter, energy, information, and Spirit—refer to distinct but symmetrically inter-nested (and inter-penetrating) domains—by which I mean that the “nesting” occurs “in both directions”: the inner in the outer (as we most typically presume) and, however paradoxically it may seem, the outer in the inner—synchronically).

De gustibus?  Perhaps…

Every physicist knows that matter and energy are not only interchangeable but that they also basically follow the same laws, mainly time and space dependence, inertia, quantity.

“Settled science” we might call this, right.

However, I would argue that there are still things being discovered about Maxwell’s equations—a good recent example is the “fractal antenna”—and I suspect strongly that more things are yet to be discovered about “the beautiful equations” once science gets serious about bio-electromagnetism.

The observer effect is not an aspect of matter or energy but the informational and spiritual aspect of both. It is not as it is often expressed that the Observer changes something by the act of observation. This concept is only an expression of our western vanity in being-the-doer but rather it is Information and spirit that is always the guiding element in any event.

Might this not be consistent with the “distinct by symmetrically inter-nested” view suggested above?  I agree that “information and spirit are always the guiding element in any event.”  The issue for me personally is how we might understand such a “guiding relationship” scientifically—and my sense is that it will take a kind of science that embraces both objective and subjective ways of knowing (I’m calling it Yoga Science).

We can understand that the observer is just as much ruled by information and spirit as – the effects – that he is observing, including the thoughts he has and the actions he takes.

Right, if by “observer” we mean the individual as usually self-conceived, separate, bound to body and mind, the “ordinary ego.”

Really the step we have to make to get away from an exclusive material perspective on things is as revolutionary as the idea that the earth is not the center of the universe – ONLY THIS TIME WE HAVE TO  UNDERSTAND THAT OUR EGO that we often mistake for our consciousness is NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE  as well.

Right.  Thus, in my “observer-centered cosmology” I’ve proposed that there are three distinct kinds of “I”:

  • the ordinary ego “I”, presuming itself to live in a “psycho-physiological pseudo-present” at the outer end of the INNER time domain.
  • A yet-individuated “true self”, atman, or “alaya vijñana” presuming itself to live (and surviving of death as a “hyper-strange attractor”) at the inner end of the INNER time domain.
  • The non-individuated “Divine Self” “at” the Planckian—fully non-dual with the cosmos as a whole.

And I guarantee you for most this is as hard to swallow as the fact was that the earth is just a planet in one of a billion galaxies.

I agree.

This would mean that most of the new-age stuff that is so soothing to our ego is obsolete. For example that we are the creators of our life, that we just have to intend, visualize and ask the universe correctly to attract what we want and deserve.

Right.  “New Age” hopefulness needs now to grow up into a global New Age civilization for real.

The  uncontrollable, unpredictable has no space in most people spirituality as well as in all scientists world view, with the only difference that the former contribute true control to their consciousness, whereas the later postulate all mighty physical laws that are in control.

Right.  We’re all going to have to get used to the utter failure of “scientific prediction” in most of the arenas of life that really matter.

Action at a distance is being explained by the new-age mind by some yet unknown form of emanation that our consciousness generates. Even if some agree that we are only channels of some sort of forces, they all assume that it is our knowledge and intention that determines where and how things go – “the doer in a subtle form”. (AND of course there are many that contribute all effects of their healing practice to the will of some higher forces – like John of God – but they are always considered to be just faith-healers)

Lots for the sciences of the future to sort out!

In radionics, there was always the mistaken idea that it works based on some, yet unknown form of energy, which nevertheless could be understood with the concept of frequencies, measured and guided by numbers, the radionic rates. This had many followers as it would cater to a naïve understanding of being scientific. The opposite camp that was quick to form, was holding that radionics was only a tool for the manifestation of the consciousness of the practitioner – again completely in tune with the US American dream “You can do it yourself – nobody can stop you – you only have to want it”.

Right—way too simplistic.

Then there is the “monk attitude” that thinks it can escape this matter-energy-interaction by NON-ATTACHMENT  either via chastity or poverty. Also he does not see that this does not allow him to escape the 2 main aspects of materialism which are MOMENTUM  and PREDICTABILITY. Actually he wants to achieve MORE certainty and security (freedom from suffering) by sticking to some rules, rituals or lifestyle. He might be poor in money or sex but he is just as much following these 2 laws that make him a materialist. As with everything else just denying something still keeps on the same axis, however on opposite side.

Right—still way too simplistic.

It is just not as easy as Tart (ISSSEEM) or almost all monks imagine to escape the grip of matter to postulate that there exists something much more rare, elusive, invisible, subtle, energetic than matter but then to imagine that one could study or approach this other side of existence with the same concepts of good/bad or scientific/ unscientific.

Right—way too dualistic as well as way too simplistic.

To make this step into a new dimension that is truly orthogonal to the realm of energy and matter is as difficult as for a rocket to escape the gravitational field of the earth – it needs hundreds of times more acceleration than even any high flying planes or ideas. CoRe is a tool for that if used with the proper understanding as Thierry from UK wrote today : “really enjoying more and more Core, and my “spiritual opening” that goes alongside its usage. Bless you.”

Philosophic point as noted above—but “difficult” indeed, yes.

The key differences of the informational and spiritual realm from that of matter and energy are that they are not time and space dependent and as a result quantity and numbers are not a usable concepts there.

So, what do you make of the now routine use of quantitative measures of information in theoretical physics and communication engineering?

I feel that these uses are clear evidence of the objective face of information whereas what you are pointing to is the subjective face of information.


Second it is not possible to study anything on these levels independently as all is connected in a multitude of ways –not only in a linear fashion – as our left brain would wish. However it is also a naïve dream of Einstein and many that follow him that “Once all these hidden parameters are known and put into a formula – everything becomes predictable”.

Right—from my analysis four distinct meta-levels of complexity have emerged.  Science (in the form of the so called “science of complexity”) is only now just barely getting used to the first level—that associated with fractal natural material forms.

Still on the horizon, quaternion fractal bio-energetic forms associated with the INNER time domain (note that Maxwell preferred the quaternion notation for his equations).

Likely a ways below the horizon still (on the far side): octonion fractals in the psycho-informational INNERMOST domain.  Pretty much nowhere to be seen at present.

And still further, the sedenionic (zero divisors) “structures” and nondual “geometries” of Spirit.

How naïve for someone who knew that physics cannot even make a formula for the 3 body problem – which means to have a closed equation for a universe that would only consist of 3 bodies – that would be able to calculate its parameters for any time in past or future – that eventually we have a formula that would be able to calculate with any precision when Mr X would hit a tree with his car. Einstein was a Newtonian thinker to the bones that saw the universe as a clockwork – the basis of Materialism.

Well put.

Again the new concept that is the way out is DLE, once you have a personal experience of DLE you understand that being in a Dynamic Labile Equilibrium state, however often uncomfortable, make you connect to this orthogonal dimension. It allows you to be truly intuitive, creative, unique, unpredictable, healthy. BUT in this state you know for sure that looking for generic answers, protocols, formulas, rules is the direct way to fall back to the horizontal dimension of matter and energy. … more on this soon

Interesting.  I look forward to that “more”…

All the best,



Scott Virden Anderson

(707) 468-9430



About Author

Inergetix, Inc. founder and chief scientist.

1 Comment

  1. Dear all,

    I wasn’t thinking that my response to Kiran would be posted here for all to see.

    My criticisms of Charles Tart’s views above will likely strike him and the many people who know and admire him as unnecessarily harsh and “coming out of the blue.”

    I very much regret this because I’ve had an opportunity to get to know him as Chairman of his Program Committee for this year’s ISSSEEM Conference and I can report that is a deeply genuine human being whom I’ve come to love and respect.

    Charley has been a dedicated pioneer in the field of parapsychology for the better part of 40 years–a field that has required him to constantly swim upstream against a vast and well-funded flood of conventional thinking and propaganda.

    A number of his contributions are so commonplace–the notion of “altered states of consciousness,” the term “out of body experience”–that it is all too easy to forget where these ideas originally came from.  They came from Charley.

    Thus, I hope here to at least try to adjust the impression he and all might get from reading my comments above.

    In my experience, it is not at all uncommon in science for gifted experimentalists to not really care that much about “theoretical frameworks” and “philosophy of science” and “all that stuff.”

    There is a vast ocean of intellectual, philosophic, and spiritual depth in even the humblest of our endeavors, so no one person can truly master it all.

    I feel honored to have worked with Charley this past year, he’s been one of my heroes for exactly 40 years ago since I first heard of him at the First Earth Day Celebration in 197o at UC Davis where he went on to become a student-favorite Professor of Psychology–students always love Charley because he always loves teaching them.

    So, I hope he’ll forgive the seemingly harsh remarks above.  They were not written for public consumption.

    All the same, although I do feel that materialism as we’ve all come to know it deserves a swift end, and although I do feel that parapsychology has an important role to play in the future of a broader and more integral science, I cannot endorse Charley’s argument that evidence for para-psychological phenomena constitutes “evidence of our spiritual nature.”

    (I’m not 100% certain about this, but I suspect that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche would most likely have called this line of argument a form of “spiritual materialism” as per his classic book by that title.)

    The fact that parapsychological phenomena have been accepted as real and taken seriously within the world’s great spiritual traditions since prehistory might lead one to the mistaken conclusion that they are somehow therefore “spiritual.”

    In my view, parapsychology is dealing with the inherently non-local nature of information in the INNERMOST time domain of our every present moment.

    This domain is no more “spiritual” in its “nature” than are matter and energy.

    In the view of nonduality, meanwhile, matter, energy, and information are all manifest nondually with spirit–something which is best discovered through spiritual practice and revelation and not merely believed.

    Best wishes to Charley Tart, and to Kiran, and to all,


    Kiran’s comment :

    Sorry Scott, that you did now know that I live a life of NON-duality

    non duality between public Kiran and private Kiran – all the same – no difference between private messages to Kiran an public messages to Kiran – we all do not realize how much this playing of double roles is the biggest obstacle to realizing Non-duality – – only near death experiences makes you not want to play such games anymore