Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Man Who Talked to Plants: The Visionary Research of Cleve Backster & Consciousness At the Cellular Level -- Interconnected (Oneness) of All Things

Image Source.

(Stillness in the Storm Editor) The notion that consciousness is fundamental to the universe is well established in some circles while being completely dismissed in "official science." 

From a discernment perspective, it is impossible to understand reality as a whole if one disregards aspects of it—which is what many materialist scientists have fallaciously done. It is a logical error to discount observation based purely on a set of logical assumptions. Someone can't recognize or see what something is if they have blinded themselves from within via a dogmatic belief. 

When scientists attempted to verify the observations of Cleve Backster, they designed experiments that did not adequately account for all factors; therefore they could not replicate his findings. And to those who cannot comprehend or understand how science works—outsiders who rely on "experts" to tell them what is real—they will dismiss any claim because the priesthood of science could not verify it. 

In other words, we who are trying to understand the world around us should not rest our beliefs purely on the statements of others, even so-called experts. We should remain open-minded, which is another way of saying maintaining a healthy amount of doubt.

When we dismiss a claim or theory because evidence has not been gathered yet (closing our minds to the possibility it is real), this is known as the argument from ignorance fallacy, which Wikipedia has a good description of:
Argument from ignorance (from Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance represents "a lack of contrary evidence"), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proved false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that: there may have been an insufficient investigation, and therefore there is insufficient information to prove the proposition be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four, 
  1. true
  2. false
  3. unknown between true or false
  4. being unknowable (among the first three). (Source)
What this means is that just because evidence has not been gathered (lack of evidence) there is not also a lack of existence. Thus, one cannot positively confirm something does not exist purely because it hasn't been seen yet. 

Argument from ignorance fallacies is what debunkers of Backsters work have done, claiming that because "we can't replicate his observations" there is nothing happening. Clearly a logical fallacy. 
“The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.” ― Carl SaganCosmos
This logical fallacy is pandemic in our world, as many so-called skeptics presume because they have not observed something, nor has officialdom, it doesn't exist at all. But as the author of the second article in this post state, there are many things we each subjectively experience that science today cannot verify with experimental data—like the dynamics of emotional states and how they come about. 

So in our quest to discern fact from fiction and understand how all things properly relate to each other, we should avoid the argument from ignorance fallacy—one of many logical fallacies used by the undiscerning. 

In short, keeping an open mind is crucial, which is another way of saying that to dismiss something as false without evidence to confirm that assertion, is a close-minded stance based on ignorance, not a real or valid form of discernment. 

Positive evidence of what something is enables a valid claim of disproof to be made, otherwise dismissing a premise has no basis in fact (reality) and is merely an unfounded conjecture.

- Justin

SourceConsciousness Life Style Mag

by Justing Faerman, 2014

When you hook plants up to a lie detector machine, interesting things are bound to happen. And they certainly did for Cleve Backster on the morning of February 2, 1966. Backster was a former CIA agent, FBI trainer and world-renowned polygraph expert who had a curious and playful streak in him that fateful morning. He decided to connect his polygraph machine to a Dracaena plant sitting in the room to see if he could get a reading when he subjected the plant to stress. He had decided to light a match with the intent of burning a leaf, but that thought was as far as he got. Suddenly the polygraph machine came alive and registered the plant reacting to his mischievous thoughts. Astounded and convinced the plant was able to read his intention, Backster would spend the rest of his life studying the ability of plants to communicate with and read their environments, particularly their spontaneous reactions to living things.

“A CIA agent turned researcher made one of the most startling and significant discoveries of the 21st century”

His conclusion? Plants communicated telepathically—a concept which he called primary perception. Backster’s work was inspired in part by the research of physicist Jagadish Chandra Bose, who used a specially designed, extremely sensitive machine to measure plant movements in response to various stimuli and in the process demonstrated that plants have the ability to feel. From the results of his extensive research, he hypothesized that plants can feel pain, understand affection and demonstrate other sensory abilities (although by different mechanisms than humans), which became the subject matter of two books written in 1902 and 1926. Backster’s polygraph work seemed to confirm Bose’s findings, leading him to propose a method by which plants communicate—one that he likened conceptually to ESP.

Related Interconnected Nature, Scientific Evidence of Empathy in Animals: Mice Smell and Share Each Other's Pain

When Backster’s work originally gained public visibility it was quickly criticized by the scientific community for lack of repeatability. Backster claimed this was because plants were quite sophisticated and only reacted to authentic, emotionally backed intent, whereas the researchers who replicated his experiments lacked that factor in the cold, mechanical nature of scientific experimentation. Backster asserted that he was more of an observer in his methodologies. Nonetheless, Bose’s work clearly demonstrated there was more going on than was suspected by either party.

Image Source. Graph from one of Backster's studies.

For decades Backster, along with his supporters, and the larger academic community we’re locked in disagreement and little progress was made.

“I have file drawers full of high-quality anecdotal data showing time and again how bacteria, plants, and so on are all fantastically in tune with each other. Human cells, too, have this primary-perception capability, but somehow it’s gotten lost at the conscious level. Or perhaps we never had such a talent,” said Backster when asked to comment on his work recent interview.

“I suspect that when a person is spiritually advanced enough to handle such perceptions, she or he will become properly tuned in. Until then it might be best not to be tuned in, because of the damage we could cause by mishandling the received information.”

However, a new study published recently in the scientific journal Biomed Central Ecology may have finally tipped the scale in Backster and Bose’s favor. The research demonstrates evidence that plants can indeed communicate with each other, and they do so by using nano-mechanical sound waves.

“We have previously suggested that acoustic signals may offer such a mechanism for mediating plant-plant relationships,” the authors explained in their conclusion. They propose that these acoustic or vibrational signals are produced by a biochemical process within the plant’s cells and are used to communicate both spatial and environmental information to each other.

It is highly likely that this is what Cleve Backster detected nearly fifty years earlier on his rudimentary polygraph tests. Although the exact mechanism is still being explored, the fact remains that plants are sensitive to extremely subtle vibrations produced by any number of environmental stimuli from music to other sentient beings—even thoughts.

This article originally appears in the Fall 2014 Issue of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. You can download a copy of this issue by clicking here or subscribe by clicking here

About The Author

Justin Faerman is the Co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.

SourceWeiler Psi blog

Consciousness At the Cellular Level: The Experiments of Cleve Backster

Image Source.

by Craigweiler, May 7th 2010

Cleve Backster is best known for hooking up a lie detector machine to a plant and discovering that it had emotional responses.  At the time, he was merely curious to find out how fast the leaf he’d hooked up to got the water he’d just given to the plant.  Most of us don’t happen to have a spare polygraph machine just lying around, but then, most of us aren’t one the world’s foremost experts on the use of polygraph machines.
My whole fascinating experience started on February 2, 1966 around seven o’clock in the morning when I was taking a coffee break after working in the polygraph lab all night.  While watering the two lab plants, I wondered if it would be possible to measure the rate at which water rose in one of the plants from the root area into the leaf.  I was particularly curious about the dracaena plant because of its long trunk and long leaves.  Because of the polygraph examiner school I directed, there were plenty of polygraphs on hand.  The polygraph records apparent electrical resistance changes in the skin. (…)
(…) The plant leaf resistance fortunately fell within the 250,000 OHMS instrumentation range and remained balanced within the GSR circuitry for the 56 minutes that followed.   (…)  I immersed the end of a leaf, that was neighboring the electroded leaf, into a cup of hot coffee.  There was no noticeable chart reaction, and there was a continuing downward tracing trend.  With a human, this downward trend would indicate fatigue or boredom.  Then, after about fourteen minutes of elapsed chart time, I had this thought:  As the ultimate plant threat, I would get a match and burn the plant’s eletroded leaf.
At that time, the plant was about fifteen feet away from where I was standing and the polygraph equipment was about five feet away.  The only new thing that occurred was this thought.  It was early in the morning and no other peson was in the laboratory.  My thought and intent was: “I’m going to burn that leaf!”  The very moment the imagery of burning that leaf entered my mind, the polygraph recording pen moved rapidly to the top of the chart!  No words were spoken, no touching the plant, no lighting of matches, just my clear intention to burn the leaf.  The plant recording showed dramatic excitation.  To me this was a powerful, high quality observation.
He decided eventually, not to burn the leaf and in the process find out if the plant would calm down.  (It did. And the book displays the original chart recordings.)  Like so many groundbreaking discoveries, this one came about while the author was looking for something else.  When he discovered something new and interesting, in accordance with the finest of scientific traditions, he pursued it.
At the time, the idea that plants could have consciousness was way way out there.  When He first presented his findings to the AAAS he was treated to the kinds of things better left in middle school,     Since then, science has come a long ways and it turns out that it isn’t such a far fetched idea after all.  (Plant Consciousness?  Are You Kidding Me?  Nope, It’s True)
He discovered that distance was not important and shielding also made no difference.  This is not really surprising as these properties of consciousness have already been observed in hundreds of other parapsychology studies.  He made other, more important discoveries however.  For instance, he discovered that plants reacted to the death of microbes, which led him to test microbes for signs of consciousness.  This was also successful.  He tested among other things, yogurt and human cells, all of which reacted to stimulus.
In testing all these various living things Backster made some important observations about the challenges of the scientific testing of consciousness.  Everything he tested had the ability to change its response and learn.  A process that worked once to elicit a response from organisms or cells would not necessarily work again and these organisms also had the ability to distinguish between real intent and just faking it.  This creates a problem in that the scientific method, which demands repeatability, is somewhat ineffective for the purpose of establishing proof of this phenomena.  Not to mention the fact that skeptics do not take well to the idea that they cannot fool a cup of yogurt.
This is not an unusual problem in probing emotional reactions of humans.  People cannot replicate their emotions on command; for instance, if someone watches a scary movie, they can be frightened only once by it.  A study that attempted to replicate a fear over and over again in the same person would be futile.  Their fear will diminish greatly with each successive attempt until finally it would be non existent.  While there are no studies (that I know of), that specifically address people knowing the difference between real intent and faking it on a purely telepathic level, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that people do indeed do this and indirectly, the 1997 Wiseman and Schlitz staring study (link below) confirms this.
Another important hurdle to successful testing was the interaction of the researcher’s consciousness with the consciousness of the living organic material being tested.  Just as in other areas of consciousness research, researcher intent can play a decisive role in the outcome of the experiment.  This is a confirmation of the groundbreaking staring experiment (Wiseman and Schlitz 1997) where it was shown that in psi experiments, when all other variables were accounted for, skeptics were far less likely to get results beyond mere chance than non-skeptics .  However in Backster’s experiments the test subjects were not people, but plants, eggs, yogurt and human cells.
Cleve Backster eventually solved the problems created by interactions of consciousness by minimizing his personal contact with the test organisms.  He would have someone buy a new plant for instance and get it set up in his office with minimal contact and then automate the process for getting a reaction.  In one case, this involved an automated device dumping brine shrimp into a pot of boiling water at random intervals. Everyone had to leave the office during the experiment and be engaged in something else in order to prevent their intent from interacting with the experiment.  Only when this type of protocol was carefully followed, were positive results consistently achieved.  You can imagine how hard it would be to get a skeptical researcher who did not take the idea of consciousness seriously to begin with to follow this kind of protocol.  He states on page 124 of his book:
The idea I have tried to project is that if you are doing consciousness research you may well be communicating your intent, which could alter the outcome of your experiment.  The conventional planned research project, by design, has no spontaneity.  I have found spontaneity to be a necessary ingredient for prompting meaningful evidence of the existence of a primary perception and the resulting biocommunication manifested.
Although a lot of people claim that they have replicated my experiments, they in all probability have repeated the capability to witness spontaneous examples of biocommuncation at work.  That’s fine; it’s one big step in the right direction.  But unfortunately, it doesn’t meet the prescribed repeatability requirements allowing for the accumulation of acceptable empirical data.  It does indeed seem that the resent day requirements of the scientific method really restrict one’s success in truly understanding primary perception and the biocommunication phenomena.
Those who did take it seriously though, were able to replicate the experiments.  The Advanced Human Technology Agency of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command was successful  (1983); by Rollin McCraty at HeartMath Institute and duplicated in Russia in the 1970’s and reported in the Russian textbook entitled, Parapsychology and Contemporary Science by A.P. Dubrov and V. N. Pushkin.
The idea of consciousness at the cellular level in humans lends credibility to the idea of cellular memory (This is a concept that has been formulated following anecdotal accounts of transplant recipients undergoing personality changes.) as well as the theory made popular by Louise L. Hay that we store emotional trauma in various parts of our body and releasing this trauma can heal that area of the body.
To me, this is yet one more demonstration that consciousness is part of reality, (I addressed it in this post:  Consciousness Is Part of Reality, Not a Trick of Evolution)  The data is completely consistent with this theory.  It is yet another piece of science that provides us clues to the nature of consciousness and fills in the blanks for psychic people, such as myself, to better understand what we are dealing with.
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