Writing: Research Constellations and Worldviews
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This is Part Two of a three part article, originally published in an international, peer-reviewed journal (The Knowing Field) addressed to the worldwide community of family constellation practitioners. Though each article stands somewhat on its own, it is not possible to repeat previous expositions in each one. Clickable references to the relevant sections of previous articles as published in this journal are given to you as needed. Please feel to click on them for quick refreshers or updates if you haven't read the Part One.
The term "phenomenology" is also used here as it has been adopted in the constellation community, and means "to see freshly only what is." I have argued in Part One that this is not possible, namely that subjectivity is always present (Reddy, ijhca). Still that is what this term means in the original context of these articles—even though it has different, even opposite meanings in other contexts.
Synopsis of Part One
Part One of this series (Reddy, ijhca) began with a short introduction of the Family Constellation transgenerational healing modality. The constellation perspective is that descendants can inherit and suffer from unprocessed trauma of their ancestors (Reddy, ijhca2). This is different from personal trauma in that those suffering did not actually have the experiences from which that suffering arises.
The process of doing a group constellation to reveal and relieve these inherited ancestral traumas is a focused kind of unscripted psychodrama (Reddy, ijhca1). Part One also sketches the origins of this whole-systems oriented healing modal (Reddy, ijhca3)
To focus the discussion, it singled out five effects we observe regularly in constellations (repeated here for your convenience in Figure 1).
Figure 1. Observed Constellation Effects
The scientific mainstream prejudges this work and these effects as "impossible." The historical and social origins of this judgment were identified, and contrasts were made with an emerging, also empirical perspective, that is far more supportive.
Part One points out that scientific materialism is a paradigm that organized vast growth in human knowledge. It created a cohesive social system designed to maximize its explanatory power. As a result, it marginalizes whatever it cannot explain (Reddy, ijhca4, and following). Historically, however, findings that challenge such paradigms always accumulate. Eventually, an intellectual and social upheaval gives rise to a new, more inclusive integration of the current knowledge of that time period (Kuhn, 1962).
In the upheaval leading to the current scientific paradigm, a feminine, organic, deeply interrelated view of Nature was replaced by the mathematical, mechanical, "clockwork universe" (Reddy, ijhca5, and following). Blind adherence to its seven core assumptions, however, creates not science but "scientism" (Reddy, ijhca6, and following) [new reference]). Dialogues the family constellation community needs to have about the validity and implications of the five effects must be with genuine scientists, not "scientism-ists."
In constellation work itself, Part One goes on to say, there are similar tensions between paradigm (the perspective consisting of accumulated knowledge about the typical behavior of transgenerational trauma) and the strong pressure in teaching the process to remain "phenomenological," namely in this context meaning to "see freshly only what is". Yet studies of cognition point out that all our perceptions are highly structured by culture, language, and individual experience--before we even become conscious of them (Reddy, ijhca7, and following).
In essence, whether it is science, the growth of constellation's own systemic perspective, or the carrying out of individual constellations — success involves the same process — careful application of top-down generalities balanced by open-minded, fluid, bottom-up attention to particularities (Reddy, ijhca8, Figure One). Whether in immediate cognition or historical shifts in larger paradigms, mind and intuition work best by "zig-zaging" up and down between these two poles.
The Dual Network Model
In Part Two, I will begin to flesh out Part One's suggestion that we look for explanations of our five constellation effects initially in terms of two forms of networks—"local" and "non-local." The term "network" is most appropriate because it specifies any arrangement of hubs and interconnections capable of transferring information or effects—regardless of how those interconnections relate to time or space.
The more commonly adduced notion that the five effects are the result of a "field" is a useful metaphor, but it limps as a model. A "field" in physics or math varies continuously across time and space. What we are dealing with here does not. It ignores time and space.
The local network works through in most cases reasonably well-understood interactions between human organisms (that is, speech, body language, touch, biofields, etc). It has two configurations of interest to us. One is the workshop circle, facilitator, client, and the actual configuration of representatives on the floor. The other is the physical family of the client — its historical unfolding in the flesh. In Part Three we will look more closely at this local aspect .
In Part Two, we focus on the other kind of network. It is very different, still quite mysterious, but, most importantly — increasingly necessary to quantum physics. Though I called it "remote" in Part One, here I follow more accepted usage — and call it "non-local." This denotes not "far away," but rather "strictly unaffected by space." To it, most often, "a-temporal" is added, denoting a similar independence from time.
Together, "non-local a-temporal" designates a vast, intimately interconnected substratum that gives rise to our time and space bound physical reality. In fact, we don't begin know how this network works or could be embodied. But, increasingly, as an explanatory model, we need to postulate its existence.
A worldview for constellation effects
The clockwork universe of classical physics rests on the assumption of absolute, grid-like time and space. Forces, matter, and energy can affect each other only when they have moved or spread to the same "place," and that takes "time." In the extreme positivist form of this view, nothing else exists, and everything, including human beings and consciousness, must be explained by interactions of these three.
Thus conceived, if representatives in constellations are not talking, seeing, smelling, touching or emanating electromagnetic waves (that is, if they are not using the local network) — then they cannot interact even with one another, much less with distant or dead relatives.
For representative perception (non-local perceptions of representatives in constellations—see Figure One) to make sense, what would be needed? Human beings standing in the constellation would have to access valid information in a way that bypasses space and time. Living members of the family system are not present. Some events and issues are not current.
And some members are no longer even alive. If resolutions cascade and positively affect family members alive but not present, then the representatives and/or the workshop as a whole must also create access for these people to information that bypasses time and space.
I have called the healings that affect the client "induced systemic" (see Figure One) because, in my view, it is the cascade of effects to and from the whole family system (and not merely the client's local experience) that makes these healings happen. The changes to a whole system, again unconstrained by time and space, feed back and now support (as opposed to burden) the client.
Effective personifications (see Figure One) also reach forward and backward in time. The behavior of a representative for "the new job" can show both the systemic block (past, present), and the way forward (future). In the end, only familial entanglements (see Figure One) — via bonding and, increasingly, also epigenetics — have any chance of being explainable in the classical materialist worldview. And this will be looked at carefully in Part Three.
A new empirical perspective then that supports our work has to be one in which particles, forces, time, and space all become what are called "epiphenomena." That is, just as physicists now tell us that the apparent solidity of a chair (the epiphenomenon, a useful everyday illusion) actually consists of tiny atoms vibrating with vast volumes of empty space between them — similarly, a worldview that can help explain constellation effects is going to have to say that particles, forces, time and space are useful technological illusions that arise from some deeper actuality.
This deeper level of existence has to be so well interconnected that it can allow what we experience as instantaneous access, via our "emotional bodyminds," to almost anything strongly relevant or resonant. What's interesting here, as well as awe-inspiring, is that this is where so much open-minded science is heading —independent of what is needed to explain constellations.
In essence, my claim here will be that the five effects observed in constellations require pretty much the same kind of reformulated worldview that physicists are forced to postulate to explain their observed effects. We survey next some of the observations and theories of quantum physics, to lend credence to this claim.
Relativity and early quantum physics
Physics, that most material and empirical of sciences, has run head on into experimental results that require much the same kind of deeper version of "reality" that we do in exploring family constellations. Included in these developments is a collision with what materialistic science sees as the ultimate epiphenomenon — consciousness itself.
Here are some major steps in this century-long evolution.
Space Time Interdependence — To make sense of decisive experiments, Albert Einstein had to conclude that the uniform grid of space actually shrank the faster one traveled, while the tickings of the iconic clock got further apart with accelerated speed. Observers moving differently could perceive two events in reversed time order. For each, a different one would come first. This was called "special relativity."
Gravitational Warping — For Newton, gravity was a pull exerted by massive bodies on one another, dependent upon distance. But if space-time stretched and shrank, then gravity too should be different for different observers. But it doesn't behave that way. In his "general relativity," Einstein resolved the problem by changing his blended space-time even further. The tendency of bodies to attract one another, he said, was actually a curving or warping of space-time created by their mass.
Discontinuous Energy Emissions—Max Planck explained other anomalous results by pulling a size constant out of thin air. If, he declared, we assume that atoms can only radiate energy in discrete packets, or quanta, based on this exact size — then these anomalous results can be explained. Scientists scoffed until Einstein resolved a different sub-atomic problem using the same size constant. As more and more explanations came to depend upon "Planck's constant," quantum theory was born.
The Wave-Particle Duality — as quantum theory evolved, not merely light, but eventually matter also was shown to manifest sometimes as particles, and as waves at other times and in other circumstances. As particles, matter could be located, roughly at least, somewhere in space. But waves, even though they might be bigger near some location, were actually spread out everywhere. And they interpenetrated by adding to and subtracting from one another. In the light of this, we start to ask: Is separation (even in blended, warped space-time) really as fundamental as had been thought?
The Observer Effect — An even deeper problem arose when something truly unprecedented was discovered. Whether sub-atomic entities manifest in wave form or in particle form depended totally on experimental choices made by scientific observers. Physicists were forced to declare that — until observation coalesced it into physical form — the entire subatomic universe existed only as a non-material fuzz of probabilities. Was conscious awareness is co-creating the external world?
Rosenbaum and Kuttner, two very grounded physics professors, sum up these results as follows:
A photon, an electron, an atom, a molecule — in principle any object — can be either compact or widely spread out. You can show something to be either bigger than a loaf of bread or smaller than an atom. You can choose which of these two contradictory features to demonstrate. The physical reality of an object depends on how you choose to look at it. (Rosenbaum and Kuttner, 2006, p. 67)
Later quantum discoveries
As these kinds of paradoxical results accumulated, scientists and philosophical "realists" alike struggled to make sense of them. If linear space and time were not fundamental features of the physical world, from what did they then arise?
If the free choice of physicists caused something interconnected and immaterial to crystallize out into one form versus or another — then how could "the world" be objectively "out there"? At the same time, even as the interpreters were baffled, the equations worked perfectly — and led to both further paradoxical experiments and astonishing new technologies.
Quantum Entanglement — Though the maximum speed limit for energy and information flow is that of light, some pairs of particles ignore it. A measurement on one can determine the outcome of a second measurement on an arbitrarily distant, "entangled" particle — instantaneously (Schumacher, 2009, p 55-58). How do they know to behave the same way if there is literally no time to communicate? Are two particles thus entangled, even if galaxies apart, not actually separate entities?
Quantum Coherence — Near the temperature of absolute zero, electrons in a wire seem to lose their individual identity, and thus joined, become able to "superconduct." They flow without any resistance. Giant magnets are built this way (Rosenbaum and Kuttner, 2006, p. 121), since the electrical current creating the magnetic field flows effortlessly when a "doughnut" of wires is super-cooled. In another example, even at room temperature, a laser assembles light waves of all the same length, whose peaks and troughs are all exactly aligned. This "coherent" light can perform many "laser" miracles ordinary light cannot.
Holography—When a coherent light beam is split, and one half is directed straight to a photographic plate, while the other reflects from an apple (for example) to the plate—the waves add and subtract to form a meaningless "interference" pattern of squiggles. But shining the same coherent light on that pattern produces the well-known 3D image (the "hologram") viewable from any angle.
Chop the squiggles into smaller chunks, and each one reflects, not smaller pieces of the apple, but rather fuzzier pictures of the whole apple. So each part of the squiggles contains the whole. It turns out that the amount of information that can be stored in wave interference patterns, and the kinds of access involved are truly revolutionary (Talbot, 1992). This begins to hint at how the non-local, a-temporal network postulated here might convey information.
The Zero Point Field — The equations of quantum theory had an odd mathematical constant in them that implied that some energy was still present at the temperature of absolute zero. Since this was thought to be, by definition, "impossible," earlier physicists simply subtracted this amount to make things work out right.
Later generations, however, took this constant more seriously. This resulted in the notion that energetic wave interference patterns, constantly arising, constantly canceling each other out — were at the root of the physical universe. There have been well-funded research programs to tap this immense energy source for space travel (McTaggert, 2008, p. 34-35). Serious theorists look into the possibility that this all-pervasive "zero point field" could, in a kind of cosmic hologram — be recording a history of the entire universe (McTaggert, 2008, p. 26).
(My reference reference list contains a number of grounded, yet non-mathematical and accessible sources should you wish to pursue these developments further: see Kaku, 2005; Rosenbaum and Kuttner, 2006; Schumacher, 2009 and 2010; Whittle, 2011; and Wolfson 2000). DVD's published by The Teaching Company are excellent college level courses with accompanying books, taught by celebrated professors.)
Ultimately, this new physics has proved to be the most well-verified and productive theory ever formulated. It has opened up a Pandora's box of inventions that alternately dazzle and terrify us. Beyond holograms and superconductors, think of transistors and MRIs; of nuclear power and atom bombs.
At the same time, it has left scientists, and the to some extent the public alike, peering into a landscape frighteningly like Alice's wonderland, as I've tried to explain in the preceding sections on quantum theory (Wolfson, 2000, pp. 89-136; Rosenbaum and Kuttner, 2006; Schumacher, 2009).
As we might expect, based on Kuhn's model of historical paradigm shifts (Reddy, 2011, pp. 56-57), a confusing intellectual and social upheaval is in full swing. If consciousness does not arise from material reality, but rather the reverse is the truth—then how many different theories (and even the institutions dedicated to them) would have to be changed?
The advancement of human knowledge needs what Dean Radin calls "conservatives" as well as "liberals" (Radin, 2006, p. 282). The former put a higher value on preserving the value and consistency of hard-won, well-established integrations. Conservatives guard what I have called the top-down movement.
Liberals, however, point to the fact that novel ideas, which lead continually to the big discoveries, always appear initially unlikely or crazy. What later becomes dogma is often ridiculed earlier on. So liberals try hard to see that the paradigm does not become a blind catechism. They work to induce bottom-up movements of new concepts and innovative paradigms.
By and large, rank and file researchers and engineers have been taught to use the successful quantum equations and resolutely ignore the questions and controversies about the meanings of modern physics.
Moderates and liberals who dared to think about it at all split for a long time among three different interpretations of quantum theory (Schumacher, 2009, p. 89-91), and fell back on the idea that its non-local, a-temporal aspects were strictly subatomic (Rosenbaum and Kuttner, 2006, pp. 127-129). Scientifically trained radicals have gone much further and claimed that the new physics validates age-old Eastern philosophical and spiritual teachings (Capra, 1975; Wilson, 1999; Gaswami 2004; Wolf 2007).
Beyond this, popular claims about quantum physics have become both clichéd and wildly metaphorical. We could, for example, assert here that the theories of quantum entanglement "support" what we call familial entanglement, or that sub-atomic coherence is what happens among representatives in a constellation, as they somehow tune in to family system not present.
And while these are the kind of intriguing hints that can provide fertile directions for research, and many great scientists have followed such leads with great success — it does not help to speak of them on the same terms as empirical results. This rightfully angers honest scientists, and damages the kind of communication we need.
More recently, as a younger generation of physicists takes the reins, some of the conservative vs. liberal polarization is on the wane and there is a refreshing openness to considering new ideas. Whereas before there were three, now there are ten different interpretations of quantum results (Rosenbaum and Kuttner, 2006, pp. 158-169).
And over the last decade, experiments have demonstrated the wave-particle duality in increasingly large molecules, so that it is now more widely accepted that there is no size boundary (Vedral, 2011). Quantum effects may be involved in how the brain works (Radin, 2006, p. 258). And what seems to be a more even-handed look from the physics community at all sides of the situation has appeared in Rosenbaum and Kuttner's book, Quantum Enigma — Physics Encounters Consciousness (2006).
The firmer conclusion we can draw here is this: For so many reasons, the most basic physical science requires what we call the non-local, a-temporal network, and scientists are actively pursuing better understandings of it through both theory and experiment. So if the community of constellation facilitators needs to postulate a similar underlying network to explain constellation effects (or for that matter, effects observed in other energy-based healing modalities) - it cannot be validly argued that our doing so is somehow any more or less "absurd." We are all in similar boats, and possibly even in the same boat.
At the same time, we are all employing different terminology. Following Albrecht Maher (2004), in family constellations we speak of the "knowing field." But it does not just "know," it makes things happen as well. Rupert Sheldrake speaks of "morphogenetic fields" (Sheldrake, 2009). They remember things and build habits that drive the creation of forms, but we don't know how.
Physics talks of the "zero point field," which appears to have vast capacity for information storage and retrieval – anytime, anywhere. It also makes things happen. Theosophists and occultists have long spoken of the "Akashic Records," which have similarly recorded everything that ever happened (Wikipedia, 2011a). And Franz Rupert, following Erwin Laslo, talks of "the sub-quantum field" (Rupert, 2008, p. 254).
It is hard not to think that all of these different terminologies are coalescing around the same thing. Whatever else, it seems safe to say initially that it has some form of network structure. The more popular term in alternative circles is to call it a "field." Let me point out again, however, that a field varies continuously in time and space, whereas a network simply connects hubs and nodes without any assumption of continuity, apart from these connections. Time and space don't matter.
Hence, my decision to call what we are postulating in family constellations simply, "the non-local network." The most likely models we can create of it are arrangements of interconnections and hubs capable of conveying information and effects. I think of it as "the InnerNet." And in fact, the workings of the Internet are at this point the best analogy we have for the InnerNet.
Social Conscience, historical trauma, and scientific reality
Scientific communities engaged in basic research also have distributed, collective, social intelligences — or "souls." The same need to belong we see in families influences the kinds of observations, methods and explanations that are acceptable in academia and research circles. Basic research in turn shapes our everyday worldview. We might say then that not merely what is morally right, but also — for all of us — what is real is deeply influenced by belonging to a like-minded group.
This insight has generated, over the last fifty years, a vast, and often argumentative literature in various disciplines, focused on the "social construction of reality" (for example, Kuhn, 1962; Berger and Luckmann, 1966; Pickering 1984; Hacking, 1999; Tomaschek, 2006; Goldman, 2006; Sparrer, 2007). Regardless of precisely how strong this influence is, there are systemic implications related to the constellation perspective for us here that have not appeared in these arguments.
As pointed out in Part One (Reddy, ijhca 4, and following), the social conscience of the scientific materialist community is shaped by fairly obvious institutional, financial, and political forces. Researchers need jobs, grants, and the respect of their colleagues. But something deeper is going on as well. Consider again the widespread, largely unconscious use of metaphors of "social regulation" to describe the findings of physical science (Reddy, ijhca8). The universe "goes on obeying the quantum-mechanical laws of physics," says one leading physicist. We hear that Maxwell's equations govern the behavior of electricity and magnetism. Thermodynamics regulates the flow of heat.
This is what happens, one might speculate, when the epistemological balance is lost, and top-down takes over — when cart of explanation is put before the horse of phenomena. In classical, Newtonian reality, at least, the universe simply does things, and is in no way constrained by the patterns we cobble together to explain it. Perhaps this manner of speaking is merely an outdated survival from the previous Ptolemaic paradigm, which was in fact authority based. Maybe forcing students to use the patterns carefully as they learn to predict events becomes confused with forcing the universe to behave. Perhaps even a piece of wishful thinking creeps in here.
Regardless, social regulation metaphors exert influence on what can be experienced. "Don't look for anything different," they imply, "it cannot be there." And from disciplining the wayward student to crushing dissident observations is unfortunately no great distance. Indeed, criminalization of ideas is splashed, usually in blood-soaked colors, across the pages of human history. Think of the Inquisition, or Galileo's imprisonment. In milder, but still recognizable form, destruction of reputations and livelihoods is still perpetrated — regardless of the integrity of their methods — on researchers who document anomalous, sufficiently paradigm-challenging phenomena (McTaggert, 2008, pp 63-69, pp. 39-60). Jacques Benveniste suffered humiliation and loss of career over findings that have since been confirmed and built upon by others (Pollack, pp. 20-23).
Arthur C. Clark, the well-known "hard" science fiction writer, has a famous "third law." "Any sufficiently advanced technology," it says, "will be indistinguishable from magic" (Wikipedia, 2011a). Look carefully at magic, it admonishes, because it will be your children's science. This seems obvious, especially these days, does it not? Yet while mainstream scientists apply Clarke's law constantly to their forbearers, the blindness with which so many exempt themselves from it is bewildering. They were wrong, goes the refrain, but now we've got it right.
Yet, in the experience of the constellation community, when descendents reject their ancestors, we expect entanglements, that is, subconscious, hidden loyalties. And it is not hard to point to a large, historical trauma that could be the source of the deeper problem here. Recall that a previous paradigm involved an organic, mystically interconnected, feminine view of Nature. As the pendulum swung towards rationalism, reductionism, and empiricism, the attendant social upheaval involved an onslaught against the old view — and against women in particular who excelled at it (most prominently, wise-women healers). Think of the witch-hunts and again of inquisitions. There is a deep perpetrator-victim dynamic in the evolution of worldviews here.
Now, as the findings of quantum physics swing the perspective back towards a neo-organic, quasi-mystical interconnectedness, scientific materialists may well be identifying with the perpetrators. They are in a real sense their direct descendents (Merchant, 1990). The difficulty these materialists face in opening their minds to things that seem "psychic" should perhaps also be seen as a subconscious hidden loyalty. And practitioners of energy based healing methods, particularly family constellation practitioners, in turn, coming from the "paranormal" side, should consider whether they are unconsciously loyal to the victims.
Constellating the intellectual tribes
Constellation work and other energy based modalities find themselves in profoundly paradigm-challenging positions. We need to both immunize ourselves, on the one hand, and realize on the other that our kind of healing (constellations in particular) is needed here. When research-based results, or large areas of valid anecdotal experience are condemned as "absurd," or "ridiculous" — this is not part of any search for truth.
This is social flag waving, at best, and, at worst, intellectually disguised body-blows. Just as Hellinger (who synthesized family constellations) has said that we need to develop a larger, more universal, ethical conscience, so the world needs to develop a larger, more widely-shared "noetic" conscience. Morality and the way in which the human quest for knowledge shape reality go hand-in-hand. Both need to rise above the level of blind competition in the social or intellectual tribes.
One thing such a larger ethical awareness might do is compare absurdities. A physicist these days is lauded for asserting that untold billions of imperceptible parallel universes branch off every time every person sees or chooses one action versus another. But constellators are scoffed at for claiming to observe Induced Systemic Healings and Cascading Resolutions (see Figure One) that make people's lives better. Yet, honestly, which is more testable? Which result is more immediately valuable to the human condition?
Another physicist can argue that an unobserved cat, whose termination depends on a quantum event, must be simultaneously dead and alive. The behavior of the human representative for a disease, constellators assert, via effective personification (See Figure One), can provide valid information about the cure. Isn't the second actually somewhat less difficult to conceive? A more even-handed look at how extreme, how verifiable in principle, and how meaningful to wholesome human affairs various groups' absurdities might be is long overdue.
The encounter for us is not simply about interesting scientists in researching what we observe. Just as we work to heal larger historical wounds by constellating the traumatic social and political interactions of ethnic and national groups — so these bitter interactions in the quest for human knowledge need to be constellated as well. The social rifts between the intellectual tribes are damaging the larger whole. So-called discussions are too often clashes of unexamined loyalties.
In addition, where possible, we must try to make scientists aware of the impacts of tribal membership on both ethics and the shape of reality. Those with initially open minds will hopefully be able to understand this, see the patterns the constellation perspective sees, and begin to move the social consensus pendulum towards a more balanced position.
Parapsychology — the great exclusion
So how, then, do humans access the non-local network? In answer to this question, we must consider another large body of research on psychic (also called "psi") effects. Doing so risks mainstream ridicule, because, as just explained — in the Western worldview, it is the great, historical, systemic exclusion. Still, there are signs of some shifting. Physicists Rosenbaum and Kuttner point out that polls show over half of American and British people believe in the reality of various "psi" effects. (2006, p.197). These physicists say,
...since paraphenomena are often linked with the mysteries of quantum mechanics ... competent researchers claiming to display such phenomena should not simply be dismissed out-of-hand. Such out-of-hand dismissal can be seen as arrogant is apparently ineffective. (p 197)
The US National Science Foundation believes that this same majority of people is either stupid or ignorant because it holds to this belief. But its own study shows that 62% of those with more than a high school education subscribe, whereas only 46% of those with less than a high school education do so. So less intelligent, poorly trained people are not the ones doing the believing (Radin 2006, p. 35, and p. 305 footnote 2).
Suppose, then, you were to read, even from the viewpoint of healthy skepticism:
My bet is that any truly honest skepticism (as opposed to social loyalties and hidden loyalties) would be hard-put to survive. Literally thousands of studies have been carried out by independent researchers over decades, challenged mercilessly for their methods, improved, and still ended up showing results that are wildly improbable in terms of mere chance. The odds against chance here are often far higher than those used to show that a drug is "highly effective" — including such commonplace staples as aspirin (McTaggert, 2008, p. 117).
To show that the studies are not unrepresentative flukes, researchers have compiled the results of hundreds of such studies in meta-analyses. These have also been challenged mercilessly, improved upon, and given a clean bill of health (Radin, 2006, p. 102 and following). Radin (2006) argues convincingly that precognition, retro-cognition, remote viewing, and the sense of being stared at are rigorously supported in laboratory conditions. He analyzes in detail the arguments of a variety of skeptics. From any kind of open-minded position, one is left wondering if perhaps the following quote contains a grain of truth:
When a belief is widely held in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we call it superstition. By that criterion, the most egregious superstition of modern times, perhaps of all time, is the "scientific" belief in the non-existence of psi. (Radin, 2006, p. 35, quoting Tomas Ettter, referenced in footnote 1 p. 305)
Conclusion: if consciousness comes first
Having noted the above, none of this is to suggest that, as a professional community, constellators themselves (or other energy based healers) should engage in finger pointing. Instead, on the intellectual level, we need to understand and emphasize the commonality between what we do and what scientists do. Family Constellation methods are significantly less formal. The constellation community has ventured deeper in many ways than physics, or even psychology, into both human social complexity and the still hard to understand non-local, a-temporal landscape.
But we are on a similar, ultimately experimental quest for practical knowledge. We share the same top-down, bottom-up tensions that are so evident in all perception, cognition, and every scientific field. And, as I hope Part Two has made clear to you, what guantum physicists need to postulate to provide explanations on their levels is much the same thing family constellation work must postulate to better understand its effects.
It is possible that the perspective and the process of constellations could play an important role in bridging these intellectual and social gaps. What if unresolved, unconscious social loyalties to colleagues in a given field, as well as to the intellectual ancestors of that field, do stand in the way of shared understandings? Applied to the resolution of major disputes about large scientific paradigms, the constellation perspective invites us to look for and begin to resolve these loyalties as part of the quest for better understanding.
And the group process (again, resembling unscripted psychodrama) provides a whole-systems way of imaging and beginning to shift those loyalties. This suggests that constellation practitioners, in particular, need not only to interest open minded scientists in what they do, but might well also try to disseminate wider understanding of the reality of inherited trauma as it relates to the communal search for truth.
But let's reframe that phrase "search for truth" — because it assumes the objective, materialistic perspective. Suppose our evolving Western worldview does turn in the direction of placing consciousness first, acknowledging that material reality arises from it, and not vice versa. This will likely involve a profound reorientation. Society may have to accept that, based on the influences of family, language, and tribal affiliations, individual human consciousnesses construct social and physical realities that overlap only partially with those of other people.
If that is the case, then "truth," objectivity, and fairness in personal and political interactions are not given. They come to exist only if the hard work of cooperating and communicating succeeds in making those semi-private realities overlap more rather than less. In my view, family constellations could make a large contribution to such an effort.
As we look now towards Part Three of the series, much of the groundwork is laid. Hopefully, it is clear that quantum physicists, in their way, are encountering non-local, a-temporal phenomena just as we are. What we observe, though harder to study formally, is no more or less "impossible" than what they observe. We turn then, in the next issue, to the local network and closer discussion of the five constellation effects.
Acknowledgements and References
Thanks to Jenifer Altman, Dan Booth Cohen, Barbara Morgan, who worked with me on Part Two, and all those who helped with earlier drafts of this series, especially Dan Booth Cohen, Chris Walsh, and Jane Peterson.
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Capra, F. (1975). The Tao of Physics: an Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. New York: Bantam.
Goldman, S. L. (2006). Science wars. what scientists know and how they know it : course guidebook. Chantilly, VA: Teaching.
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Hacking, I. (1999). The social construction of what? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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