being natural, human being, Intelligence, less is better, natural, Taoist, Uncategorized

A New Central Purpose

There was a time when I wrote a lot about the importance of having a clear, heartfelt central purpose.  The central purpose of anything – a nation, a business, a colony of ants, a human being – largely determines the nature of that thing, its parts, its processes, as well as its ethics and its qualities. I woke up this morning remembering that I need to apply this to myself!

Recently, I seem to be drifting. Perhaps it is the aftereffect of last year’s double trauma – Ana’s broken leg and mine. Perhaps it is because I am a kind of polymath, with wide-ranging knowledge and too many interests. In any event, it is time I focused. It is time for a clear, heartfelt central purpose. But how will I find it?

I know that I could focus on intelligent simplicity. After all, I have written much about it, and it is a natural sequel to my book Full Spectrum Intelligence. Not only that, it is pregnant with ideas and practises that will be new for many people…such as “being fully human”, the Law of Reverse Effort, “being natural”, and being a 21st Century Taoist. Yes, it would clearly be interesting, and no doubt useful, to produce a book, as well as podcasts and videos. But the question remains: is this my central purpose? Perhaps a better question would be: is this my central purpose for the moment? It could well be. However, this still leaves me wondering whether there is something deeper going on, something even more heartfelt.

Writing these words brings to mind the Galileo Commission, which I initiated in 2016, and in which I was actively involved for a while. Too actively, I think, because it led to a nervous breakdown at the end of 2017, and my leaving the Commission. What I originally intended the project to be was to find practical ways to bridge the immense gap between science and esoteric knowledge. I had felt, even since the early 60s, that this was my life’s mission. That was when I discovered that esoteric knowledge could be accessed directly through one’s “inner senses”. These are organs of perception, dormant in most of us, that enable us to have direct experience of the non-physical aspects of the world/Cosmos and the human being. Some would call these aspects “spiritual”, but this word can be misleading.

I am giving you the highly condensed version when I say that science, as it is currently understood and practised, gives us only parts of the picture, the physical parts. Esoteric knowledge complements this, by giving us the other (non-physical) parts. As it happens, the project (the Commission) quickly morphed in “expanding the range of science”, to include paranormal phenomena and experiences, as well as some aspects of mind and consciousness that science currently struggles with. I was very disappointed that esoteric knowledge was not more explicitly included. I believe that this remains a crucially important bridge to be built, but I wonder whether I have the energy and will to reinitiate it. That said, it does feel like my heartfelt central purpose.


Does God Exist?

The answer to this question, of course, depends entirely on what the word “God” means. The fact is that it means so many different things to different people tells us that there can be no single correct answer. I will try to answer the question as I understand the word “God”. In doing so, I am immediately aware that I need to look at my own core beliefs…my own worldview, if you like. This is not as easy as it may seem.

I now realise, possibly for the first time, that at the heart of my belief-system is the belief that, when compared to all possible knowledge, about all possible things, I understand very little. I totally agree with Karl Popper, who said that our knowledge is always finite, but our ignorance is always infinite!

I understand very little. And I say this despite that fact that I have had a very good continuing education, and that I read very widely. There is just so much that we do not understand. Here are just a few examples:

We, meaning all of us, have no idea how the Cosmos began, if indeed “began” is the appropriate word. Scientists have advanced many theories (Big Bang, “singularity”, and so on) but they don’t really know.

We don’t know the deeper nature of the Cosmos. Yes, we know quite a lot about its physical and material aspects, but beyond this we are fumbling in the dark.

We do not know how life began on this planet. Again, scientists think they know – it happened by chance! – but they are only speculating.

As for other questions, such as “What is mind?”, “What is consciousness?” and “What is spirit?”, we struggle with these questions. Not surprisingly, scientists attempt to find answers rooted in the physical, the material, so they claim that mind and consciousness are both functions of the brain. They claim this, despite much good evidence that neither mind nor consciousness are limited to the brain. As for “spirit”, they tend to ignore that question.

You may be wondering where this is all leading. The answer is mystery. Not a mystery, just mystery itself.

I define “mystery” as that which eludes my understanding, and probably always will. I think it significant that scientists are encountering more and more mystery as they attempt to penetrate deeper in the nature of matter, life, and the Cosmos. As Alan Watts could have told them, decades ago, the more you try to understand mystery, the more it will elude your understanding. If you doubt this, just think quantum physics!

For me, personally, God is one and the same as mystery. I am content to accept that mystery will always elude me, and that I will never understand God. In this sense, at least, I am a good Taoist! It reminds me of a phrase I picked while attending the Church of Scotland in the 1950s. The phrase was “beyond all understanding”. For some reason this made a big impression on, and it still does. It seems clear that when we apply the rational mind to mystery, we always end up with more mystery.

That said, understanding is not the same as knowing. The best way I can think of describing the difference is that understanding is the successful response to questions such as “What?”, “How?” and “Why?”, whereas knowing is direct connection. Thus, I know you because I am connected to you in some way. But I may not understand you!

More generally, I can know mystery, even though I do not understand it. It follows that I can know God (as mystery), because I am connected to God, but I cannot put this into words, because I do not understand at the rational level.

At this point, you surely cannot expect me to try to explain what is “beyond all understanding”!


global change, Intelligence, Uncategorized

The Devil’s Delusion

This is the title of a book by David Berlinski. As the title may suggest, it is a refutation of the arguments set out in Richard Dawkin’s “The God Delusion”. I have read quite a few good refutations of Dawkins, but none as good as this one. It is short, always to the point, and well argued and written. I highly recommend it.

If you know Dawkins’ work, you will know he is a militant atheist. He is at pains to show that God does not, and cannot, exist. I do not think it an oversimplification to say that his argument is as follows:

There is no scientific evidence for the existence of God.

In any event, there is no need for God, because science has shown how the universe began, how life got stated, and how we human beings have evolved to what we are today.

Science may not have all the answers, but it will eventually. (I believe that the inference is that science’s “truths” are the best truths)

Berlinski refutes all of this, with very compelling arguments. I am much more convinced by Berlinski than by Dawkins. But this raises an interesting question: why are Dawkins’ book and arguments so well known and so widely accepted, and why are Berlinski’s book and arguments so little known? Is it because of the zeitgeist? Is it because we are living through very materialistic times, this reflected in the current predominance of the beliefs and worldview of science? There is no doubt that this is part of the reason. However, I think it is also because we non-materialists tend to be quiet. We tend to keep our beliefs to ourselves, rather than trumpeting them loudly in books, conferences and on YouTube.

All this puts me in mind of the “intellectual dark web”. If you have not come across this, you could do no better than explore the videos put on YouTube by Rebel Wisdom. While some of the content and some of the personalities (notably Jordan Peterson) make compelling viewing, one is left with the impression that much of it is just scientific materialism dressed up in new clothes. For example, much time is devoted to evolutionary biology, of which Dawkins is a big part. To be fair, Jordan Peterson is clearly a fan of Carl Jung and his archetypes, and he appreciates the significance of deep myth, including some of the stories in the Bible. And I am heartened to see that Rupert Sheldrake is getting the airing that his ideas have long deserved. Overall, however, there is little that is new. Yes, it is true that Ken Wilber has made some recent appearances on the IDW, but Ken and his ideas have been around since 1973, the year of his first book “A Spectrum of Consciousness”.

My thoughts about all this are still not fully formed, but I will end this with just one thought. I do believe that there is a need for some new thinking about the big, important things. But I also believe that this needs to go well beyond what Rebel Wisdom seem to be trying to achieve. It needs to include intelligent, open exploration of those topics and questions that are largely ignored by science. The list is alarming long, and it includes unusual forms of consciousness (not induced by drugs), as well as the whole range of so-called paranormal experiences and phenomena. Now, that would be an intellectual web that I would be proud to be part of!


Chris Thomson



Being a Taoist Today

Being a Taoist in today’s world is not easy, partly because it is never easy to be a Taoist, but mainly because today’s world seems to be the antithesis of everything that Taoism stands for. If you are not sure what I mean, let me just say a few words about a typical Taoist, and you will see how this contrasts with the world today.

A typical Taoist is quiet, internally peaceful, very economical, and natural. By this I mean that he (or she) lives in tune with Nature, according to “Nature’s way” (which is one interpretation of the word “Tao”).

Because the Taoist is like this, he is able to use minimum effort, minimum resources, to achieve optimum results. A Taoist does not waste this planet’s resources, nor his own

It goes without saying, I hope, that, if we were all Taoists, we would not be facing the existential problems of climate change and the rapid decline of all this planet’s life-support systems. That part seems clear.

And although I have not fully thought this through, I think it is also clear that if we were all Taoists, we would not have the equally pressing problems of war, poverty, fanaticism, and the infantilisation of society.

Of course, we are not all Taoists. Indeed, many of us seem to be the opposite – noisy, internally at war with ourselves, very uneconomical, and anything but natural. Much has been said and written about why we are this way, and I have no intention of repeating all that. Much less has been said and written on what it would take to transform ourselves radically…into 21st Century Taoists. Reading a good translation of the Tao Te Ching would be a good start. I highly recommend Stephen Mitchell’s version. Beyond that, what would help most, I believe, is to slow down, stop, and become quite inside.


being natural, human being, natural, real magic, Uncategorized

The Return of Magic: Part Four

I said that I would show you how to take the first few steps in real magic- To put this another way, I will show you how to make the paranormal normal.

It may surprise you to hear that you already have these abilities, but only in potential form. They are still asleep, and for most people they will remain asleep all their lives and never be used. Such a waste of human potential! In fact, most human ability remains undiscovered and unused. If you doubt this, then just think about your potential ability to speak, read and write Chinese. If you did not have the potential ability to do this, then no amount of studying and practice would help. But we all know that when you put in time and effort to studying and practising anything, your potential ability comes to the surface, and becomes a useful part of your life. This applies to everything you can do, all your abilities. You are able to do them because you always had the potential to do them.

I speak from experience. It took me four years to master Chinese. My potential ability to do so eventually became actual. The point I want to make here is that what applies to Chinese applies equally to all your other potential abilities. They will remain latent, in state of potential, unless you release them and make them useful by studying, learning and practising. I trust this much is obvious. What may be less obvious is that this principle also applies to magic and paranormal abilities. They too will remain dormant until you start using them. I first discovered this in 1962 when I read Rudolf Steiner’s book “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and How to Attain it”. I will say a few words about this, because it is very relevant.

Steiner wrote that we all have “organs of supersensible perception.” It’s a clumsy term, so I prefer to say “inner senses”. For nearly all of us, our inner senses are fast asleep, and will probably remain this way all our lives. Most people will never even know they exist, and this is because we live in very materialistic times, focusing almost exclusively on the physical aspects of the world. For a very few people, these senses wake up spontaneously, enabling them to see and experience what most people will never see and experience. We usually call these people “psychic”. The importance of Steiner’s book is that he shows that it need not be this way. All of us can, if we wish, take a conscious decision to “awaken” and train our inner senses, and use them in our daily life. I realised that if this was true, then it changed everything. For example, it would give us direct access to “spiritual dimensions”, the non-physical aspects of the world and ourselves. This in turn would radically change the foundations of our knowledge and what we believe to be true and possible. The world and the human being would no longer be just physical in nature, as claimed by science. Instead, we and the world would be seen to be both physical and non-physical. Both would be true. There would be no dichotomy between the material and the spiritual. Matter and spirit would finally be reconciled! That really would change everything. We would no longer be an exploiting, destructive, stupid species, bringing this planet to the edge of destruction. We would become what we are meant to be – a life-enhancing, truly intelligent species.

To cut a long story short, I confirmed for myself that what Steiner said was true. We do have inner senses. They are dormant. Then can be awakened and trained. And they do give us direct experience of the spiritual, non-physical aspects of ourselves and the world. With the use of my inner senses, I was able to see for myself that magic is possible, that the so-called “paranormal” is normal, and that what esoteric literature said about the world was true. All good and exciting, yes, but there was a downside!

The downside was that I learned the hard way that I could not tell anyone about my experiences. This was because I was trying to communicate things that were totally alien to most people. They did not know what I was talking about. They did not experience these things, so how could I? It was not until 1993, some twenty years later, that I felt able to go public. I gave a lecture at a meeting in France of the Scientific and Medical Network. The talk went down well, and the group set me a challenge. They asked me to design accessible courses, so that more people could learn to use their inner senses. That challenge set the tone for work that continues today.

Arguably, the most important thing to know in magic is that the Universe always responds to our questions and our requests. And I do mean always! This is the good news. The bad news is that the Universe will only respond in the precise terms of our questions and requests. The better the questions and requests, the better the responses! If you are not sure what I mean, then just consider the following question: will it rain tomorrow? If you know the answer, you have already taken your first steps towards magic. If you do not, I can help.

The correct answer is: Yes, it will rain tomorrow. And this is because it rains everyday somewhere on this planet. As you can see, the question did not specify a place! If your questions are ambiguous, then the answer given by the Universe will be equally ambiguous. When the King of Thrace went to the Oracle the day before the battle and asked: will the battle be won? He was happy be cause the Oracle said “Yes”. The next day the King was very surprised when lost the battle. He had forgotten to ask the Oracle who would win the battle!

Scientists do not know that the Universe always responds to their questions. They believe that the Universe is lifeless and that it just consists of unconsciousness matter. So they are surprised that when they ask a “particle” question (i.e. an experiment designed to elicit the presence of particles), they get particles in the answer. When they ask a “wave” question, they get waves in the answer. I sometimes feel that the Universe is playing with them!

Similarly, if your requests are unclear and not fully desired, the Universe will respond accordingly. You will not get what you thought you wanted. For example, when a man helped the Greek Gods, they told him he could have anything he wanted. He said that he wanted eternal life. That was a big mistake. Do you know why? Well, he lived forever, but he kept getting older and more decrepit. What he really meant to ask for was eternal youth, but, as happens so often, he got the request wrong. We need to be very careful what we ask for. I can illustrate this with a story about my friend Martin in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Martin used to run workshops for senior executives. He asked them all to say what they most wanted. One guy said: “a house in Mexico”. My friend told him that he would never get it. When asked to explain this, he said that you need to say exactly what house, in exactly what place. Even this was not enough. Your request also needs to specify exactly when you want the house. This is why visualisations do not usually work. People are not specific enough

One more thing – once you have made you unambiguous, specific request, forget about it! You have done your part. Trust the Universe to do the rest. The Universe will respond, but in its own way and in its own time. If you are doing this properly, you will always get a pleasant surprise when your request is granted. It will come when you least expect it, and it will come in a form you could not have imagined. Just try it!




being natural, human being, natural, real magic, Uncategorized

The Return of Magic: Part Three

In Part Two I suggested that the one big think limiting science is the consciousness of scientists. It was for this reason that, two years ago, I initiated the Galileo Commission. Its purpose is to suggest ways of expanding science, so that it can accommodate phenomena it currently cannot, or will not, accommodate. This includes all paranormal experiences, such as telepathy and distant healing; and higher forms of consciousness, such as those obtained by certain kinds of meditation. It also includes the so-called “hard problem of consciousness” – i.e. the fact that science cannot really explain consciousness. Although these are still early days, the signs are encouraging. A large of number of leading scientists and thinkers have become involved, and the Commission’s first report was published in October. You can download a summary at

In the document that set the Commission in motion, I wrote that “science will expand only when scientists expand. Above all, this means expanding their consciousness, as well as the range and depth of their perception.” I wrote this because, at present, science uses only one form of consciousness and perception to explore the world – the physical form. In other words, science relies almost exclusively on evidence obtained through the five senses, and extension to these senses, such as telescopes and microscopes. All scientific instruments are, in effect, extensions of our physical senses. It should therefore come as no surprise that the world scientists see is wholly physical. Indeed, a fundamental belief in science is that the universe, and everything in it, including ourselves, is physical, and only physical. It follows from this belief that everything, including consciousness, can ultimately be understood and explained in terms of the physical. If it cannot, as in the case of paranormal phenomena, then it usually ignored or denied.

It should be obvious, but perhaps it needs to be stated, that what you think the world is largely depends on the “lens” you use to view it. If you wore red spectacles, then everything would look red. Similarly, if you only wear the “physical lens” – you only see the world through your five physical senses – then, of course, the world appears to be wholly physical. The problem, as you may have guessed, is that most scientists do not accept the existence of other (non-physical) forms of perception. If they did, and if they used other forms of perception to study the world and the human being, then science would change out of all recognition. It would be “science of the whole”, rather than “science of the part” (the physical part!) This is why the Galileo Commission is working to encourage scientist to develop and use additional forms of consciousness and perception, in addition to the physical forms.

If this happened, not only would science itself expand, that expansion would have significant consequences for society as a whole. For example, it would create a strong impulse to move us away from our current obsession with materialism, with all that this implies. And I am sure that it would also help people to accept and understand real magic. This, too, would have significant implications.

I said in Part Two that I would outline how to develop additional forms of perception and consciousness. I see now that this will have to wait until I write a little more!


being natural, human being, natural, real magic, Uncategorized

The Return of Magic: Part Two

In Part One I said that real magicians know the deeper nature of the world and the deeper nature of the human being, as well as the significant relationships between these two deeper natures. From this knowledge, and the “esoteric” training associated with it, their unusual abilities flow. Today I will try to explain what I mean by “deeper nature”.

The physicist David Bohm wrote about this in his groundbreaking book “Wholeness and the Implicate Order” (1980). It was his attempt to find an explanation for the strange, “impossible” phenomena of quantum physics. The best known of these is “non-locality” or “entanglement”. This is instantaneous connection, regardless of distance. Scientists discovered that when two sub-atomic particles interact in some way, they retain an eternal and instantaneous connection, regardless of how separate they become from each other. It could be a million miles or a million light years. The connection is always instantaneous – it takes no time to happen. The normal limitations of the speed of light do not apply. It is very significant that this instantaneous connection also applies to time, as well as space. One particle could be in the distant future, or past, it does not make any difference. The two are still instantaneously connected. If this seems impossible, we need to remind ourselves that Einstein and others showed us that space and time are inextricably connected. So much so, that they are effectively a single entity, “space-time”.  To put this idea on a more general basis, it means that everything in the universe – whatever its size or nature – is intimately connected to everything else. This includes us, because we are part of the universe. It is this fact – of total connectivity through space and through time, that makes magic possible.

What was previously believed to be impossible is now known not only to be possible, but also to be a normal characteristic of the universe. Incidentally, these “strange connections” have been experimentally verified many times ever since John Bell first mooted the idea in 1964. (Non-locality is implied in Bell’s Theorem)

I hope it has not escaped your attention that what has become accepted in science actually forms the basis for magic. If instantaneous connection is possible across great distances in space or time, this surely suggests that telepathy (“feeling at a distance”) and precognition (“knowing something before it happens”) are equally possible. I will return later to this theme – the relationships between magic (the paranormal) and the findings of science, because there are other, equally important, findings. Meanwhile, back to Bohm. In essence, Bohm was saying three things, each of which is relevant to magic:


The Cosmos (the universe) is a unified, undivided whole. It does not have separate “parts”. Of course, it is convenient and practical for us to see things as “parts”, but this is only because our normal waking consciousness is restricted to the physical plane, in which “parts” and separateness feel real.

Everything – and I do mean everything! – is intimately and instantly connected to everything else, through space and through time. This includes us.

Our normal daily reality is the “explicate order”. This is underpinned, and constantly informed by, the invisible “implicate order”. It is here where strange connections and magic happen.


Although not all scientists subscribe to these three beliefs, more and more of them do. However, what’s missing from science, but very present in magic, is the form of consciousness (or perception, if you prefer) that enables one to experience the implicate order directly. Scientists have to speculate about it, and they feel the need to have to prove it exists. Magicians have no need to speculate or to prove it exists. They know it exists, because they can see it, just as when you look in the direction of a tree, you see it for yourself and know that it exists. You don’t feel the need to prove anything!

In Part Three I will explore how to “awaken” the form of consciousness that will enable you to experience the implicate order directly for yourself. In doing so, you will see that magic and the “paranormal”, are not only possible, but actually quite normal!