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Friday, September 26, 2008

The Intention Experiment

McTaggert, Lynne. The Intention Experiment. I started this nonfiction book quite a while back and wrote a bit about it here. Finally got through all the quantum physics stuff (whew!), which although interesting, was hard going-- and into accounts of various fascinating experiments. Initially, the brain-strain bogged me down, and I put the book aside, but on returning to it, I was completely immersed.

Offering a scientific look at the power of human consciousness, Lynne McTaggert presents scientific studies conducted by leading researchers at imminent universities and research facilities to show the effects of intention; she examines the way the scientific community approaches the mind over matter debate.

Hmmm. How to describe the idea of "intention" - it the age-old practice of prayer and new-age interest in thought/action, it is quantum physics, shaman and healer, laboratory studies, qi gong, meditation, alternative medicine, spiritual healing, placebo effect, brain frequencies, complex magnetic fields, and quantifiable scientific data. Fact or Fantasy?

How can an individual's intention to harm a plant produce a quantifiable scientific effect?

How can meditating Tibetan Buddhist monks in a drafty Himalayan monastery in the middle of winter be covered with sheets drenched in ice water and then generate enough heat to cause steam to rise from the sheets?

How can remote intention effect the PH of water?

How can prayer/healing intention effect cardiac or cancer patients?

How can remote intention effect the growth of algae in a laboratory?

The experiments and studies on plants, inanimate objects, eggs, mice, and humans are definitely involving and intriguing.

The "how" is not yet fully explained, but evidently both the "what" and the "how" are under vigorous academic and scientific study. I guess the "why" is obvious.

McTaggert interviewed scientists in various fields, medical doctors, clairvoyants, practitioners of meditation, and healers, looking at both scientific experiments and studies of people who appear to have unusual talents. She investigated studies by leading institutions and interviewed participants. Her bibliography is extensive and impressive including studies from journals such as Physics World, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, International Journal of Psychophysiology, American Heart Journal, American Journal of Psychiatry, and other well-known and respected medical and scientific journals and studies - as well as journals on parapsychology and alternative medicines.

I found the book engrossing (after the hard science and quantum mechanics) and suppose it goes back to not only do we use only a fraction of the power of the brain, we aren't even aware of some the power we do use.

Nonfiction. Popular Science (mostly lay terms, explanations). 222 pages + 50 pages of Notes and Bibliographic material.


  1. Yes, I do believe the why is obvious. Sounds like a hard read, but a good one.

  2. Hmmm... quite interesting! I like the mix of science and spirituality or at least something like spirituality. Sounds like a fascinating book.

  3. I think the hard science part would be the hardest part for me to read but the other stuff sounds really intriguing. I'll have to check this out at the bookstore.

  4. bookfool - Only the very first was hard...and I will never be able to comprehend quantum theory. The rest of the book was fascinating.

    Dorothy - Yes, I think spirituality is a good way to put it. There really is something more than the physical body at work, and I like the idea of calling it spirit (breath) which is intangible but powerful, and breathing is so important in all meditative states.

    iliana - What per centage of people on this planet understand quantum mechanics? Such interesting possibilities, but I can't wrap my mind around that much abstraction. Concrete examples, that's me.