The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

An Open Letter To TED’s Chris Anderson by Ken Jordan (Reality Sandwich)


Ken Jordan, Publisher & Editorial Director, Evolver/Reality Sandwich has done a marvelous job of encapsulating the main problem everyone had with how TED handled both the takedown of Rupert Sheldrake, Graham Hancock and TEDxWestHollywood.  I’m going to post about half of it and then send you to Reality Sandwich to read the rest because they’re a business and need the clicks to make money.  They’ve sent me quite a bit of traffic over time, so I ask you to overlook this inconvenience.   This is my way of saying thanks to them and supporting people who support me.

Dear Chris,

I’m one of the many who in recent years discovered new and noteworthy ideas thanks to TED. You’ve grown TED into an important platform for the introduction of innovative thought to a popular audience; it’s a wonderful vision and your achievement of it is widely appreciated. TED’s prominence has made it, perhaps inadvertently, into an forum that validates worthy intellectual progress. If a good idea gets momentum, it will most likely end up, one way or another, presented by TED or one of the TEDx offshoots.

That’s why the censure of the TEDx talks by Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake is so dismaying. As you must know, to many of us the reasons behind their removal from the TED YouTube site are just not clear. On behalf of the Evolver community, I’d like to extend an invitation to you to help us understand the reasoning that led to TED’s actions, because we suspect that behind your decision is an uninformed prejudice against groundbreaking research in a critical area of study, the possibility that consciousness extends beyond the brain.

The cause of our concern: while the original criticism against Hancock and Sheldrake was later retracted — literally crossed out on the blog page — after the speakers rebutted it, the initial decision to remove the videos still held. Statements from TED staff implied that the presentations were “pseudoscience,” but no specific allegations were made. Both Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock offered to debate a member of the anonymous science board, or any other representative, about actual criticisms, but got no response. To an outsider, TED’s actions are baffling.

In your personal statements you say that TED is not censoring the videos, since they are available on a back page of your site, and technically that may be true. But by relegating them to obscure blogs that are not indexed as part of the regular pool of TEDx talks, the unequivocal message is that these talks are not fit to be seen among the thousands of other presentations that TED offers through YouTube. Somehow they were mistakes that slipped through and need to be quarantined from the “good” TED talks, to keep them from contamination. Given TED’s influence, this treatment is unfairly damaging to the reputations of the speakers singled out.

To read the rest, go here.  (no paywall)

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17 comments on “An Open Letter To TED’s Chris Anderson by Ken Jordan (Reality Sandwich)

  1. Mark S. Ekdahl
    April 12, 2013

    I was hoping to watch it streaming this Sunday, but I guess that has been taken down. I considered going in person, but I’m on the other side of L.A. and pretty busy as it is. Still look forward to watching it later. Always been a fan of Marianne but some of the other hosts…not sure if I’ll like them or not.
    I’m all for research into psychic phenomena. I’ve had experiences of clairvoyance frequently, especially regarding my mother. I also see flashes of auras sometimes, or get very deep intuitive senses of people, or have hunches and read into signs or synchronicity or even numerology. But as with other occult arenas, I think it can’t get overboard and also lead to madness. And perhaps that’s part of why TED is hesitant to endorse the panel. A lot of people do become kind of fanatical with various new age and occult subjects. Hancock for one endorses ayahuasca, or DMT, which is an extremely powerful hallucinogen. I find this haphazard and dangerous. Too many people have had horrible, even life altering experiences on strong hallucinogens. It seems to fall hand in hand with the new popularizing of shamanism, with people of all shades touting themselves as shamans or part-shamans. I once met a guy who called himself a “Christian shaman.” But I tend to see shamanism as in part a retrograde movement which deals haphazardly with lower energy fields.
    Shamanism also seems to lend itself to witchcraft, which has seen a strange resurgence. I’ve known several people who have studied it in depth and considered themselves witches and in possession of very real occult powers. I don’t take this stuff lightly. These are people who consider it OK to try to harm someone if they deem it necessary or reasonable, employing morbid occult rites of sorcery. There’s a very benign side to psychic studies, which can lend itself to just open mindedness, and even the revelations pertaining to the new physics, and the cosmological and theoretical physics questions we may never answer, but it can also lend itself to a dark side. A psychic can see it in terms of aggregating power, and get very egotistical. Furthermore, lending itself to “remote viewing” seems like the end of the world to me. I once met a woman who allegedly attended a remote viewing academy in Arizona. Perhaps people could, with the right transhumanist expansion of consciousness, be able to tap into something akin to this, but that seems to portend a very dark future of people trying to gain voyeuristic power over others. And governments, obsessed with the occult, are of course interested in it, but that doesn’t lend the practice any credence.
    Skeptics and scientific materialists are indeed at the disturbing opposite end of all this. When I read up on a conference of skeptics, and the Randi competition, I felt almost sorry for them. I see them as kind of trapped at a myopic level of consciousness I may have been at at various segments of my teen years. I was at an early age interested in space, airplanes, psychology, the sciences and the new physics, and even attended a lecture by Fritjof Capra once, but from then on I became more interested in spirituality and anthropology and the plethora of religious traditions out there, as well as politics and social justice issues. I’ve known people to see all of experience through the lenses of science, and it is truly frightening. Horrible crimes have been perpetrated under the veil of scientism, from genocide to psychiatric abuses of power. Seeing ourselves as merely animals ruled by serotonin and the sex drive is truly dehumanizing and retrograde. It can be just as awful as religious fundamentalism. However, much of the world still needs the benefits of materialist science, and freedom from religious fundamentalism and delusional world views. Meanwhile we seem privileged with the leisure time to pursue an even more profound shift, which is no doubt just as important to the rest of mankind.
    I have strong doubts about practices like “healing hands.” My father, in an interesting story, is a doctor and was on a panel at a hospital convened to determine whether “healing hands” should be allowed at the hospital. He had been part of “Quackbusters.” This was quite a while back. He told the whole panel “As a Christian, I see it as evil.” Nothing but silence. His judgment didn’t sit right for me either. I think I may have inadvertently experienced healing hands after an injury many years ago, but I would never seek out the practice for treatment. However, I wouldn’t deny others the right to try to see if it really helps them. I think ghosts are a very real dimension of human experience, as well as astrology. Astrology is like another dimension impenetrable to science, rather like a macrocosm which is hard to apply on our minute little plane of experience. Chakras are another potentially real realm of experience, but its far too easy to get carried away with the paranormal just as it is far too easy to accept a lethal status quo of scientific materialism or cultural imperialism. I believe there has never been such awesome potential for human progress in human history, and its amazing more people don’t realize this. Too many people are cynical, ,simple minded, and brain washed. Others try to escape by say…insisting on a world in which aliens are real, since that’s essentially a destructive act, quashing everything in its path. Regardless, we all need to remain focused on a achieving a more harmonious and ethical society and civilization, doing less harm, without necessarily demanding we all be on the same metaphysical boat of homogenous belief or doubt.
    Looking forward to the event. Maybe my opinions will be different afterwards. Who knows.

    • Stephen Leslie
      April 13, 2013

      I also worry about the abuse of psychic ability. Could a powerful psychic remotely view nuclear launch codes or even use PK to remotely trigger weapons launch? The scientific community’s disbelief of psi is not going to stop such a psychic, just make his job much easier. Burying our heads in the sand of materialistic fantasy is no protection. We as a civilization need to know the truth about our reality in order to make proper decisions.

      I used to be a Skeptic and an Atheist. The spiritual emptiness of a fully material world is an abyss like no other. But without the material world, there would be no challenges to overcome, no struggles to give meaning to the stories of our lives. To exist meaningfully we need both spirit and matter. Both yin and yang.

      • Mark S. Ekdahl
        May 6, 2013

        Since this whole discussion, I’ve had some moments when I seemed to be in some kind of remote viewing mode. The clarity was impressive. I’m still not sure what I tapped into. it wasn’t a pleasant experience. It was more like something I was being thrust into, for it seemed like someone viewing through the scope of a rifle. And I was also experiencing strange physical sensations. Waves of force directed at my body. I had experienced these before, and have gone on a medication a week ago, zyprexa, to help combat them. Sometimes it is like a finger sized wave of energy at my head or ears, and I’ve actually heard the stream of energy hit my pillow, moving through the fabric. Sometimes I’ve had strange spasm like sensations in my throat, like a seizing up at regular intervals. I bet if I were observed in this state, it would be an interesting study. Sometimes it sounded like a short portion of my vocal cords was saying things. But I bet the company of others would make them go away. I’m so glad that after a week on zyprexa they are gradually receding. One morning, I thought I heard angelic voices pulling me out of the darkness. Turns out, my radio was on very low, and a woman–Sophya something, was talking about angels on a LA radio station. 🙂 I’ve thought of every possible cause of my sensations. My latest bout with them makes me believe there is definitely a higher consciousness, but me must maintain control over what we permit our senses to experience, or else we go into madness, which is why I think hallucinogens are generally bad. We don’t need to destroy the ego necessarily. Maybe computer-brain interfaces will prove a safer route to altered states. I dunno. Or just milder psychotropics.

        • craigweiler
          May 6, 2013

          Hi Mark,
          I understand what you’re referring to here. The Wave. There was a massive energy shift as a result of the TED drama and it isn’t slowing down. We’re all caught up in it and there is no escape from it. It’s been leading me into the darkest places of my soul and cleaning them. It’s easier on me because I’ve been very proactive about doing this over the years, but it’s uncomfortable nonetheless.
          Good luck to you. Don’t fight it. Explore the darkness and come out the other side. It’s worth the effort. If you need medication to slow it down and manage it that’s ok too.

          • Mark S. Ekdahl
            May 6, 2013

            Good to know. I’m very hopeful about it and how this can transform people in an unprecedented way… I had a lot of negativity to process, and I kept having to remember the positive and focus on love. It was truly hell on earth at times.

          • Mark S. Ekdahl
            May 6, 2013

            The ego blocks so much good in others, and in the cosmos.

    • marcustanthony
      April 13, 2013

      You raise some good points, Mark. Yes, there are many ways that intuitive perception could be abused – and is. As a person who is both very clairvoyant and who has done an enormous amount of work on the emotional body and the shadow, one thing I have seen is that at the deepest level, we are all completely transparent. There’s NOTHING you can hide from both higher spiritual entities and very little from human beings who have developed what I like to call “integrated intelligence”. As I began to look more at my own shadow (the darkness within) I gradually lightened up (pun intended) and released the shame and judgments I had towards myself. As I did this I also became more unconditionally loving towards the darkness I saw in others. I believe that in time.our species will become increasingly “transparent”.

      The reason I write this is because as this process continues, there will be less and less reason to fear people with advanced perception, including their capacity for remote viewing. When a large percentage of people become totally honest, it will be very, very difficult for anyone to carry an “ego agenda” without others seeing it. This is because ultimately there is only one ego, and all of us play the same games at that level: power and control, attention seeking, projecting our shame and anger onto others. It really isn’t very complicated.

      Eventually we will also have leaders who are spiritually evolved.

      For example three days ago I came across a video by a certain spiritual teacher, and immediately sensed that he had major issues with the projection of his sexuality. So I just googled his name and a few relevant key words, and sure enough I instantly came across online discussions where former members of his organsiation stated that he and other leaders in his team had engaged in regular orgies with their clients.

      Once you become familiar with your own shadow it becomes very easy to see into other people. In fact I believe that a very central process to the entire conscious evolution of humanity is about bringing forth the shadow. One obvious problem is with those who attempt to develop psychic abilities, but do not do any work on their shadow. There are lots of people like this around today. That’s why you should do your own shadow work. Then these “unconscious teachers” become very easy to “see”.

      • Mark S. Ekdahl
        May 6, 2013

        Great points Marcus. Thanks. I couldn’t have stated it clearer about the shadow. I also have strong intuition about false teachers. There were a couple in the Sedona area who were very very creepy, and one hit the headlines a few years back for causing a few deaths in an expensive sweat lodge “warrior retreat” or something like that. Then there is the masculine mythopoetic movement, which has also caused a lot of damage to men. And there are even Tibetan gurus and Zen teachers with a long litany of sexual innuendos who still retain power and influence. I’m trying to tune into the higher frequencies. I recently also sensed that there is nothing I can hide from higher beings. actually, for the past 6 weeks or so, it could be said I’ve been struggling with my shadow, finally having to go back on a medication. thank goodness…LOL. cheers, M

    • Thomas Jespersen
      April 13, 2013

      I have had an experience myself. What some people call “Samadhi” (interconnectedness with everything, being one with “god”):

      http://www.srichinmoy.org/spirituality/concentration_meditation_contemplation/samadhi/

      I felt I was in an alternate reality for about a week after the experience before I found a healer who could help me ground myself. So certainly I don’t recommend experimenting with this unless you have access to an experienced trainer.

      Regarding Shamans, I don’t know if there are “dark” shamans there might be. But I know a little about the American (north/south) shaman cultures and they seem generally benevolent. Though I don’t recommend people just head off to amazon and partake in Ayahuasca ceremonies before they are absolutely sure they can handle it.

      • Mark S. Ekdahl
        May 6, 2013

        I’ve definitely had some peak moments in which I seemed to understand everything, yet was at a loss of words to describe it. Basically, everything seemed to be a miracle, and death truly was an illusion, and all this was a necessary preparatory stage. But of course, we can’t remain in those states all of the time. But some people completely mock the goal of enlightenment, which I think is wrong, even if people in the past never got there, or suffered more than folks today. Yeah, I would have to be absolutely certain it was the auspicious time for me to try some kind of hallucinogen, and I still am not convinced. And urging others to do so, I just can’t. Too many people try to do to escape, and their shadow and unresolved life problems overwhelm them and produce horrible experiences. too many people are mentally ill as it is, or become frightened on marijuana, which is so narcotic these days.

    • craigweiler
      April 13, 2013

      See my latest post about being in L.A. for the story about what happened at livestream. There is a new account and the livestream is up and running at a new address.

      • Mark S. Ekdahl
        April 15, 2013

        Watched it online. Wow!! It blew me away! I was thoroughly impressed throughout. Suzanne is just adorable! I watched the whole thing and then wished I would have attended in person. Oh well… Very uplifting, moving, and inspiring. There wasn’t a dull moment. Definitely going to get books by Dossey and Targ. I also love Brian Swimme, whose book Suzanne mentioned. What a bunch of lovely, well spoken people.

        • craigweiler
          April 15, 2013

          Suzanne is definitely adorable. She put me up in her home so that I wouldn’t miss anything, was able to make connections with people and didn’t have to drive so far.

          Dossey also has a new book coming out soon, but the one I showed is available now.

          I’m still fairly in stunned amazement at all of it.

  2. Thomas Jespersen
    April 11, 2013

    Article by Charles Eisenstein (also a TED speaker):

    http://charleseisenstein.net/ted-a-choice-point/

  3. marcustanthony
    April 10, 2013

    Ken Jordan pretty much nailed it with the idea that consciousness extending beyond the brain is what really scares them – because it is basically the final nail in the coffin of materialism. It always fascinates me how people will fight for a worldview that is so self-limiting. I guess its like the prisoners of war in WW2 who could not bare to leave the prison grounds even after the gates went down, so attached were they to the safety and certainty that their own chains provided.

    • Stephen Leslie
      April 10, 2013

      I think a lot of it has do to with sunken costs and academic arrogance. The leading figures of scientific academia have invested so much time, money, and reputation into the classical model of the mind that admitting that outsiders, i.e.psychics, mystics, parapsychologists, and rogue scientists, had always been right would destroy their egos. And trust me, their academic egos are big. The highly competitive path to get university tenure weeds out almost all those who are not narrowly focused on publishing as many papers possible in a small subfield of what is the current fashion. Those who make it in academia have made enormous personal sacrifices to overcome the competition. That someone on the outside with only 1/10 or 1/100 the budget could be doing more important science would shatter their sense of identity. Thus, there is a very raw emotional resistance to parapsychology.

  4. Suzanne Taylor
    April 9, 2013

    A bigger issue than TED is in play. It just provides the opportunity to deal with a societal situation. Being the producer of what is now Ex TEDxWestHollywood, after TED so summarily pulled the rug on us we could use all help from your wonderful audience to get the word out about our program on Sunday that you’ll be attending:: April 14 11:00 -7:00 pdt; Tickets: http://www.TEDxWestHollywood.com; Livestreaming free (and archived): https://new.livestream.com/extedwesthollywood

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2013 by in Psi Wars, Psychics and the Media and tagged , , , , .
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