Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Friday, January 9, 2004day link 

 The secret life of plants
picture Cleve Backster is a pioneer in research demonstrating how plants, or for that matter, any live cells have some surprising abilities to respond to thoughts and feelings and communicate in ways they wouldn't traditionally be expected to.
"My plant read my mind!" On February 2nd, 1966 this realization forever changed the life of the FBI and CIA's then foremost polygraph researcher, and reintroduced modern science to the sentient nature of our universe. On that date the brilliant and disciplined mind of Cleve Backster conceived an irrefutable paradigm-busting scientific protocol. With straightforward electronics that a student or garage-level scientist can replicate, he proved to humans that their thoughts and emotions affect the behavior of their own and other living cells.

For millennia traditional peoples have known that all life forms-plants, animals and even single cells-are not only sentient and intelligent, but that they communicate with one another. This fact got lost a few centuries ago between the mechanistic focus of industrial science and the modern human view of reality that ascribed consciousness only to the human brain. A few 20th century scientific pioneers, like Chandra Bose in India and the Kirlians in the former Soviet Union, had earlier developed technology to demonstrate energy fields and basic emotional responses in plants and animals. Backster's experimental work took the next step and documented a heretofore unrecognized cellular level of interspecies biocommunication.

At the bottom you can find a review of Backster's new book by Paul von Ward. Now, Cleve Backster wasn't particularly the first person who experimented with this subject matter using galvanic skin response meters. For example, Ron Hubbard was playing with this in the 50s, and was generally ridiculed for it. Backster is a more respectable and mainstream character, being essentially the father of modern polygraph testing, so his message has a better chance of getting anywhere. Not that it particularly has.

Now, I know about this not just because I've listened to Clive Backster talking about it, but because I did some experiments of my own. It is very easy to do, and any skeptic ought to check it out for themselves. It is just that you need some kind of galvanic skin response meter. Like this. Which is essentially just an electronic instrument that measures resistance and that is very sensitive. A regular ohm meter isn't good enough as it isn't nearly sensitive enough. It takes something like a wheatstone's bridge, which gives large and fast readings on minute resistance changes. Or some more modern equivalent. And it needs to be attached to some suitable electrodes. For humans that would be something similar to a pair of tin cans. For a plant, the clips that otherwise would attach to the cans would do it.

So, now, for the simple and interesting experiments. You attach the clips to some plant you have standing around the house. Any plant will do, but a big leafy thing would be good. The meter will just show the needle standing rather still. If you cut off a leaf of the plant, the needle will give a sizable reaction. Not very surprising. But the surprising part is that if you take your scissor and approach the plant, intending to cut a leaf off of it, it will also react in a similar fashion, without you having touched it. It seems to react to your intention somehow. Likewise if you have several plants, maybe of the same kind. Put them in different rooms, to rule out that they can, eh, see each other. Attach the meter to one of them and have somebody watch it. Then go to the other plant and either treaten to cut one of its leaves off, or actually do so. Either way, the plant in the first room will react as if it was happening to itself.

Very simple to do. And it should certainly raise some questions in the mind of anybody who believes this would of course be impossible. And you can of course do this more scientifically and systematically, trying to exclude all sorts of other factors. And you can take it much further. And that is the kind of work that Cleve Backster has been doing.

Unfortunately, the scientific community in general has not paid much attention. As, of course, this is all impossible according to the theories that draw the most consensus, so why even bother to check it out.
[ | 2004-01-09 06:24 | 35 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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