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Human Energy Fields: A New Science and Medicine Paperback – March 10, 2009
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Human Energy Fields (****) collects and distills Ross's four decades of work on the subject. He argues that what other cultures and religions have called the soul, aura, spirit, chi, etc. is actually the human electromagnetic field. He acknowledges that it's almost impossible to think about such things using a Western, scientific framework or language. In order to see the parallels and develop his theory, he had to do a type of philosophical cognitive therapy on himself, rooting out the cognitive errors he had taken for granted. So in the first chapters, Ross shows the deep inner contradictions of materialism, reductionism, and the Cartesian dualism out of which they were born. In short, dualism posits an interaction between two substances that cannot interact. And reductionism posits a worldview in which consciousness and sentience do not exist. (If there is no distinction on the chemical level between animate and inanimate matter, and reductionism is true, there is no distinction between 'living' and 'dead.' By speaking of 'living' processes or even life in general, reductionism introduces a kind of back-door dualism that contradicts its own philosophical implications.) To smooth out the logic, only two possibilities remain: either everything is dead, and there is no difference between you and a corpse, or all things are alive or sentient in some way. To say that life 'emerged' is similarly to introduce dualism. If 'life' or 'mind' does not exist among physics at a basic level, saying that it emerges from physics is unintelligible. Ross thus concludes that some form of animism must be true (i.e., panpsychism). As he puts it, mind is a general property of matter.
He identifies this property as the electromagnetic field. (EEG when alive, no EEG when dead.) Just as organizations of matter become more complex, so do types of mind. So-called inanimate objects will have a certain EM signature, as will humans. Ross then gets into the scientific background, e.g., known instances of biological systems being affected by sources of electromagnetism (e.g., bird migration, honeybee dances), hypothesizing that similar processes may apply to humans.The implication, of course, is that any source of EM might affect human minds and/or bodies, including the earth's field, the solar wind, atmospheric wind, EM radiation, etc. He then describes his first empirical test: that the brain's EM field, measurable by EEG, is stronger in front of the eyes and may be able to be directed. This might account for the 'sense of being stared at', and Ross has developed technology to show that such a process is scientifically sound. He shows a similar process may be involved in 'gut feelings,' again sharing results from his own research and tests.
Next he makes a series of predictions, relating his ideas to medical problems like heart attacks, seizures, migraines, cancer, CFS, Parkinson's, phantom limbs, mental disorders, as well as 'fringe' practices like acupuncture, meditation, OBEs, aura reading, 'energy work', massage, chiropractic, and yoga. As he points out, there are therapeutic potentials in this practices, and it's possible that they are all pre-scientific ways of describing a real phenomenon, the EM field and the ways it interacts with the world to promote health or disease. Some practices and practitioners may be exposed as having no real effect, but others may not. Such an idea may also be able to account for 'pre-scientific' beliefs in such things as telepathy, fertility rituals, prayer, etc. Lastly, Ross looks at the potential future research possibilities in fields such as agriculture, medicine (diagnosis and treatment) and technology. I'm not sure if Ross's theory can account for all the things he proposes (e.g., I don't think an EM-based theory can account for all the phenomena in the psi literature), but it will be interesting to see how his research progresses and what comes out of it.