From TM-EX Newsletter, Spring 1992
Dear [TM-EX]: This is to confirm to you our previous discussions regarding my time as Chairman of the Physics Department at Maharishi International University. As you know, since then I have ceased doing TM and I am Chairman of the Physics Department at a small liberal arts college [in the Pacific NW].
During my time at MIU, I had occasion to examine the scientific claims of the movement, to interact with those who had reportedly performed the research, to study the metaphysics, philosophy and religion associated with the TM technique, and to work with the founder of the movement and the college. It is my certain belief that the many scientific claims both to factual evidences of unique, beneficial effects of TM and to theoretical relationships between the experience of TM and physics are not only without any reasonable basis, but are in fact in many ways fraudulent. I will briefly try to detail a few of these errors and false claims in this letter.
While serving on the faculty I discussed the EEG work which purported to show ``increased brain wave coherence while practising the flying technique'' with one of the faculty investigators who had participated in the development of the study, Dr. Michael Dillbeck. My suspicions were generated by knowing the near impossibility of making EEG measurements of weak electric signals coming from an array of electrodes attached to the > subject's scalp while the subject is moving.
The claims and advertisements show a picture of an apparently ``flying'' meditator alongside the claimed coherent brain wave pattern. The initial claim of ``flying'' as my personal experience discovered is merely an energetic muscular ``hopping.''
The TM investigator confirmed to me that contrary to the implied claim, the pattern displayed was not of the flying or hopping meditator since the measurement was indeed impossible.
A similar degree of deception is to be found in the movement's claimed reduction of crime and other negative social phenomena if enough people in a country or in the world begin to meditate. Confirmed to me by investigators at MIU was the suppression of negative evidence that these investigators had collected. Strong bias was present in selecting only data favourable to a conclusion that was made prior to the data collection. Because of the strong authoritarian (essentially cultic) aspects of the movement, only results supporting ideas generated by the movement leadership could receive any hearing. The ``scientific research'' is without objectivity and is at times simply untrue.
While Chairman of Physics at MIU, I was asked to develop a quantum theory, a unified field theory, which would incorporate consciousness in such a way as to explain the ``flying'' technique as non-ordinary and which would give to the subjective experience of meditation a fundamental role in physics. I found then and I continue to find now such claims preposterous. This is what is normally called 'crackpot science.' Although there is substantial work in the physics of quantum mechanics giving to consciousness an essential role, even a causal role, there is no evidence or argument that could connect some sort of universal consciousness to be subjectively experienced with a unified field of all physics. In fact, the existing scientific work suggests just the opposite. If consciousness can be talked about at all with regard to the physical world, then it must be in the sense of lying wholly outside of the physical system. Of course quantum mechanical explanations of ``flying'' in such a way as to suggest that this ``flying'' is an apparent violation of the simpler laws of nature, such as gravity, is entirely inappropriate because nothing unusual is happening in the ``flying'' technique which is only hopping. (On the psychological level, something unusual and probably dangerous is happening during this and other advanced TM techniques.)
The early attempts to relate the experience of TM to the physical nature of reality were by fuzzy analogies. Analogous reasoning may be useful to clarify ideas, but never to establish connecting relationships. Subsequent attempts to produce some sort of physical theory involving TM merely carry the analogies further into the realm of obscure thinking that can perhaps fool the person not conversant with the language of physics but will be usually quickly described as crackpot by the expert physicist.
My belief is that TM is in its practise and in its theories religious in nature and is based on a pantheistic Hinduism that has been reformulated to make it attractive to Western minds.
We in the West have great respect for science and often look to science and technology to explain our world and to solve our problems. (We probably have an over-reliance on science in fact and may turn it into a religion itself.) By TM claiming to be scientific in a most fundamental way, it tries to demand of us a respect we reserve for things thought scientific, rational, efficient, and effective. Under the guise of this false scientific claim then, Hinduism seeks its entrance into our lives. Many innocent individuals who sought only for an effective (scientific) relaxation technique are then exposed to the real dangers of this TM technique and to the misleading philosophy and metaphysics claimed by its proponents. Sincerely,
Dennis E. Roark, Ph.D.~