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Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities [Anglais] [Broché]

Dean Radin

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16 juillet 2013
Can yoga and meditation unleash our inherent supernormal mental powers, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition? Is it really possible to perceive another person's thoughts and intentions? Influence objects with our minds? Envision future events? And is it possible that some of the superpowers described in ancient legends, science fiction, and comic books are actually real, and patiently waiting for us behind the scenes? Are we now poised for an evolutionary trigger to pull the switch and release our full potentials?

Dean Radin, Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and bestselling author of The Conscious Universe, presents persuasive new experimental evidence for the existence of such phenomena. He takes us on a thrilling scientific journey and challenges outdated assumptions that these abilities are mere superstition. Focusing on Patanjali's mysterious Yoga Sutras -- 2,000 year-old meditation practices believed to release our extraordinary powers -- Radin offers powerful evidence confirming that sometimes fact is much stranger, spookier, and more wonderful than the wildest fiction.

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Extrait

Chapter 1

Introduction

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.

--Lewis Carroll

We begin with a simple question: Was Buddha just a nice guy?

Did Buddha’s teachings thrive because he was more attractive or charismatic than most, or because he was a great teacher and a tireless advocate of the poor? Or--and here’s the core question we’ll explore in detail--was it also because he was an enlightened being with profound insights into the nature of Reality, and because he possessed supernormal abilities?

We might ask the same questions about Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Milarepa, or a host of other historically prominent figures associated with special illumination, wisdom, or grace. Did these people just sport great tans and know how to work a crowd, or did they understand something genuinely deep about the human condition, and our capacities, that is not yet within the purview of science?

If it’s too touchy to ask such questions about religious icons, then we may consider a more contemporary figure: The Dalai Lama regularly hosts discussions between scientists and Buddhist monks. Do the Western scientists who compete for a coveted slot at those meetings secretly believe that he’s a backward country bumpkin, and they’re just humoring him long enough to get their photo taken with a famous Nobel laureate so they can post it on their Facebook page?

Given the glowing praise about those meetings in books and articles authored by no-nonsense science journalists, and a growing list of collaborators hailing from Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Zurich, the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and many others, it doesn’t seem so. But the Dalai Lama takes reincarnation and the legendary yogic superpowers (the siddhis) seriously. He’s claimed to see some of them in action, like oracles who accurately divine future tendencies.6 What does he know that most Western-trained scientists studiously ignore? Could the superpowers actually be real? If so, why haven’t we read about them in science magazines?

Such questions have been debated by scholars and by ordinary people for millennia. In modern times, for the most part science has ignored or denigrated the mere possibility of superpowers because such abilities are not easily accommodated by Western scientific assumptions about the capacities of the human mind. It is also sidestepped because any answer offered is guaranteed to seriously annoy someone. If you say yes, “Buddha was just a nice guy,” then Buddhists will hurl epithets at you. They may do this in a kind and compassionate way, but you will still have to duck. If you say no, “Buddha was something more,” then you will have to dodge objects thrown with equal gusto by both scientists and devotees of other religions. As a result, for the sake of safety the question is usually left unanswered.

There will always be some who are not satisfied with this soft deflection. Cynics feel intense discomfort when questions are raised about the possibility of “something more.” They shout accusations of voodoo science, and they form posses to stop what they regard as ominous tides of irrationality from heading our way.7 Their concerns, bristling on the edge of hysteria, are not without justification. The promise of something secretly powerful, beyond the mundane, has been responsible for untold scams, conspiracies, and witch hunts throughout history. Civilization embraces superstitions and ignores rationality at its peril, so a legitimate case can be made that strenuous protection of hard-won knowledge is necessary.

But here’s the rub: It is precisely because civilization must advance beyond superstition that we are obliged to carefully explore our inquiry about the existence of supernormal abilities. The answer is relevant to basic scientific assumptions about the nature of human potential, to the relationships among science, religion, and society, and without hyperbole, to the likelihood that humankind will continue to survive.

In addition, all the nervous fussing one hears about the need to combat superstition, the wringing of hands about looming threats to rationality--such behavior positively drips with emotion, and that presents its own cause for concern. As British psychiatrist Anthony Storr wrote in Feet of Clay: A Study of Gurus, “Whether a belief is considered to be a delusion or not depends partly upon the intensity with which it is defended, and partly upon the numbers of people subscribing to it”(p. 199).8 When it comes to the possibility of superpowers, many are energetically engaged in either strident offenses or frenzied defenses, adding precious little reason to the debate.

But something new can now be brought to the discussion: empirical evidence. Laboratory data amassed over many decades suggest that some of what the yogis, mystics, saints, and shaman have claimed is probably right. And that means some of today’s scientific assumptions are probably wrong.

If you can’t stomach the thought that what you’ve learned in school might not be completely correct (in spite of the fact that textbooks are regularly revised), then rest assured: This does not mean that all the textbooks must be thrown away. Sizable portions of the existing scientific worldview are quite stable and will remain accurate enough for all practical purposes for a long time.

But it does mean that some of our assumptions, including a few fundamental ideas about who we are and the way the world works, are in need of revision. The newly developing worldview suggests, for example, that it is no longer tenable to imagine that the universe is a mindless clockwork mechanism. Something else seems to be going on, something involving the mind and consciousness in important ways.

After reviewing a substantial body of scientific evidence demonstrating that yoga can significantly improve physical health, New York Times journalist William Broad wrote in The Science of Yoga:



While the science of yoga may be demonstrably true--while its findings may be revelatory and may show popular declarations to be false or misleading--the field by nature fails utterly at producing a complete story. Many of yoga’s truths surely go beyond the truths of science. Yoga may see further, and its advanced practitioners, for all I know, may frolic in fields of consciousness and spirituality of which science knows nothing. Or maybe it’s all delusional nonsense. I have no idea.9 (p. 222)



Does science really know nothing about the more exotic claims of yoga? By the end of this book we’ll have discovered that Broad didn’t dig deep enough. We actually do know a few things.



Escape to Reality

Many ancient teachings tell us that we have the capacity to gain extraordinary powers through grit or grace. Techniques used to achieve these supernormal abilities, known as siddhis in the yoga tradition (from the Sanskrit, meaning “perfection”2, 5), include meditation, ecstatic dancing, drumming, praying, chanting, sexual practices, fasting, or ingesting psychedelic plants and mushrooms. In modern times, techniques also include participation in extreme sports, floating in isolation tanks, use of transcranial magnetic or electrical stimulation, listening to binaural-beat audio tones, and neurofeedback.

Most of these techniques are ways of transcending the mundane. Those who yearn to escape from suffering or boredom may dive into a cornucopia of sedatives and narcotics. Others, drawn to the promise of a more meaningful reality, or a healthier mind and body, are attracted to yoga, meditation, or other mind-expanding or mind-body integrating techniques.

Transformative techniques are potent, and like any power they are seductive and rife with pitfalls. Yoga injuries can occur when enthusiasm overcomes common sense.9 Meditation can lead to extreme introversion, depression, or spiritual hedonism.10 But the human need to transcend the humdrum is formidable and easily overrides caution. We see this in two of the more popular transformational techniques available today--alcohol and tobacco. These two mind-altering substances are tightly integrated into the economic engines of the modern world. The average household in the United States spends more just on tobacco products and its paraphernalia than on fresh fruit and milk combined, and more on alcohol than on all other nonalcoholic beverages combined.11

The World Health Organization estimated that in 2007 the societal cost of alcohol-related diseases, accidents, and violence was over $200 billion a year in the United States alone.12 The purchase cost of alcohol was even greater, estimated at nearly $400 billion a year in 2008.13 There is a similar statistic for tobacco.14 The formidable human desire to escape, just considering these two products alone, costs society trillions of dollars a year. If we included the costs associated with the use and abuse of stimulants and recreational drugs, gambling, and the entertainment industry, the total expense is staggering, a sizable proportion of the world’s economy. Humanity seems desperate to escape.

With banks and stock markets teetering at the edge of an apocalypse during the second decade of the twenty-first century, escaping outward has become too risky and too expensive for most people. What about escaping inward? Rarified minds tell us that they have seen something beautiful and glittering in our depths, something that promises a dramatic advancement in human potential. After seriously setting out on that path, most esoteric traditions say that we will eventually encounter genuine extraordinary phenomena, including the acquisition of supernormal powers.4



Yoga Superpowers

Classic yoga texts, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, written about two thousand years ago, tell us in matter-of-fact terms that if you sit...

Revue de presse

In Supernormal, consciousness researcher Dr. Dean Radin shows compellingly that specific ancient claims about extraordinary psychic abilities are real, and how they have been confirmed by an outpouring of ingenious experiments whose statistical power is simply galactic. Supernormal is the crown jewel in Dr. Radin’s landmark trilogy, which also includes The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds.  Supernormal is a reader’s delight. Beautifully written, it is spiced with that rarest ingredient in science writing:  humor. If this book does not take your breath away, it should, because it reveals how we can awaken to innate human potentials that are glorious, on which our future may depend. Thank you, Dr. Radin, for showing the way.” -- Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind

"In the last 50 years, major discoveries in modern science increasingly support the wisdom and vision of the ancient philosophers and sages. Dean Radin’s work is a major step in the same context, showing us how the statements made by the ancient sages like Patanjali are supported by the current research conducted with strictest scientific protocols. Radin’s work seems to bear even greater promise of what is yet to come." --Swami Veda Bharati, D. Lit.  

“Great advances in science are made by following the evidence, wherever it may lead. Adhering to this principle, internationally-known researcher and author Dean Radin convincingly demonstrates that psi phenomena invalidate the assumptions associated with the obsolete materialist worldview. Recognizing the fundamental aspect of mind and consciousness, Dr. Radin also explains why it is now time to significantly revise and expand our concepts about who we are and the ultimate nature of reality.” --Mario Beauregard, author of The Spiritual Brain and Brain Wars

"As with Dr. Radin’s previous work, this book is thoroughly researched, clearly written, and immensely engaging. Once again he has pushed the boundaries of religion, science, psychology, and philosophy. Invaluable reading!" --Michael Bloch, University of San Francisco

"Dean Radin is a modern-day Galileo of psychical research.  He is an impeccable scholar and premier experimental scientist, and this is a terrific book.  Come, look through his telescope; with great clarity, he goes right to the core of the most profound issues in the contemporary science of mind.  By including a detailed review of a variety of experimental findings, this book presents in one easily accessible place a wealth of information, creating a valuable reference and teaching/learning resource for students and scholars alike.  And by connecting all this with contemplative investigations of the nature of mind carried out over the course of millennia, this book makes an invaluable contribution to expanding the modern dialogue between science and the contemplative traditions." --David E. Presti, University of California, Berkeley

“In Supernormal, Dean Radin skillfully weaves threads of Eastern praxis (yoga) and the results of Western psi experiments into a seamless and fascinating tapestry, one that portrays not merely who we are but what we might aspire to become.” --Daniel Sheehan


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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  60 commentaires
54 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Radin's Most Reader-Friendly Book Yet 19 juillet 2013
Par K. Hoffman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Dean Radin has put together something pretty special in "Supernormal." His first two books are fantastic and are must-reads for anyone interested in psi research. Nonetheless, they are not quite so reader-friendly as this one is. Radin starts off by asking whether or not the Buddha amassed such a worldwide following simply on account of being a "nice guy" with morally edifying teachings or if, perhaps, he and Christ and any number of other religious figures may have actually had some of the paranormal capacities they have been historically noted for having. Intrigued? I was.

Radin then gives us a tour de force survey of Patanjali's views on yoga and the manner in which contemplative practices have been known for several millennia to produce psi abilities in those who are disciplined enough to undergo them. I found this to be one of the most interesting aspects of the book - a top notch scientist actually bridging the realms of spiritual and scientific endeavor into a single whole. This competent bridging of science and spirituality is something I've been waiting all my life to see and my feeling while reading was one of hope: that this book might be among the first of an emerging new genre.

As the book progresses, we get to hear about Radin's newer psi experiments and the very exciting findings he has been getting in the last several years. There is much to digest here in regard to what these findings mean about being human and about our potential to develop and understand ourselves in exciting and meaningful new ways. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in non-dogmatic spirituality. Anyone who appreciates both the method of science and the aim of religion stands to gain a great deal from Radin's "Supernormal."
38 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 SUPER IMPORTANT 24 juillet 2013
Par Robert Steven Thomas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book is about the current state of affairs in the scientific field of legitimate psi and paranormal research. For those who are unfamiliar with the author, Dean Radin is one of the world's most towering forces active in this field. Radin is also the head of the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS), established almost 40 years ago by former American astronaut and moon-walker Dr. Edgar Mitchell. IONS is today one of the world's foremost research institutes for the study of "consciousness." Though the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as one of the leading science institutes in the world, formally inducted the Para-psychological Association into its organization in 1969, the ugly truth is the majority of the science and academic leaders in the world continue to snub their noses and ignore the important research, knowledge and cutting-edge progress that has been made in the field of parapsychology over the last 50 years. The biased cynicism of these dinosaurs is totally unacceptable and diametrically opposed to legitimate advancement in any age of reason. As a great man once said - "The discovery of important new knowledge is entirely irrelevant to its implications."
DR. Radin uses the subject and history of Yoga, and some of the more fantastic claims by its ancient adherents as a backdrop to present many of the legitimate new research projects and current evidence which supports the factuality and existence of consciousness as a distinct force of nature and integral component of the universe. He also describes some of the most current repeatable scientific testing and results which strongly support the legitimacy of genuine paranormal presence in many humans. This book is written for the layman and is highly understandable to any reader with a high school diploma or the equivalent. Radin's style is light and breezy with a good portion of wit and cheeky humor mixed in. He also explains the hypocrisy and core controversies behind the atheistic, scientific-materialist's worldview. If you have any interest in learning more about consciousness, the human brain and its ultimate potential this book is an absolute must-read and belongs in your library.
Intelligent Intervention
33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superjob! 18 juillet 2013
Par Bruce - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I did not read this book looking for evidence of extraordinary psychic abilities. I have experienced many of the things that are discussed here, beginning almost forty years ago, and since that time my search has been for the truth about what they are, where they come from and how to get more of them in my life. Over the years, that search has evolved from being part of the content of my life to being the context of my life.

One thing this book has done for me is to fill in some of the holes and gaps in my picture of what it is and how it works (the "it" being "life"), from an organized, logical and expanded perspective. If I had this book at the beginning, I am certain that I would be at least ten years younger now than I am. But, of course, this kind of book didn't exist forty years ago, and barely exists today, no thanks to the community in which the author matured. The "Scientific Community" itself is the main roadblock to not only this kind of book, but also to unlocking the mysteries of the universe which will allow us to thrive, excel and actualize our full potential, and may be the answer to our survival as individuals and as a species. So this subject is not some obtuse esoteric woo-woo BS the critics try to make it out to be, it is something everyone on the planet should have high on their list of priorities, "the possibilities in being human."

As I read through the book, there were parts I skimmed over. I am not interested in details of an experiment designed to provide evidence of precognition or telepathy. I have had direct experience of both, and a variety of others. I was bored last time I saw that information in some of Radin's work, or someone else's work. But as I stand back and look at this work as a whole, it looks to me as though a mild-mannered reporter of the Daily Truth has slipped into a phone-booth (are they still around?) and transformed into someone who kicked butt, named names, and, as always, done his homework thoroughly. He has provided irrefutable evidence for his thesis and at the same time said to his critics (who have the attitude, "my mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts"), "calling it `woo-woo' and then disregarding it totally is no longer acceptable. Here are the facts, take your best shot. Fundamentalism in science is about as constructive and useful as it is in the middle-east or in the US Congress." (Maybe that last sentence is just my interpretation, and if I were to expand my interpretation, I would say to critics named in this book, "consider your butt kicked, and if you don't like it, respond to the kicking as described herein").

So, I give this book five stars, because I can't give it ten. I call it "spherical perfection" because if you stand back and look at it from any direction it is perfect. I only hope that if Superdean ever decides to look for a sidekick, I get the chance to audition.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Supernormal is Super-fantastic 31 juillet 2013
Par Karl - Tiny Thought Guy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I recently attended the annual conference of IONS (Institute of Noetic Science) and this was the first time that I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Radin. I mention this because Dean's speaking style and demeanor are also reflected in "Supernormal", his most recent book, and these qualities are what make his work interesting and informative. Contrary to what seems to be the standard stereo type of scientists, Dean, Bruce, and the other scientists at IONS have an uncanny ability to make scientific research and technical information more palatable to those who do not have a scientific background.

As for the book itself, "Supernormal" is a wonderful blend of scientific research and all things yoga. Dean uses his skills and scientific background to investigate the claims appearing in the ancient Yoga Sutras. Originating around 2000 years ago and compiled and recorded by Patanjali, the Yoga Sutras discuss more than just the standard, physical aspects of yoga, they also discuss mental/meditation practices that enable the practitioner to activate extraordinary powers. Of course many believe that such feats of super human abilities are simply the stuff of exaggerated legends and delusional observations. With standard, repeatable, scientifically based experiments Dean demonstrates that many of the superhuman feats found in the ancient text are indeed possible. Certainly no claim is made that all of the feats can be substantiated; however, there does appear to be a growing body of evidence that supernormal abilities do exist and they are not exclusive to a select few. It has been demonstrated over and over again that pre-cognitive abilities, psychokinesis, telepathy and various other abilities are inherent in everyone, it's just that these abilities are not as developed as they are in those people who practice certain mental and physical techniques.

With modern research in hand Dean shows the reader that it is often the illogical and biased views of a small group of skeptics, who have not kept up with modern research, that use their own personal limitations/biases/agendas to deliberately cast doubt on the research being done at the frontiers of human development. Rather than view the new research with an open mind and stretch the boundaries of their knowledge, they seem to prefer the comfort and certainty that living on a flat earth provides. In my biased opinion, a true scientist is fascinated by the unknown and he/she is motivated to explore new frontiers. I believe that Dean shares these views and he is indeed living the wise words shared by Rumi so long ago, "Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment."
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Radin does it again! 28 juillet 2013
Par F. T. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
In Supernormal, Dean Radin brings a broad, inclusive perspective to some of the most challenging problems of our interesting times. Like one stop shopping, the discussion of his research and the work of others on some of my favorite subjects, especially presentiment and telepathy, bundled with his ever-present down-to-earth wit, makes Supernormal a book I can recommend to a wide spectrum of friends and acquaintances. I was particularly delighted to note that he touched briefly on the huge enigma the presence of UFOs presents to the human race. To those who think Supernormal describes the last word on consciousness I say stay tuned -- the next level of discoveries is bound to get even weirder. Supernormal makes a timely addition to Radin's authoritative scientific trilogy.
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