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Monday, February 22, 2010

Feb. 21 - The Secret Life of Life

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The Secret Life of Life (Part 2)

An interview with Cleve Backster and a look at his seminal work on primary perception

By Ben Bendig
Epoch Times Staff

Cleve Backster in his lab, where he discovered primary perception.
Cleve Backster in his lab, where he discovered primary perception. (Courtesy of Cleve Backster)

Cleve Backster published a book called Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells in 2003, the first comprehensive account of his work that he authored himself. In it he details all the different things he monitored—up the line from plants, bacteria, and eggs to animal cells such as blood from beefsteak, to human cells.

“There are so many implications here, it sort of amazes me that people don’t get fired up in the scientific community,” he says while laughing.

He has faced decades of cold responses from the academic community, despite presenting his evidence at many conferences and various scientists around the world having replicated his results. His spirits have not let up—he is a man convinced that he has found something important, and won’t let the well-known frailty of human beings’ ability to accept new ideas put him down.

“And also everything I said in the book is true,” he says with a chuckle. “I was very careful about that, that anything in that book is established on fact. I didn’t want people to find a little technicality that wasn’t accurate and then say, well, the rest of your work isn’t accurate.”

He has also followed the same approach when it comes to the reasons why this phenomenon exists. By not engaging in theorizing that might be shown to be incorrect, he has hoped to avoid scenarios where people throw out his data with his speculations.

Potential explanations from physics

Though Backster doesn’t publish speculation concerning an explanation for primary perception, one of the more promising leads for understanding primary perception in terms of existing theories has to do with a phenomenon in quantum physics known as nonlocality.

Nonlocality is something predicted by quantum physics that Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”—the idea that particles may somehow be connected with each other across space.

It has been shown in experiments that when a pair of photons (packets of light) is emitted from an excited atom, when experimenters change the polarity of one photon (by passing it through a sort of filter), the polarity of the other is also affected, and the change takes place in less time than it would take for light to travel from one particle to the other.

When photons show this relationship, they are said to be entangled. So one might wonder, how far does nonlocality go? Is it only for small particles, or could larger systems possibly be entangled, too? And if life forms might be entangled with each other, what would it look like?

If nonlocality does extend to the level of life and mind, then what has been called primary perception may be evidence of exactly this: Backster’s findings show a signal that appears not to be affected by distance or intervening material that would block electromagnetic waves.


Though there was great popular interest in Backster’s results in the 1970s, the scientific community has still not warmed to the idea. One ostensible reason was a failed attempt to replicate Backster’s first published experiment by another group of scientists, which was then published in the prominent journal Science in 1975.

But according to Backster in his book, the scientists (and others who have tried but failed) did not observe all the proper scientific controls.

One particularly important control that Backster discovered was necessary was that one cannot look at the output from the plant (or whatever else one might be monitoring) while it is occurring—observing it in progress blocks the responses.

With an unusual phenomenon such as primary perception, not observing all the controls that the original investigator found were required to elicit the effect amounts to sloppy science.

However, the possibility that looking at the output would affect the results does not make sense within the modern paradigms of science, so those carrying out the replications likely did not think such controls would make any difference.

It has been said that plant biologists tend to be a particularly conservative lot, and some prominent scientists at the time rejected the possibility that plants could exhibit any sort of electrical activity, much less have any perceptual capabilities.

“When you are talking with those individuals [the skeptics], the implications are profound and it really puts them to the test whether they want to be a true scientist and explore it or whether they sort of want to stay away from it,” Backster says.

“You don’t have that problem [resolute skepticism] with someone who isn’t in a position of having to defend the body of scientific knowledge,” Backster says.

Today, however, the presence of electrical activity in plants is increasingly accepted. Scientists in the field of plant neurobiology have found that plants exhibit signals that look much like neuronal activity in animals. However, these are not the same signals that Backster has investigated.

Though Backster does not have a Ph.D., his attitude and investigations have shown him to be much more in the spirit of true science than those who have rejected his work out of hand.

The findings have been replicated by others, including Russian scientist Alexander Dubrov and Marcel Vogel, who was at IBM at the time of his studies, as reported in The Secret Life of Plants.

The author also completed his undergraduate honor’s thesis on the topic, showing significant results pointing toward plant sensitivity to human interaction.

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



Pf., clique no símbolo do YouTube e depois no quadrado pequeno, em baixo, ao lado direito para obter as legendas CC, e escolha PORTUGUÊS

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What time is Around the World?


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