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August 5, 2010

 

 

On Higher Education
& Spiritual Science

Submission to the Robert Rae Review
of Post-Secondary Education in the Province of Ontario
Revised June 2, 2005, February 2, 2006

    Table of Contents

    1.  Introduction: ‘A Certain Hopelessness’
    2.  The Public’s Beliefs and Interests
    3.  A Preliminary Survey of Canadian University Psychology Departments
    4.  The Strange Case of Professor Z: On the ideals of Murray Ross, academic freedom
                 & the rights of students
    5.  Public Accountability and the Failure of Higher Education, Modern Psychology
             and Ontario Universities

1.  Introduction
‘A Certain Hopelessness’

     I experience a certain hopelessness in trying to convey to you the seriousness of the deficits within the existing university and post-secondary educational system.  There are many reasons for this sense of hopelessness, as will be clearly evident as this letter unfolds.

    Firstly, my hopelessness arises because my concerns do not address the more familiar issues--such things as funding, accessibility, or organizational politics.  Instead, I intend to critique the actual content of what is being taught within different university disciplines, particularly psychology, and to raise the issue of what is not being taught and researched within Ontario Universities.  In my perspective–as a individual, as a psychologist, a scientist and a mystic, the most fundamentally important topics of “higher education” are actually not being explored at all within the universities!  This is in fact an astonishingly ridiculous and stupid situation. Further, university education in a number of disciplines is propagating a whole false system of knowledge and conducting whole areas of insignificant research, all of which is fundamentally misguided, a waste of time, energies and trees. This picture illustrates the idea of how we might have a whole false system of knowledge, constructed by certain types of intellectuals and thinkers, which system of knowledge is quite illusory and unfounded.  This is currently the case in the Ontario University system–that much of what passes as learning, knowledge and social science simply involves wrong ideas, wrong viewpoints, misunderstanding and imagination–with little foundation in reality.


    Not only do we have this massive problem and confusion, particularly within the soft social sciences and philosophy, but further, there is a new form of inquisition present within the university system–which prevents academic freedom and the serious exploration of the most profound mysteries of life and human existence!
    I know that these sound like bombastic and exaggerated viewpoints, especially when you yourselves are likely to have been educated, or ‘conditioned,’ within the present university system, and are likely to share the same false understanding of the nature and significance of human life.  Most academics and scientists live with some kind of  split between what they think they know in their  minds, and what they might feel or not feel within their hearts.
    Anyway, I will try to explain some of these issues, and illustrate my viewpoints with concrete examples and explanations–including the results from a survey which I have conducted of Canadian Universities, and with some exploration of my own history as a university professor at York University from 1977 to 1990.  Over an eight year period or more, I was involved at York University in a dispute over academic freedom, and raising the same issues I am raising here.
    Please try to be patient and consider seriously the issues that I am raising–which are otherwise unrecognized within the university system itself, by committees or among the general public.  I am not simply trying to dredge up past history, or to make headlines, but I sincerely believe in the importance of these issues.  As you will see, concrete evidences will be presented as to the truth of the matters which I address.
    The last time I wrote a letter like this was in 1984 to the Bovey Commission on the Future Development of the Universities of Ontario.  (Toronto Star, What’s in store for our universities?, October 2, 1984) #1  These issues were completely ignored previously, and will likely be similarly ignored by your committee this time, as history tends to repeat itself unless people wake up and change in their hearts:  And this is what all the head scientists do not know or understand.  Of course, the previous complete disregard by the Bovey Commission of the serious issues I raised will likely simply be repeated by your own Commission.  Of course, this is another factor for a sense of hopelessness which I have in regards to the writing of this letter. #2

_______________

1.  The Toronto Star article read: “Mystics dished up the last public pitch to a provincial commission on universities yesterday before the group meets in private today to decide their fate.  It was an ironic twist.  Caught between a staggering mandate and a deadline that has been ridiculed as too short, the commission just may need a mystic to pull off the task Queens Park has handed it. ...
    “Yesterday, Christopher Holmes, a cofounder of the Institute for Mystical and Spiritual Science, told the commission that every campus needs a department of mystic studies and asked the commission to recommend funding for them.  “Self-knowledge is the key to true wisdom,” said a brief from the Institute.

2.  As expected, as of June 2nd, 2005, there was no response from the Robert Rae review to this submission, which was not posted on the web site along with other submissions to the committee.  This is despite the fact that Dr. Holmes handed this report in person to Robert Rae on December 8th, 2004, and he said that he would read it, and his request that it be posted.  Follow up telephone and email contacts were subsequently ignored.  The report was also submitted to the Minister of Education, G. Kennedy, in January of 2005 with a request to meet with the Minister of Education to discuss the brief.  The scheduler, Christine Ovcaric, from the Minister’s office, wrote to me on January 19, 2005 to inform me that someone would contact me in “the near future” to inform me whether or not the Minister’s schedule would permit such a meeting.  As of this date, June 2nd, I have received no further letters or emails.  Effectively, both the Robert Rae review and the Minister of Education ignored the issues raised by the brief.  On May 25th, I received a letter from the office of the Premier of Ontario thanking me mor my submission, and telling me how much money the governement is further investing to "deliver an educated and skilled workforce."    The form letter ends with the line:  "Be assured that my colleagues and I will continue to take your views into consideration as we work to deliver the results Ontarians demand and deserve."  In the three page summary of their report and financing, there is no mention of anything related to "my views."  The ‘sense of hopelessness’ did indeed appear to be well founded.

Of course, perhaps this brief will find a broader distribution, as a manifesto for some higher education, which doesn't simply train the brains for the workshops, as suggested by the Premier's letter.  He states: "The brains and know-how of a skilled workforce are the competitive edge of the 21st century."  There is no mention of the awakening of consciousness and the heart, or investgations of spirit and soul, or attaining extended faculties of the mind.
 

    

2.  The Public’s Beliefs and Interests


    Despite sciences’ advances in explaining many aspects of the mind and the physical universe, there is still widespread “belief”  throughout society in supernatural forces and phenomena. The vast majority of people believe in some kind of spiritual reality or God, and/or claim themselves to have had psychic and mystical experiences.
    Two classic surveys by sociologist, Andrew Greeley, demonstrated that belief in mystical, spiritual and psychic realities is indeed widespread and the norm in American society.  Greeley surveyed 1467 subjects in 1973 and 1474 in 1984.   Sample statistics from Greeley's study show that 67% of Americans claim to have had ESP experiences; 73% believe in life after death; 74% believe that they will be re-united with loved ones after death; and 42% claim to have had contact with the dead.  Surveys by the Gallop Organization over the years are consistent with these estimates.  Gallop found that 43% of subjects (in 1985) had an unusual spiritual experience; 71% believed in afterlife (in 1981); 95% believed in God or a Universal Spirit, and so on.  A 2003 survey by the Barna Research Group in California demonstrated that 76% of Americans believe in the existence of heaven and 71% in the existence of hell, while only 5% of the sample said that there is no afterlife, and another 5% said they were not sure. (Ottawa Citizen, October 25, 2003).  Clearly, the vast majority of the American population believe in the existence of the human spirit or soul, and that human beings survive physical death in some form, within some afterlife realm.
    In Canada, similar patterns are evident:  A 1984 Gallop poll reported that 87% of the Canadian population believe in the existence of God; 71% in the existence of heaven; 39% in hell; and 29% in reincarnation.  (Toronto Star, 1984) A more recent VisionTV/TIME pole found that 81% of Canadians strongly (66%) or somewhat (15%) agree that they believe in God; and 60% believed in the existence of heaven and/or hell–other dimensions of afterlife existence.  When asked whether “having an inner spiritual life” was important, 51% of the sample described this as “very important” and a further 26% as “somewhat important.”  (TIME, November 24, 2003)
    Well, although having a spiritual life is rated as important by the majority of Canadians, and despite the widespread belief in such possibilities, these profoundly important issues are almost completely ignored within the educational system and within the mainstream of modern psychology and science.  In fact, there are no Canadian psychology departments offering investigations of spiritual or mystical psychologies, any ‘science of the soul,’ or any investigations of psychical and paranormal phenomena.
    Greeley (1987) discounts the skeptics’ explanations that belief in such supernatural things, such as spirit or soul, simply reflect the prevalence of mental illness or of religious convictions among the population.  In fact:

... our studies show that people who’ve tasted the paranormal, whether they accept it intellectually or not, are anything but religious nuts or psychiatric cases.  They are, for the most part, ordinary Americans, somewhat above the norm in education and intelligence and somewhat less than average in religious involvement.  We tested people who’d had some of the deeper mystical experiences ... with the Affect Balance Scale of psychological well-being, a standard measures of the healthy personality.  And the mystics scored at the top.  Norman Bradburn, the University of Chicago psychologist who developed the scale, said no other factor has ever been found to correlate so highly.  (p. 48)
    Indeed, most people in our technological culture do not accept the conclusions of the  materialist science and soul-less psychology.  Beliefs in God, psychic and spiritual realities are pervasive, and in fact on the upswing.  Further, studies show that psychical experiences and spiritual beliefs are associated with psychological and physical health, social adjustment and creativity–rather than indicating psychological difficulty, social maladjustment or intellectual naivete.
    There is, in fact, a fundamental split between what the scientists think they know with their minds and what people intuitively feel in their hearts.  The scientific mind imagines that we live in a purely material universe, with no God or gods, or any type of divine, spiritual or psychical forces within the psyche or mind, or within nature.  On the other hand, most people belief ‘in their hearts,’ that there is something far deeper and more significant to human life than simply being a material biological being, which lives and dies with the body.  Most people do believe in such things as God, afterlife, psychical forces and the like.
    Although scientists usually dismiss such spiritual or soul possibilities as simply imagination, religious doctrines and conditioning, illusions and delusions, errors in thinking, ‘as beliefs,’ and so on, this is never proven.  Further, most  scientists simply ignore or dismiss the massive experimental and scientific evidences gathered over the past century, which already establishes the validity of all kinds of unexplained paranormal phenomena.  To understand how such para-normal things are possible would require a radical new paradigm within psychology and within other areas of science. Generally, modern western society lives with this split between the mind and the heart, science and religion, which is a great disservice to both to the advance of science, particularly psychology, and to the general public, interested in and believing in, spirituality.
    The most significant areas of human investigation into the mysteries of life, from my perspective as a mystic scientist, concern the existence and nature of the human spirit and soul, the nature of human consciousness, the faculties of extended mind, and the mechanisms underlying all the para-normal phenomena occurring all the time within the lives of broad segments of the population.  Surveys done by varied scientists and polling organizations, consistent find that the large majority of the public either ‘believe’ in, or have directly experience of, varied forms of psychical or para-normal phenomena, or have had spiritual experiences and realizations. Yet despite the overwhelming interest among the public in the issues of the heart and soul, it is exactly these areas of investigation and human inquiry which are completely ignored within ‘modern’ post-secondary education–particularly within psychology, but also within other disciplines and areas of science and education.

An Internet Survey of
Canadian University Psychology Departments

    I have recently conducted a survey over the internet of Canadian Universities, to determine what is offered in the areas of spiritual and mystical psychology, psychology as a science of the soul, consciousness studies, or paranormal investigations, within our university system.  In particular, I have reviewed the psychology programs at the Universities of Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, the University of Alberta, the University of Regina–Saskatchewan, the University of Winnipeg-Manitoba, three Universities in Ontario–York University, the University of Waterloo and Carleton University, McGill University in Quebec,  and the major Universities in P. E. I., New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.  This survey has examined the psychology programs of thirteen universities in Canada, from coast to coast.

    The survey was conducted by exploring the web sites of the varied psychology programs, counting up how many undergraduate and graduate courses are offered in each department, and how many of these had anything to do with consciousness studies, investigations of the human spirit or soul, paranormal phenomena and the like.  Further, I investigate how
many professors there are in each program, and how many of these have any interest or expertise in these areas.

    In brief: The University of Victoria (www.uvic.ca/psyc) offers 41 different undergraduate courses in various areas of psychology, and over 20 graduate courses, with 47 full time professors and 7 part time.  The university offers no courses on consciousness or spiritual studies, and no professors describe expertise in these areas.

The University of Vancouver (www.ubc.ca) offers 41 undergraduate courses, and 20 graduate course, with 47 full time professors and 7 part time.  Once again, there are no courses on consciousness or spiritual psychologies, and no professor describes themselves as having any interest or expertise in these areas.  Thus, British Columbia’s two largest universities have effectively banished the study of spirit and soul, consciousness and the heart, and the mysteries of the human psyche–from the province.  Quite impressive BC!

    The University of Alberta (www.ualberta.ca) offers 50 different undergraduate courses and 17 graduate, with 30 full time faculty.  Once again, nothing is offered in the said areas and no faculty members have expertise in these subjects.  One course offering which mentions consciousness studies, is offered from a cognitive perspective (which offers exactly what I would describe as the false understanding which pervades the modern discipline of psychology.)

    The University of Regina, Saskatchewan (www.uregina.ca/arts/psych) is the one university found which offers some courses in the areas of this inquiry.  Of 85 undergraduate courses and 41 graduate, there are four course offerings which include “Studies in yoga,” “Consciousness Studies,” “Humanistic/Transpersonal Psychology,” and “Parapsychology.”   These specialty courses are not consistently offered, and were not part of the core curriculum.  The University of Regina should be commended for at least offering some courses in these areas.  Of the 13 main faculty members who describe their work, none of them list expertise in the areas of discussion, and so the courses are seemingly offering by part-time faculty members.

    In Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg (www.uwinnipeg.ca) offers 67 undergraduate courses and lists 21 faculty members, and offers no courses on consciousness studies, spiritual psychology or paranormal studies, and no professors have expertise in these areas.

Next, we come to the province of Ontario, in our survey.  It is in the province where I received my so-called “higher education”– first as an undergraduate at Carleton University and  then as a graduate student at the University of Waterloo. In fact, I was never exposed to anything along the line of what I now understand as mystical and spiritual psychology, consciousness studies etc., throughout my nine years of ‘higher education.’   I receiving a Ph.D. in 1978.  I was then employed at York University from 1977 to 1989, and once again never encountered any other faculty members or courses on these topics–except those courses which  I taught during my time at York.  Thus in my twenty years of exposure to the Ontario higher educational system, I was never exposed to any influences, investigations or teachings in these areas.  This in fact was a huge disservice to me.  Fortunately,  I encountered such influences and teachings during my Ph.D. studies, not from within the university but from outside, and I have since studied these areas for approximately thirty years, along with my studies of psychology and science.    Anyway, I will review the programs at Carleton University, the University of Waterloo, and York University in order to explore what is available to students within our so-called ‘progressive’ post-secondary educational system in the province of Ontario.

    Carleton University  (Www.carleton.ca/psychology) offers approximately 50 undergraduate courses and 27 graduate courses–with nothing offered in the areas of our concern.  Of the 49 faculty members in the department, no one acknowledges any interests or expertise in these areas, as far as I could determine (giving the limitations of the web search.)

    The University of Waterloo (psych@watarts.uwaterloo.ca) offers approximately 38 undergraduate courses, and 40 graduate courses (although these figures are somewhat difficult to determine from the web site).  These programs are offered by 26 full time professors, and 14 adjunct professors.  Once again, there are no courses offered in the areas we are exploring, and no professors acknowledge interest or expertise in these areas.

    Lastly, we come to York University in Downsview, Ontario.  (Www.arts.yorku.ca/psych).  York boasts one of the biggest psychology departments in the country and offers approximately 48 undergraduate courses and 81 graduate courses, with seemingly over 60 full time professors.  At York, once again, there are no courses at either the graduate or undergraduate areas offered on any of the topic of our concern, and no faculty member offers any expertise in these areas.
    To further investigate York University, I sent them the following question by email.  This was sent under an email address other than my own, because of my past notoriety at York.  The question was posed by an inquiry student, who wants to study spiritual psychology in the province of Ontario, or anywhere in Canada for that matter.  The question read:

              I am interested in whether or not your department offers
any courses on spiritual or mystical psychology, 
the study of paranormal or psychic phenomena, 
or studies of human consciousness. 
I am interested in courses in these areas.
Do you know of any professors with such interests who yoo
might direct me to?  Thank you.

 The response, from Anita Helman of the York University Undergraduate office, read simply:

                          We do not offer any courses in these areas.  (November 9, 2004)

    Moving onward to McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, (www.psych.mcgill.ca), the department offers 63 undergraduate courses and 49 graduate, with 43 full time professors and 16 part time.  Again, there were no course offerings in these areas and no professors described interests or expertise on these subjects.  The response to the email inquiry stated: “I’m afraid there isn’t anyone in that area here in psychology,” and it was suggested that I “try religious studies.”

    The four remaining eastern provinces demonstrate the same patterns. The University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (www.unb.ca), offers over 50 undergraduate courses and 38 graduate courses with 17 full time professors, yet offers nothing within these areas.

The University of Nova Scotia in Halifax (www.dal.ca) offers 62 undergraduate courses, over 20 graduate courses with 34 full time professors, and similarly provides no instruction or expertise in these areas for students.

Lastly, and not least, the University of Prince Edward Island (www.upei.ca) offers over 49 undergraduate courses, with 13 full time professors, while the University of Newfoundland (www.mun.ca) offers over 53 undergraduate courses, 29 graduate courses, with 29 full time faculty, yet again both departments completely ignore all the issues of human consciousness, spirit and soul, and the issues of the heart.

------------------------------------------------

The results of the survey are clear.  There are approximately 429 full time psychology faculty in thirteen universities across Canada, and none of them have expertise in these areas of our concern-in the psychology of consciousness, the heart, spirit and soul.  There is no possibility for students in Canada to be exposed to the esoteric and spiritual psychologies of humankind, as such teachings are completely ignored within the modern "science of behavior and the mind."  Of the 697 undergraduate courses offered across Canada, there were four secondary course offerings exploring alternative models and transpersonal areas, all at one University.  Of the 382 graduate level courses offered across Canada, there are no opportunities for students to study any aspects of human consciousness, spirit or soul, or paranormal studies.  Modern psychology has effectively dismissed the most solitary important area of psychological investigation from the discipline--the science of consciousness, spirit and soul!

    The primary deficit of modern post-secondary education and the so-called scientific psychology dominant within Canadian Universities–is that the issues of consciousness, the heart and the soul, the nature of spirit, and paranormal phenomena are almost completely ignored.  Meanwhile, much of the theory and research being conducted is severely misguided, ill-informed and invented, with little advantage to the study of the human psyche.  The modern approach to “cognitive psychology”–the big rage, supposedly at the forefront of psychology, is quite misguided in its approach to consciousness studies.

    In fact, if someone were to come to me seeking “self-knowledge” or seeking to understand the nature and mysteries of consciousness and reality, I would strongly advise against pursuing academic studies in psychology, as well as other areas of university education, which similarly lack a mystical/spiritual perspective.  Modern psychology has almost completely abandoned the investigation of the mysteries of life, the heart, and human consciousness.  If a person is spiritually inclined, modern academic studies will create enough confusion and misguided notions, as to squelch any such natural ‘thirst for being.’

    Thus, we have a situation where psychology departments offer no service to the vast majority of Ontario residents who might want to study spiritual psychology, seek self-knowledge, or who want to understand paranormal phenomena (as occur all the
time in everyday life.)  The pseudo-scientists have simply closed their eyes to the most important areas of psychological studies and “higher education.”  The universities in this way are failing to meet their mandate to foster spiritual growth within our society, or to foster investigations into the mysteries of life.

   If people only had some realization of this profound deficit in modern education, particularly in the supposed modern study of psychology, they would be appalled.
 

 


 

4.  The Strange Case of Professor Z:
On the ideals of Murray Ross, Academic Freedom
& the Rights of Students

"We at York ... must give special emphasis to the humanizing of man 
freeing him from those pressures which mechanize the mind, 
which make for routine thinking, which divorce thinking and feeling, 
which permit custom to dominate intelligence, 
hich freeze awareness of the human spirit and its possibilities.” 
Murray Ross


     These words are engraved in stone at York University over the arches of the Murray Ross building, and they express an excellent ideal of what “higher education” might involve–including “unfreezing awareness of the human spirit.” This quotation was used extensively by myself and students in defence of my work at York during my struggles there for academic freedom.  Students knew that the mystical/spiritual perspectives which I was introducing did exactly what Murray Ross had posed as an ideal for higher education, and that apart from my teaching, they had no other options along this line–dealing with ‘unfreezing awareness’ and the ‘human spirit.’  Fortunately, Murray Ross had not been educated within the York University psychology department, and still had some spiritual inspiration.

        “The Strange Case of Professor Z” was the title of a long fifty page letter I wrote in 1988 protesting my dismissal and explaining the history of my struggle for academic freedom.  The phrase “professor Z”  was based on an article from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (C.A.U.T.) newsletter dealing with the issue of academic freedom.  This article had talked about a hypothetical “Professor Z” who had an orientation different from his colleagues, and how this might lead to situations where academic freedom could be violated, and professors would be denied tenure because of holding a different orientation from his colleges:

     “The term academic freedom as it is applied to the individual professor is defined ... as the freedom “to teach, investigate, and speculate, without deference to prescribed doctrine.”  I have chosen in this paper to focus on the danger to academic freedom, as understood, that can emerge from the peer evaluation system. ...
     ... Professor Z’s approach to his discipline differs from that of the majority of his colleges; his pedagogical theories and practice are not traditional; the orientation of his research is not at the moment widely accepted in his discipline.  Now, are we bound in this instance to accept the results of the peer evaluation? ...  is there a possibility that this denial of tenure constitutes a violation of the academic freedom of Professor Z? ... There are significant conflicts over orientation within every discipline.  Quite apart from the rights of the individual faculty member, it is gain, rather than loss for students to be exposed directly to these conflicting views.”

    After I was denied tenure in 1984, by the ministry of double-talk, I filed a grievance within the university over this issue of academic freedom.  The grievance procedure led to the establishment of a committee to review my case, and in 1985, the majority of faculty members on the committee decided in my favour suggesting that there had been a denial of my academic freedom, and they recommended to the University that my case be reassessed.  Unfortunately, for political reasons, and influence peddling and such, the University would not accept the Committee’s decision.  This simply forced a new level of arbitration, where CAUT took up my case, and more years of delay!  No-one thought these matters needed immediate attention, but ‘due process’ allowed the University to more simply dispel student protests, and wash their hands of the matter.  CAUT actually took up my case and was involved for years, but in a totally ineffectual manner, where their own agenda was more important of the truth of my situation.  Anyway, I subsequently used to the phrase “professor Z” to refer to myself, and my years of struggle for academic freedom at York University.

    When I was teaching mystical/spiritual psychologies and investigating paranormal phenomena while at York, there was an overwhelmingly positive student response to my work, and wide student protest over my dismissal.   A sample of student commentary gives a sense of the enthusiasm which students had for alternative perspectives:

    “I think that the issues examined in the class are important; in fact,  vital.  People have to start asking why they believe the things they do and why they don’t believe other things.  The world is a wonderful place.  We should start looking at it with a sense of mystery.  Only then could we do it justice.  This class exposes people to some of the world’s incredible mysteries and encourages people to ask questions.  I’ve been at this university for 4 years and this class has been an incredibly valuable experience.

    “Eastern psychology or alternatives to Western Psychology in general, are sadly lacking at York University or any other North American University I have heard of.  The dismissal of this course by high handed tunnel visioned executives should be a travesty of justice and the freedom to think in new and different ways.  The efforts of York University to rail road Dr. Holmes from this establishment of ‘higher learning.’ is an example of how close minded academics and society at large are still basically unwilling to stray from the beaten path and that conservatism is still prevalent in our world.

    “I feel that the materials presented in this course are more relevant than any other teachings, I have ever been exposed to, they are applicable in all aspects of study (including self study) and there is no question in my mind that it is of the utmost relevance to continue Professor Holmes’ work at York University. ... My interests have gone from singular and unrelated ideas and opinions to a multitude of perspectives leading to the same organized and comprehensive understanding.  I am very thankful for the honour of being exposed to Professor Holmes and his teaching, for such knowledge and teachers are rare in this ‘modern’ world.  I would feel genuinely distressed if the opportunity was not available to anyone who had the insight and courage to reach out and see the world, their world in a more deep and insightful manner.

    “This course gave me a higher understanding of myself & the world around me.  I feel its an excellent course & I would recommend it to everyone.

    “It would be tragic to remove this course from the curriculum.

    “I felt that this course is very beneficial to the study of psychology.  It is important to be exposed to all areas of thought dealing with the human mind and human being.  Psychology has become so far removed from the element of mysticism and it is frightening that the study of the mind has become too scientific and mechanic.  I have found out more about myself and understanding myself, while Dr. Holmes was always sure to relate his material to modern psychology today. ... Chris Holmes is a very original, well informed teacher who is interested in bringing knowledge to his students. ... The course is tough but worth it.

These are only a sample of hundreds of favourable student comments offered on my teaching and work at York University.  One anonymous student wrote this comment on my case, which was also frequently quoted in my own protest letters:

      “I don’t know who is reading this but whoever it is, know this.  To get rid of this professor through blind ignorance and tunnel vision, and hence this subject matter, is a crime to higher education.”

The proceedings at York did indeed perpetrate such a “crime” against the ideals of academic freedom, against Murray Ross’s dedication of the Ross Building, and most importantly, against the students who were so enthusiastic to be exposed to an alternative perspective on the issues of psychology, consciousness, the spirit and soul, and so on.  Part of my problem while at York was my popularity as a teacher, not because of myself so much, as because of the viewpoints, ideas and practical teachings, to which students were exposed.  A mystical and spiritual psychology is far more practical and useful to students, than the standard cognitive and behavioural dogmas now encrusted within academic psychology departments.
 Anyway, in 1989, the elected student federation at York, voted unanimously to protest my dismissal.  The President of the Student Federation, Tammy Hasselfeldt, penned a protest letter on behalf of the student council. This letter read in part:

         “A fundamental concern we have with regards to Prof. Holmes case is that of academic freedom.  It seems that in a university dedicated to the search for truth and to spiritual values in education, it is outrageous to dismiss the one professor who would bring such a perspective to York’s psychology department and into the larger university.  It would seem that at York of all places, a professor and a scientist should have the right, individually and professionally, to explore the areas of psychical, mystical and spiritual studies.  Instead, it appears that Dr. Holmes has faced varied forms of irresponsible academic assessments.  Not only is this suggested by student commentary, but also by other evidences.
        “To the vast majority of students, especially those who have studied with Dr. Holmes, the importance of researching and learning in these areas of psychic, mystical and spiritual ideas and teachings is highly obvious!  Many students further describe Dr. Holmes teaching as highly valuable in a personal way, and as providing an important perspective in education.
        “The dismissal of Dr. Holmes and his perspective from York is in complete disregard of student opinion, and of our right to be exposed to progressive education in an atmosphere of academic freedom and tolerance. ...    (January 17, 1989)

This letter was sent to the President of the University, Deans, the Senate, and even to the then Minister of Education, Lyn McLeod.  No-one even responded to this strong appeal and protest from the student government of the university!

        Ms. Hasselfeldt makes a number of important points in her letter–particularly that:  “To the vast majority of students, especially those who have studied with Dr. Holmes, the importance of researching and learning in these areas of psychic, mystical and spiritual ideas and teachings is highly obvious!”   Although one might think that this would be an obviously important areas of study, in fact, these are the areas completely ignored with modern so-called institutes of higher learning, despite the profound importance of the issues addressed!  As the survey results demonstrate, psychology departments in Ontario and Canada offer almost nothing in these areas. This really is quite outrageous, but it passes by unrealized because people do not know what such studies involve, and how important they are to the advancement of psychology as a discipline, and to the evolution of humankind.

    The dogmatists of modern psychology and materialist science philosophy perpetrate a terrible disservice to their students and the general public by the complete ignoring of these areas of study, and further, even persecuting those who do explore these areas.  My case at York University was one case wherein I was the heretic, and essentially persecuted, while the opinions of thousands of students were ignored.  During the same period, Howard Eisenberg, author of Inner Spaces: Parapsychological Explorations of the Mind (Mussen Book Co, 1977), went through a similar process of persecution at the University of Toronto, and opposition to his teaching.  Similarly, Ian Currie, author of You Cannot Die: The incredible findings of a century of research on Death (Methuen, Toronto, 1978), underwent harrasment and opposition at the University of Guelph. Both of these individuals shared something of their struggles with me during the 1980's when the inquisition was in full sway. Howard Eisenberg gave a public lecture attended by over a hundred fellows at the University of Toronto on his case, as I attended it.  There may well  be other similar cases over the past fifteen years, but I have yet to make an attempt to investigate this--although now I have heard of another case.  The internet survey results clearly indicates the almost complete absence of such explorations in modern psychology and the Canadian University system.

        The psychology departments of Ontario and Canada have effectively banished spirit, soul and human consciousness from their studies of the human psyche! If current students or the broader public really understood the terrible disservice to students and society which this neglect perpetuates, they might wake up enough to demand change.  Most likely, no one will step up to the plate and examine this issues seriously, but instead, will simply ignore such a disturbing portrait of their own favorite “higher education”–just as the student letters of protest on my behalf were simply ignored; as well as the petition run by Excalibur, the York Student newspaper, which collected over a thousand names.  No one in authority paid any heed to the protests, but simply washed their hands of the case, and postponed addressing the profound issues involved.  It was indeed a ‘crime’ to higher education, when I was dismissed from York, and I think of those thousands of students who were deprived of the opportunity to see the world through a mystical and spiritual perspective.

        And now, twenty years after I was driven out of York, dedicated to unfreezing awareness of the human spirit, what does York University offer in these profound of investigation, science and self-study?  As the undergraduate secretary states in her email to an inquiring student: “We do not offer any courses in these areas.”

        It was a crime then, and it is a crime today, that our educational system does not allow students the opportunity to study the esoteric mystical and spiritual psychologies, philosophies and science–which are, in important areas, are far ahead of modern so-called ‘exact psychology,’ when it comes to understanding the true nature of human beings.  Modern psychologists have no idea of how limited and superficial the modern discipline has become, and what fundamental mistakes have been made.  Further, they would gladly persecute anyone like Professor Z.
 
 

5.  Public Accountability, 
and the Failure of Modern Education,
Modern Psychology and the Ontario Universities

        The term ‘psychology’ is actually derived from the Greek terms ‘psyche,’ signifying soul, and ‘logos,’ signifying knowledge.  The original meaning of psychology thus suggested a “science of the soul.”  Unfortunately, attempts to investigate such areas constitute the ‘new heresy’ of modern times, and there is considerable fear within academic and so-called scientific circles of mixing what is thought to be “real science” with what is considered to be vague spirituality or mystical speculations.  Sociologist A. Greeley described a “scientific iron curtain raised against serious research on these experiences”–of  the mystical, psychical and spiritual. Similarly, even back in 1888, occult scholar Madame Blavatsky, noted that:  "In our day, scientists are more self-opinionated and bigoted than even the clergy."

       Unfortunately, the study of spiritual teachings and psychologies is regarded as perhaps relevant to the study of religion, but not considered to be relevant to the so-called ‘science’ of psychology, or to the study of academic philosophy and the life sciences.  In reality, such perspectives are relevant to every department of knowledge, including the hard sciences of physics, cosmology, medicine, and so on.  I have focussed my critique on modern psychology, because I am a psychologist and have most expertise in this area.  However, the same issues and problems exist in relation to other disciplines, and I have known of even established professors in other disciplines fearing that their mystical or spiritual interests be known.

        The lack of spiritual psychology and science is surprising because of the fact that there are huge scientific and research literatures establishing the validity of ESP, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, ghosts, remove viewing, past life memories, and varied other para-normal phenomena.   These ‘system-destroying facts’ illustrate that there is something fundamentally mistaken in modern soul-less psychology and materialist science philosophy.  Modern psychologists dismiss all of these areas of inquiry, and make no efforts to understand the hidden nature of the human psyche.  They simply close their eyes to all the system-destroying facts, and pursue relatively insignificant issues within some specialty, of some sub-division of psychology.  The most important psychological issues are almost completely ignored.  Psychology today might be compared with Newtonian physics, which has yet to undergo any significant paradigm shift over the past century.

        However, if human beings have a spiritual or soul nature, then much of modern university instruction, especially in the area of the soft sciences and philosophy, is all quite fanciful and imaginary.  Much of university instruction is in fact simply memorization of the wrong ideas and invented theories of previous wiseacres and misguided intellectuals.

        The ignoring of the most profound areas of human investigation–into mystical and spiritual teachings, and the science of self-realization as taught through the ages–in the modern universities is a great disservice to student, to the public, and to the advancement of science itself.  Whereas the natural sciences have made tremendous advances, modern psychology is based upon fundamental mistakes, and knows nothing of the true nature of human beings.  Human beings are multi-dimensional, and there is a huge body of scientific evidence establishing this fact.  Unfortunately, such viewpoints are the new heresies, and earlier inquisitions within the Ontario University system, have banished such influences, in order to pursue the petty concerns and theoretical squabbling of modern theorists.

        Swami Prabhupada, representing the spiritual/mystical teachings of ancient India, makes some interesting claims about what should be the main focus of the educational system::

    Swami: You should try to understand this science of God consciousness. ... everyone has dormant consciousness of God. ...  It simply requires proper education to awaken it.  However, this education is not given in the universities. That is the defect in modern education. ... Because our government does not know that life, especially human life, is meant for understanding God, they are supporting all the departments of knowledge very nicely except the principal department, God consciousness. ... Reasons there may be many, but the principal reason is that this age is the Kali-yuga (dark age).  People are not very intelligent, therefore they are trying to avoid this department of knowledge, the most important department of knowledge. ... You do not know so many things .... (1980, pp. 7,19)

Prabhupada claims that we all have dormant consciousness of God which can be awakened through proper education.  Further, there is a “science of God consciousness,” which the Vedas and a wide range of other esoteric mystical and spiritual teachings elaborate. In this perspective, there is something fundamentally fraudulent about modern materialist science and psychology, and the educational system.  Scientists have ignored the most important issues of self-knowledge, the mysteries of human consciousness, and the nature of the human spirit and soul.

     I would like to thank the committee members for reviewing and considering this brief.  You are likely now to realize how I might be disheartened, and experience a certain hopelessness, in attempting to have these concerns be given serious attention.  It is easy to dismiss me, as a mystic, especially when people have so little idea of what this entails, and when routine thinking comes to dominate intelligence.  It is because people in our society are so ignorant as to what mystical and spiritual psychologies involve, especially in academic circles,  that these influences–those of the enlightened mystics, saints, psychics  and occultists through the ages–have been so widely ignored.  Especially, this is troublesome when there is in fact massive literatures, scientific and anecdotal, which establishes the reality of such deeper realms as the scientists have hardly begun to imagine.  It is indeed the Kali Yuga, or the age of ignorance–spiritual ignorance.

    It is very easy to dismiss this letter as simply ‘mystical looniness,’  but really this is a huge disservice to the Canadian public and to all those students who might have been inspired to see the world and its mysteries anew–in the light of mystical psychology and science.   In fact, from my perspective, we have no institutes of higher education because the most advanced models of the human psyche, of spirit and soul, are completely ignored, as well as the massive bodies of evidence which document the paranormal nature of life.  Modern educators simply close their eyes to such enigmas, and pursue instead the modern pseudo-scientific psychological dogmas.  Further, we have a new period of inquisition, wherein instead of the church persecuting scientific investigators, we have a body of pseudo-scientists and intellectuals who simply ignore the most profound issues of psychology and human life.  This is a sad and disheartening situation.
 
.
Footnote:

    This letter was submitted with an additional attachment, an article elaborating upon the issues of human consciousness–considered from a modern so-called scientific viewpoint and from a mystical and spiritual perspective.  Nowhere is the failure of modern psychology and education more evident than in the area of consciousness investigations.  In fact, mystical views of the origins and nature of human consciousness are far more complex, subtle and scientific than those offered within the modern discipline of psychology, which is pervaded by fundamental mistakes. 


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