Science, Mysticism, and their Expulsion From Academic Reason

“When we consider what religion is for mankind, and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relations between them.” – Alfred North Whitehead, 1925


In 1899 Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916), Pioneer of Applied Psychology in Industrym (old spelling) Law, Medicine and Education and contemporary of William James and F.C.S. Schiller, wrote an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled “Psychology and Mysticism” bebunking extra-sensory reality.

He wrote:


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In response to this article, Professor F. C. S. Schiller responded with an article “Psychology and Psychical Research: A Reply to Professor Munsterberg in:

The article:

The Boss of divine power: Professor Hugo Munsterberg, of Harvard University, the lord of I don’t know how many thousand dollars’ worth of psychological machinery, has planted the banner of the ‘only genuine’ psychology amid the pulverised fragments of ‘Mysticism,’ and sent back ‘the Cinderella of the sciences, ‘ Psychical Research, to supervise what alone she is fit for, viz., the culinary operations of the witches’ caldron.


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I bring this up in 2022 because I don’t think the Academic community has moved very far into the area of what Professors Munsterberg and Schiller termed ‘Mysticism’ and ‘Psychic Research’ at the turn of the 20th Century.

To make my point, I reference two recent items that have come to my attention. One is Brian Muraresku’s, ‘The Immortality Key considered “a groundbreaking dive into the role psychedelics have played in the origins of Western civilization, and a real-life quest for the Holy Grail.”*  This done in the name of ‘science’ without ever taking any sacrament itself….very objective!  Not.  And then there is Rupert Sheldrake who has been shunned by his community of ‘scientists’*:


I don’t see much progress ‘beyond’ the nickname, “show me” state of Missouri’ in over 120+ years. But, yes, I see the articles on ‘micro dosing’ (and all the research about it) and Michael Poland’s book along with his Netflix documentary.’

Netflix’s 4-part adaptation of Michael Pollan’s book on psychedelics, “How to Change Your Mind.”

But, considering the experience of millions of people worldwide for thousands of years, when will the academics cross the ‘Indus River’? For centuries no one had been aware of the ancient Indus civilization—even Alexander the Great, whose Greek army invaded the Indus river valley in the 4th century B.C. Even today, the serious study of the ancient wisdom of India and other civilizations that have ‘mapped’ what the West calls ‘psychic’ territory and the East calls ‘esoteric’ territory, the academics and scientists today are still in the 19th Century crawling into the 21st Century holding onto logic, mathematics, and the Missouri’s sobriquet.

“The law of conservation of energy may be substantiated by experiment, but there is not demonstrable principle of the conservation of good.”

Kenneth Roxroth

For those who wish to go beyond the conventional model of 19th century thought and jump into the 21st Century I suggest you start here:


7 Stages of Life – Seven Stages of Life – Adi Da Samraj