Scientific Support For The Spiritual Dimension Of Life with Charles Tart, Ph.D.

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Tart grew up with an interest in science and he believes that is it reasonable to be both scientific and spiritual in your approach to life. He explains how science works when we openly share our observations: “As an individual scientist, am biased in certain ways. I see some things too readily and exaggerate them; I don’t even notice other things. But we’re not all biased and crazy in exactly the same way. So, if we keep sharing what we see, what our thinking is, we can begin to compensate for each other’s limitations. We start out with crude ideas based on pretty imprecise observations and funny reasons that we think they happen and gradually we get clearer and clearer facts.” Our challenge is to not get too attached to our belief systems. This is most especially applicable when it comes to the field of parapsychology and psychic phenomena, which includes altered states, telepathy, and healing. Tart would like to see the scientific method applied to inform a deeper understanding of religious and spiritual phenomena. He states, “I would like to see what we might call an experimental spirituality.” For example, research might be conducted on different forms of meditation. He suggests collecting data on different personality traits to find which type of meditation would work best for each personality. He says, “It’s one thing to tell people to be good but how do you control the anger, the loneliness, the jealously, the one-upsmanship urges and so forth? There’s something about love and understanding that are more than just biological, which is part of the whole picture which gives meaning to life. Exactly what the meaning is needs a lot of figuring out . . . And we can learn more.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Charles T. Tart, Ph.D. is internationally known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness, particularly on altered states of consciousness, and for his research in scientific parapsychology. He is one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology. Tart’s two classic books, Altered States of Consciousness (Doubleday 1972) and Transpersonal Psychologies (Harper Collins 1992), were instrumental in introducing these subjects to modern psychology. 

Charles Tart, Ph.D. is the author of many books including: 

To learn more about the work of Charles Tart go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What were Tart’s early religious and scientific beginnings
  • What is the difference between true skeptics and pseudoskeptics
  • What are Newtonian Shields and why applying them in an experiment cannot explain telepathy
  • What does Tart mean by the terms spirituality and the intelligence of the heart
  • How human theories can be one of our greatest drawbacks and one of our greatest strengths
  • How do we guard ourselves against falling into the “authority trap”
  • What are the experiments that Tart is doing on telepathy
  • What is the difference between scientism and science
  • Why we love our theories, tending to cling to our belief systems, and feel uncomfortable about ambiguity
  • How true science is trying to get to a better approximation of truth, which means continuing to question what we think we know
  • Tart describes a personal psychic experience
  • What survives after death

Host: Justine Willis Toms           Interview Date: 11/2/2017           Program Number: 3628

Music Playlist

From Album: Essential Tri Atma
Artist: Tri Atma
1990 Higher Octave B00000K0D8 

Opening Essay: Track 1 Namaskar
Music Break 1: Track 2 Natural Loving
Music Break 2: Track 4 Blue Caracan
Music Break 3: Track 6 Microcosmos