Two hundred years of reductive materialism has failed to explain the extraordinary experiences we know as moments of genius, religious epiphany, and psychic insight. This paper proposes that these three experiences are in essence the same experience, differentiated only by intention and context. It reaches this conclusion based on well-conducted experimental research across the continuum of science—work that proposes a new interdependent model of consciousness that takes into consideration a nonlocal linkage or entanglement, as an aspect of consciousness not limited by space and time. The paper surveys some of the most important relevant research from quantum biology, physics, psychology, medicine, anthropology, and parapsychology. It proposes that more attention should be paid to the autobiographies, correspondence, and journals of men and women to whom history unequivocally accords the designation of genius, saint, or psychic, offering examples from these sources. And it presents comparisons between ethnohistorical material and spiritual traditions, suggesting they arrive at a similar worldview. Finally, it proposes that meditation research, some examples of which are cited, be seen in the context of psychophysical self-regulation, and that it offers one powerful avenue for producing these exceptional experiences.
For almost 200 years, the most intellectually rigorous approach we have had for examining the world—science—has had a strong bias toward reductive materialism. From this perspective, spiritual ecstasy is delusional, creative processes are the result of genetics and reinforcements, and parapsychological functioning is impossible. Yet from time immemorial, these experiences have been reported across geography and culture, and continue to be so today. After a century or more of trying to explain them by using the reductive analytical model, the result is acknowledged to be inadequate. There is an aspect of consciousness that has not been accounted for by the materialist worldview. Materialism asks us to believe these quite common experiences cannot be what they so obviously are: an aspect of consciousness not limited by space/time—the nonlocal aspect of consciousness.