Schwartz, Gary E. 1944-
SCHWARTZ, Gary E. 1944-
PERSONAL: Born June 14, 1944, in Mineola, NY; son of Howard and Shirley Schwartz; married Jeanne Iris Gross, June 13, 1965. Education: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, A.B., 1966; Harvard University, A.M., 1969, Ph.D., 1971.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Psychologist, educator, and writer. Harvard University, assistant professor of psychology, 1971-75; Yale University, associate professor, and Yale University School of Medicine, assistant professor of psychiatry, 1976-79; Yale University, professor of psychology and psychiatry, 1980-87; Human Energy Systems Laboratory, University of Arizona, professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery, and director, 1988—. University of British Columbia, visiting associate professor of psychology, 1975-76; University of California Medical School, San Francisco, CA, visiting associate professor of psychiatry, 1976. Member, Personality and Cognition Study Section, National Institute of Mental Health, 1972-76; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, consultant, 1976—; National Institutes of Health, ad hoc behavior medicine study section, member, 1977—.
MEMBER: American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Biofeedback Society of America (president, 1974-75), Society for Psychophysiological Research (director, 1975-78), Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, Claude Bernard Club, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Psi Chi, Alpha Epsilon Pi.
AWARDS, HONORS: Young Psychologist Award, American Psychological Association, 1972; Young Investigator Award, Stress Program, Roche Psychiatric Service Institute, 1975; Early Career Award, American Psychological Association, 1978.
(Editor, with David Shapiro) Consciousness and Self-Regulation: Advances in Research, Volume 1, Plenum Press (New York, NY), 1976.
(Editor, with Jackson Beatty) Biofeedback, Theory andResearch, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1977.
(Editor, with Leonard White and Bernard Tursky) Placebo: Theory, Research, and Mechanisms, foreword by Norman Sartorius, Guilford Press (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Linda G. S. Russek) The Living Energy Universe: A Fundamental Discovery That Transforms Science and Medicine, Hampton Roads (Charlottesville, VA), 1999.
(With Suzy Smith and Linda G. S. Russek) TheAfterlife Codes: Searching for Evidence of the Survival of the Soul, Hampton Roads (Charlottesville, VA), 2000.
Associate editor, Biological Physiology and Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 1976—, Psychophysiology, 1978—.
SIDELIGHTS: The search for proof of life after death is a quest long undertaken by science and religion as well as parapsychology. The question of an afterlife has been pondered since ancient cultures, by average people profoundly affected by the loss of loved ones and the deepest thinkers of the ages, concerned with humankind's purpose and destiny. The strongest claims to knowledge of an afterlife remained confined to the deeply felt tenets of religion and the assertions of psychics, mediums, and ghost hunters. Yet despite the earnest claims of faith, science, or pseudoscience, there exists little tangible, reproducible evidence of life after death. In The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life after Death, Gary E. Schwartz and coauthor William L. Simon approach the issue with the rigor of science. In the process, they provide "astonishing answers to a timeless question," wrote a reviewer on the Lanternlight Traveller Book Corner Web site: Is there an afterlife?
The Afterlife Experiments delves into Schwartz's longtime interest in the possibility of the survival of human consciousness after death. The results obtained in the experiments provide some support for Schwartz's theories. "This riveting narrative, with its electrifying transcripts, puts the reader on the scene of a breakthrough scientific achievement: contact with the beyond under controlled laboratory conditions," wrote the Lanternlight Traveller Book Corner reviewer.
In carefully regulated and controlled experiments, a number of well-known mediums made attempts to contact deceased friends and relatives of volunteer "sitters." These sitters could not be seen during the experiments, and they did not communicate to provide any cues to the mediums. The mediums were able provide information that they otherwise would not have known, including messages about a son's suicide; the statements a deceased father wanted to make before he died, but which he was prevented from saying due to a coma; and the "forecast" of a spouse's death. The results of the experiments, wrote William Beatty in Booklist, "showed definite examples of precognition and surprisingly accurate observations by the mediums." However, to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "the story comes off like high-grade magic or a splendid infomercial."
Despite any misgivings by critics, "The Afterlife Experiments should provoke considerable discussion," Beatty observed, and it "should be of value for further investigation in this controversial field." Even the Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that Schwartz possesses "an admirable passion for curious knowledge."
Schwartz also addressed a similar theory in The Living Energy Universe: A Fundamental Discovery That Transforms Science and Medicine, written with Linda G. S. Russek. "This is a book about a big idea: 'Everything is alive and remembers,'" wrote Rupert Sheldrake in Journal of Parapsychology. The book, Sheldrake said, "combines ideas, autobiography, and Linda's quest to find out if the death of her father meant the extinction of his consciousness, or whether he in some sense survived. It is refreshing to find a book about ideas written in such a personal way, and with such obvious excitement and enthusiasm."
Schwartz's theory, Sheldrake wrote, is based on the idea that if two components of a coupled system (designated A and B) influence each other in some way, the system will include not only their interactions but a memory of the interactions. "For example," Sheldrake observed, "if A and B are similar tuning forks, if A is set vibrating, B will be respond to A by vibrating in resonance; but then B's vibrations will affect A, and these changes in A will in turn affect B, and so on. This argument is quite general and applies to any coupled systems." Schwartz and Russek's "systemic memory hypothesis," could account for otherwise speculative or metaphysical events, including life after death, "cosmic evolution, past lives, karma, love, eternal life, the memory of water, cold fusion," and more, Sheldrake wrote.
While critics of the systemic memory hypothesis might agree that interactions leave a memory within the system, "these traces would seem too weak to make much difference," Sheldrake observed. To overcome this limitation, Schwartz and Russek rely on Erwin Lazlo's ideas of the vacuum of space itself as the place where everything is connected. Thus, "the vacuum itself is invoked as a locus of memory," Sheldrake said. "When we add the systemic memory process to Laszlo's logic, the vacuum of space itself becomes eternal, alive, and evolving." To Sheldrake, "The Living Energy Universe contains little new evidence for the ideas contained within it." Despite some speculations that he found "over the top," however, "the idea of memory in nature seems both attractive and plausible."
Schwartz, a professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery, and directory of the Human Energy Systems Laboratory at the University of Arizona, is no stranger to championing ideas that exist outside those widely accepted by the scientific mainstream. His 1977 book Biofeedback: Theory and Research, edited with Jackson Beatty, addresses what was then a very new and highly controversial field. However, to a reviewer writing in Choice, "it is refreshing to see a publishing attempt of this kind undertaken." The book focuses on four areas: theoretical and applied issues, the autonomic nervous system, the central nervous system, and skeletal musculature, with each chapter written by a practicing researcher in the field. Chapters include literature reviews, author and subject indexes, and detailed bibliographies.
Reviewer B. M. Shmavonian, writing in Contemporary Psychology, remarked favorably on many aspects of the book. "The most exquisite chapter in the theoretical section, perhaps in the entire book, is the chapter by Jasper Brener entitled 'Sensory and Perceptual Determinants of Voluntary Visceral Control.' This chapter epitomizes the rigorous experimental approach as well as considerations of the involvement of the central nervous system and the brain." Similarly, Shmavonian commented that "the chapter by Taub entitled 'Self-Regulation of Human Tissue Temperature' is particularly well done and should be required reading for those who do temperature regulation without taking into consideration the problems Taub discusses."
Shmavonian's praise wasn't universal, however, as he wrote that the book has "uneven contributions." However, he concluded that Biofeedback: Theory and Research is nonetheless "a very useful book, both for researchers and practitioners, particularly those practitioners who practice with ignorance of the pitfalls and shortcomings of many of the techniques described in this text."
Schwartz's Consciousness and Self-Regulation: Advances in Research, edited with David Shapiro, offers "a scholarly forum for discussing the integration of the diverse areas represented in consciousness and self-regulation," wrote Timothy J. Teyler in Contemporary Psychology. "They attempt this by presenting some of the best research and theory," presenting nine chapters with an overall "strong biological slant," Teyler observed. Despite a strong presentation, "the major liability of the volume is in its failure to provide a framework for the chapters or to provide a smooth transition from one to another." Still, Teyler remarked, "the editors have done an admirable job of assembling a wide variety of contributions from competent people."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, William Beatty, review of The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life after Death, p. 973.
Choice, October, 1977, review of Biofeedback: Theory and Research, p. 1127.
Contemporary Psychology, May, 1978, Timothy J. Teyler, review of Consciousness and Self-Regulation: Advances in Research, Volume 1, pp. 292-294; May, 1979, B.M. Shmavonian, review of Biofeedback: Theory and Research, pp. 401-402.
Journal of Parapsychology, March, 2000, Rupert Sheldrake, review of The Living Energy Universe: A Fundamental Discovery That Transforms Science and Medicine, p. 101.
Publishers Weekly, February 25, 2002, review of TheAfterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life after Death, p. 52.
Afterlife Experiments Web site,http://www.openmindsciences.com/ (May 9, 2002).
Lanternlight Traveler Book Corner,http://lantravbookcorner.com/ (May 9, 2002), review of The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death.*