Most of us know it well - the almost physical sensation that we are the object of someone’s attention. Is the feeling all in our head? And what about related phenomena, such as telepathy and premonitions? Are they merely subjective beliefs? In The Sense of Being Stared At, renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake explores the intricacies of the mind and discovers that our perceptive abilities are stronger than many of us could have imagined.
Despite a traditional academic background, Sheldrake has devoted his notable career as a scientist and writer
to challenging the boundaries of 'acceptable' science. A firm believer in the power of an experiment to
yield answers about nature, he has dedicated years of intense research to investigating our common beliefs about what he calls our seventh sense. After compiling a database of 4,000 case histories, 2,000 questionnaires, 1,500 telephone interviews, and the results of a decade of scientifically controlled experiments, Sheldrake argues persuasively in this compelling, innovative book that such phenomena are real. In fact, he rejects the label of paranormal and shows how these psychic occurrences are a normal part of human nature.
As an explanation for this more intimate connection with the external world, Sheldrake suggests that our minds are not limited to our brains, but rather stretch outward to touch the beings and objects that we perceive. Once this extended influence of the mind is taken into consideration, many puzzling phenomena begin to make sense, including telepathy and phantom limbs.
Sheldrake shows that telepathy depends on social bonds. He traces its evolution from the connections between members of animal groups such as flocks, schools, and packs. In the modern world, telepathy occurs most commonly just before telephone calls.
Sheldrake summarizes startling new experimental evidence for the reality of telephone telepathy, and shows how readers can do tests for themselves. Combining the tradition of pragmatic experimentation with a refusal to allow science to fall into dogmatism, Sheldrake pioneers an intriguing new inquiry into the mysteries of our deepest nature. Rigorously researched, yet completely accessible, this groundbreaking book provides a refreshing new way of thinking about ourselves and our relationships with other people, with animals, and with the world around us.
From Publishers Weekly
Extending the line of thought propounded in his Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, Sheldrake continues his investigations of perceptions that don't seem to correlate to our known senses. It's a project that carries risks of which he is well aware that 'to go against this taboo involves a serious loss of intellectual standing, a relegation to the ranks of the uneducated', and is careful to base his arguments on sustained research. Using a database of more than 4,500 case histories of "apparently unexplained perceptiveness by people and by nonhuman animals," Sheldrake investigates a wide range of psychic phenomena, organizing his inquiries by specific media. One chapter covers "Telephone Telepathy," whereby one can be thinking of a person who then calls or can "actively induce" someone to call. He also covers cats who rush to the phone when it is their owner on the line, but of particular interest are the studies and anecdotes presenting evidence of other sorts of telepathic or psychic communication between children and parents, as well as the tales of dreams and visions that seem to have predicted the tragic events of September 11. Some of the material fails to convince such as the woman who says her husband can sense the correct Trivial Pursuit answer if she thinks about it, and some readers may wish that Sheldrake had more fully dealt with selective memory and retrospective narration where details are unconsciously embellished. Nevertheless, the title chapter is extremely convincing, dealing with those moments in which we "know" someone is looking at us, and turn around to find it to be so: Sheldrake has data on response rates that differ as to place, gender and type of gaze (curiosity, sexual desire, anger, etc.), and goes on to devote a whole chapter to "Surveillance and Wariness."
Copyright © 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake continues to charter a new course in our understanding of the non-local mind that connects all of us. His scientific explorations and his elegant theories are bringing us to a closer and more experiential knowledge of the luminous mystery in which we are all bathed. The application of this understanding has the potential to heal our world. Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of How to Know God and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success