About Etheric Studies
This is a Frontier Subject
The rather large population of people involved in the practice and/or study of trans-etheric survival and associated phenomena has not matured into a cohesive community supporting academic institutions and well-funded research facilities. There are no accredited institutions awarding masters or doctorate-level degrees in the study of trans-etheric influences and funding for such research is limited to questions about the sanity of those who believe these phenomena may be real. Professional organizations do not exist while the numerous groups involved with these phenomena seldom cooperate in studies or even agree on fundamental concepts.
After assuming leadership of the AA-EVP in 2000, Lisa and I attempted to establish and maintain cooperative contact with similar organizations around the world. This included the many hauntings investigation groups and other groups more interested in general trans-etheric phenomena. We have had some success, but early on, it became evident that this frontier subject lacks the necessary culture of cooperation found in more established fields of interest. In short, there is no cultural norm to guide recognition of subject matter expertise or respect for the authority of established models. This, in turn, appears to be at least partially due to the lack of a recognized and respected forum for presenting and vetting ideas.
Hoping to find support for our study, we turned to the more established organizations representing the parapsychological community such as the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR), The Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS), The Parapsychological Association (PA), The Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) and the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies (ASPSI). All of these are important organizations that provide a valuable service to the people studying psi phenomena, and especially with IONS, who are studying human potential. With a few important exceptions, we have learned that there is a sort of apartheid separating the academically trained community from the lay community. For instance, full membership in the PA requires a doctorate in that field.
Popular wisdom has it that the field of parapsychology includes survival research, but in practical terms, parapsychology is concerned with human potentials such as psi functioning and mind functioning such as near-death experiences and reincarnation. From our observations as people deeply involved with the study of communication with discarnate people, we found very little in these organizations that either supported our work or indicated a willingness to collaborate with us. In practice, the field of parapsychology is concerned with how the mind creates the experience of near-death or out of body travel and is not concerned with whether or not these psychogenic experiences might be explained by actual experiences in the etheric. Thus, we see that the study of survival is more properly seen as the study of psychosis.
Taming the Frontier
Etheric studies began as an AA-EVP initiative intended to promote cooperation among people interested in the study of survival related phenomena. We felt that it should be started in neutral territory so that members of the larger community who might be deeply vested in their own organizations, or who naturally resisted "joining," would feel comfortable cooperating in the Initiative. A wiki was tried first, since the Wikipedia model has produced a large community, albeit a community of skeptics. The wiki did not attract editors and after a couple of years, the wiki and other efforts were abandoned.
Without participation from the larger community, the Etheric Studies Initiative was little more than a "Butler says." Most of the material in on this website has been migrated to the new ATransC website as that focus was broadened to include virtually all forms of etheric studies. This helps top assure that we have a mechanism for preserving work done in the Etheric Studies Initiative, and future effort will include a provision for interactive peer-review in the ATransC Journal and Best Practices sections.
Although numerous articles on atransc.org are written by other people, the bulk of the content is the expression of Lisa and me. There seems to be no alternative at this time since we are not prepared to turn the organization over to a committee. At the same time, we feel that the Etheric Studies Initiative is important and we do not wish to cease our attempts to cultivate a cooperative community. I have decided to use this website as a place in which I can develop my metaphysical model and a platform on which I will comment about the challenges and developments in our community.
Of course, I will continue to be mindful that what I say here might be understood as an "official" ATransC position. In turn, I ask that you remember that the contents of these pages are my attempt to help the larger community.