The Secret Art of Radionics: An Interview with Duncan Laurie


 

I’ve known Duncan Laurie for 16 years. We’re part of an artists’ retreat that meets every few years up in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, and our best conversations have taken place sharing a dishwashing shift in the industrial kitchen in the lodge of our site. There, scrubbing industrial pots with brillo pads in steaming hot water, he’s kept me updated on the progression of his art practice and his maverick experimentation with “radionics,” a controversial field dedicated to studying subtle energy (radiation) given off by matter, and the application of this energy, through directed intention, for the purpose of healing. Laurie has been exploring the link between radionics and art, specifically the potential to integrate it into an expansive creative process. Over the years, I’ve watched him measure radionic responses from plants when he plays them Jazz in his state-of-the-art Dragonline Studio overlooking Jamestown Bay in Rhode Island. More recently, I participated in his interactive installation entitled Purr Generator, now on display at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. This work invites guests to make a wish and then lie down on an elevated bed, engulfed in the amplified sound of a cat’s purr while activating intention to fulfill that wish. I can’t tell you what I wished for, but so far, it’s coming true.

Laurie’s new book The Secret Art: A Brief History of Radionic Technology for the Creative Individual is a visionary articulation — and call for further exploration — of the creative potential of radionics. Grounded in a thorough history of the field, this book offers a blueprint for artists interested in connecting to subtle energy (also called Nature Intelligence), or for artists who have already been doing this, and who would value the clarity this book offers.

Laurie and I recently conducted a rambling email conversation, which moves something like our dishwashing conversations — by tangent and whim — for the purpose of bringing radionics to the attention of open-minded artists. Laurie is an artist’s artist, a man dedicated not only to making his own work, but also to facilitating a meta-discourse about creativity. This book, shared with the hope of expanding our understanding of what art is, is a timely gift to all artists, arriving just in time for the rapid acceleration of human consciousness that defines our moment.

Jenifer P. Borum: Over the years, you’ve come to understand the euphoria of the art making process as “a feeling guided by an intelligence within nature.” You understand the transfer of subtle energy to be an implicit part of any creative act, and you envision a potentially anarchic practice of radionic artmaking in which this transfer becomes explicit. Very cool. I’ve heard you talk about the powerful vision of a tourbillon (whirlwind of fire) you experienced when you were younger. Would you talk a bit about how your vision of the tourbillon shaped your understanding of creativity and radionics, and the potential for consciously integrating the two?

Duncan Laurie: When I began studying radionics, the assumption I began with was that some skilled, medical professionals over the years had devised a class of instruments that involved the application of directed intent into a device, which through various subsequent procedures, promoted a diagnosis or a cure in their patient. I was interested immediately for two reasons. Perhaps, I surmised, radionics was a technological analogue to shamanism, where electrical circuitry functionally replaced ceremony and design? The other attraction was that radionics was being currently taught and I could buy a device and go learn from a teacher or manufacturer how to use it, which I ultimately did.

In the process of this investigation my assumption about radionics changed in a number of ways. For the last hundred years — roughly the modern period of electronic design — a group of very different people developed radionic instrumentation fashioned in the spirit of their own education and skill sets, much the way artists make art. Some instruments were electronic, some were mechanical and some were just diagrammatic, but they all functioned in a similar fashion. Now either all these inventors and practitioners were completely deluded, including those numerous individuals who were cured of serious diseases by these devices (around the world over that hundred year span of time), or there was some other explanation. The alternative explanation that appealed to me was that some “higher” agency worked through radionic practitioners and their devices to affect the cures. Call it nature intelligence, subtle energy, higher power, faith, radionics; it doesn’t matter to me. All describe aspects of an energetic transaction from different vantage points. Some names favor the operator, some the device, some the higher power. It also seems unlikely the native shaman had one set of abilities and the radionics professionals another. More likely, both shared access to a common pool of knowledge, but evolved different tools for their curative and agricultural procedures. Likewise, when an artist speaks of following a muse or being guided by a vision or an inspiration, could they be talking about something completely different, just out there guiding artistic activities alone?

As you mentioned, my interest in the connection between visionary art and subtle energy was piqued by an experience I had in my mid 20’s. In that deep state of repose one reaches following lovemaking, I encountered a completely unexpected vision, of a powerful overwhelming presence that took the form of a vortex of energy. Later, I made a drawing of the experience. Upon showing it to a knowledgeable friend, I was told, “Oh, that’s a tourbillion–a whirlwind of fire!” From that point on, tourbillion it was. Artistically, it was an extremely important moment, coming at a time when I was just beginning to develop. Up to that moment, everything I had ever made had been derivative, based on some external influence. There was nothing that I could draw, carve, model, paint or design that didn’t have its source of inspiration in some other artist, teacher or style. But the tourbillion came out of nowhere, a fully formed dynamic, multidimensional image; it was inimical to previous experience, artistic or otherwise. In that sense, it was freedom. It was like making contact with the core energy behind the individual personality, but I didn’t realize that at the time.

The experience of the tourbillion returned in other visions. It also manifested in other significant ways over the next twenty years. It took different forms under different conditions, but each one was both overwhelming and deeply instructional. When you (JPB) and I met (in 1994), I was trying to find a way to discuss the energetic component of art and meet some other artists who may have had the same type of experience.

Forces like the tourbillion are transformative; they make you get up and go. Literally, it is energy. The energy comes from inside us; it is not metaphorical, it is not chemical, it is not electrical, it is not mechanistic, it is not material. It may take a visual form, but it is alive; it is conscious, it is intelligent. It pervades matter and can appear in any guise, in vision, dream or waking. It can be interpersonal. I think artists are prone to experience it because it is connected to the creative force. But, it does have one aspect that goes beyond pure creativity, the eclipse of identity.

When I eventually found out about radionics, my reaction was “Wow! Here’s a technology that employs this mysterious force.” My thinking was, if a device works the way a radionics device purports to do, then some force from inside the operator must find its way through the device into the patient. I didn’t see this process as being all too different from art. A force or dynamic inside the artist compels them to create work that imparts emotional meaning (or something) to the viewer. That process can evoke a powerful reaction, so energy must be involved. Problem being, no one can read it on a meter. The Greeks called the experience catharsis. I say it’s what we call “art”, in the highest sense of the term. My guess is that the better the experience, the more it de-conditions one from previous assumptions.

I didn’t get into the experience of the tourbillion in the book. In the end, I decided that most artists and creative people would want to focus on tools and techniques. It’s a lot to ask another person to listen to your own ravings. Better to give them the means they to find out for themselves.

Your book is an attempt to connect to all artists about subtle energy — not just the Howard Finsters of the world who always knew they were channeling. What kind of resistance have you encountered? What kind of resistance do you expect? Are artists ready to admit that they are not the sole creators of their work that they are co-creating with this energy force you are investigating?

To answer your questions about the book and whether or not it will meet with resistance; I doubt it. The ideas in the book are still very marginal to the vast majority of people out there. The people who will likely benefit from the book will eventually find it and figure out what it means to them. I’m already seeing that happen. Radionics won’t stop any other art making agendas in their tracks, for certain. The book is really for those artists that risk slipping through the cracks, because they can’t relate to the modus operandi governing the art world, the standard approaches and expectations about art. Believing that some other intelligence is at work in ones’ creative process is very personal. I don’t think I can generalize about it. If someone practicing art finds bliss in the experience, or senses a relief from the burdens of life, or even has a sense of cosmic longing, isn’t that an indication something beyond oneself is at work?

One of the common denominators linking art to radionics seems to be healing. It’s something I’ve seen with many self-taught visionary artists, who, guided by various cultural and religious ideas, were conscious of their intention to heal through art. Bessie Harvey — an African-American root sculptor whose work can be traced to the Diasporic tradition of root medicine—intended her art to heal people through the spirit she activated. She called it “the spirit in the wood.” Yet nobody takes this literally — it’s reduced to some feel-good notion of good vibes from a sweet old grandma. I knew Harvey and she was indeed shamanic. Nothing cute or delusional about it. She paired with a universal energy to charge roots she found in the Tennessee woods. Why can’t people wrap their minds around the possibility of a work of art carrying a literal charge of energy? How might a new practice of creating radionic artwork for healing purposes differ from what Miss Harvey was doing in her house in Tennessee? Or perhaps how might these practices be similar?

Well, I imagine it’s about education and conditioning, for the most part. Self-taught artists exist in a place maybe half way between the pure shaman and the schooled artist. Many like Miss Harvey are gripped with a force or energy that is quite tangible to them, whatever it may be. No doubt, it seems plausible that if the same energy can lead them to make art, it can also do other things, including healing. Connect the two potentials in your mind, and you have art that can heal.

On the other hand, if making art with the objective of becoming famous and financially successful as the goal, it isn’t too unlike any other business enterprise. It requires talent, work and luck. Visions and energy and all that might be a good come on, but potentially a big distraction to making money. The pay-off of a successful art career in our culture is well known; the artist, essentially, is minting their own currency. You might say they are on the level of a small nation state. Add fame to the equation, and the whole world is at one’s feet. Some would say that’s also an expression of energy, but it is driven by ego or other factors.

The difference is in the intent. Whatever happens to the artist undergoing the onslaught of a vision, I think it’s safe to say it’s a de-conditioning process. It may even become more, as in a shamanic annihilation of the original self in favor of the visionary personality. There are examples in artistic dance disciplines, like in Yoruba, where the deities, the Orishas, are said to completely take over the dancer’s body during the performance. This is the case in classical eastern dance forms, like Indian dance, Kathakali. It’s more than possible Bessie Harvey was influenced by African religion, in which case there is a direct connection to healing with energy. But to me, her approach to art seems very different than the career-driven one. There is an underlying assumption in the visionary process that that the ego is going to be eclipsed by a more powerful experience. In the successful commercial artistic career, the opposite is the case. The artist’s ego becomes the repository of all the energy, super-sizing it and transforming it into a “brand”, full of great charisma and power.

By contrast, I am imagining radionics being used by artists as more of a de-conditioning technology, to free up energy and develop a deeper understanding of nature and self. In a sense, that is already what great art does, isn’t it?

Functionally, there is commonality between what Miss Harvey did radionically and what a skilled radionics operator is capable of, but there are also great differences. The radionics instrument, of whatever ilk, has the capacity to be calibrated to the need of the occasion. Because of that capability, the instrument can be designed to both diagnose and heal. However, to do either task consistently, one must have knowledge of medical procedures and safety concerns. Most people will never accept that a radionics device can heal, anymore than they will believe an artwork can heal, so in actuality, it’s a moot point. What happens in the artistic context with individuals like Miss Harvey I would characterize as similar to faith healing. It does happen to people, and it involves faith and a higher power entering the transaction. Traditional radionics is more empirical, systematic and deductive. Perhaps that was the only way that deeply rational and scientific inventors could get their heads around the miraculous.

I am interested to hear about your ideas for a new mode of artmaking that intentionally activates subtle energy. Can you talk about your own work with with Gordon Salisbury — your practice of sharing music with plants and rocks, and also the Purr Generator, which has been installed for one year at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. How do these projects provide a model for bringing radionics and art together?

Let’s look at the question of intention. In radionics, whatever goal is tasked, is initiated through intent, directed into a device, that assists by calibrating and focusing the outcome. But, there is also the aspect of talent and training. While I may have the intent to walk out on the end of an “I” beam far above the city of New York to drive a rivet, in practicality, it will never happen. I lack the talent, balance and fortitude that would make that possible. Some gifted humans, however, have no such difficulty. In fact, some innate ability, plus practice, gives them a command of an environment that seems almost super human to the rest of us.

I think this is the way one has to look at the ability to make a radionics device work. Some people can do it well; some can’t at all, and many have a measure of skill. This fact was born out in a very public way in the 1950’s when John W. Campbell, editor of Analog Science Fiction magazine, began to popularize the Hieronymus circuit — the first psychically operated device ever to be awarded a US Patent. Scientists and curious readers all over the country began building and testing Hieronymus machines with varying degrees of success. Skilled scientists couldn’t get the thing to work, while their children succeeded; other scientists did, challenging their accepted paradigms; the stories are endless. Campbell, himself a scientist, was able to make the device perform using only the schematic itself with a Vernier dial! The whole issue of radionics almost made it into the front lines of scientific research, and then it collapsed. I write about how and why in the book. The point is this: radionics takes you to a world where a different set of skills are available for use.

I became convinced that art making contained a hidden energetic component the first time I saw a Hopi dance ceremony bring in a thunderstorm, which was the objective of the dance. It happened out on the Mesas in the late 70’s. Of course, the Hopi and Navajo reservations were themselves very magically inclined environments, where such things did not seem out of place. It is well known that the Navajo employ sand painting in curative ceremony, though I never saw one myself.

Eventually, for the sake of courting some objectivity, about 10-12 years ago I asked Gordon Salisbury, a scientifically trained and now retired electronics engineer and instrument designer, to explore the issue of subtle energy with me in an informal way. Gordon was a thorough skeptic. We began work by making an examination of several radionics devices in my possession. We both wanted to know if they produced a measurable radiation or could be slaved to a repeatable task. I can tell you, we never found the device capable of moving a meter, but we did see a healer do it. Likewise, I’ve not seen it capable of say, changing the Ph in a solution to color a litmus test. Once, however, I employed it to drive rats and cockroaches from my home in NYC. While I can’t prove that the radionic treatment was the only contributing factor in getting them out; they did leave and did not return.

However, when radionics was combined with music, a lot of unusual energetic things appeared to take place. My exploration began when I acquired the BETAR sound device from radionics inventor Peter Kelly, who brought it to New York, through the good graces of the late R. J. Reynolds III and painter Aymon de Sales. Kelly was my radionics teacher. He was also an inventor. The BETAR was a sound bed through which music and radionic treatment could be combined and focused upon the individual laying on the bed. The invention was originally the brain-child of Michael Bradford, who later marketed it as the Genesis Device. We became friends, and I learned a lot about sonic radionics from Michael and his associates. Before long, I began experimenting myself.

As time went by, lots of other artists and inventors contributed their ideas to this platform. For me, the “Music Machine” as we termed it, became a very happy and joyful form of artistic exploration. Because it was non-commercial and experiential, we never got caught up in marketing or healing issues. People mostly felt way better when they got off the machine. As art, this seemed very positive. The overall impression I received over the years watching people experiencing the Music Machine, was that they felt their lives enhanced in a non-invasive, self-directed way. It was as if the Machine created an opportunity, a space, in which a person could take a few moments to explore themselves, better themselves, or just relax. There was no pressure, no force, nor manipulation. The experience supplied energy and opportunity to use in whatever manner one selected. The operator was essentially a DJ, and not someone doing radionics. It was mainly fun and experimentation. Michael’s radionic technology was reflexive and sonic, sampling the electro-static field of the person on the bed and feeding it back to them as orchestrated sound. Whatever a person could handle, that’s what they experienced.

Then, a few years ago, Gordon was reading about the healing effects the cat’s purr had on bones. He came across a schematic that gave him the idea he could incorporate the purring effect into the Music Machine. The result was a control panel that allowed the operator to dial in various purring effects that were experienced through big transducers under the bed and speakers above. There was also a magnetic component, sent through a coil under the pillow. I added a radionic input well, that allowed the user to add intent into the sonics via a short written note. With the radionic function working, the dials controlling the purr became the calibration for the radionic transaction. In other words, any treatment could be self-directed by the operator, (through sonic feedback) provided by changing the purr sounds.

The Purr Generator at AVAM is a second-generation device. We kept the bed, the transducers, and the audible purr, but dropped the radionics component. In its place we added a “Wishing Well” coupled to a pre-programmed purr frequency and a digital LED display, designed by Todd Thille. The person lying in the bed can add a wish to the experience of hearing the purr on the bed. The original concept of sound plus intent is preserved. The device has an amusing, frivolous character to it that is far different than its earlier Sci-Fi manifestations. It seemed to make people laugh and enjoy themselves at the opening.

What about the rock and plant experiments?

Gordon and I were disappointed that we didn’t find any measurable energy coming from the radionics devices. We decided to try the opposite tact, find out where subtle energy radiation had already been detected, and reproduce those experiments. That took us to the work of Wilhelm Reich, L. George Lawrence and Cleve Baxter.

Gordon made it possible to reproduce Baxter’s technology for examining plant voltages and semiotics. We went further in that direction by employing Masahiro Kahata’s IBVA brain wave analysis hardware/software rig, which let us both graph and sonify the small voltages appearing on the surface of the plants. IBVA also gave us the ability focus in on and articulate the specific frequencies that produced the most activity. We also wound plant material into small home made orgone blankets (W. Reich) based on a design by Michael Theroux, longtime editor of Borderland Sciences Magazine. Michael had also done a lot of research on L. George Lawrence. Lawrence’s work in biological signaling was as early as Baxter’s, but in some ways even more mysterious. It was Lawrence’s technology that first brought Gordon and I together for discussions, but as soon we began designing and constructing our own bio-sensors, it started to feel like art.

Much later, we shared our sonic experiments with a fine group of electronic musicians brought to the studio by Steve Nalepa. That collaboration allowed us to see how other artists would interpret these experiences. For one, the plants and rocks provided a compositional ingredient–information directly from nature– that was generated completely outside of either computer algorithms or the artists’ imagination. In a very real sense, the sensors and plants were equally artist, instrument and song.

Our work was all very informal. In spite of that, we both were impressed with how well the Theroux sensors seemed to communicate with each other across space. Touching one even fifty yards away caused a discernible sonic reaction in the other, even though they weren’t connected in any way except visually. Later, it seemed the plants also communicated with each other and responded differently to different people at different times. We took a very long look at these anomalies. We also began to notice that plant signals that were given instrumentals, occasionally but not consistently, would appear to play along with music.

Later we discovered that certain rocks also produce voltages in the same intensity and spectrum as plants (0-30Hz. in millivolts), ironically, the exact zone where the brain conducts its own electrical activity. Now people may accept that plants can communicate and produce signals, but rocks? Yet, rocks produced sonic material that was every bit as mysterious as plants, but quite different in character. Fortunately, rock petro-voltaic activity had some science papers written by T. Townsend Brown. Brown has become famous for his work in anti-gravity design and propulsion, and is considered a legend among underground scientists. Brown discovered rock voltages followed a diurnal cycle (confirmed by Gordon), and also appeared to respond to events at the galactic core. His thesis was that rocks convert gravity to electricity.

Who would think that rocks were capable of extremely unusual activity, (one has been putting out a steady .5 volts for several years now)? Some writers have called art that utilizes electronics, Radio Art. But in a pure sense, what we study isn’t about employing electricity or radios in art, but more about exploring consciousness in design. For one thing, the plant or the rock is a co-creator of the work. After all, aren’t they putting out the signals? For another, it’s far from clear how much one’s own consciousness may affect the process. Does our mind act as a link between one plant or rock and another? Does our skepticism suppress the signal, as it appeared to do in certain cases? These are only two of many unresolved questions that came up during our research.

Ultimately, experimenting with radionics and subtle energy challenged our assumptions about nature, spirit and identity–complex questions well within the province of artistic deliberation.
 

You mentioned the Hopi dance ceremony, and the deep connection to nature that this practice requires. The Hopi understand that humanity is out of balance with nature, and that this could have a disastrous effect for all of us. Could a radionic practice of artmaking in which nature is understood to be a co-creator begin to heal this imbalance? If so, how? What could we learn about our mistakes, and our identity through such a practice or practices?

This could be difficult to answer well, but let’s start with the Hopi. First of all, Hopi is not a uniform society. At the time I visited the Mesas, (mid 70s to mid 80’s) there were two distinct groups. One was the group at Hoteville, who practice the strict, original teachings. The rest were more acclimated to secular American culture and accepted some degree of compromise with modernism. The traditional group manifested the kind of pure mystical integration with Nature I found extremely inspiring—but impossible to emulate. Both groups participate in ceremonies that are designed to restore the world to harmony. My understanding is the Hopi believe their ceremonial work is a critical component in maintaining the balance of the whole world. Without their sustained efforts, everything will fall apart. To the extent these practices involve a reflexive arrangement with Nature Intelligence and can be considered radionic, we will never know, because they are extremely secret. If they do, then Hopi art forms would be a perfect example of co-creative radionic art.

On the surface, it would seem implausible that the rituals of a small tribe would be crucial to maintaining the continuity of the whole world. But, perhaps there is a group of human beings evolved enough to interact with Nature Intelligence directly and regularly, and in so doing, actually keep the planet balanced?

So, radionics may appear to be an intuitive healing practice, but does that mean there’s nothing more to it? My impression is that radionics just begins with healing and evolves toward something like what I imagine is going on in Hopi–something deeply spiritual. In between, it becomes more like art, taking many forms as people develop their own creative relationship with Nature. Ultimately, it’s all about regaining balance on different levels. The visionary component is one aspect of the process that happens to lend itself well to artistic expression. Because the process is cathartic, it leads to self-knowledge and eclipses false notions of identity. That is, if you don’t go nuts in the process.

If the Hopi practice you mention is a good example of radionic co-creation with Nature Intelligence, what about the intentionally harmful marshaling of this energy? Daniel Pinchbeck has talked about trickster groups who might try to bring about harm, or at least some kind of global chaos in 2012.

I don’t want to imply that I have any profound understanding of Hopi culture, religion or practice. My impressions are intuitive, based only on what I witnessed and have learned since; they are certainly not authoritative. But lets use Hopi again to consider what the harmful use of radionics might entail.

At one point the Bureau of Indian Affairs made the decision to electrify and bring plumbing to the Hopi mesas. Given their remote location and inaccessibility, developing basic infrastructure was considered a very positive step by the government for this impoverished tribe. Many of the villages accepted the improvements gratefully. But the traditionalists at Hoteville didn’t want government help and didn’t want the improvements, but they were still forced to put them in. You can see on a film made the day the contractors left, that no sooner than the dust from their trucks had settled, the villagers set about digging up the pipes and tearing down the wires. For the residents of Hoteville, these modern conveniences represented a corrupting influence that completely went against their traditional teachings.

So, what is good for you and me might be just the opposite for someone else. That being said, the fact that people can potentially use radionics for destructive ends can’t be ignored. In The Secret Art we took a long look at where those possibilities can go. Eventually I lost interest in learning more about the negative side of radionics; it is already widespread in our society. Just consider the power media has over our perceptions and lifestyle choices. Emotionally, my conclusion was that embracing negativity just feeds it. However necessary it may seem to understand and confront the ugly truths of radionic manipulation; it’s better to promote the opposite; that’s the lesson of the people of Hoteville. Those who desire to use these forces coercively have plenty of opportunity today. What isn’t readily known are the ways they can be used creatively and in harmony with Nature.

Do you envision radionic art to be a mostly individual practice, or a collaborative one? It seems to me that most of your work as a radionic artist is essentially a collective process.

I don’t have any preconceptions about how radionics in art may develop, or even if it will develop. If it does, I’m sure whatever form it takes will surprise me more than anyone. We’re talking about an activity that is very anti-authoritarian, very personal, extremely unpredictable and quite hard to assess. My own efforts were initially somewhat solitary. They became collaborations in the hope of learning more and sharing what had been discovered with others.

Most dominant world religions separate God from nature. It feels like this is part of what is killing us all. In this sense, it’s helpful to talk about indigenous perspectives, a way of living that does not impose human existence on nature, but which co-exists with nature, respectfully. Australian Aboriginal art of the Western Desert reveals a oneness of identity and land, and the abstract forms in their paintings feel radionic, activated, and healing. I recently witnessed a young man leave an exhibition of Pintupi paintings. He coverd his eyes as he walked, saying: “these things are making me sick, I’m dizzy, I have to leave.” The only way I can make sense of this reaction is that the paintings’ healing energy was too much for him, a child of the west. Is there a reaction of rejecting healing radionic energy before one becomes aligned to it, in the way we often feel sick early in a detoxification program? Do we feel more comfortable with our disconnect, even though it is killing us?

Well, it always perplexes me to hear that people (us), described as somehow separate from nature. I guess that is the core of the problem. Wilhelm Reich certainly thought so, and he developed an excellent model for treating this malaise. He called that sense of separation “armor”. Armor is the shell of repressed emotions and impressions that encapsulates our natural self. Armor is stasis, an inhibiting factor to the free flowing energy of the universe moving through our body and mind. Armor implies a treatable condition, or at least a life without armor. Reich believed that in the armorless state we did not experience a sense of separation from either God or Nature. The implication is both god and nature are essentially for us, mental concepts generated by ourselves to describe an idealized sense of freedom and bliss. “Nature” became the immanent manifestation of that freedom, while “God” fulfilled the transcendent component. Whatever methods are applied to the analysis, the problem remains that the sense of separateness from God and Nature persists. As such, anything that attempts to bridge that existential loneliness, or even bring it into sharp focus, is bound to cause anxiety. Reich said anxiety signals movement of energy, which is positive and therapeutic. Reich’s goal, and by extension the goal of saints and mystics throughout time, is freedom from mentally imposed constraints separating us from the absolute. However, the armor, which is the sum total of our complexes, resists the threat to its own existence, and a fierce battle in the psyche ensues. In classical mysticism, the soul seeks union with the Lord, or a state of liberation. The mystic or teacher signifies the role of the life energy, which eventually frees the disciple from limitation. The student develops an understanding of that energy through association with the mystic and by practicing their teachings. In any case, whatever challenges the stranglehold of the armor is naturally going to be treated as a threat, even though the long run benefit is understood.

Any manipulation of energy argues for using techniques like radionics carefully, and certainly not invasively on others, without medical and psychological certification. It also demonstrates why any visionary de-conditioning process proceeds in such a contradictory manner, with one part of the psyche supporting it while another resists. However, when going through these trials, tools like radionics can be helpful in maintaining balance and perspective throughout the ordeal.

Art can also provoke a great deal of anxiety, especially when its subject matter offends. Look at the mess and outrage the European cartoons of the Prophet caused among Muslims. How could we not think art moves energy? By contrast, art that truly informs and inspires has the opposite effect. If your friend that was shaken by the Pintupi painting had it hanging in her house, I have to think gradually the power of the artwork would reach an equilibrium with her, and whatever meaning it contained would infuse itself into her being.

Let’s talk about art and magic. When I say magic, the word sounds like it belongs to the realm of make believe, of Harry Potter. In fact, it’s something that can be real, if one considers the equation you discuss in your book: I > E, or “Information moves Energy.” You call your book a manual for the way I > E in the sphere of art. You also use one of our Paul Laffoley’s paintings in this chapter too: Anthe Hieronymusox Two. Of course, this painting is a direct reference to the Hieronymous device, but can you talk about how Paul literally activates I > E, and how this equation functions differently in art than it might in the strict methodology of radionics?

Magic. Well, there are very different meanings to that word. In radionics, let’s consider magic a component of the experience that defies rational understanding, but also may have a plausible explanation when seen from a very different perspective.

Consider the following: Three men come to a hotel and each ask for a room. The innkeeper takes $10 from each of them and gives them a key. Then he remembers that a discount applies and asks the bell hop to return $5, making their total cost $25. When the bell hop encounters the men, they each take $1 back from him and leave the bell hop with a $2 tip. So, how much did each man pay for the room? Each paid $10 and got $1 back, so you could say they each paid $9 for the room. 3 (men) x 9 (dollars)= $27 plus $2 for the bell hop, right? That makes $29. What happened to the extra dollar?

So, did the dollar disappear by magic or is there a plausible explanation that is beyond our immediate understanding? Don’t ask me. I don’t know. I do know the example is what a lot of people think of as magic.

I see magic in the way life force animates matter. Conversely, one minute the body is walking and talking, then death intervenes, and it’s a pile of useless flesh and bones on the ground. What changed with death? The information of the individual and the energy it took to live left the body. So from that perspective, magic and life are linked, if not identical. When we think, we split off from what’s going on around us and create a virtual world inside our head. In that world we create terms like information and energy and all their symbolic manifestations. However, when we make a painting or a work of art, we leave our thought world somewhat and direct intent into materials and form. It’s like we are pumping life force into the inert body of the materials. That life force is what we feel when we experience the art. However, my comments here are just thoughts made into words. The experience of I > E is in doing it.

Paul has made several paintings containing radionic circuits and metaphors, and at least one working device. He is very familiar with the field. Whatever he put into those works energetically, only he knows for sure. To me, they are beautiful illustrations of the artistic potential of radionics. I don’t know if the drawings were ever meant to function as devices, because they behind glass and are drawn using Letterset, which is very fragile and should not be touched. However, Paul has also constructed functional three dimensional radionics devices that were put to use in healing. I don’t know all the circumstances, but clearly, Paul differentiates between the two approaches, though each is part and parcel of his art. He is one of the very few artists I’m aware of that actually uses radionics by name in both the intended manner to heal, and as a metaphor, as visual art.

The only difference I can see between radionics and art objects used to heal is cultural conditioning. If I > E is a good equation it would apply under either (or any) circumstance to describe a radionic transaction. E > I on the other hand, would describe the visionary experience, “I” becoming the art. It’s confusing, isn’t it?

I agree that cultural conditioning in the west has split off the shamanic experience, re-labeling it as demonic from a Christian perspective, or simply make-believe from the more common, jaded, intellectual perspective. This is why I have been asking so much about the perception of radionics, because I do believe that it’s our conditioning that is blocking us from really accepting Nature Intelligence and allowing ourselves to be healed.

Yes, Paul is an anomaly as an artist. And you make a valuable point about his art practice encompassing both painting and proper radionics. Why split the two apart? Again, we are always splitting art away from other life practices. There’s that cultural conditioning; we end up moving art into the sphere of intellect.

We have both known Paul for years. He is an ET Contactee. I am banking on the RS readership to follow me on this one, because if I don’t ask, I am not being true to myself: To what extent does ET intelligence come into all this? I know there is a connection but I can’t put my finger on it. How might this experience be related to what you describe as Nature Intelligence? Is this part of the radionic equation?

The question of Nature Intelligence versus Alien Intelligence–as manifested by abduction experiences, etc, is a good one. Honestly, I do not have a smart answer. Many people think of abduction experience as being psychotic, something in the netherworld of fractured identity. I find that explanation impossible to believe.

I don’t claim any particular insight into the phenomena of alien abduction, but I have been lucky to know a number of people, besides Paul, who have had or are currently having that experience. These individuals would include a number of the subjects in Bud Hopkins’ and John Mack’s books, people thoroughly vetted by competent researchers over a long period of time. A few are artists and have used their work to emotionally come to terms with their experience. My impression is that the abductions are completely genuine to the individuals involved. They are an amazingly brave and intelligent group of individuals. Whatever happened to them, it has had an extreme emotional impact on their lives.

Some abductees remain deeply hostile to the experience. Others found in repeated encounters a gradually evolving education into higher consciousness. To a listener like myself, all their experiences seem deeply invasive and terrifying. The memories of the event are often wiped from conscious recollection, and only surface later. It seems deeply cruel to me, but so does the way we treat the animals we eat.

As such, the violence of alien abduction doesn’t square with Nature Intelligence in the sense I perceive it, but it does have elements in common with visionary immersion. When considering aspects of an invasive manipulation, any relationship to spirituality just vanishes, in my opinion. That’s not to say that an abductee or anyone experiencing psychic rape can’t be nurtured by nature after the fact, to the point the rape appears to be part of a higher learning curve of some kind, including an artistic one.

The point being, there are all kinds of powerful, identity destroying experiences out there–powerful psychedelics, hypnosis, kundalini, ecstatic immersion, schizophrenia, cult abduction, mental and physical torture and abuse, etc. You can’t equate them with transcendental experience or the spirit in nature. The former are fractured and torturous while the latter are blissful and profound. Anything in- between may just be a mixture of ego and identity coming in contact with liberating forces the individual can’t tolerate.


I wonder if you have ever been concerned with the Golden Ratio, and the Fibonacci series? WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn is a book that explores meta patterns found in nature. Do geometric patterns and mathematical ratios manifest some way through subtle energy?

As to Golden Ratios, let me mention in an extremely abbreviated fashion something I learned from John Michell, the late, great British author/philosopher and expert on sacred proportions. His perspective was that sacred ratios, like phi (1-1.618…) represent the clearest examples in nature where higher, divine forces are defined and expressed in form. We experience sacred proportions as aesthetically pleasing, and they are incorporated into beautiful forms such as the conch shell (as a Fibonacci series), and in many aspects of human anatomy. Electrically, sacred proportions occur among spark and lightening bolts, and biologically in the veins of leaves and branches, and in thousands of other places in nature. What interested me was John’s observation that sacred geometry employed in architecture constructed over power places on the landscape, served as a resonant tuning mechanism for the people that came to these buildings to worship.

The net result was the beautiful proportions of the structures, coupled with the use of the same proportional systems in art and music sung or played inside these buildings, effectively restored those inside back into harmony with Nature and God. So, if you had a difficult week and felt really bent out of shape, you could look forward to the experience of having your cares and woes assuaged by spiritually healing earth energy, translated by the proportions and aesthetics of the music, art and architecture of the church or temple you attended. Over time, as John pointed out, regular exposure to such harmonious experience led to social stability and the development of culture. Other researchers have suggested the periodic application of sacred music and architecture across the landscape served to augment crop fertility, growth and wellness.

My conjecture would be, based on John Michell’s work, that sacred geometry is itself a radionic informational structure, designed by nature intelligence to express higher consciousness through harmonic relationships.


Radionics has to date been the province of a few, but the potential applications–creative and utilitarian–are endless. What advice do you have for potential readers of your book, who might connect with your research and your insights, using this material in their own work, their disciplines and inquiries?

There is enormous historical precedent for radionic healing methodologies in all cultures around the world. Most were developed before the advent of science and technology, before mechanistic and deterministic thought came to dominate our world-view. While there is no reason to abandon the numerous benefits of science, there is also little harm in exploring other options, especially artistic ones, based upon the creative power of consciousness. So, Radionics becomes a place where mind, spirit, nature and human intent converge. Radionic ability flows from a deeper perspective on life.

For the artist, radionics has the potential to expand creativity. To look at Radionics as merely an antiquated medical technology is to do it a disservice. Radionics has the potential to be so much more. Today, radionic techniques are employed in environmental re-certification, to replace pesticides and fertilizer in agriculture, for therapy, dowsing for natural resources, and even to improve the functionality of mechanical systems and devices. That’s just the practical applications. The metaphysical implications go much further. Think of the enormous opportunity for creativity that becomes possible by expanding the boundaries of what we define as the human condition.

Look at the history of Radionics as a place where clues to this process have been left for posterity. After all, these inventors made devices that worked, as testified by hundreds of people who were cured where mainstream medicine failed. Today’s radionics is very open ended, as you will see in the book. I’ve been prone to advance it as an artistic methodology, since both art and radionics are empirical and self-referential disciplines that are understood best through application. If a few musicians can raise a whole stadium to their feet in joy and happiness for several hours, why not consider other inertia defying possibilities as well?

Image by xalamay, courtesy of Creative Commons license.