top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Sales

Anomalies, Threat, Nonconformity, and Change: Is a New Science Emerging?

The Anthropocene is a shaky ride. Many belongings will shift during this wobbly flight.

  • Are we on automatic pilot toward an, as yet unnamed destination? Are the conspiracists right that an elite, secret society will take over the planet?! [Spoiler Alert: No.]

  • Does humanity have any shared concept of where we’re headed? Certainly, ideologues of every stripe from individuals shouting on street corners and dinner tables to global leaders followed by millions claim to know “the truth” and to have “the answers.” But humanity’s incessant conflicts demonstrate that few of these influencers align to a common purpose.

  • Is our technological power about a zillion light years more powerful than the capacity of our educational system to inform the general populace about it? Unfortunately, yes. For example, many, perhaps most people use Newtonian physics as their guide, if they give any thought to the matter. Relativity, quantum mechanics, models of consciousness? Fugget About It! Hell, Americans don't even use60 the metric system!

Like the warnings the Western world has been getting since 1000 AD that “the end of the world is nigh!” the fact that change is a constant in this era has been repeated so often that it’s become a boring cliché. The outer reaches of humanity’s knowledge is exposing us to the infinite, but the inner recesses of the general psyche is not prepared for the reality we occupy. Everything is in motion and in process without a particular end in sight, other than, perhaps The End! that we keep hearing about.

An education that embraces the wobbly nature of the Anthropocene’s of Outer and Inner Space is needed.

What are Wobbles?

Wobbles are deviations from what expected outcomes. Anomalies is another word for them. An anomaly is a data point or a pattern in data that surprises and suggests that we asks, “Why does these nonconforming data exist?” An anomaly can be slight or extreme.

An example of a small wobble:

As part of my work with Elders for Sound Democracy, I’m studying civic engagement and voter turnout in Arizona’s 6th Congressional district. There are many intriguing stats. Among them are the facts that 14% of the population sees itself as having a German ethnicity and about 10% of the populations there is made up of veterans. The 14% figure is about 40% higher than the national average, and the 10% figure is about 66% higher. These results were anomalies, not huge, but maybe worthy of further research. Do the two data points interact, for example.

But if you want to talk about Big Wobbles, how about…

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), referred to as UFOs in the vernacular, are a wholly different sort of anomaly! Sightings of these objects are largely ridiculed by mainstream science. For decades, research into this topic has been stigmatized by the keepers of scientific orthodoxy. That is also true of other fields like telepathy, future sight, dowsing, miraculous healings, Uri Geller bending spoons, etc. If only a few of these anomalies were repeatable in scientifically controlled environments or demonstrated in such a massive way as to be undeniable, the house that science would be rocked to its core. They are not supposed to exist.

Mainstream Science’s Materialistic Bias

Whether these widely reported phenomena are only allegations or are indeed factual, many/most of the “hard” social and physical sciences and scientists don’t accept them as existing in reality. Many critics of main stream science’s view of these reports believe that the discrediting of these anomalies occurs because the sciences have a materialistic bias.

B. Alan Wallace calls this bias

materialism’s “taboo against subjectivity that has curtailed scientific research into the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness.”
Would you lend your child to this scientist?

When the experiences of thousands of people across the seas of time are routinely delegitimized by modern mainstream science as having no basis in fact, the door to populist hokum swings wide open. Many/most people aren’t educated to respect mainstream science and mainstream science isn’t adequately interested in reports of phenomena that lie outside the scope of its dominant paradigms. This polarization between a largely uneducated populace and a dismissive scientific establishment creates a hostility that is not helping us navigate the Anthropocene. Case in point: the crazy confusion surrounding Covid vaccines.

Fortunately for us -- but unfortunately for many of them – the Anthropocene has seen a number of brave scientists of inner and outer space who have not and are not conforming to the mold of enmity the majority of their colleagues feel toward the anomalies and potential anomalies that frequently capture the imagination of the general populace.

Brian O’Leary, Ph.D. was one of these a multi-dimensional scientists.

Brian O’Leary

Brian O’Leary’s bio from Wikipedia

Brian Todd O'Leary (January 27, 1940 – July 28, 2011) was an American scientist, author, and NASA astronaut. He received a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. He was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1975. From 1970–1976, he was the secretary of the American Geophysical Union's Planetology Section. He was team leader of NASA Ames Summer Study on Space Settlements.

O'Leary was selected as an astronaut in conjunction with a possible NASA human mission to Mars. O'Leary was the only planetary scientist in the NASA Astronaut Corps during the Apollo program.

Carl Sagan invited him to lecture at Cornell University in 1968, where he stayed until 1971. During the 1970–1971 academic year, O'Leary was deputy team leader of the Mariner 10 Venus-Mercury TV Science Team as a visiting researcher at the California Institute of Technology. He was a researcher and lecturer in physics at Princeton University 1976–1981. At Princeton, he was involved with the L5 Society's orbiting city plans.

O'Leary wrote and edited books on astronomy and astronautics.

In other words, Dr. O’Leary was no slouch as a mainstream scientist.

O’Leary Discovers Inner Space

O’Leary’s Discovering Inner and Outer Space: A Scientist’s Perspective on Personal and Planetary Transformation [Berkeley CA: North Atlantic Books, 1989] provides a detailed description of his disillusionment with the limitations of mainstream science. He explored many phenomena that “defy the known laws of physics.”

His exploration began with a paranormal experience in a group context where a randomly selected partner gave him the name of a man, his age and where he lived and asked him to describe this man using “psychic powers” the workshop claimed that we all possess of which O'Leary had no knowledge. He went into a trance-like state and described the man, including his love for Hawaii and his use of meteorological maps, to the woman with a precision that she said fit her male friend virtually perfectly. As the group went of break, O’Leary remained in an altered state of consciousness and found himself immersed in a vivid memory of being six years old.

His mind/heart was changed. He became a "psychonaut" who embarked on a fantastic voyage into human consciousness, a consciousness he came to understand as

Part of a greater reality in (and perhaps beyond) time and space…an interconnectedness, a higher order in the universe that cannot be explained by known physical laws.

It was a journey from which he never returned.

Because he was a highly trained Astro scientist, O’Leary’s tour of inner and outer space included a breadth of understanding of the phenomena he was exposed to that surpasses those a garden variety mystics like me.

O’Leary’s research and reflections cover a broad swath of wobbles!

Poetry Apparently Has a Home on Mars
  • The Gaia hypothesis, which asserts that Earth is a living organism with Ley Lines connecting components of a sacred geography that afford entry points into cosmic consciousness

Ley Line Map
  • The legitimacy of dowsing

A Dowser with his Rod
  • Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Energy

Reich and an Orgone Accumulator
  • Psychokinesis, i.e., the ability to move things at a distance

Look Ma, No Hands!
  • Precognition

Seeing the future
  • Out of body experiences/Astral Projection

Space is Malleable
  • Reincarnation

  • And quite a few others!

O’Leary returns to string theory and particle physics repeatedly, arguing that one of the reasons scientists can’t see widely reported phenomena is that those doing the observation are unwilling and unable to see beyond what they can already see. Thus, he postulates that “strange encounters throughout history … may be due to the manifestation of an intelligence that may not be conventionally extraterrestrial in the ordinary sense of the term, but able to move in and out of dimensions beyond space and time,” dimensions that are neither here nor there.

O’Leary’s Death and the New Science

O’Leary’s abandonment of the dominant mainstream science was unambivalent. It included his rejection of conventional medicine. Seemingly in support of his convictions, he survived and rebounded from several serious illnesses. For example

  • He expressed no doubt that the use of Cansema, a widely discredited treatments healed a bad case of skin cancer

  • He was convinced that he treated a knee injury that most would have addressed with surgery by:

bathing the knee with ‘inner’ light … by closing my eyes, relaxing, breathing deeply, and imagining a healing white light passing through my knee.

Within a month, he claimed he was healed completely, and was soon hiking again in the Colorado Rockies.

  • He claimed that a chronic cough was cured by increased dilutions of a substance called “Sticta Pulmonaria” … based on the electrical properties of my skin measured by a machine called a dermatron”.

And his embrace of thought and action outside the mainstream also led him to credit as fact fraudsters such as Philippine “psychic healers,” whose fraudulent activities are the stuff of legend, and not very good ones.

O’Leary died at 71 of intestinal cancer in 2011 at his home in Vilcabamba, Peru, which many refer to as the Lost City of the Incas. Vilcabamba means "sacred plain" in Quechua, a sacred geography node.

Highly respected people like Tom Stafford, a fellow astronaut and chief of the Astronaut Office from 1969-1971, rediculed O’Leary as an absurd “pseudo-hippie.”Ψ He was not alone.

On the other hand, Steven Sherwood reminds us that, throughout recorded history, scientists who challenge existing paradigms upon which fortunes and fame rest are often met with vilification. It’s happening right now:

The ugly nature of the current climate debate, with its increasingly frequent characterization of scientists as opportunists, totalitarians, or downright criminals is not new.

Copernicus (posthumously) and his prominent followers through Isaac Newton were all accused of being heretics or atheists. Einstein was derided by his political opponents through the 1920s and 1930s as a Communist or simply as a fraud. When a group of American women tried to prevent him from entering the US because of his supposed Communism, he quipped, “Never before have I experienced from the fair sex such energetic rejection of all advances, or if I have, then certainly never from so many at once.” At one point Einstein stopped giving public lectures out of fear for his personal safety, also now a worry for some greenhouse warming proponents.

Old counter-culture chestnuts like Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain and Morning of the Magicians remind us that O’Leary’s theorizing isn’t particularly revolutionary. However, the mainstream scientific heft that he brings to the discussion strikes me as being particularly worthy of attention.

Across the span of its experience, humanity mystical and magical phenomena. It’s only recently that debunking these observances has become a kind of rationalistic scientific mantra. If everything that was magical is already debunked in a mind, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that such a mind cannot see the magical.

O’Leary was a “New Scientist,” the scientist who looks at paranormal phenomena as indicative of a new frontier of study that will revolutionize thought, the scientist who isn’t afraid of the paradigm of reality and truth that is struggling to be born as the Anthropocene proceeds. A scientist who

would invent a “physics” that transcends electromagnetic, gravitational, and nuclear forces. They would require a biology that goes beyond genetics and molecules.

I think Thomas Kuhn, the scientific philosopher, would have enjoyed O’Leary. One wonders where he would place this non-pseudo, very honest anomaly hunter in his scientific revolutions framework.

Education needs to show more interest in those who, like O'Leary, are personally trying to feel their way forward, our way forward toward a more comprehensive and expansive view of reality.


Ψ One imagines O’Leary enjoying being called that. If he wasn’t a hippie, it would seem that no one would be entitled to such a designation!

35 views0 comments


bottom of page