The network is still very small, which is appropriate for a subject which is still quite esoteric. But as biology keeps going deeper into the secrets of life, and medicine keeps changing life into something so different from life-as-we-knew-it, people might feel more and more of a need to ask about deeper meanings of the life and health sciences. Do science and sense experience give us the whole story or only part of it? Is this the only world or are there other worlds, and does what we do "here" have implications for what happens "there"? Is it all in our "genes + environment", or do unknown factors influence our lives?
In the January Eubios we published a response from Dr K.K. Verma (EJAIB 9: l5, l999) Dr Verma has written to us since, suggesting that his main points have not yet been discussed adequately (even though FJ replied briefly in that issue and EW in the next). He has reformulated his ideas for more clarity and we reproduce them here.
Dr Verma says: "(1) In my opinion views and communications in the area of mystical bioethics should be kept away from those, who are in the process of getting acquainted with fundamentals of science, lest it may create confusion in their mind, and hamper development of scientific attitude. Science and spiritualism are two different approaches, and mixing the two in initial stages of learning may lead to obscurantism (= opposition to progress of knowledge/enlightenment). On the other hand, if a mature scientist, clearly realizing limitations of Science, turns to Spiritualism for certain answers, it may serve a useful purpose. (2) There is enough in history to show that often myth and deceit get badly mixed up with facts in the field of Spiritualism and Metaphysics. Members of the proposed Mystical Bioethics Network should develop, through suggestions and discussion, a methodology which would permit accumulation of data/experience record free from deceit, including self-deceit and "joint and collective suggestibility and joint and collective hallucination."
On the same day (2l/5/99) that Prof. Verma sent his letter, Prof. V Manickavel (Professor, Immunology, College of Medical Sciences Nepal, Kathmandu University, PO Box 23, Bharatpur, Chitwan, DT, Nepal) sent a letter relating to the same subject. The following paragraph from Prof. Manickavel's letter is very pertinent: "I read with much interest the two letters, one from Prof. Verma and the other from Attorney Williams. We all know that change (it is perpetual) is unavoidable, but we try to hang on to our experiences as security bags (because we acquired). In mountain climbing the climbers have to throw away the heavy baggage (science). Otherwise she will not be even able to see the summit (mysticism) let alone reaching. Unless complete transformation occurs, mystical experience will not bloom. I do not think we have to be apologetic or "hide" this transformation in any "closet". Are we afraid to "loose" our reasons?"
We'd very much like to receive responses to Prof. Verma's and Prof. Manickavel's remarks. Email is easiest for us because we don't have to type it. But if you don't have Email (and we respect those who are keeping their distance from high-technology) then please write by air post. But try to keep your remarks brief so as to make typing easier for us.
If you are interested, please contact:
Frank J. Leavitt, Ph.D.
Chairman, The Centre for Asian and International Bioethics
Faculty of Health Sciences
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Fax: + 972-7-6477633
AND: (Please write simultaneously to both of us.)
- Erin D. Williams, Esq.
Associate Director, Law, Policy and Ethics
Foundation for Genetic Medicine, Inc.
l0900 University Blvd, MSN 4E3
Manassas, VA 20ll0, USA