Science and faith part 1 kiwiconnexion practical theology
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David B: Welcome along to Live On Air this
evening. We’re particularly grateful that David Lorimer from the Scientific and Medical
Network has been able to join with us. David has been instrumental in bringing the network’s
news and its opinions and views, and scientific papers and so on – he’s been bringing them
to public attention now for a very long time. Would you like to just tell us a little bit
about your background, and a brief overview of the Scientific and Medical Network?
David L: Yes, thank you David. I’ve been working with the network now since 1986, so that’s
over 30 years. Prior to that I was teaching French, German and philosophy mainly at an
old public school called Winchester College. While I was there I wrote my first book, which
was called Survival? This is in fact going to come out again. Both my books are being
re-printed towards the end of the year with slightly different titles. So it’s quite exciting
to see them coming back into print after them being out of print for well over 20 years.
So, my interests have grown with those of the network, if you like, but I was involved
in the 1980s a lot in Near Death Experiences, and the implications of Near Death Experiences.
I think since the time I’ve been involved in the network, the whole consciousness field
has exploded, really. Since 1995 we’ve been running the Beyond the
Brain conference, and we’ve got one coming up at the end of October with some very good
speakers. In fact, some of you may not know that we have a dedicated site for the Beyond
the Brain, which is Beyondthebrian.org. So you can have a look at all the details of
the conference, and indeed details of some of the old conferences on that website, which
is currently being developed. Our conference over this period has also grown very considerably
and we’ve been running the Mystics and Scientists conference since the late 1980s, and we just
celebrated the 40th anniversary of that series of conferences. I have a number of other things
that I’ve been interested in, and I’ve previously been president of the Swedenborg Society for
instance, and also president of Wrekin Trust which was started up by Sir George Trevelyan,
and that’s just finished its cycle of activity. I’ve been involved in the International Futures
Forum, which is a sort of think tank, trying to negotiate and navigate the complex challenges
that we have in the world today. I just recently returned from the mountains in Bulgaria where
I’ve been on a two week retreat with my friends in the mountains, doing wonderful Paneurhythmy
dance – sacred dance. In fact, as we speak, the festival of the White Brotherhood is taking
place in the Rila Mountains on 19th, 20th and 21st August. So, today there will probably
be 1000 people dancing Paneurhythmy up in the mountains, which is quite something. So
those are a few sorts of sketches of background. David B: That’s a wonderful introduction,
David. The Beyond the Brain conferences were where I first became very much aware of the
work of the network. I attended the first one, and I think I’ve been to two subsequently.
Then, when you mentioned all the work that came out around Near Death Experience, it’s
kind of an entree point into a world of science that interfaces with medicine, philosophy,
theology and wisdom studies. David L: Certainly, yeah.
David B: It is the most dynamic and incredibly interesting organisation, and one could just
become totally immersed in it; the news and the opinions that come out. You’ve been editing
their magazine for a very long time. What an absolute treat it is, every four months
or so to get the network magazine. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s incredible.
David L: [5:20]. Today I think I’ll probably finish the short reviews, and I’m getting
up towards 15000 words on those. I don’t know whether it’s exciting or depressing that the
shelf is already full of books that I haven’t read, which will have to wait for the next
issue. So they seem to be coming in at an even faster rate than before. If you look
back to about 1996, about 6000 books have been through the network system. So it gives
you some idea of the quantity. It’s running at about 250 a year. That’s the kind of number
I receive through the post-box. David B: I don’t think very many people would
be aware that you’re a phenomenal speed reader. David L: Well, it’s a matter of trying to
extract the essence and something interesting from the book. You can’t read every page of
every book. It simply isn’t possible, but when you’ve been at it for so long, you get
to the point where you have a very good sense of where the book fits into other books in
the field, and therefore what its unique contribution is.