Who We Are
The Scientific and Medical Network (SMN) is a worldwide professional community and membership organisation for open-minded, rigorous and evidence-based enquiry into themes bridging science, spirituality and consciousness. It promotes a cultural shift in our understanding of reality and human experience beyond the limits imposed by exclusively materialist and reductionist approaches.
The Network brings together open-minded and discerning people who are inclined to a non-materialist interpretation of the universe and who have a sympathetic interest in parapsychological and spiritual matters.
The Network is a critical and supportive group where everyone’s efforts towards developing an open and disciplined mind may be refined.
Hence Network conferences, seminars and special interest groups provide a safe haven in which frontier issues and ideas at the interface between science, spirituality and consciousness can be freely explored and tested against the evidence, furthering personal growth and inner development.
We are an Educational Charity registered in the UK (No. 1101171)
The existence of the Scientific and Medical Network lets it be widely known that there is a significant minority amongst professional people who wish to take fully into account the existence of a fundamental spiritual reality and the implications of the spiritual capabilities that we all possess.
The Network is part of the contemporary quest for a more spiritual mode of thinking and being that is compatible with science. Hence it promotes a greater acceptance by science and medicine of the human being’s spiritual essence, as consistent with science. As such the Network challenges the adequacy of an exclusively materialistic approach to reality as a sufficient basis of knowledge and values.
Multiple Ways of Knowing
The Network is committed to advancing human perceptive abilities and acknowledges the complementary roles of scientific, artistic and mystical ways of knowing. In its work it seeks to harmonise intuition and logical analysis, heart and head, emotion and reason, subjective and objective, contemplation and action, the experiential and the intellectual.
This process of integration leads to a widening of experience and awareness resulting in a corresponding widening of our framework for understanding reality. The Network believes that growing knowledge and understanding can be attained by a more profound exploration and disciplined examination of key questions. This also requires deep sharing through creative listening and communication through silence, leading to a fellowship based on mutual trust and respect.
The Network seeks to provide a forum for pursuing truth, wherever it leads, to widen the intellectual horizons of science and of society as a whole, to stimulate research at the frontiers of human knowledge and experience, and to make the results of such research more widely known through its educational programmes. The Network is committed to no dogma or creed. It encourages intellectual discernment and is wary of the ill-founded and sensational claims of ‘pseudo-science’. In asking searching questions about the nature of life and the role of the human being, the Network abides by its guidelines of open-minded, rigorous thinking and care for others at all times.
History of the Network
The Network was founded in 1973 by George Blaker, with the help of Dr. Patrick Shackleton, Sir Kelvin Spencer and Dr Peter Leggett (Vice-Chancellor of Surrey University), based on their collective desire to reconcile scientific investigation and scientific models of reality with the spiritual dimension of life, and so to open dialogue between scientists and spiritual luminaries of all backgrounds. The vision of the SMN founders was a profoundly holistic one: an organisation confined by no “fences of thought”, but instead open to insight from every kind of human enquiry.
The founders believed that neither orthodox religion nor conventional science were, in their current forms, sufficient to answer pressing questions about our existence and about the mysteries of the cosmos, and that new ways of thinking, and new interdisciplinary approaches were needed to build bridges and to search for new approaches. The Network was initially an invitation-only organisation, as it developed into its early form as a place for scientists and medics to debate and dialogue about questions and ideas that were considered taboo in orthodox departments, on issues such as non-local consciousness, alternative forms of healing, paranormal phenomena and mystical experience.
Although the idea of networks and networking is commonplace today, the Scientific and Medical Network was one of the first to use this term.
Network Members have been prominent in the seeding of other organisations such as the British Holistic Medical Association, the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group within the Royal College of Psychiatrists (now the largest SIG in the College), and the Transpersonal Psychology and Consciousness and Experiential Psychology sections of the British Psychological Society.
The Network Today
The Network has now developed into an internationally recognised organisation providing interdisciplinary conferences and publications on themes that traverse science and spiritual concerns, with an open membership policy for anyone who agrees with our aims and values. Over 40 years on from our birth as an organisation, scientific and medical orthodoxy is still compartmentalised, reductionist, atomistic, and still dismissive of spiritual or non-material dimensions to human experience or cosmic reality. And as yet there has developed no meta-subject in which all disciplines in science, medicine, theology and spirituality may be brought together. In this context, the SMN still has a unique and an important role to play in providing a truly trans-disciplinary, truly progressive, place to discuss, dialogue and learn about the universe in which we live and which gives us our being.
Our members form part of a worldwide community of individuals who are searching beyond conventional scientific and religious paradigms for new answers and new questions.
Our Aims are:
- To provide a safe forum for the critical and open minded discussion of ideas that go beyond conventional paradigms in science, medicine and philosophy.
- To integrate intuitive insights with rational analysis in our investigations.
- To encourage a respect for Earth and community which emphasizes a spiritual and holistic approach.
- To challenge the adequacy of “scientific materialism” as an exclusive basis for knowledge and values.
Our Guiding Values are:
- Rigorous and critical thinking;
- Responsibility and care for others and the Earth.
The Network is devoted to the emergence of a more enlightened world – a world in which the wisdom of spirituality and the thoughtfulness of philosophy balance the power of science and technology.
We recognise that our world is still plagued by deep problems and enduring conflicts. Many of these are caused by dogmatic, superstitious or ill-informed worldviews. However, we believe that individuals and societies can transform themselves. The key is learning to integrate evidence-based science, born of rational philosophy, with the love and inner peace cultivated by spiritual practice. The Network is a worldwide community of professionals dedicated to this transformative task.
We invite you to join us in co-creating a paradigm shift to bring truth, beauty, health and well-being into harmony, and so help heal our fractured culture. Membership is open to all who are sympathetic with our mission, aims and values.
The Scientific and Medical Network is primarily valued by its members as a forum where people can meet, discuss, and explore topics of mutual interest in the area of post-materialist science and evidence-based spirituality. The benefits of membership include access to our extensive collection of talks, book reviews and several discussion forums. There is also the option to complete your Extended Profile and join the Member’s Directory through which it is possible to find other members with similar interests to yourself (the Extended Profile information will automatically provide links to other members with the same interests that you select. We aim to spotlight any books published by our membership and offer the opportunity for members to have their articles published to the website.
Archive talks include presentations by Sir Roger Penrose FRS, Sir John Polkinghorne FRS, Professor David Bohm FRS, Anne Baring, Dr Elisabet Sahtouris, Fr Bede Griffiths, Dr Larry Dossey, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, Dr Peter Fenwick and many others. Membership gives the opportunity to attend conferences and local events at early bird rates, as well as access to the acclaimed Paradigm Explorer published three times a year. Paradigm Explorer can either be delivered to your home in paper format on payment of an annual postage and printing supplement, or just delivered electronically as an eMagazine. The site currently has back issues of Paradigm Explorer as far as 2006. A special feature of Paradigm Explorer is its extensive book review section of over 200 books a year.
It is important to us that younger members are encouraged to join the Network so we have introduced both an ‘Under 25’ membership and a ‘Family’ membership category. Since many of our activities are UK-based and are more difficult for overseas members to attend, we offer a discount on electronic membership to overseas members.
We have set membership prices at levels which we believe people can afford, and as such these are subsidised by the Network Charitable Trust (the actual cost of running the SMN is around £100 per member). To make our work more sustainable we would therefore greatly appreciate it if those that are willing, and can afford it, would add an additional voluntary donation to the base membership price.
You can join us by clicking here.
To contact us please telephone us on +44 20 3468 2034, or alternatively please use the contact form below:
The Scientific and Medical Network Limited is Registered in England and Wales No. 04544694.