During the years that William Tiller toiled in Stanford University’s department of materials science and engineering, he lived a parallel life.
He tread carefully, teaching orthodox science at one of the nation’s premier colleges, while exploring new scientific frontiers that made his colleagues uncomfortable.
Although Tiller began formulating his theories that human intention can alter physical matter during the ’60s, even today the orthodox scientific community does not readily accept the results of Tiller’s experiments. The general population, however, is intrigued. “It gives them hope,” Tiller said.
Tiller promotes psychoenergetic science, which says that human consciousness and intention can significantly affect the properties of living and non-living materials, and physical reality.
His experiments include using a special device to alter the pH level of water up or down one full unit — a 10-fold change — with no chemicals added.
In another experiment, Tiller used the same device to increase the ratio of ATP to ADP in fruit fly larvae, which turned the larvae into adults more quickly and also made them more physically fit. The biological chemicals ATP-ADP cycle to create and release energy in living things.
In a final experiment, Tiller increased the thermodynamic activity of a liver enzyme by 30 percent by exposing it to the device for 30 minutes.
The device is called an intention-host device, and it’s a small, rectangular, beige electrical box. A group of experienced meditators gather and program an intention into the box, which is then used in the experiments. Tiller says the results have been repeated around the world, and the statistical probability that the results occurred randomly is less than one in 1,000. He called all four experiments “robustly successful.”
Tiller is a soft-spoken man, lean and without eyeglasses although he is nearly 80. He moved with his wife, Jean, to Payson, in 1998 from California, which Tiller says was becoming too crowded and materialistic.
He was successful by traditional standards, a one-time department chair at Stanford. But Tiller seemingly isn’t impressed by the credential. It seems effortless.
Perhaps Tiller’s own litmus test of success is more tied to the prevalence of psychoenergetic science.
Tiller was featured in the movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know,” a cult classic documentary that interviewed scientists and mystics, and explored quantum physics, neurology and molecular biology in relation to spirituality and metaphysics.
Recently he, along with Tom Russell of Payson’s own SuperWisdom Foundation, a spiritually-inclined non-profit, began conducting discussions at various locations around town, including the library and the Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness.
Tiller’s science carries heavy spiritual implications in that one’s thoughts really can influence one’s reality.
The reluctance of Tiller’s colleagues to fully embrace his findings initially disappointed him. He thought his world-class science would convince other scientists to embrace the view that human intention can affect the physical world.
“Because they could not explain this work based on the conventional paradigm, to them it just could not exist,” Tiller said.
And so he began the lonely path of a man dedicated to a cause unaccepted by the orthodox.
“They are very wrong and they are stuck. They can’t get outside of space/time. They can’t get out of quantum (physics),” Tiller said.
Quantum physics holds when humans observe certain processes, they change. For instance, light waves change from particles to waves depending upon if somebody is watching. This is called wave-particle duality.
However, in quantum physics, this phenomenon doesn’t translate to larger particles.
Tiller believes a second level of physical reality exists in the space of the observable reality. Solid matter is actually mostly space — the space between atoms. Within that space lies the second level, which is the level Tiller believes human intention can influence.
“Since the days of Descartes, the unstated assumption of science is that no human qualities of consciousness, intention, emotion, mind or spirit can significantly influence a well-designed target experiment in physical reality,” Tiller said. “I proved that to be very wrong.”
Although he didn’t conduct the intention-host experiments until the late 1990s, Tiller’s journey began in the late 1960s at Oxford.
Tiller had received a Guggenheim Fellowship and planned a sabbatical. During daily meditations, he would contemplate “how might the universe be constructed to allow this crazy-seeming stuff to coexist with my orthodox science that I was doing with my Ph.D. students at Stanford every day.”
During the remainder of the day, Tiller would investigate the ideas that came to him through meditation. Did the insights violate any standing scientific truths? By the end of the day, he would have more questions for the next day’s meditation.
By the end of six months, he had outlined a theory that he believed to be more meaningful than the orthodox science he had practiced. Someone had to test it through rigorous scientific inquiry.
“That someone had to be me,” Tiller said he realized. He eventually relinquished the chair at Stanford, but continued to work there. He also didn’t conduct his experiments there. Ostentatious displays of unconventionality can get one fired. Look at Timothy Leary.
A philanthropist provided Tiller with $1.7 million for the experiments that began in 1997 and lasted until 2000.
In 2001, Tiller wrote “Conscious Acts of Creation: The Emergence of a New Physics,” that detailed his experiments. Orthodox scientists tend not to read it, Tiller said.
But the ideas are spreading.
The movie including Tiller, “What the Bleep Do We Know,” was originally released in one Washington movie theater in 2004. Today, the film has sold more than 1 million copies and is available worldwide.
“It’s all up to us. Collectively, we create our future,” Tiller said.
For more information: www.tiller.org.