Dean Radin – 2
get. Another other one is, it’s the work of the Devil, obviously, and so you shouldn’t do this. Then other things like, if you’d like to have a comfortable living, you shouldn’t do this because you won’t get funding.
David: Speaking of which, is there any connection between the publication of your book The Conscious Universe and the fact that you are no longer at the University of Nevada?
Dean: Yes. Unfortunately the principal administration at UNLV changed halfway during my tenure there. I was perfectly happy there at first. Then the new administration came in, and they adopted marching orders to change the perception of UNLV as an academic backwater. I mean, after all, it is in the middle of Las Vegas (laughter), and no one takes Las Vegas seriously as an intellectual oasis, so why should anyone take this university seriously. What people who haven’t lived in Las Vegas don’t realize is that there’s a piece of Las Vegas which is very mainstream. The university, the faculty, and the government are actually much more than mainstream. They are conservative, probably in reaction to the perception of the rest of the city.
So the local politics, the university and so on, tend to be far more conservative than one might think. There’s also a very strong religious influence, a kind of hidden influence from the Mormons, because they were the first to settle the town. All of the buildings on campus at the university have two numbers on them, for example 1958 and 5058. Why? Because they show both the Christian and the Mormon calendars. This conservative influence is invisible to most tourists, yet it’s there. So now you have new people coming in who are trying desperately to make UNLV a credible university, because it doesn’t make any of the lists of top schools that would attract new students. They would like to change that perception. So now they’re dealing with some crazy guy who’s getting a lot of worldwide publicity for parapsychology of all things, and they don’t like that. And I understand. I’m even sympathetic to how they must have felt, although I don’t agree with the way they went about it.
David: How did they go about it?
Dean: Well, I was expecting to get a continuation contract. Every six months you’d get a new contract. Then one day I got a separation letter, and I said, what is that? The letter said that the university has decided it no longer wants to engage in the type of research you’re doing.
I re-read this letter a few times, then asked my boss about it. I said, they can’t be serious. You can’t not renew somebody’s contract just because you don’t happen to like the topic of the research–isn’t that a violation of the first rule of academic freedom? My boss agreed, so I protested and the administration quickly changed their explanation. Every time they raised another issue I challenged it, and they kept changing it, over and over again. Finally I realized that this wasn’t a rational argument. They wanted me out no matter what. And so I left. About six months later, when I was working at Interval Research, the chair of the university’s faculty senate executive committee called me and asked that I lodge a formal grievance against the administration, to help bolster their case against a keyfigure who had acted in ways that was seriously damaging the morale of the faculty and staff. It took about a year, but finally that person, who was responsible for causing much anguish throughout the university, and for my leaving, resigned.
David: What do you think happens to consciousness after the physical death of the body?
Dean: I expect that what we think of as ourselves–which is primarily personality, personal history, personality traits, and that sort of thing–goes away, because most of that information is probably contained in some way in the body itself. But as to some kind of a primal awareness, I think it probably continues, because it’s not clear to me that that’s produced by the body. In fact, I think that elementary awareness may be prior to matter. So when you go into a deep meditation, and you lose your sense of personality, that’s may be similar to what it might like to be dead.
On the other hand, if you’re not practiced at being in that deep state, or don’t know how to pay attention to subtle variations in what might at first appear to be nothingness, it’s not clear that your consciousness would stay around very long. In other words, you might have a momentary time when you have this sense of awareness, and then it just dissolves. It goes back and becomes part of the rest of everything. So it’s like a drop that settles into the ocean and disappears into it. On the other hand, some people, who either spend a lifetime preparing in