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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.

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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.

Cultural Significance

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.

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