Monday, 28 July 2008

Lynne McTaggart: The Intention Experiment

A couple of chapters into Lynne McTaggart’s book, The Intention Experiment, I was disappointed. Bored and disappointed. Two emotions I certainly didn’t expect to feel while reading a book on one of my favourite topics, the intersection of science and psi.

It took me a while to figure out why I was feeling like this. It wasn’t that the book didn’t contain information from scientific studies on esoteric subjects such as meditation and intentions and healing. It did, and those studies in themselves were interesting. The studies presented do make one think about the connections between all living things and the power of the mind to affect matter. I finally realised, however, that I was battling to connect with Lynne’s writing style. It reminded me of some students’ literature reviews that I used to evaluate when I was an academic as well as of some journal articles that I would be asked to review – competent, don’t get me wrong, very competent, but “disconnected”. By this, I mean, they would present many scientific facts and figures, lists of studies and results, but ultimately not really tie these together in any coherent way to give the literature review a sense of continuity and a central critical argument (possible, even when one is trying to fairly present both sides of a debate).

I persevered with The Intention Experiment, however, and it did get better. By the time the final two or three chapters came round, linkages between sections and a critical viewpoint were emerging.

The last section of the book presents some very practical guidelines related to setting and sending an intention. I found these very helpful and probably enjoyed this section, which applied the results of the scientific studies to very specific exercises, the most. The book is further linked to Lynne’s website, where you can join a community, discuss your own and others’ experiences as well as participate in ongoing group intention experiments.

My criticisms above notwithstanding, I am still very grateful to Lynne McTaggart (and all the scientists mentioned in her book) for their continued work to understand the nature of the universe and to make it accessible to everyone.


Akemi said...

I haven't read the book, but your review makes a lot of sense.
The thing is (now I'm going to say this at the risk of severe criticisms and bashing. . .) a lot of people are not spiritually developed yet. They don't realize we are spiritual being, they may even doubt the existence of the soul, and they don't see the power of intention. So for those people, it serves to provide scientific proofs and explanation.

But you don't need it. It's one thing to help them evolve from where they are, and another for us to move further.

Ray Gratzner said...

Your review is a good read. Some sort of personal experience while reading say a lot more, than hundred words abiut the content.. Thank you

Evelyn Lim said...

Sometimes, I get very impatient while reading a book because I'm eager to find out how the concepts all tie in together. They usually do...but towards the end.

Great review though! I like to read reviews before I check out a book.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Akemi - I'd agree with you... the scientific proofs are necessary and most helpful when people are in the initial stages of their spiritual journeys. Although I'm very interested in how the two fields integrate and support each other (and further each other), I don't need the science to prove to me what I (we!) already know to be very real and true.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thank you, Ray. I'm glad that you found the review valuable.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Evelyn - Thank you. I very rarely skip to the end of a book while reading it (I never do with fiction, only a few times with non-fiction), but my initial frustration with this book did lead me to abandon the chapters dealing with the scientific studies in favour of the more practical end chapters before returning to persevere with the rest of the book.