Seven factors have contributed to transformation of the former Human Energy Systems Laboratory (HESL) to the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health (LACH). HESL is to LACH as the caterpillar is to the butterfly.
- Professor Gary E. Schwartz has had a long standing interest in the topic of consciousness, especially the evolution of consciousness. Previous courses he has taught that discussed advances in consciousness include "Biopersonality and the Mind of Man" in the early 1970s (Harvard University), "Consciousness and Self-Regulation" and "Psychology and Human Evolution" in the 1980's (Yale University), and the "Psychology of Religion and Spirituality" in the late 1990's (University of Arizona). Moreover, he co-edited a series of three research volumes on Consciousness and Self-Regulation: Advances in Theory and Research when he was at Harvard and Yale, and he has published a set of papers on world hypotheses, evolving scientific paradigms, and the nature of human conception and understanding at the University of Arizona (e.g., Schwartz and Schloss, 2006).
- Research conducted originally in the HESL and continuing in the NIH-funded Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science (CFMBS) addresses controversial questions that require changes, if not radical transformations, in consciousness. These controversial topics include the role of conscious intention in energy medicine and healing, and the possibility of survival of consciousness after physical death. HESL has evolved into LACH to formally address the question of advances in consciousness;the CFMBS is being continued within one of the eight primary research programs (i.e., the Consciousness and Health Research Program) to maintain NIH-related research.
- Professor Schwartz's book THE G.O.D. EXPERIMENTS : HOW SCIENCE IS DISCOVERING GOD IN EVERYTHING, INCLUDING US addresses the question of the potential role of a universal intelligent consciousness - in this case a "guiding-organizing-designing" consciousness (described also as an "infinite consciousness") - in the evolution of the Universe, including humanity. The integrative concept of "intelligent evolution" is developed at length in this book. Professor Schwartz is joining the Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology Program (directed by Professor A.J. Figueredo) within the Department of Psychology to become part of a community of evolution-oriented psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists. Advances in neurotheology are addressed in this context.
- Professor Schwartz was asked by Professor Alfred Kaszniak, former Head of the Psychology Department, to teach the large "The Psychology of Consciousness" course beginning in the fall of 2006. Between this fall course and his other two courses taught in the spring, "The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality" and "Advanced Health Psychology," he has the capacity to conduct research on the evolution of consciousness in college students as part of his undergraduate teaching.
- From time to time, Professor Schwartz has witnessed unfortunate negative consequences that occur when specific individuals - or groups of individuals - fail to focus on accuracy and integrity. Recently, a small group of people, including a couple of professional skeptics (people who are paid for their skeptical opinions) and mediums (people who claim to speak with the deceased), have made demonstrably false statements concerning some of the research findings and practices in the former HESL. Their lack of accuracy and integrity has served as a reminder that systematic research is needed at multiple levels that is devoted to responsibility to truth and the evolution of healthy human relationships. LACH provides a responsible forum in which to conduct systematic research on pathological skepticism, illusory correlates, and self-deception in science, society, and human relationships. The Evolution of Consciousness Research Program within LACH includes the topic of "responsibility to truth."
- A number of individuals with potential research funding resonate strongly with the new title and focus of LACH. LACH is a credible and innovative academic structure in which to place and foster some of the most visionary and potentially paradigm-changing topics in consciousness science (and science in general), including the intelligent evolution hypothesis, the possibility of survival of consciousness after death, and the "other worldly intelligence" hypothesis.
- Finally, a number of integrative scientists and clinicians within the University of Arizona (as well as nationally and internationality) have voiced a need to create an academic home as a responsible forum for addressing the evolution and transformation of human consciousness. The goal is to foster research concerning the advancement and evolution of science, health care, and society. LACH complements the University of Arizona's Center for Consciousness Studies as well as its Program in Integrative Medicine by providing a mainstream yet frontier laboratory environment to foster this research.