Adventures of an Outlier Explorer: An Interview with William A. Tiller

His scientific pedigree is nearly perfect: a Ph.D. in engineering physics; advisory physicist at Westinghouse Research Laboratories; chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University; and a Guggenheim Fellowship to conduct research into the emerging science of crystallization at Oxford University.


It was on the flight to Oxford in 1970 that William Arthur Tiller’s life took a turn toward the unknown. Was it coincidence that he nabbed a copy of “Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain” to read on the plane? Or was it the work of a larger force — those he would later come to recognize as the very advanced souls known as the “unseen”?

“My wife, Jean, and I had been daily meditators for six or seven years,” explains Tiller. “I was impressed with the scope of Soviet work and the thought came into my mind: How might our cosmos be constructed to allow this crazy-seeming kind of stuff to naturally co-exist with this orthodox science I was doing with my Ph.D. students at Stanford?”

We may never know the answer, but at that moment Tiller realized that the future of humanity relied on exploring the unknown. “From that time on, I’ve divided my work into thirds: first, is continued experiential development of self; second, is continued theorizing of how the universe might be constructed; and third, is to do experiments to keep the theory honest.”

Tiller embraced the idea that once you reach beyond the physical vacuum, everything goes faster than electromagnetic light. Since conventional scientific tools were capable of measuring only those forces that moved at up to the speed of light, he was captivated by the idea of discovering what was beyond.

Did he give up his studies of that which you could touch and feel for that which you could not? No. Tiller continued to live in the parallel worlds of orthodox science and what has become known as psycho-energetic science. Perhaps it was keeping a leg in both worlds that saved him from being totally disregarded and discarded as a scientific heretic. He prefers to think of himself as an “outlier explorer.”

In 2004, Tiller reluctantly entered the world of celebrity scientists when he was featured in “What The Bleep Do We Know!?,” a game-changing film about the spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness.

Not surprisingly, Tiller never got inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. The prosperity and glory that might have otherwise come his way never materialized, but, at age 83, he stands by his convictions and knows that for him, there was no other path. He is a founding director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine, and also launched the William A. Tiller Foundation for Psychoenergetic Science, which continues to conduct research and publish new discoveries. Tiller has authored four books: “Science and Human Transformation: Subtle Energies, Intentionality and Consciousness” (1997); “Conscious Acts of Creation: The Emergence of a New Physics” (2001); “Some Science Adventures with Real Magic” (2005); and “Psychoenergetic Science: A Second Copernican-Scale Revolution” (2007).

Brain World: You come from a long line of scientists who questioned the accepted answers that came before them. Who are your “scientific ancestors?”

William Tiller: If we go way back, we would talk about Copernicus, Galileo, Newton — those who changed a paradigm in a major way. The prior paradigm belonged to the theocrats who believed the planets revolved around the earth. Copernicus showed they revolved around the sun. Copernicus really set things straight and showed how far off the mark the theocrats were. But their hubris was such that they wouldn’t look at the experimental data of Galileo; they wouldn’t even look through his telescope.

One I admire tremendously is Paul Dirac, because he showed people where electric matter came from. He proposed it came from a negative energy sea. The orthodox science community didn’t like the idea of negative energy. They didn’t know what it could possibly mean. They admired Dirac’s great mathematics — and even though he won the Nobel Prize, they left his work behind. Stephen Hawking is one of the major scientist-mathematicians of our day and he shouldn’t be disregarded. Max Planck laid the cornerstone of quantum mechanics, and Einstein laid the cornerstone of relativistic mechanics.

The problem I have is that people think quantum mechanics can solve all the consciousness problems. Today’s quantum mechanics is a second-order partial-differential equation in distance and time. All of the higher qualities of humans — emotions, mind, spirit, consciousness — are beyond distance-time.

In my system, there are two levels of physical reality. We have the coarse level — the electromagnetic stuff. And then we have the physical vacuum. Orthodox science has not been able to deal with the physical vacuum because they believe that everything goes slower than the velocity of light. My working hypothesis is that everything in the physical vacuum goes faster than light. All of the instruments of orthodox science use electromagnetic energy at a signal as low as the velocity of electromagnetic light. At velocities beyond that, they’re out of tools.


Descartes made an assumption that “no human quality of consciousness, intention, emotion, mind, or spirit can significantly influence a well-designed target experiment in physical reality.” That was useful in its time, because it allowed the separation between physics and religion. This has been unconsciously held ever since by orthodox science and medicine.

Our very first experiment showed that this assumption was absolutely in error. We’ve robustly shown that human intentions — which we are able to embed into a simple electrical device by meditation from a deep meditative state — can be used to change the properties of materials. This is important because it really says consciousness begets intention.

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