LifeOS: exploring the system that executes DNA

July 10, 2008

The Backster Effect

The Secret Life of Plants

I remember when i first read of Cleve Backster’s experiments in, The Secret Life of Plants. I was excited because his experiments were consistent with my experience. I thought that this book would spark a revolution in science and our culture in general. Science would now see that plants and animals were to be communicated with, rather than experimented on. I thought that science would be transformed. Wrong again.

Primary Perception

It all started way back in the 60s; polygraph technician Cleve Backster hooked up the leads of his lie detector to the leaves of a Dracaena cane in his office. The first thing he noticed was a rhythmic fluctuation in the response patterns. His instrument was measuring something. He surmised that the electrical resistance measured by his lie detector was because of the flow of water within the leaf. That flow could be variable according to the plant’s “state”. If the plant had a response system that controlled the tension of capillaries within the structure, let’s say, relaxed and tense, changes in the plant’s state should show on his instruments.

He thought of ways he might stress the plant to see if he could get a reaction. When he considered burning a leaf, his polygraph registered a dramatic upward sweep. He had done nothing, but think about harming the plant and his instruments registered increased tension. He decided to find out more about this strange phenomenon.

He rigged up a test that would dump live brine shrimp into boiling water at random times. His plants showed an “emotional” reaction on his instruments to the death of the shrimp. Backster hooked his wires to thousands of plants, each showing the ability to react to this type of remote stimulus. He then found ways to attach his electrodes to infusions of single cells. He tested amoeba, yeast and mold cultures, blood and even sperm. In all cases he found that there exists a primary communication system that carries the message of the dying shrimp to the plants or cells. He found this effect could be produced over distance. He called this Primary Perception.

Sounded exciting to me, so i assumed science would jump on this one. They ignored his research, accusing him of using, “some kind of ESP.” These experiments are easily repeated in the lab and i have personally experienced the phenomenon many times. There are millions of indigenous people who will tell you that plants are aware. Human history is rich with those who have tapped into this Natural system and reported successful communications. Science ignores all this, accusing them of silly superstition or using some kind of ESP.

Direct Experience

People with direct experience in communications with plants don’t apply reason or theories to the belief, they have experienced it. When you receive accurate information from plants over distance, it demands no other explanation. Theories just don’t matter anymore. Once at this stage, the technique becomes available to enhance your life. Further experience reinforces that knowledge.

However, if one comes from the point of view that such communication is not possible, the methodology employed would be designed to find the flaw in the feedback mechanism. While trying to figure out what went wrong, they miss what went right. They just can’t accept the possibility that plants are sentient beings. It goes against their most cherished beliefs: that the intellect of mankind reigns supreme. This is the source of the rift between science and Cleve Backster. Science cannot accept an intelligent universe. It just does not compute. It is in their nature to defend their position.

When you look objectively at the elaborate structure of modern scientific knowledge it becomes apparent that much of it is fabricated in an attempt to prove that there is no intelligence in the system, save ours. Terms like self-organization, mathematical bias, entropy, emergence are meant to describe laws that make universal feedback loops unnecessary. Yet when we build a system, it will not function if we don’t include appropriate feedback loops.

There is always going to be a micro process that does the actual work. It will have the instructions it needs to do its thing onboard. In the holographic model, those instructions are also part of the information available to the system at other levels. Feedback from the micro to the macro allows the system to organize itself.

You’ve heard of the law of attraction? The power of positive thinking? Prayer? Chaos magic? If you believe in them, they work to the degree you can master their technique. If you don’t believe in them, they don’t work at all. Why? Because we are interfacing with an intelligent system. The system doesn’t present you with reality, but with an intelligently constructed model, built especially for you, to the specifications of your culture.

Organic Supply System

Now this new model presents a different view of just how this system works. The system seeks to supply individual agents with their needs. This information processing system responds to queries in the language and beliefs of the user. It is done to you as you believe. Seek and ye shall find.

The system manages resources and logistics for the ongoing construction of organic material. That includes the on-time supply of all the assemblies necessary to complete all of its many projects. As with any manager, problem solving is a major function. The first step in solving any problem is to identify the source. That’s where this dynamic hologram comes in. This is an electromagnetic field generated by the fact that every cell is in laser-like sync. The slightest disturbance in any of those signals reverberates through the entire system, carrying specific information regarding the nature of the disturbance. This is real-time feedback from the smallest functioning unit to the whole. This is Cleve Backster’s “Primary Perception”, the fundamental feedback mechanism for Life.

Scientific Method

Repeatable experiments are important to science, but like so many of their methods they preclude positive interaction with sentient beings. The successful experiments carried out by Cleve Backster indicate that plants react to trauma in their local environment. Doesn’t this at least open the possibility that plants are sentient beings? If so, then to continue to threaten and torture plants until they no longer react is sheer lunacy. If this is indeed a communication between living beings, it needs to be treated as such. But the hard hearted scientists treat the communication as a malfunction in their method and revise it until no more communication is detected. Then they announce to their peers that the evil theory has been properly debunked.

Fragile Rapport

Take communication between a husband and mother-in-law for example. It doesn’t take much for that channel of communication to break down, does it? The slightest deviation from accepted protocol and it can cease immediately. Communication with plants and animals is like that, in that they don’t communicate with just anybody. There has to be a basic rapport or they just clam up. Under these circumstances, the heavy handed approach favored by contemporary science is not likely to be successful.

Attempts to duplicate the Backster effect produced intermittent results that were ignored.

“While this experiment did show a few positive correlations, they did not occur at a rate great enough to be considered statistically viable.”

So, they admit it happens, but not often enough to be real. It only takes once for it to be real, if it happens to you.

Skeptics bring up all the reasons that such communication is impossible while failing to address the phenomenon itself. Backster has forty years of experiments, meticulously documented, just waiting for science to look at, but they refuse. The point is that Backster’s experiments prove that the current scientific paradigm is incomplete. Unable to explain his results, contemporary science has ignored them completely. Without including this system of perception and communication, science has built a seriously flawed model of biological reality.

Full Circle

Just a few hundred years ago science broke off from religion, claiming the spiritual was unsupportable by facts and therefore not a part of reality. Paranormal, religious and/or shamanistic experience was discounted as fantasy and relegated to the trash bin of human behavior. Science declared their method the only proper way to understand reality. Meanwhile, science has gathered an enormous amount of information on this thing called reality and how we perceive it. Reality is not what it seems; matter is not solid. Science has discovered that our perception determines our reality. Consciousness has been recognized as a functional element in all observation. What this means is that even our most advanced science is no more than description of reality. A description that is totally dependent on a learned set of abstract criteria. A description that occurs within a strict cultural context.

Science has always thought it was being purely objective, now it discovers that objectivity is an illusion. When one considers the cultural context, descriptions of the Universe presented by ancient religions are just as valid as today’s scientific descriptions. Without knowledge of the true context of ancient beliefs, they are not likely to make sense to us. However, many ancient doctrines include important information that modern science has ignored.

As for accuracy, who knows? However, the new model we are building leaves less out than did the old one. It is being built to accommodate all descriptions, regardless of their context. How do we do that? All descriptions and their cultural context are the sole property of the user. Neither the model, nor the system it describes, assume liability. It is all up to the user, and the interface.


  1. […] the brine shrimp experiments in Cleve Backster’s lab? Death is a radical change of state for any organism. The traumatic […]

    Pingback by Systemic Emotion « LifeOS: exploring the system that executes DNA — April 4, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  2. The Backster Effect is clear evidence of thought transfer. Science has no idea of what a thought is. How can they have any credibility on the subject?

    Comment by Stan Mcfarland — November 19, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  3. so stan- i guess what you are saying ,is that any phenomena that we might see,is irrelevant because science doesn’t know what thought is? That doesn’t make any sense to me at all-certain things are just obvious even if there is technically no”scientific” proof- and just because we are still searching for the definitive definition of the “soul” of what “thought” is, doesn’t mean every new finding is invalid-

    Comment by keith — February 6, 2010 @ 6:40 am

  4. Herein lies the problem…what Dr. Backster discovered was more complex than mere thought transfer, it was the initial “scientific” discovery of the “Universal Consciousness”. Don’t become hung-up on the current definition of consciousness…as you will find that it does not fully apply to this model (even if the awareness portion is accurate, you would have to understand what exactly you are aware of).

    Dr. Backster didn’t initially understand it either, and he was a far greater scientist than many who exist today ever will be. The part he DID understand, however, was that the mode of communication between life “forms” transcends all measurable capabilities of modern science, (including EM fields…since the “thought transmissions” were repeatedly demonstrated with blocks that prevented EM transmissions between the Beings that were being tested).

    To attempt to recreate or demonstrate that which has already been proven false (the EM thought transfer model), would be the same as adopting the current “unconscious” state of the scientists who are not looking toward the truth, but away from it in every direction possible. The truth lies within a realm of understanding that modern science has been unwilling to accept. It is not “thought transfer” (which could present as ESP), but a transfer of pure consciousness that occurs at a level above thought itself. Consciousness has little to do with human/plant/bacterial “thought” transfer (ESP) and everything to do with INTENT, which occurs at a level higher than thought. Allow me to explain…

    During a similar experiment that occurred some 40 years after Dr. Backster’s initial discovery, David Wilcock (author of “The Source Field Investigations”) attempted to recreate the “Backster Effect” for the purpose of showing it on the silver screen. The problem was, the plant innately “knew” it was in no real danger…because the group of individuals were acting. There was no real or perceived ill “intent” toward the plant that was hooked up to the monitoring device…not until David Wilcock made the decision (thereby showing intent) to bring harm to the plant, did the plant perceive a threat and show a measureable response. The response which occurred as a result of the perceived threat initiated by David’s “intent”…not by his “thought”.

    If the response was “thought-based”, the fact that the actors were thinking about the scene they were playing out should have been enough to provoke the plant’s response. However, it was not, which clearly points to the obvious conclusion that thought alone isn’t enough…there must be intent behind the thought produced. The rest would be merely paying “lip service” to the Universal Consciousness. This is why prayer without intent/belief doesn’t receive a desired result. Going through the motions of saying a prayer without clear intent is like washing your car without soap and water…it produces nothing.

    What must be understood here is the difference between intent and thought. Thought occurs at the level of the human mind, but intent occurs BEFORE the thought at the level of true consciousness (from your Presence without form…your spirit). If you want to create an organic, “life-based” operating system…it must be done with a clear understanding of the difference between these two important facts. Only then will it function correctly.

    Intent is at the root of all existence: John 1:1 points to this fundamental truth “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. The “Word” (as once believed) is not a person, it is intent at it’s purest form…”God” (or whatever you choose to call the Creator)…is the orchestrator of our reality as we know it. He/She is the Creator as well as the “created”, the “Alpha and the Omega” (the beginning and the end)… the All That Is.

    In order to understand the “Oneness” (Universal Consciousness) to which I refer, you must first understand that we are all connected to each and every “thing” we see, and that which we do not. Nothing comes into “Being” except through our Source, and this Source is what makes up the whole.

    To put it simply, we are all pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle that combine to create our own reality. As long as we continue to believe the world is in dire straits, it will continue to appear to us as if it is. As we are both the Creator and the created. Once we all realize the truth of who we truly are (through understanding the existence of this Universal Consciousness), the shift of our reality will occur. The end of suffering as we know it will cease.

    Scientifically, you truly only need to understand how creation works in order to grasp how it works spiritually as well. They are two sides to the same coin. Here is the simplified formula for your life-based program (as all life/creation is formed in this fashion):

    Intent > Thought > Action = Creation

    In that order, from left to right. Nothing in existence (alive or not) came to be except through this. If you don’t grasp it at first, meditate on it…say it out loud and feel the truth of it. Once our world understands this truth, there will be nothing we will not be able to achieve. The saying “If you believe, you will achieve” is an undeniable truth.

    The scientific community is moving closer to the truth of our existence, but they must first accept the concept of an intelligent universe in order to take the necessary last leap of faith. They must open their minds to the possibilities. Once this happens, the answers they seek about the origin of our existence will become clear. They need to realize the infinite reality, in order to understand that which they believe to be finite.

    Best wishes to you…I hope you find what you’re looking for, and achieve what you set out to do.

    Comment by Robin K — March 31, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  5. I was looking for someone to objectively address the Backster Effect. Sadly cognitive dissonance is a problem.

    Comment by chris — April 8, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

  6. To demonstrate primary perception using your own plants, download the free Arduino program at You’ll need to build an apparatus to hold electrodes against a leaf and wire them to the Arduino. You also attach the Arduino to your laptop or desktop via a USB cable and watch the plant’s response on the computer screen.

    Comment by Kenneth Anderson — May 4, 2018 @ 8:05 pm

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