Slightly more than a decade ago, I was in Calgary's Centre for Positive Living one night. The conference room was packed with smiling well-dressed men and women who each cheerfully paid $35 to hear an American space scientist talk about his latest book. The author, Brian O'Leary, had earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and now held their rapt attention with anecdotes of his odyssey. He had journeyed from the excitement of the NASA astronaut program in the 1960s and teaching physics in Ivy League universities to Exploring Inner and Outer Space - the title of one of his books.
The audience's mood shifted, however, when O'Leary made an outrageous statement. He said that independent inventors and theorists have proven it is possible to tap the underlying "zero-point energy" of the space that surrounds us, for generation of electricity. He asked rhetorically, "Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to drill for oil anymore?"
"I know." he hastened to add, "Oil built Calgary. Don't worry. There will be other opportunities..."
What was he talking about? they wondered. To many of those in Calgary, Alberta, drilling for oil is the opportunity.
"...And we could clean up the waterways. We have this abundant source of energy that can be tapped either by a magnetic motor or by a small solid-state device like a little black box that electronically pluck this energy out of the vacuum of space. Just a little bit is all you would need to power your home or - like here -- your public places. And your car."
The mellow-voiced scientist repeated that in the future we will not need oil for fuel. Nor will we need nuclear power, nor need to dig for coal.
"It's almost like we've been in a nightmare, creating these polluting dinosaurs in our industrial civilization over the last 100 years." He stopped pacing the platform. "I think we're going to look back, say from the year 2020, with 20/20 hindsight - and look at the 1900s as that century when we abysmally polluted the earth...when we went down an incredibly crazy path. And then we backed off."
As if in answer to a query emanating from the audience --- why are concepts of this alleged new energy source not reported in mainstream publications - O'Leary cited historical precedents. The reaction to Galileo, for instance. The resistance to a new idea is in proportion to the idea's importance. Energy is a multi-trillion-dollar industry. Humankind has never dealt with a changeover of this magnitude, but we could take our time and do it wisely.
After a while he invited questions from the audience. The Calgarians ignored "free energy". Instead they asked about spoon-bending, Sai Baba and crop circles.
Ten years later, O'Leary and Alden Bryant, an originator of the United Nations Climate Change Treaty, have started a citizens' federation called the New Energy Movement (NEM). Its first public conference is planned for September 25-26, 2004, in Portland, Oregon.
Like a higher echo of the brief event in Calgary, the venue for September is the Living Enrichment Center in Wilsonville, Oregon, near Portland. It looks like this time the audience will be much more focused on new energy possibilities and implications. Last year O'Leary and Bryant testified at California Energy Commission hearings, and O'Leary spoke to U.N. officials and other policy makers as well as doing mass-audience radio interviews and a public speaking blitz.
How timely can it get? No place on Earth is free from dirty air, says a professor recently interviewed on CBC radio. More and more pollutants drift across oceans from continent to continent. More tonnage of nitrous oxides - from fossil-fuel burning - is now coming from Asia than from Europe and North America.
It's the single best chance for humankind to solve these global problems, says the New Energy Movement manifesto -- a transformation in the way we generate and use energy. That would be the most highly leveraged opportunity for advancing toward solutions, says the mission statement of the non-profit NEM.
The movement's activists are quick to add that even the desired gradual changeover in energy technology won't solve very many of humankind's problems, unless change comes hand-in-hand with a widespread increase in awareness. They have in mind awareness of our responsibility as caretakers of ecosystems - a transforming knowledge about the influence our actions and intentions have in the interconnected web of life.
At the end of the year I attended a NEM board of directors meeting in the riverfront home of Dr. Brian O'Leary and Meredith Miller in northern California. Attendees were a microcosm of people seeking solutions - including long-time environmental and social justice advocates as well as physicists, an accountant, a chemist, social worker and teachers.
"New energy science is in the research phase of a research-and-development cycle," O'Leary says, seeking help for inventors in birthing the new possibilities. While critics point out that no revolutionary energy inventions are on the market yet, he requests that people be realistic. "Asking today's underfunded independent inventors to immediately deliver finished products is like asking the Wright brothers to deliver passengers and mail right after their maiden flight in 1903."
Meanwhile, despite the national-security risks of nuclear fission and oil dependence, and despite health hazards from burning fossil fuels, it seems government planners are in no hurry to promote truly new small-scale clean energy technologies. Fuel cells are touted as the answer, but is the public aware of the roles that will be played by carbon fuels or nuclear fission in getting the hydrogen for powering fuel cells? It doesn't seem so. And judging by statements from energy officials, the door to other future energy sources will be open in, say, 2050.
In contrast, people who are neither funded by special interests nor swayed by lobbyists display a sense of urgency.
"I have two young daughters, and I don't want to wait for two generations," says NEM board member Joel Garbon, a scientist in the paper industry. "Why are the 'zero-point-energy' technologies popping up like daisies all over the planet if they're meant to languish?
None of these NEM organizers expect new energy source/s to be a magic bullet. They acknowledge that humankind's problems are too complex for simple answers, and the mindset of warring over scarce resources is just one of those problems.
If people realize that energy is potentially abundant, the group noted, then justifications for oil wars fall flat. And if the emerging science of energy-from-surrounding-space is fully understood, more citizens of the world may perceive their interconnection with fellow humans who also arise out of a nonmaterial background sea of energy. That common bond not only creates every atom of our bodies, it also sustains us in every moment, according to science findings.
At the NEM board meeting the word "consciousness" was heard more often than technology. It's a chicken-and-egg situation, one member said. Which comes first - a higher level of awareness out of which responsible use of powerful new technologies would flow, or the knowledge of new energy science catalzying human consciousness toward an abundance paradigm and awareness of our interconnection with all life?
None in the NEM expect overnight change either way. Instead they want to plant seeds of knowledge about possibilities.
Citizens' involvement in education about new energy sources may be an idea whose time has come. One such group flourished for a couple of years in Vancouver, Canada, until key members relocated out of the city.
Across the ocean in the UK, a Committee for Future Energies is examining new energy technologies and planning recommendations to the European Parliament. Instead of using the phrase Zero-Point Energy, the group describes the same ubiquitous source by using the phrase "Field Energy". The Committee will suggest how the European Union could respond to developments in Field Energy for combating global pollution and creating energy equality among nations. Such changes will have widespread economic implications, especially reorganisation of energy supply and dismantling of old equipment, says Steven Lawrence of Oxford. "The Committee understands that this must be done in the most economically beneficial way, rather than as an uncontrolled 'free for all'."
In addition to the emerging grassroots interest in new energy, another factor improved in the past ten years is the knowledge level among the hands-on energy experimenters.
The December NEM meeting on the west coast expressed support for the work of Eugene Mallove, Ph.D., columnist for this magazine, editor of Infinite Energy and founder of the New Energy Foundation, on the other side of the country. Grassroots education could be one way of helping his efforts.
As Mallove points out, there are successfully replicated New Energy experiments today. They are just ignored. Among such inventions he writes about are the working low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) device which Dr. Mitchell Schwartz built, and the pulsed-abnormal-glow-discharge device and aether-powered motors of Dr. Paulo and Alexandra Correa in Canada.
On January 21, 2004, Harold Aspden of England was granted a British patent on an Electrical Power Generating Apparatus. The patent claims "Electricity production may be sustained by drawing energy from the vacuum medium surrounding the electrodes." Vacuum medium means aether. Not the 19th-century notion of a rigid "luminiferous ether", but instead the non-material field that is apparently in highly energetic spinning swirling motion. Russian scientists call it the torsion field. Aspen's free-energy-from-space patent is a tutorial for inventors, helpful to every one I've referred to it.
Few people in the public know about "radiant energy" - a different, non-destructive type of electricity. But in the energy underground, researchers are studying books such as Cold Electricity by Dr. Peter Lindemann and Lost Science by Gerry Vassilatos. Experimenters are for instance learning how a revolutionary motor by E.V. Gray worked.
Electrical-power pioneer Nikola Tesla was the granddaddy of Radiant Energy knowledge; he could have given us safer and of course decentralized energy technology. But moguls had already bought copper mines for stringing wires across the country, and didn't want anything to disrupt their future profits. From then on, Tesla was subtly sidelined.
Television portrayals leave viewers with the impression that Tesla in his old age was fixated on particle beam weaponry. That may be partly true, but he was so much more than a stereotyped mad scientist. The TV show "Master of Lightning", for instance, built up that stereotype by emphasizing his lightning bolts in Colorado Springs, and sending power through the air, images of shooting down warheads, a Star Wars shield, Einstein's so-called generosity in forgiving Tesla for being a science heretic. Visuals and script paint neither an attractive nor a completely true picture of Tesla. Nothing is said about Tesla's knowledge of how to tap into the aether.
The TV show was based on a book by the same name which did briefly mention Tesla's belief -- that the universe has a deeper wave-like nature. The mention was in a "Was Tesla A Mystic?" sidebar. It treats Tesla's utterings about a primary-substance filling-all-space "ether" somewhat dismissively; the book says Tesla began using terminology of Eastern philosophies after meeting Swami Vivikenanda. The full 1930 quote was given, in which Tesla says all things come from a luminiferous ether acted upon by a life-giving Prana or creative force, but the book Master of Lightning stopped there. Vassilatos on the other hand tells us about transformative aether-based energy discoveries by Tesla and other Lost Science pioneers.
This writer has no right to criticize script writers who may be unaware of other literature about Tesla. My own mea culpa realization began too late, when researcher/experimenter Toby Grotz objected to my written portrayal of "Tesla technology" as I understood it in 1995 from many sources. It's not much comfort now to know I was not the only writer to mis-read Nikola Tesla even though I read stacks of books and articles. Years ago I watched a Borderland Science video about Tesla's later years, narrated by Vassilatos, which should have tipped me off. But at the time I dismissed it as melodrama.
What then did writers overlook about Tesla and other pioneers? We didn't understand "radiant energy" nor the history of "qualitative science". Vassilatos on the other hand goes back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to Baron Karl von Reichenbach, to begin chronicling the ignored giants of science. These unsung heroes investigated basic life-related energies. If school children and university students were exposed to the awe-inspiring lost science of Reichenbach, Nathan Stubblefield, T.H. Moray and others whom Vassilatos writes about, I believe a renaissance could begin. It would not be materialistic, but instead would be life-oriented.
The emergence of a New Energy Movement is timely. The disconnect between the mass-consciousness world -- as created on TV newscasts and in print media - and the reality of new science grows wider daily.
This article first appeared in the May/June 2004 edition of Atlantis Rising magazine.
Peter Lindemann, Cold Electricity
Brian O'Leary Reinheriting the Earth
Gerry Vassilatos, Lost Science, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999
CBC Radio Almanac interview with Ken Wilkenson; University of Northern BC, Feb. 16 2004