Dear Dr. Hut,
I have been meaning for some time to contact some participants in the 'consciousness movement,' and now you are my first attempted contactee. I first ran across your name about six months ago as co-author with Roger Shepard of a JCS article, and I have passed this around to a few of my acquaintances. Then a couple of weeks ago my Mother sent a NYT Science article that included a brief interview with you.
Besides a common interest in consciousness we also share a background in physics. I was a lowly physics grad at Princeton from '64 to '66, when I left with a masters. While my cosmological interests have been expanding, I felt that the horizons of physics were shrinking. It was another ten years before I learned of Wheeler's and Dicke's interests in the Anthropic Principle, and that precipitated my return to a more scholarly pursuit that was increasingly laced with metaphysics.
While at College Park, making a second attempt at a PhD in '77-'78 under Charles Misner and Stephen Brush, I first attempted to formulate a mind-brain quantum dualism. But like most thoughtful physicists with any cosmological concern, I found that option unattractive and untenable. A couple of years after leaving school for the second time, I found that my sympathies were shifting to immaterialism. It took me another couple of years to get to the point where I could feel reasonably comfortable with immaterialism, at least to the point of not having to question my sanity every few days. But it was made clear to me at College Park that my ideas had taken me beyond the academic pale.
Last year's Economist (7-20-96) put it rather succinctly: "In the English speaking world [immaterialism] is shunned in polite society except in literature faculties, some of whose denizens have deconstructed the world into subjective oblivion."
From your one article in JCS, I take it that you are pushing a similar envelope, both cosmologically and academically speaking. In twenty years that envelope has expanded considerably, but I am sure that you are still aware of limits. The main purpose of this open letter is to see if communication can be opened across those limits.
Having crossed that intellectual divide some fifteen years ago, it has been only about five years since I crossed the political divide. I have been proselytizing a Christocentric immaterialism to the small community of active students/investigators of anomalous phenomena. And because of my proximity to Washington I spend some time talking to bureaucrats and politicians about these matters, and among them I find increasing concern about popular millennialism.
Let's face it, there is some concern among the powers that be that the whole world may be heading toward "subjective oblivion." For my part, I am arguing for a combined intellectual and spiritual world view that can lead us around that potentially eschatological point of oblivion. At present, you are my star 'witness' on the intellectual side of the picture. You may understandably be underwhelmed and indisposed to this bit of notoriety, and so be it, but it is a small world in these sorts of circles as you may already be well aware.
This brings me to a final point for possible discussion. Another thing we have in common are our personal websites. In perusing yours I have been frustrated by not being able to read your postscript encoded articles on my PC, despite purchasing what is supposed to be the latest viewing software. I would like my very small audience to have access to your latest work, and so I have also purchased a scanner and am in the process of scanning your JCS 3,4,96. I would be happy to send the result to you for you to post, and perhaps you would be so kind as to supply me with additional relevant material of yours for similar treatment, material which may not otherwise be readily available. Please specify what format you would prefer. Failing this, I suppose I could post some of the material myself without violating standard practice in these circumstances.
My website is <www.clark.net/pub/dansmith/>. I will be posting this communication and any response, unless you prefer otherwise.