If one man says he can read another’s mind, we will call it superstition. In Russia, where there are what we may call “rigorous” scientists, there is a man by the name of Fiodev. He is a great Russian scientist. Sitting in Moscow, he has communicated his thoughts, without any visible means, to the mind of a person sitting a thousand miles away in Tiflis. This was examined scientifically and found to be correct. Scientists are engaged in this kind of research because sooner or later it will be useful in space travel. In the event of a mechanical failure in a spaceship, which is always possible, through these means scientists can establish contact with the travelers. Otherwise the spaceship may be lost forever. It is out of this concern that Russian scientists are conducting intensive research into telepathy and have achieved some astounding results.
Fiodev carried out his research with the help of a friend. A thousand miles away in Tiflis, his friend hid himself behind a bush in a garden with a wireless set in his hand, and he and Fiodev stayed in touch with each other. After a while he informed Fiodev that a man had arrived and sat on bench number ten. He asked Fiodev to send this man a message to go to sleep within three minutes. The man was wide awake; he was smoking and humming away to himself. Fiodev began sending him suggestions – the same as I do – that “You are relaxing, you are relaxing.” From a distance of a thousand miles, for three minutes Fiodev suggested intensely, “Go to sleep, go to sleep,” and, concentrating on bench number ten, he continued suggesting the same thought, “Go to sleep, go to sleep.” In exactly three minutes the man sitting on the bench was asleep, the cigarette fallen from his hands.
But this could have been a coincidence. Perhaps the man sitting on the bench was tired and so he had fallen asleep. And so the friend told Fiodev that the man had indeed fallen asleep, but that it could be a coincidence, so he asked Fiodev to wake him up in exactly seven minutes. Fiodev kept suggesting to that man to wake up, and in seven minutes precisely the man opened his eyes and got up. The man on the bench was a total stranger; he had no idea what was happening, and Fiodev’s friend approached him and asked if he’d felt anything unusual.
The man said, “Yes, I certainly did. I was very puzzled. I came here to wait for somebody, and suddenly I felt that my body was about to fall asleep. I lost control and went to sleep. And then I felt strongly as if someone was telling me ‘Get up, get up. Get up in seven minutes!’ I can’t figure any of this out.” The man had no idea what had happened.
Communication of thought without any medium has become a scientific truth, but an educated man would call it superstition. It is possible that a sick man in one town can be cured from a faraway town; it’s not too difficult. It’s also possible that snakebite can be healed from a distance of thousands of miles; there’s not much difficulty to it. But there are many different kinds of superstitions. And remember, the superstition of an educated man is always more dangerous than that of an uneducated man, because the educated man does not consider his superstition to be superstition. For him it is a result arrived at after great deliberation.
Now this friend says we have to break the chains of superstition. First make sure there are any chains, otherwise you may break somebody’s arms and legs in the process. Chains can only be broken if there are any. What if there are none? You must also make sure that what you believe is a chain that needs to be broken does not happen to be an ornament you may have to remake. All these things require very careful consideration.