"All the world's a stage we pass through." - R. Ayana

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Proving The Reality Of Mind Over Matter: Global Consciousness Project

Proving The Reality Of Mind Over Matter

The Global Consciousness Project

 

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Roger Nelson analyzed the data collected in a Princeton, N.J., computer and the results, he concluded, were "unequivocal…. We do not know if there is such a thing as a global consciousness," Nelson wrote, "but if there is, it was moved by the events of Sept. 11, 2001."

Nelson is an experimental psychologist at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory. In his spare time, he and an ad hoc band of psychologists and scientists operate what they call the Global Consciousness Project. Their aim is to discover whether, as one participant puts it, "there is some unknown, strange connection between mind and matter."

A significant, if unexpected, experiment in that search took place the day terrorists hijacked planes that crashed into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and a Pennsylvania field.

There is a long history of attempts to document and quantify the connection between mind and matter. More than half a century ago researchers tested gamblers who claimed they could affect the roll of dice. Over the years, parapsychologists became more sophisticated in their attempts to measure the link between human consciousness and the physical world.

Many of these experiments showed "small, but very highly significant" effects of mind on matter, according to Richard S. Broughton, the former director of the Institute for Parapsychology in Durham, N.C. The problem with the research, Broughton said, was that the effects were small and the experiments were not fully protected from either conscious or unconscious human manipulation.

Meanwhile, the question of whether there was a connection between mind and matter wasn't limited to science-fiction tales of telekinesis. It also lay at the heart of quantum physics, or the study of very small particles. Physicists have theorized that there is an "observer effect" on physical phenomena, that the act of watching or measuring the physical world changed it. The parapsychologists agreed in a sense with the physicists. Their experiments with dice, after all, were based on a theory that human intent or attention could have some small impact on matter.

Almost 30 years ago, Broughton said, physicists and psychologists began experimenting with machines that produced pure random numbers. They first asked individuals to concentrate on a machine, to determine whether human intention could affect the randomness of the data the machine was generating. Eventually, they began taking the machines to places where large groups concentrated on a single event.

One experiment, for example, placed a random-number generator with a crowd watching the Academy Awards show. Number generators were observed during the jury verdict at the O.J. Simpson trial and the funeral of Princess Diana. Dean Radin, a psychologist, said there are now more than 150 such experiments "and there's no doubt that when you bring a random generator in the vicinity of a group that is coherent in some way, the numbers become less random."

Radin and others surmise that the attention of the group and the change in the behavior of the random-number generator are somehow related.

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Mainstream psychologists, of course, consider such experiments, at best, a distraction. Michael Domjan, chairman of the psychology department at the University of Texas, said, "I'm pretty skeptical about this sort of thing, and if the effects are there, who cares?"

The Global Consciousness Project is the latest, and perhaps most sophisticated, in this line of research. Two and a half years ago, Nelson and others began placing random-number generators around the world, including machines in San Antonio and Austin. There are now 38 machines that, every second, produce a string of random data and then send that data to Nelson's computer in Princeton, N.J. (Princeton University, it should be noted, is not a sponsor of this project).

Nelson and Radin predicted that during particularly powerful world events, the machines would be affected. The data these machines produced would become less than random. Over the past few years, as hurricanes struck and a president was impeached, the project found, at times, that the machines did fall away from their random pattern in conjunction with these significant world events.

Then came Sept. 11.

"This was the acid test," said Rick Berger, a psychologist and Web site designer who operates the random-number generator in San Antonio. "If there was no response to this event, it really would have shaken my confidence."

When Nelson and Radin examined the data from Sept. 11, there was supposed to be nothing but random data -- a kind of incoherent static of numbers. Instead, Nelson found "stark patterns." The odds of these patterns appearing by chance at 10:12 a.m. EDT on Sept. 11, 2001, were extremely long, Nelson figured, approximately once in every 2.4 years of seconds.

The machines stayed less than random for three days. The odds against this, Nelson wrote, were 1,000 to 1. What nobody knows, however, is what this means.

UT's Domjan laughed when told of the project's results. "As a scientist, you can't put a great deal of stock in kinds of things that seem supernatural," he said. "Your basic assumption is that the world is basically orderly and you can discover and understand its orderliness." Domjan said you don't need "hocus-pocus" to explain the anomalies found in the number generators. "What makes more sense to me is to look at the things that affect computers."

Domjan doesn't see the connection between the generators and world events. Nor does Radin. He said that there is no known "causal connection" between mind and matter. That "missing link between physics and psychology" is what the Global Consciousness Project is attempting to discover.

"What does it mean?" Radin asked. "We don't really know. It is still basically a giant experiment. It points in the direction of some connection between mind and matter, but we don't really know."

Broughton, who has a random-number generator at his home in Durham, said the project is accused by skeptics of "data scrounging," of mining the results for the numbers that will support the global consciousness theory. And, for physicists, these kinds of experiments still have not rinsed themselves of the "observer effect." The nonrandom results could still be produced by the observation of Nelson or Radin.

"There are alternative explanations of the data," Broughton said. "One leads to the new age and other leads to, well, Roger Nelson has an interesting effect" on random-number generators.

"We are basically dealing with some fundamental processes that remain unexplained, the interaction between consciousness and quantum processes," Broughton said.

"I don't dispute the numbers, but I am far from convinced that this is tapping any global consciousness," he continued, chuckling. "Seems to me that too much of the world is unconscious most of the time."

Meanwhile, Radin is quick to say that other events -- maybe increased cell phone traffic -- could have caused the generators to change their behavior. He says the project's numbers are available from its Web site for anyone to see. "We don't have an agenda here," Radin said, "except, isn't this an interesting possibility?"

Source: Bill Bishop
American-Statesman
 

From – Mantic Eye: http://www.manticeye.com/


and Psychokinesis and Telekinesis
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