Global Consciousness Project
The Global Consciousness Project (GCP, also called the EGG Project) is a parapsychology experiment begun in 1998 as an attempt to detect possible interactions of “global consciousness” with physical systems.
The project monitors a geographically distributed network of hardware random number generators in a bid to identify anomalous outputs that correlate with widespread emotional responses to sets of world events, or periods of focused attention by large numbers of people. The GCP is privately funded through the Institute of Noetic Sciences and describes itself as an international collaboration of about 100 research scientists and engineers.
Coherent consciousness creates order in the world Subtle interactions link us with each other and the Earth.
This is a scientific exploration with no precedent because the technology and methods are new. On the other hand, the instrumentation and analyses in the project are direct extensions of laboratory procedures which have been in use for decades. In the laboratory and in recently developed field applications, striking effects have been found indicating that human consciousness interacts at some level with the physical world — that what we feel and think has a small but detectable effect.
Roger D. Nelson developed the project as an extrapolation of two decades of experiments from the controversial Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR)
In an extension of the laboratory research utilizing hardware random number generators called FieldREG, investigators examined the outputs of REGs in the field before, during and after highly focused or coherent group events. The group events studied included psychotherapy sessions, theatre presentations, religious rituals, sports competitions such as the Football World Cup, and television broadcasts such as the Academy Awards.
FieldREG was extended to global dimensions in studies looking at data from 12 independent REGs in the US and Europe during a web-promoted “Gaiamind Meditation” in January 1997, and then again in September 1997 after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The project claimed the results suggested it would be worthwhile to build a permanent network of continuously-running REGs.
The GCP has suggested that changes in the level of randomness may have occurred during the September 11, 2001 attacks when the planes first impacted, as well as, the two days following the attacks
Random Number Generator
When human consciousness becomes coherent, the behaviour of random systems may change. Random number generators (RNGs) based on quantum tunnelling produce completely unpredictable sequences of zeroes and ones. But when a great event synchronizes the feelings of millions of people, the network of RNGs becomes subtly structured. RNG calculate one in a trillion odds that the effect is due to chance. The evidence suggests an emerging noosphere or the unifying field of consciousness described by sages in all cultures.
The Global Consciousness Project is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration of scientists and engineers. RNG collect data continuously from a global network of physical random number generators located in up to 70 host sites around the world at any given time. The data are transmitted to a central archive which now contains more than 15 years of random data in parallel sequences of synchronized 200-bit trials generated every second.
The Effect of Consciousness
When it comes to ”what RNG are measuring” the story becomes more complicated because there is no real understanding of the mechanism whereby a REG’s behaviour can be altered by thoughts and emotions or intentions. Empirically the effects touch upon information theory and imply entropy reduction, and it is believed that resonance and coherence are good metaphoric descriptors for the necessary conditions.
We find some useful points in models based on David Bohm’s notion of active information, and we expect that the global consciousness effect is more than just casually related to nonlinear dynamical system models. However, most of what can be said are speculative, and not immediately useful for understanding the empirical data. We do not know how a mental state such as an intention or emotion is able to inform the physical system to affect its behaviour.
In addition, all of the robust measures was providing evidence for the anomalous effects are statistical in nature, and the signal to noise ratio is extremely low. This means that we typically cannot be sure that the signature of an effect in any individual analysis is driven by the hypothesized influence of consciousness. The details written in the data from single instances are more likely to be chance fluctuations than consciousness effects. Only in larger concatenations, gathering the weak signals from many separate events, can we be satisfied that trends and structure represent the hypothesized effect.
After all the caveats, however, we can say that the evidence for an effect of consciousness on REGs is strong. We are driven by that evidence to infer that something like a consciousness field exists and that intentions or emotional states which structure the field are conveyed as information that is absorbed into the distribution of output values of labile physical systems. The output of the REG differs from what would be expected without the influence of consciousness.
Infield studies with REGs we have found consistent deviations from expected randomicity in data taken in situations where groups become integrated or unified by something of common interest. During deeply engaging meetings, concerts, rituals, etc., the data tend to exhibit a slightly greater order than random data should, and we are able to predict this deviation with small but significant success.
Global Consciousness Project – The GCP Network of Eggs
The background of field studies includes a few cases where the events that apparently created an anomalous effect were thousands of miles from the REG device. This finding suggested the value of a very large scale experiment designed to look at possible effects of global events.
We began to focus on the hypothesis that the whole world might become a group on occasions that draw the attention and engage the emotions of large numbers of people. To test for the effect of such global engagement, we designed a network of Eggs, consisting of a REG device and sophisticated software running on a computer connected to the internet.
The software functions to record continuous data from the REG and transmit it at intervals to a central server for archival storage and statistical processing. The Eggs are hosted by people all around the world, and the network has been in continuous operation since August 1998, with a gradual increase in the number of nodes to 37 in December of 2000.
In the Global Consciousness Project, exactly the same measures are made as in the Fieldreg studies with local groups. For each of the Eggs, and for all of them as an ensemble, we predict a detectable ordering (in the form of slight, non-random mean shifts) in otherwise random data during world-scale events that are likely to engage the attention of large numbers of us around the globe.
The continuous data streams registered by the Egg network have a well-defined theoretical expectation, and we simply look at the empirical statistics to see whether the data support our predictions of departures from the expectation that are correlated with the events. Just as in the field studies, the statistical evidence reveals that something unusual happens to the data just at the times we predict; not always, but so frequently that the odds against a chance explanation are more than a thousand to one.
Anomalous Effects of Consciousness
The best way to describe the anomalous effects we see in the data is as a correlation that comes to exist between the devices spread around the world — just during major events, defined in terms of the widespread attention and emotion the produce. That is, there are departures from expectation when human consciousness is powerfully engaged.
The devices are designed to be independent, and they are separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometres, and yet we see the correlations — that is anomalous, and it is linked with consciousness. The implication is that we are not isolated from each other as seems to be the case, but linked in a subtle, unconscious and inaccessible way. Learning more about that, and tapping into the potential of our interconnection is the next phase of human development.
We are at the beginning, and ready to move forward. After testing 500 formally defined events over the nearly 20-year history of this project, the odds against chance for the outcome was above a trillion to 1. This indicates that something happened, but firmly establishing the nature of that something is not yet clear. One interpretation is that aspects of the physical world were indeed affected by unusual moments of focused collective consciousness.
Another interpretation is that the experimenters blindly selected events that just happened to correlate with deviations in randomness. Ongoing research on collective consciousness seeks to clarify which of these, or other interpretations, best describes the data.
The changes we want to see in the world need a new form of collective consciousness, however, striving for a nonviolent culture, this collective consciousness must not suppress the individual but instead allow each person’s individuality to unfold. Just as each organ in the body plays a different and important role, so too do the members of a healthy community have distinct roles to play which serve the overall health and vitality of the community body. The key to this is trust.
For a more technical and rigorous discussion of the anomalous effects, you can download papers from the publications page
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