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The Conscious Universe

The Conscious Universe

(Published by HarperSanFrancisco)

Book Summary by Denise L. Dahl

   Over three hundred years ago, the world was divided into a physical world and a world of personal experience.

The classical science of Nicolaus Copernicus an astronomer, Rene Descartes a philosopher, Galileo Galilei, an astronomer, and Sir Isaac Newton a physicist took over concepts like matter, objective, measurement, and impersonal.

Philosophy and religion had authority over concepts like soul, mind, consciousness, subjective, and personal.
This mind-matter split worked very well for over three-hundred years.

Classical science seemed to be able to explain all forms of matter by using objective measurements to provide proof of the existence of certain phenomena. Independent replication of these tests was the key to producing scientific evidence which was acceptable to the public at large.

Science could predict and control certain aspects of nature. The universe which had been called a living organism during medieval times became known as the "mechanical universe" by classical scientists.

This new way of describing the world was successful beyond all expectations. It created airplanes, televisions, telephones, etc. and brought physical/matter into the forefront. Many people began to believe in science and "what's out there" and ignore "what's in here."

But things changed when quantum mechanics was discovered in the 1920s. Physicists began to study things that were invisible and this forced them to adopt the idea that they were not separate from the object they were studying.

Strange things began to happen in the laboratory. Scientists found that what is real is not always measurable. The study of a photon brought forth evidence that it was sometimes a wave and sometimes a particle depending upon what was being studied.

Apparently separate particles remained connected no matter how far apart they were. This idea of nonlocality challenged classical assumptions by providing evidence that physical objects that appear to be separate are really connected in ways that transcend time and space. A science of separation no longer seemed to work.

Many of the basic assumptions of the classical scientists were beginning to crumble in the face of modern science. At the heart of these changes were three paradoxes that have never been explained by classical science or as yet, modern science; they are the mind, consciousness, and parapsychology.

The mind is the first paradox. Under classical science the mind has often been thought of as a machine which is physically located in the brain. Marvin Minsky, a MIT pioneer in artificial intelligence wrote, "What is the brain but a computer made of meat?"

This idea of the mind as nothing more than a machine is a result of the classical scientific worldview. But today, new advancements in science have shown that what is real cannot always be measured. It was the effects of mind in the act of observation that brought the founders of quantum theory to the conclusion that there is not a strict separation of mind and matter.

This conclusion caused Sir James Jeans to comment that "The universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine." Similarly, Sir Arthur Eddington commented that "The stuff of the world is mindstuff."
Human consciousness, our self-reflective awareness, is the second paradox.

To this day, science knows next to nothing about consciousness - we don't know what it is, what it is not, or how it works. As physicist Nick Herbert said, "Science's biggest mystery is the nature of consciousness.

It is not that we possess bad or imperfect theories of human awareness; we simply have no such theories at all. About all we know about consciousness is that it has something to do with the head, rather than the foot."
Parapsychology or psi is the third paradox.

For thousands of years people have reported strange experiences that do not fit within the scientific worldview. These experiences have been recorded in mythology, folklore, sacred literature, and by personal anecdote.

People continue to report such experiences and surveys show that about 68 percent of the general public believe in the existence of psi. However, there is a drop in the belief of psi which is correlated to a person's commitment to classical science.

Surveys show that while 68 percent of the general public believe in psychic phenomena, 57 percent of college professors held this belief, 30 percent of the heads of divisions of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, but only 6 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences.

What is surprising about this is that most people are not aware that the existence of psi is no longer in question. We do not know what psi is or how it works but scientific tests conducted for over a hundred years clearly show that psi, the general ability to gain information from a distance with the usual limitations of time and space, does exist.

One of the reasons that so few people are aware that the existence of psi is no longer in question is that certain skeptics have worked very hard to undermine the results of psi research and ridicule and make fun of those who believe in psi.

Some of the criticisms skeptics have used are that the psi experiment results are due to chance, researchers used selective reporting (file drawer phenomena where many nonsignificant, unpublished studies are filed away and not included in the statistical calculation), outright fraud, or that the experimental design had flaws.

Over the years, psi researchers have taken these criticisms seriously and redesigned experiments to appease the skeptics.

Psi research began in the late 1800s and evidence has been gathered for over a hundred years in some areas of psi research.

There are four general categories of psi experiments (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis) and two relatively new psi experimental categories (field consciousness effects and psi influences in lottery games and the casino).

The results of the research for evidence of psi in each of these categories are discussed below.


The experience of direct communication of two minds or feeling someone else's experience at a distance without benefit of the five senses we normally use has been reported so frequently throughout history that it got its own name in 1882 - telepathy which means "feeling at a distance."

Early experiments with thought transference between distant hypnotized subjects were conducted in 1883 and in 1886, systematic collections of spontaneous experiences of telepathy began. By 1917, both Stanford and Harvard universities were conducting telepathy tests using a deck of playing cards.

The subject of telepathy became well known throughout the general public after Upton Sinclair, a well-known author, published a book called Mental Radio. In this book he described telepathy tests where his wife would describe target sketches drawn by her husband or others.

Descriptions of the drawings were mentally transmitted by the sender to Mrs. Sinclair, the receiver. A session was judged successful if Mrs. Sinclair drew an obvious likeness of the target sketch. Over a period of a year, her record was 65 hits out of 265 tests.

In some of these tests, Mrs. Sinclair and the person doing the target sketch were separated by many miles and Sinclair and his wife thought the tests might be explained by clairvoyance (information received from a distance, beyond the reach of the normal five senses; also called remote viewing) or precognition (information perceived about a future event which could not be inferred by ordinary means) instead of telepathy.

In testing this theory they found that no sender was necessary for Mrs. Sinclair to accurately describe the target sketch.

ESP card tests were conducted for about sixty years (1880-1940) as telepathy experiments. These tests were published in over a hundred publications and involved thousands of participants who contributed over four million individual trials.

Some tests were designed to test for telepathy but it later became clear that most of the observed effects of these tests could be explained by clairvoyance/remote viewing because, as Sinclair and his wife observed, a sender was not needed to transfer a thought description of the target picture.

There was a strong possibility that the receiver was using clairvoyance/remote viewing to directly perceive the cards. One of the pioneers of ESP card tests was Professor Joseph Banks Rhine and his colleagues at Duke University. The forced-choice card tests were conducted from the late 1920s to 1965.

By the 1960s, many researchers had become disenchanted with these tests because of the rigorous testing conditions required and because the participants became easily bored which led to poor test results.

Some free-response tests were designed to correct for this problem. Among these were the highly successful free-response Maimonides telepathy tests led by psychiatrist Montague Ullman and psychologist Stanley Krippner between 1966 and 1972. This test was designed after the results of some cross-cultural surveys showed that half of all spontaneous psi experiences occur in the dream state.

The experiments were conducted in a dream research laboratory where a person was asked to send a mental image to the person who was dreaming. It was thought that the dreamer would then incorporate those images into the dream.

Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, the results of 450 dream telepathy studies published in journal articles between 1966 and 1973, show an overall hit rate of 63 percent. The odds of getting a hit rate of 63 percent in 450 sessions when the chance rate is 50 percent and the confidence interval is small, is seventy-five million to one.

Charles Honorton, a psychologist and one of the researchers on the Maimonides dream telepathy studies, William Braud, a psychologist at the University of Houston, and Adrian Parker, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, each independently developed similar ideas about how to induce a "psi conducive" state by reducing sensory input.

All three men noticed that descriptions of mystical, meditative, and religious states often included anecdotes about psi experiences. They also noted that the sacred literature of India, the Vedas, and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras associated the spontaneous emergence of psi with the quieting of the mind to reduce mental noise.

Yoga texts take for granted that prolonged practice of deep meditation will lead to a variety of psychic abilities which were called accomplishments (siddhis). States similar to that of deep meditation occur during dreaming, the period of time just prior to falling asleep, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and under the influence of some drugs. The common factor in all of these mental states is that the mind is alert, receptive, and is dealing with less sensory input.

The reduction of mental noise allows the mind to attend to faint impressions and some of these impressions may be psychic in origin. This makes sense in view of what Henri Bergson, a Nobel laureate and philosopher suggested about the human brain and nervous system functioning as a detector and processor of sensory information and also as a filter of sensory information.

This filter works to only allow sensory information that we consciously wish to attend to or that we find useful for survival purposes to reach conscious awareness.
Honorton, Braud, and Parker, each decided to develop a telepathy experiment using sensory deprivation.

They used a technique called the "ganzfeld," which is a German word that means "whole field." A person was placed in a condition of sensory deprivation so that the nervous system would become "starved" for new stimuli, and because of this, start perceiving faint perceptions that are normally filtered out and never reach conscious awareness.

The ganzfeld method has three phases: preparing the receiver and sender, sending the target, and judging the outcome. The receiver is placed in a ganzfeld state by sitting in a comfortable reclining chair, listening to white noise over some headphones, and wearing translucent hemispheres (usually ping-pong balls cut in half) while a red light shines on his or her face.

The sender, who is in a different room, gets a target in a sealed envelope or the target may be transmitted from a closed-circuit video system. The sender is asked to mentally send the target to the receiver.

After the sending phase is over, the receiver is shown four target pictures, one of which the sender was using, and asked to choose one. A direct hit is assigned the number 1. By chance, the experiment should have a 25 percent hit rate - one hit in every four sessions.

Because of criticisms made by skeptics, the ganzfeld studies, starting in 1983, were computer-controlled to overcome design problems that had been identified by the critics.

A 1997 meta-analysis of 354 autoganzfeld sessions with 100 men and 10 women participating as receivers over a six-year period showed 122 direct hits, for a 34 percent hit rate. These results produced odds against chance of forty-five thousand to one. A 1985 meta-analysis of the ganzfeld tests (nonautomated) had a hit rate of 37 percent.

Taking the results of the all of the experiments done from the 1880s to the present, the telepathy experiments have repeatedly shown the same effects by generations of new experimenters using increasingly rigorous methods to overcome criticisms made by skeptics.

The distinction between telepathy and clairvoyance is not always clear. A distant crisis may come to a person in a dream or information about another person or event may reach a person before the information reaches the person through normal means.

Extraordinary stories involving these types of experiences led researchers to study the phenomena of telepathy as well as clairvoyance in the laboratory.


Clairvoyance is psi perception at a distance without a sender . As discussed earlier, telepathy is hard to identify because it is difficult to perceive if an interaction between two minds has taken place or if the sender was unnecessary to the success of the test.

Clairvoyance means "clear seeing" but can include sounds or other sensory data such as taste, smell, or touch. (clairsentience). ESP means the same thing as clairvoyance and the modern term for clairvoyance is "remote viewing."

One of the first clairvoyance tests using cards as the ESP targets were conducted by French physiologist and Nobel laureate Charles Richet in 1889. Richet reported that a hypnotized person successfully guessed the contents of sealed, opaque envelopes at odds far beyond chance.

However, for the next twenty years or so, most of the psi research was focused on telepathy and studying the possibility of survival after death (mediumship).

Later, researchers found that the evidence for survival-related phenomena could be explained as telepathy by the medium. After that, telepathy was the focus of attention until researchers discovered that it was hard to distinguish whether they were studying telepathy (a receiver and an information sender) or clairvoyance (a receiver but no information sender).

Because no one could design an experiment that would test purely for telepathy, many researchers began to investigate clairvoyance. Finally, researchers began to realize that the fundamental issue in all cases of survival phenomena, telepathy, and clairvoyance was the nature of psi perception and that and that became the focus of psi experiments.

From 1882 to the 1939s, 186 published articles by dozens of researchers world-wide, resulted in a database of four-million ESP card test trials. The meta-analysis of these trials translates into more than a billion trillion to one.

Like the ESP telepathy card tests, clairvoyance researchers found that psi performance declined with repeated testing because being asked to guess the same card symbols over a long-period of time is tediously boring.

This led to the interest in free-response studies such dream-telepathy, ganzfeld-telepathy, and remote viewing/clairvoyance experiments.

Remote viewing experiments were reborn in the mid-1970s and used picture drawing tests. Picture-drawing studies were first published in 1882 by British researchers Fredrick W. H. Myers and Edmund Gurney.

Later experiments by German and French investigators and Upton Sinclair in the United States were identical in style, method, and experimental results to those published by Myers and Gurney.

One hundred years after the studies using picture drawing were first published the U.S. government was using the same technique in its remote viewing program.

This program was initiated at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), a scientific think tank affiliated with Stanford University. Later, SRI became an independent corporation called SRI International.

Government agencies thought remote viewing could be used as a new source of information and provide a unique intelligence technique. For twenty-four years the remote viewing program received support and about $20 million in funding from U.S. government agencies such as the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Army, the Navy, and NASA.

Although much of the information is classified, some of the results from the sessions far exceed the effects observed in formal laboratory tests. It was not uncommon for a remote viewer to describe in detail a target when the only instruction given was "it's a technical device somewhere in the United States."

In a remote viewing experiment, the viewer is asked to sketch and describe a target. The target could be a remote location, an individual, a hidden photograph, object, or video clip. In most cases, the viewer is separated from the target by distance, sometimes thousands of miles.

Sometimes the viewer is assisted by an interviewer who asks questions about the viewer's impressions. When an interviewer is used, they do not receive information about the target so they cannot accidentally or intentionally give clues.

The results of the studies at SRI (except the earliest tests) and all of the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) a major defense contractor, were evaluated using a rank-order judging.

In1988, Edwin May, physicist and Director of SRI International, analyzed all psi experiments conducted at SRI from 1973 to 1988. The analysis included 154 experiments made up of more than 26,000 trials which included just over a thousand trials of laboratory remote viewing tests.

The results of this analysis indicated odds against chance of 10²º (a billion billion to one) clearly indicating that chance is not a viable explanation for these results.
In 1995, the CIA commissioned a review of the government's remote viewing research.

The principal authors of the report were Jessica Utts, a statistics professor at the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Ray Hyman, a University of Oregon professor and long-time psi skeptic.

Utts found that the statistical results of the studies were far beyond what is expected by chance and Hyman agreed: "The statistical departures from chance appear to be too large and consistent to attribute to statistical flukes of any sort. . .

In addition to the SRI International and SAIC studies, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Laboratory began conducting remote viewing experiments in 1978. Researchers used the term "precognition remote perception" (PRP) instead of remote viewing because many of the targets were randomly selected after the viewer described it.

This method used a "percipient" (the remote viewer) and an agent (an individual known to the viewer) who visited a site in the field. During a trial, the percipient would write a short description of the geographic site where an agent is, was, or would be at a prescribed time.

The percipient then completed a thirty-question form that asked if the impressions received were mainly dark or light, indoors, or outdoors, if animals were in the scene or not, significant sounds or not, etc. The target sites were determined in two ways; instructed and volitional.

If the instructed mode was used, a person who was not otherwise involved in the experiment would randomly select a site from a large pool of previously selected locations. If the volitional mode was used the target site was selected spontaneously by the agent who then traveled to some distant location unknown to the percipient.

By 1987, 334 PEAR trials had been published and analysis of these trials indicated final odds against chance were 100 billion to 1.

The outcome for the instructed trials was a billion to 1 and for the volitional trials, 100,000 to 1.

British psychologist Julie Milton, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, examined all free-response psi experiments conducted in the "ordinary state of consciousness, as opposed to studies employing altered states of consciousness such as dreams, the ganzfeld, and hypnosis.

The results of this study showed that the overall results of all of the tests (both ordinary and nonordinary states of consciousness) resulted in odds against chance of ten million to one.

Interestingly, there was a hit rate of 54 percent for test conducted in the ordinary state of consciousness while the hit rate for the ganzfeld tests was 50%, and the hit rate for dream telepathy was 64 percent.

All of the telepathy and clairvoyance experiments show that the results are not due chance, selective reporting, design flaws, or other explanations. Many of the experiments have been replicated thousands of times from the 1880s to the present.

In addition, psi effects measured across the various categories of experiments are remarkably similar to one another. The evidence demonstrates that psi perception operates between minds and through space.

The next topic will discuss how psi perception not only operates between minds and through space but also through time.


Perceptual forms of psi such as telepathy in the laboratory and in life can be explained as a form of clairvoyance, and clairvoyance is difficult to localize precisely in time.

Although the existence of perceptual psi has been proven, the experimental evidence to date, does not prove that pure telepathy exists or that real-time clairvoyance exists. Instead, the evidence can be explained by various forms of precognition.

One theory is that with telepathy, clairvoyance, and other perceptual forms of psi, we occasionally bump into our own future and the only way we find out that something is psychic instead of fantasy is when sometime in the future we get verification that our mental impressions were based on something that really did happen to us.

This suggests that the original psychic impression could have been a precognition from ourselves.
Psi researchers want to know if it is possible to perceive someone's thoughts and if it is possible to perceive objects at a distance in real time as opposed to a precognitive impression.

Thousands of anecdotes of prophesies, premonitions, and forewarnings have historically been part of every culture but scientists need evidence that such things as precognition are really possible.

In most precognition tests, the participant is asked to guess which one of a fixed number of targets will be selected at a later time. Later, after the target is selected, if the participant's guess matches the selected symbol, it is counted as a hit.

In 1989, Charles Honorton and psychologist Diane Ferrari published a meta-analysis of all forced-choice precognition experiments conducted from 1935 to 1987. The analysis contained 309 studies reported in 113 articles that were contributed by sixty-two different investigators.

The combined result of the studies produced odds against chance of ten million billion billion to one. This eliminated chance as the reason for the test results.

Precognition investigators have explored the possibility that the mind is in contact with its own future state, or that the mind is slightly spread out in time. One way to test this idea is to see if future perceptions interfere with present performance on reaction-time tasks and another is to see if future emotional states are detectable in present nervous system activity.

Reaction time tests indicated that participants were entirely unaware that their performance was being affected by their own future perceptions which suggests that unconscious nervous system activity may be used to detect precognitive perceptions.

Recent experiments at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have explored unconscious nervous system responses to future events. These responses are a subset of precognition called presentiment. Presentiment is a vague sense or feeling of something about to occur but without any conscious awareness of a particular event.

These experiments used a psychophysical reflex known as the "orienting response," which was first described by Pavlov in the 1920s. This response is a set of physiological changes experienced by an organism when faced with a "fight or flight" situation.

Electrodes were attached to the participant's fingers to monitor fluctuations in electrodermal activity, and another device was attached to record heart rate and the amount of blood in the fingertip. The participant was then shown pictures on a computer screen.

Some of the pictures were pleasant and others were disturbing, shocking, etc. The results of these experiments showed that before emotional pictures were seen, the participants "pre-acted" to their own future emotional states even though they were not consciously aware that they were about to view a disturbing picture.

This supports the idea that presentiment is largely an unconscious process. The findings also suggest that the autonomic nervous system is not just "pre-acting" to a future shock to the nervous system, but is also pre-acting to the emotional meaning of the future event.


Psychokinesis is the interaction of mind and matter. The idea that mind is primary over matter is deeply rooted in Eastern philosophies and ancient beliefs about magic. In a psychokinesis test you will or intend to get a certain result.

The difference between a psychokinesis test and a precognition test is that in a psychokinesis test you intend a certain result and in a precognition test you perceive what the result is going to be.

Although for the last two hundred years these beliefs have been rejected by Western science and labeled as superstition, the issue of what the mind is and its relationship to matter still go unanswered as do speculations about the nature of consciousness.

The idea that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness is in conflict with quantum mechanics and experimental evidence. One experiment examined whether one person could detect if another person had previously observed a quantum mechanical event.

The idea for this experiment is based on the concept that if one person's observation actually changed the physical state of a system, then when another person later observed the same system the second person's experience may differ according to whether the first person did or did not look at the system.

The first results, based on 554, trials did not support this hypothesis but a second study by MIT physicists was successful with forty hits out of 67 trials, a 60 percent hit rate where chance expectation was 50 percent.
Researchers began testing the idea that the fall of dice can be influenced by mental intention in 1935.

In 1989, a meta-analysis of 73 published studies representing the efforts of fifty-two investigators from 1935 to 1987 was conducted at Princeton University.

A total of 2,569 people attempted to mentally influence 2.6 million dice throws in 148 different experiments, and just over 150,000 dice throws in 31 control studies where no mental influence was applied to the dice.

The hit rate for all of these experimental studies was 51.2 percent. Statistically this results in odds against chance of more than a billion to one.

There were many criticisms of the die tossing tests so researchers came up with the idea of random-number generators (RNGs). A RNG is an electronic circuit that produces sequences of bits (the numbers 1 and 0).

The task for the participant is to wish or intend for more 1s than 0s or more 0s than 1s, depending on the instructions. If mental intention is not a factor, the test was expected to produce a hit rate of 50 percent.

In 1987, Princeton University conducted a meta-analysis of 832 RNG studies conducted by sixty-eight different investigators. This included 597 experimental studies and 235 control studies.

The overall experimental results produced odds against chance beyond a trillion to one and the control results were well within chance levels with odds of two to one.

A meta-analysis including both dice and RNG experiments produced similar results indicating that the same mind-matter interaction effects have been repeatedly observed in nearly five hundred dice and RNG experiments for more than fifty years.

Mental interactions with living organisms.

The dice and RNG experiments were tests of mind-matter interactions but researchers also have performed experiments to find evidence that mental interactions also have an affect on living organisms - bacteria, plants, animals, enzymes, and human beings.

The idea that the mind and body are connected is a relatively new concept. Over a hundred years ago, William James, an American psychologist and philosopher, said, "No mental modification ever occurs which is not accompanied by a bodily change."

Within the last forty years, the conventional medical profession has gradually come to accept the idea of the mind-body connection but only after hundreds of studies produced evidence of the placebo effect, psychosomatic illness, the psychoneuroimmunology effect, and the spontaneous remission of disease.

Studies of the placebo effect account for between 20 and 40 percent of the positive outcomes in the treatment of disease and drug tests.

One of the most famous studies was the 1988 clinical study of physician Randolph Byrd who conducted a double-blind study of the effects of intercessory prayer on patients in the San Francisco General Hospital coronary unit.

The names, diagnoses, and conditions of 193 randomly selected patients were sent to various religious denominations who were asked to pray for them. A similar group matched for age and symptoms was not prayed for.

The results for the prayed-for patients showed that they were five times less likely to require antibiotics and three times less likely to develop pulmonary edema. None of these patients required an endotracheal intubation and few patients in this group died.

Although there were many issues raised about the design of this study, there have been many other studies that suggest there is evidence for the power of prayer in distant healing.

Why or how the mind affects the physical body is still a mystery. Researchers do not understand the biochemical and neural correlates of mental intention, how the mind interacts with its own body, physical systems at a distance, or distant mental interactions such as healing.

One of the oldest phenomena of the mental interaction with a living organism is the feeling of being stared at. It's related to the superstition of the "evil eye," and an ancient Eastern blessing, the darshan, or gaze of an enlightened master.

Experiments of this phenomenon were conducted by monitoring one person's nervous system while a second person in another room stares at the first person on a closed-circuit-video system.

A meta-analysis of staring studies conducted over a period of eighty years produced a 63 percent overall effect where 50 percent was the expected hit rate.

Another set of experiments focused on people attempting to influence the nervous system of remote receivers. The receiver was wired to a monitor that measured skin conductivity (electrodermal activity). At random times, the sender was instructed to attempt to arouse or calm the receiver by thinking about that person.

At other random intervals the sender was to direct his or her attention elsewhere to provide "no-mental-influence." Electrodermal activity was used to determine if there were mental interaction effects.

The results of thirty-seven combined experiments produced odds against chance of more than a hundred trillion to one. These experiments and others provide strong support for the idea that people respond to distant mental influences.

Field consciousness effects.

Experiments of the effects of field consciousness is an effort to find out what happens when groups of people focus their minds on the same thing.

The beginnings of this new field of study can be traced back to Eastern philosophy especially the Hindu Upanishads which express the idea of a single underlying reality embodied in "Brahman," the absolute Self.

Field consciousness suggests the presence of a continuum of nonlocal intelligence that permeates time and space.

One of the most controversial claims about the effects of field consciousness was made my Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who taught that collective consciousness is affected by stressed individuals and this in turn affects the thinking and actions of other people.

He also stated that problems such as crime, drug abuse, armed conflict, etc. are symptoms of stress in the collective consciousness and that transcendental meditators can generate coherent consciousness through their meditations (called the Maharishi effect).

Published studies seem to support this idea but the design of these studies is problematic and there are too many variables involved in this kind of a study.

Evan Fales, a philosopher, and Barry Markovsky, a sociologist at the University of Iowa proposed another way to test the Maharishi effect by keeping one of the variables fixed.

They suggested placing inanimate detectors at varying distances from the collective meditators to see if the material world is influenced in positive ways by collective meditation.

During the period between March 1995 and July 1996, the author and his colleagues, adapted this suggestion and conducted experiments on group consciousness by using random-number generators (RNGs) as part of the on-going research on mind-matter interactions.

In order to design a test for this study, it was necessary to come up with some assumptions about the properties of consciousness. The following is a list of those assumptions derived from a combination of Western and Eastern philosophies.

1. Consciousness extends beyond the individual and has quantum field-like properties, in that it affects the probabilities of events.

2. Consciousness injects order into systems in proportion to the strength of consciousness present.

3. The strength of consciousness in an individual fluctuates from moment to moment, and is regulated by focus of attention. Some states of consciousness have higher focus than others.

The assumption is that ordinary awareness has a fairly low focus of attention as compared to peak, mystical, and other nonordinary states.

4. A group of individuals can be said to have "group consciousness." Group consciousness strengthens when the group's attention is focused on a common object or event, and this creates coherence among the group. If the group's attention is scattered, so is the groups.

5. When individuals in a group are all attending to different things, then the group consciousness and group mental coherence is effectively zero, producing what amounts to background noise.

The maximum degree of group coherence seems to be related in some complicated way to the total number of individuals present in the group, the strength of their common focus of attention, and other psychological, physiological, and environmental factors.

6. Physical systems respond to a consciousness field by becoming more ordered. This becomes more evident when the consciousness field is very strong and coherent. Both animate (like people or tossed dice) and inanimate objects (like rocks) respond to order induced by consciousness.

This means that when a group is actively focused on a common object, the "group mind" momentarily has the "power to organize," as Carl Jung put it.

The group consciousness tests were designed to measure matter by looking for changes in order or coherence in physical systems by using an electronic RNG. Over a sixteen month period, field-consciousness experiments were conducted to measure fluctuations in order.

Events such as the super-bowl, a breathwork workshop, two academy award ceremonies, the announcement of the O.J. Simpson verdict, the opening Olympic ceremonies, a Vegas comedy show, and a Monday night prime-time television broadcast on the four major networks.

During the experiments, a RNG(s) ran for a period of time before the event, during the event, and after the event so that fluctuations in order during the event could be compared to a control group of runs (the before and after runs).

They were programmed to generate 400 random bits (0s and 1s) every six seconds which would normally produce the same results as flipping a coin, i.e., approximately the same number of heads or tails (or in this case, 0s or 1s), should occur.

Changes in order are detected by the RNG because during ordinary conditions, the random physical system on average has zero order.

If order appears, the RNG will start generating too many binary events of the same kind, i.e., too many 0s or too many 1s in a row.

Of the eight experiments, all produced an unexpected degree of order during periods of interest or attention during the events. Order in the RNGs peaked during these times and declined back to random behavior afterwards. Similar experiments have been conducted by others with similar results.

The field consciousness studies support the ideas of deep interconnectedness that quantum physicists, theologians, and mystics espouse. They also show that the common link between mind and matter is order. Order in the mind is focused attention and order in matter is related to decreased randomness.

The studies also suggest that social order around the world may be disrupted by global violence and aggression caused by the chaotic, malevolent thoughts of a large number of people.

Peaceful demonstrations and noble intentions, such as those espoused by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. may have a calming, peaceful effect on the collective conscious/mass mind.

Psi influences in lottery games and the casino.

Some gambling games are essentially identical to the psi tests performed in the laboratory which would lead to the assumption that these abilities could also be observed in a casino.

The author and his colleagues conducted experiments using the records for the amount of money bet during games of roulette, keno, craps, blackjack, and in slot machines, and the amount of money the casino kept after the game. The daily payout percentage was then calculated using these figures.

The study was designed to test if there was a relationship between the daily payout percentage, the lunar cycle, and the geomagnetic field (GMF). The study predicted that there would be a positive relationship between the lunar cycle and average payout percentage and that the relationship between the (GMF) strength and the payout percentage would be negative.

These two factors, the lunar cycle and the GMF, were chosen for the following reasons. People for thousands of years have insisted that there is a relationship between the lunar cycles and behavior and it is also relevant in religious ceremonies, magical ritual, agriculture planting phases, to heightened psychic powers, etc.

One 1965 study correctly predicted that perceptual psi would increase around the full moon, decrease at the half-moons, then rise again around the new moon. This study suggested that psi performance is related to gravity. Another explanation proposed by the author, is that there is a complex relationship between the lunar cycle and the GMF.

The author's study examined the lunar-GMF relationship by examining this relationship for the four year period covered by the casino payout data. The same relationships were then examined for the ten year period of GMF data recorded in the 1980s.

Daily averages for each of the 29-day lunar cycle were then computed. The results of the study showed that the relationship between the payout percentage and the lunar cycle was positive with odds against chance of twenty-five to one.

This suggests that gambling on or near days of the full moon and avoiding the casino during the new moon, over the long-term may increase the payout percentage by 2 percent.

The relationship between the GMF and the payout percentage was predicted to be negative. The study results showed a significant negative relationship with odds against chance of fourteen to one.

Daily payouts from a pick 3 lottery game from fifteen states were also studied for a lunar cycle and GMF relationship. Daily payouts from 1993 showed a positive relationship between the planetary GMF and the lunar cycle with odds of one hundred to one against change.

The study predicted a negative relationship with odds against change of 130 to 1. Because the lottery payouts decreased around the time of the full moon, it may be a yet undiscovered geophysical relationship associated with geomagnetic fluctuation that affects psi in gambling instead of the moon.

The overall results of the studies suggests that casino and lottery payouts are not due to pure chance but at least a fraction of the payout rate may be related to daily fluctuations in the average psi ability of millions of gamblers.

This is known because the payout rates fluctuate in ways that are consistent with what is known about environmental influences on psi performance.

Even though all of the studies discussed so far indicate the presence of psi, some dedicated skeptics have worked very hard at ridiculing those who perform such studies and have accused them of anything from outright fraud to poor experimental design and more.

However, some of these skeptics have gone from stating that there is no such thing as psi to examining the scientific evidence for psi and now admit that there is something interesting going on that needs to be studied further.

In fact, despite the scientific debates, some forms of psi are already being put to practical use in the field of medicine, by the military, detective work, technology, and business.

Medicine applications.

Psi medical applications can be traced to the early shamans, medicine men and women, witch doctors, wizards, psychic healers, and spiritual healers who use various forms of mental intention for purposes of healing.

In modern times, thousands of nurses use a mental healing technique called therapeutic touch and the practice of distant prayer is pervasive throughout the world.

Edgar Cayce was perhaps the most famous twentieth-century psychic who could diagnose medical conditions at a distance. Modern-day medical intuitives are used by some doctors to help make medical diagnoses and some medical groups such as the Society for Medical Decision

Making have devoted part of their annual meetings to sessions on this topic. The National Institutes of Health has instituted an Office of Alternative Medicine which has also explored this topic.

The economic implications of distant healing and accurate medical diagnoses are enormous and could translate into huge savings and an improved quality of life for millions.

Military and intelligence applications.

One of the earliest uses of psi by the military was recorded by a Chinese general named Sun Tzu in 500 B.C. He described how military strategy and tactics as well as the application of ch'i (the life force) were needed to be successful in battle. Soldiers trained in the proper use of ch'i were used to influence the minds of enemies at a distance.

In modern times, there have been many rumors of the military and intelligence agencies supporting and using psi. After World War II, secret British army documents revealed that the wife of the head of the Royal Air Force was a "sensitive." She located enemy air bases using remote viewing and many, including General Omar Bradley, believed that General George S. Patton seemed to possess a sixth sense.

The CIA funded psi research programs in the 1950s and Charles Tart, a California psychologist found that five of fourteen psi research laboratories had been approached by government agencies that were interested in tracking their progress.

In November of 1995, records were declassified and information about the U.S. government's remote viewing program was released.

This program was kept secret not only because it was strategically advantageous for intelligence work but because the topic was politically and scientifically controversial.

Many generals, admirals, and political leaders were briefed on psi results and knew that remote viewing was real.

Psi in jet fighter pilots has also been studied to determine why 5 percent of fighter pilots have accounted for about 40 percent of the successful engagements with hostile aircraft in every aerial combat since World War I.

One study focused on situational awareness which is a pilot's hypersensitivity to aircraft performance and ability to quickly anticipate and act on changes during combat. When situational awareness surpasses hypersensitive levels, it has been compared to psi perception.

Detective work applications.

Police sometimes turn to psychics to help with unsolved crimes. Author Arthur Lyons and sociologist Marcello Truzzi from Eastern Michigan University conducted a comprehensive evaluation of psychic detectives.

Although there are some exceptionally good psychic detectives it is very difficult to reach any strong conclusions about individual cases.

However, based on the strength of laboratory evidence for psi perception and the evidence from dozens of successful military remote viewing sessions, it is very likely that some cases of psychic detective work are due to genuine psi.

Technology applications.

Some scientists have proposed that psi-based communication and switching devices could be built and pattern-recognition methods used in advanced sonar and radar systems would be useful in psi-based systems that could be trained to respond to individual thought-patterns at a distance.

These devices might allow for thought-controlled prosthetics for paraplegics, mentally directed deep-space and deep-sea robots, and mind-melding techniques to provide people with vast, computer-enhanced memories, lightning-fast mathematical capabilities, supersensitive perceptions, and even create technologically enhanced telepathic links between people.

Other devices could be developed based on presentiment that could have early-warning systems that monitor presponses to future events whose effects are reflected backwards in time.

A refined presentiment-detection system could possibly anticipate when an emotional response is about to occur before a problem even exists.

Quiet research programs have been examining these and other technological possibilities for several years. For example, Sony Corporation acknowledged in 1995 that it was conducting research into alternative medicine, spoon bending, X-ray vision, telepathy, and other forms of ESP.

Sony believes that this research will lead to commercial applications and that eventually they will discover that ki energy is based on a kind of information transmission. This discovery could lead to a complete energy revolution.

The discovery of how telepathy works could even lead to the transformation of communication methods.
Contel Technology Center and Bell Laboratories have also explored psi research.

Bell Labs explored mind-matter interaction effects to determine if certain electronic circuits might be susceptible to psi influences.

Contel took a step towards building psi-based devices by experimenting with commercially available, off-the-shelf electronics to see if ordinary components were susceptible to psi influences.

Business applications.

Key insights often come in a flash which is similar to how psychics describe their intuitive impressions. Some of the creative scientists and engineers that have been drawn to the study of psychic phenomena are, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir William Crookes, and Nikola Tesla.

Others such as Earl Bakken, founder of Medtronic, the first company to build hear pacemakers, John E. Fetzer, the communications pioneer, and James S. McDonnell, founder of McDonnell-Douglas have supported psi research due to their personal interest in psychic phenomena.

The role precognition plays in successful business executives has been investigated. The result showed that there was a positive relationship between success as an executive and the executive's precognition skills.

In another test, a psychic with no formal training in stock market trading or analysis outperformed 18 out of 19 professional stockbrokers over a six-month period. During this period, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8 percent but the psychic's stocks increased by 17 percent.

Other uses of psi in the business world are decision making and the author notes that successful entrepreneurs and investment analysts have confided to him that that psi techniques, especially precognition, are beginning to play an important role on Wall Street.

Psi has also been used to guide archaeological digs, treasure-hunting expeditions, to enhance gambling profits, and provide insight into historical events but even with tens of thousands of anecdotes about psi experiences, thousands of scientific studies, and the on-going practical applications of psi, mainstream science is still reluctant to admit the existence of psi.

Industry, medicine, the military, and law-enforcement have all found uses for psi but despite this, most scientists are unaware of the massive amount of evidence that proves that psi does exist. One of the reasons for this is that a small number of skeptical philosophers and scientists have suppressed and ridiculed the evidence for psi.

They also criticize people who believe in psi and point out that this is a reflection in the decline in one's critical thinking ability.

Psi applications alone are a compelling reason to research psi but there are many other reasons such research would be beneficial to many fields of study such as biology, psychology, sociology, religion, medicine, technology, military and intelligence, and business and politics.

Psi experiments have produced evidence for the existence of genuine psi but these experiments also suggest that what science presently knows about the universe may be seriously incomplete, that human potential has been drastically underestimated, that a strict separation of mind and matter is almost certainly incorrect, and that miracles previously attributed to religious or supernatural phenomena may be a result of the extraordinary capabilities of human consciousness.

Psi also supports the concept of a deeply interconnected "conscious universe." The field consciousness studies suggest that there may be an "ecology of thought" that affects society.

It suggests that disruptive, scattered, or violent thoughts may extend far beyond a person's immediate surroundings and influence others at a distance.

These studies also support the idea of a deep interconnectedness and the transcendence of the boundaries of time and space (nonlocality) as do physicists, theologians, and mystics.

Much has been written about the striking similarities between modern science and mysticism. Both are concerned with unity; physicists seek a physical "Theory of Everything," or a "Grand Unified Theory," while mystics seek unity within by direct experience of oneness with the universe.

The study of psi may solve the mystery of consciousness and provide evidence of how mind and matter interact and eventually lead to the unification of religion and science.

It could also dissolve the division between the physical world and the world of personal experience and resolve the mind matter split that has existed for over three-hundred years.

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