The Global Consciousness Project

What is the nature of Global Consciousness?

Blog years


Roger Nelson

GCP blog

This (archived) page is the repository for the occasional updates I have been sending to the GCP mailing list every two or three months over the years.

GCP/EGG Update Dec 17 2010

As is probably appropriate toward the end of the year, I'm feeling reflective, on my situation and the state of the GCP, which are both pretty healthy, and on the state of the world, brimming with new technologies that interact in complicated ways with our old human habits. Lots of potential for good and for harm, and no simple answers for some weighty questions.

Many of us, including me, have much to celebrate at the end of the first decade of the 21 century, but if we look beyond the personal space it can be daunting. More people on this earth are hungry, in a world that's controlled and manipulated by governments and industries, by human beings. There is a mismatch, and I think it is expressed in the idea of Eudemony vs Money. Each of these words is an expression of value. Either can be chosen as the measure against which an action is judged or a path chosen. Powerful forces make decisions at levels that affect whole nations, and ultimately all of us, every human being.

Here's a perspective on what that means for the earth. I think we need a global consciousness—that is, an integrated understanding of ourselves as the governing intelligence for the planet. There isn't any other wisdom available for the job. At this time, of course, we aren't doing the job very well. We are at the beginning of a coalescence toward community and shared responsibility for the wellbeing of the global community. Powerful interests still measure progress or success in terms that are local and, one may say, selfish, but there is increasing power in the hands and hearts of people working toward a bright future for all. This is the path toward the noosphere envisioned by Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin in the last century, and by the Sages of every human culture. (These are Eudemony cultures—never Money cultures.)

The GCP often identifies events that are about Eudemony, though that term isn't used. We look at great celebrations of wellbeing like New Years, and we analyse the data to see whether there is structure correlated with organized meditations and demonstrations for peace, or with other events that are about shared positive feeling. In the aggregate, it appears that such events do make a difference. Some links to recent examples include the World Forum of Spiritual Culture and the broadly promoted 11.11.11 Meditation. When we gather data from many such events, the very subtle correlation effects build up to become statistically persuasive. They actually are among the most reliable indicators that mass consciousness exists and can affect the world.

more later ... Wikileaks, Korea, Elections, New Website, New mailing list, the making of pencils and the making of money ...

GCP/EGG Update Oct 15/24 2010

Often it seems my interests and activities especially to do with the GCP are driven by remarkable and surprising links, so much so that my favorite chapter title in the book I sometimes write is Design by Coincidence. This segment is a mild example. I decided to send out one of my occasional GCP/EGG Update notes before going to Kazakhstan, but I waited too long and was unable to send it because of technical issues I had no time to resolve. But the meeting was so rich with experiences and ideas that it turns out to be perfectly good timing because I can give a little report, fresh off the press.

I didn't know much about Kazakhstan, nor about the meeting, but was somehow clear I should accept the invitation. Wise decision, because it was a gathering of people from around the world all interested in the conscious evolution that must be our future. Noosphere — the sheath of intelligence predicted by Vernadsky and Teilhard — was not a foreign word among the delegates, even though there were dozens of languages spoken by 500 people from 70 countries. The event was the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, and was the work of organizers from several countries, supported directly by the President and the government of Kazakhstan.

I will write more on the results page for a GCP event set for the three days of the World Forum, but want to give some highlights.

We gathered in Astana, the capital city (newly built after the dissolution of the USSR—and architecturally amazing) and were welcomed with warmth and generosity. You can may enjoy some pictures of the place and people in a picasaweb show.

We had talks in plenary sessions and a day with nine concurrent topical sections, all of which I'd like to have seen. My section directly addressed a Noospheric Ethical/Ecological Constitution designed to help individuals and nations to interact in a life-giving way. I spoke of the GCP results as evidence for a noosphere, and supportive of such a noo-constitution (we may as well say new constitution).

A sample of those I met: The Children of the Earth were there—literally, by the presence of several young people who travel the world helping to inspire and unite young people for peace worldwide. The leaders of the Goi Peace Foundation, who have distributed 300,000 peace poles around the world. Representatives of institutions like the World Council of Religious Leaders. People from the Alianza de Civilizaciones, and so many more.

Because I, like many others at the meeting, feel that while the talk and sharing is of some value, we really must be doing and working, it was a special pleasure to learn of the International Simultaneous Policy Organization. It's an organization in the UK promoting a mechanism that is a potential game changer, with the best potential I have seen to work our way out of the impasse of international competition that prevents wise evolution. The plan operates through ordinary political systems to encourage *Simultaneous Policy* changes such as desperately needed regulations and more equitable wealth distribution. Their website describes the Simpol idea clearly and includes links to YouTube pieces with John Bunzl, the businessman and social entrepreneur who is the driving force.

Those who check the GCP website with some regularity will notice two recent events centered on the mine cave-in in Chile. The first was a few weeks ago (August 22) when it was learned that 33 miners were alive, after 17 days of uncertainty. The celebrations in Chile were also joined by people around the world, and we made a GCP event called Chilean Miners Alive. Soon it became clear that the potential tragedy was not over, because it would take at least two months, maybe until Christmas to rescue the men. Early in October the drilling proposed in rescue Plan B succeeded in reaching the trapped miners with a 27" diameter bore hole half a mile long down through the hard rock. Then on the 13th, after testing, the first miner was brought to the surface in a rescue capsule called phoenix.

Even more people around the world were engaged and it is safe to say the occasion produced lots of compassionate tears. The GCP response is notable in a couple of ways. While we are careful to say the S/N ratio is too small to interpret single events, it is worth thinking about the possibility the graphs show something remarkable. You can see both the formal analysis and some explorations following the whole period of the rescue operation at Chilean Miners Rescued. The formal event shows strong variation, with average deviation in the negative direction. In contrast, the local Egg in Santiago has a positive trend. Then, in our explorations, the whole network shows consistently small variance over most of the time, returning to neutral after 17 hours or so. We can't do scientific inference, but the accumulation during that time reaches 3 standard deviations.

This strong negative deviation occurs now and again in various events, in opposition to the prediction we make. When we look at the distribution of scores over all 330+ replications, we can ask whether there really is an excess of scores in the negative tail. This was addressed formally in modeling done by Peter Bancel, reported in our 2008 JSE paper (see appendix 2). A simpler way to address the question is to calculate the variance of the event Z-scores. It turns out this is larger than expected, with a probability of about 5 parts in 1000. While this is no rigorous demonstration, it is consistent with the idea that while true positive deviations are more frequent, there are also some true negative deviations. If anyone has a brilliant way to set a better hypothesis than our standard prediction of a positive deviation, let me know.

Occasionally we do informal exploratory event analyses like that for the long continuing rescue work in Chile. These are usually processed much as formal events are, but they are odd items that don't seem appropriate for the formal series for one or another reason. And we feel free to do some otherwise illegitimate data selection—looking for the coolest, or the most powerful graphical expression of what might be an effect. Of course the decision that it will be an exploration, not formal, is made before the data are extracted and analysed. Sometimes the outcome is highly significant, and would have added to our bottom line if it were not specified a priori as informal, but if it points to a useful kind of event we profit from the encouragement to look formally next time around. All this is to encourage you, if you have some spare time, to look through the list of Informal Explorations for some interesting, often curious, sometimes funny side branches of the GCP's research program.

On an entirely different note, a friend (who is also a contributor to the GCP) recently sent a note with a link to a video titled The Secret of Oz, which answers some questions about the economic system underlying so many of the complex problems of people on planet earth. It gives history and clear description of the hold debt based money has on our fates and our futures. It's worth seeing, even if having seen it you think it is incorrect. Very thought provoking. The introductory music with Eva Cassidy singing is definitely worth hearing.

GCP/EGG Update Sept 2 2010

Part of this entry was done two weeks ago, but as often happens, lots happened, and I am just now catching up and ready to send out a GCP/EGG update notification.

Several new events are now in the results table (linked also from the What's New box on the home page), including an attempt to capture something of the ongoing tragedy caused by flooding in Pakistan. Our new Egg host in Islamabad provided some dates that seemed emblematic, but we really don't know how to look at long, multi-day, or as in this case, multi-week disasters. The Middle East tension has long been a similar situation, with years characterized by a persistent bubbling of anger and fear that occasionally bursts into violence. We have only been able to probe by taking such bursts as samples. With a natural disaster like a flood, there are no bursts—just a growing perception of the misery.

We see a somewhat different picture in the Chilean mine cave in, which trapped 33 men 600 meters down. Though this will take at least two or three months to resolve, there was a powerfully emotional moment when a small drill hole reached the miners and it was learned they are all alive. Similarly, there was a singular moment in the history of the long Iraq war (more than seven years). At last it has come to an end, as declared in a speech by President Obama. This event is the 8th in a series where he is a central figure, and it has been added to the Obama Effect composite. We are now looking at roughly 1000 to 1 odds against chance for this dataset. I wonder what the White House would make of this were they to take a look (and, of course, believe the premises and the data). For my part, I think it means that Obama has a truly big megaphone. If the Eggs pay attention, his voice matters: it changes the world at a deeper level than radio or TV can reach.

A couple of new videos have been uploaded to my YouTube channel. One is by Adrian Nelson (no relation that we know of) comprising extracts from an interview that is part of a longer film he is doing. Another is a brief description of the GCP, some discussion of implications, and a little information about the Noospheric Ethical/Ecological Constitution. The latter is a substantial legal document that provides guidance for creative and productive interactions among peoples and nations. It is the work of several people in Russia and other countries, led by Dr. Liubov Gordina. She also is the organizer for Section 5 of the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan October 18-20, 2010. I will be going, and will present GCP results and implications as supporting evidence for the Noo-Constitution proceedings paper for this forum.

And now for something different. For some time I have wanted to have a random quote on the GCP website, and finally set it up. A quote appears below the menus in the left-hand column on the home page. Just now it says, Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. quoting the inimitable Mark Twain. If you have one or two favorite quotes that in some way reflect what the GCP is about, or some special wisdom, please send them on. Shall we try one?

GCP/EGG Update July 18 2010

Well, the World Cup is over, and as always it was exciting and powerfully engaging in most of the world. There was even some attention in the US, not least because team USA did well, though they did not make it to the later rounds. Because the venue was South Africa, there was a different flavor, not just from the vuvuzelas, but because so many both in Africa and elsewhere saw the massive organizational and public relations effort as a challenge or a kind of test. Africa did fine and the games went off without problems beyond the normal. However, like the US, no teams from the continent made it all the way. We did two formal predictions for the World Cup, the first match, which was between Republic of South Africa and Mexico, and the final, which pitted the Netherlands against Spain. As has generally been the case for World Cup and other great sporting events, the results don't show persuasive effects. However, Peter Bancel set up a blog that invited people to provide precise clock times for the goals in every match, and he will do a comprehensive assessment of the GCP data based on that information. I'll post a link when there are results to see.

I've added a few things to the website, mostly not very obvious, but one you'll see if you go there is a random quotation. The place is on the left below the menus, and for the moment the list is small so you may see repeats even though the choice really is random. (Would we do it any other way?) The collection is growing, and if you have a favorite short reflection on the human condition and the potential for growth, send it along. Here's one example:

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the Ones we've been waiting for.
— Hopi Elders

The concatenation of all formal events recently touched a statistical milestone. The combined or composite Z-score reached 6 sigma, which scientists have long considered PDGE, or pretty damn good evidence that there is some there there. Of course that doesn't mean our work is finished, and it doesn't mean mainstream scientists will be flocking to our door asking to check out our data. That would be nice, but as we have in the past, we'll continue to invest in doing the best science we can, and providing access and tools for those who do want to check it out. By the way, for the curious, 6 σ corresponds roughly to chance odds of one in a billion or 1 in 109.

Next week I and several others associated with the Global Consciousness Project will be at the annual Parapsychological Association convention in Paris. If you are in the neighborhood, drop in. I'll be giving a short talk for the French Day at the beginning of the convention, hosted by the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI). Our friend Mario Varvoglis is the arrangements chairman for the meeting, and we're looking forward to it, not to mention having some time to enjoy the city of light. Naturally, we are Wishing for Good Weather.

Some of you may have noticed that the GCP Dot that has been a feature on the website for years has not been quite right in recent weeks. I have removed it temporarily because there is an ongoing problem with the calculations that power the GCP Dot. Its creator, Brad Anderson, is working on it, but for the time being, it presents an inaccurate representation of the coherence in the GCP network. We'll bring the Dot back as soon as possible.

I'm giving extra time and attention at the moment to writing and preparing materials for various venues with an emphasis on meaning. There are people and groups around the world working the best way they know to help get humanity on a path that is less destructive, more creative. The World Forum of Spiritual Culture, to be held in Kazakhstan in Octover this year is a prime example. Like many people, I feel an urgency to do what I can to encourage many people to get on with the business of taking action to stop business as usual. Here's a quote from the GCP's Political Page that expresses the need for change:

Estelle Myers writes about the unbalanced view most modern societies have of our world. Women, half the human population, are devalued and that is just the beginning:

Fresh air, clean oceans, forests, wild life,a pollution free environment, even mother's milk! None have any value until manufactured, according to the United Nations System of National Accounts, they are worthless. (Waring, 1988, Counting for Nothing) They are not even a factor in the economic world pie. Whereas, the military, the despoilers and those who destroy the natural resources, who use and abuse Mother Earth, the drug barons, all have end products that are traded, all are part of the Gross National Product of nations of the world.

If that quote rings a bell, you might try another from the Political Page, by Dr. Norman Bethune, from an essay called Wounds, written in 1939.

GCP/EGG Update June 8 2010

Among the recent events of note in the formal listing are the newest trouble in the Middle East, with the Israeli navy boarding a humanitarian flotilla. It went sadly wrong, and some civilians were killed and wounded. The international attention was intense, and is an event likely to have long-lasting effects. It is a classic global event for a number of reasons, and is an example that helps explain how events are selected—a question that is often asked by critics and friendly skeptics. I have recently created a couple of pages to help explain the process, and would welcome feedback: Event Selection and Event Specification

Another eventful day, in the most literal sense, was April 14, which we had set in the registry because that is the primary day of Kumbh Mela, the giant gathering in India of religious pilgrims to bathe in the Ganges. At virtually the same time, the big earthquake in western China, in the Tibeten plateau struck. Because of the complete overlap, we could not specify the early hours of the quake, only the aftermath hours. To make the day even more impressive, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted—at the same time! All three events started within a few minutes of midnight on the same day. The coincidence is striking, and unique of my 12 years in the GCP. The volcano's primary effect was, of course not loss of life, but a huge disruption of air travel in Europe. It is a type of event that we have difficulty evaluating because it is slow-moving and lasts over many days. Thus, we could not do a formal event, but there is an exploration, and it is very interesting: Volcano Cloud.

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico also eludes simple analysis, even though it certainly is a global event of epic dimension and enormous implication. It may be possible to learn something by studying long term trends, but it is difficult to envision formal hypothesis testing. In any case, I hope and pray that we, in the largest sense, will learn something, and take this as a stimulus to recognize how much WE are responsible. Each mile we drive, and every bite of food we waste, each useless object we can't do without, every light we leave on costs. It seems very clear our notion of civilization, and our ways of valuing things need attention, and deep revision. I found Barbara With's recent World Tour blog entry, Moonbats, Top Kill and Con Rev a relevant read.

I will be at the SSE meeting in Boulder, June 9-12, and hope to see some of you there. I will be giving an invited talk there, and have chosen the topic and title, Just the FAQs: Good Questions about Global Consciousness. And in July, we will travel to Paris for the PA meeting, from July 21-25, where we will meet others interested in the GCP. I will give a short introduction (in English) to the pre-PA French day of the meeting, and I hope Peter Bancel will be presenting a paper for the main meeting.

Peter has created an opportunity for people with an interest in Soccer, Football, Fussball ... to help specify the times of goals during the World Cup matches which will begin in a few days. You can go to his blog, GCP Geek, to check it out and learn how to help. This will be the third World Cup within the history of the GCP, and the first where it will be possible (with help from our friends) to do the details. Stay tuned.

Another new, one might say, geeky project is iGCP, (page from the creation of Michelle Rudolph-Lilith (new site). This is an extensive set of tools for serious researchers to apply to the 12-year database of the GCP. The tools are designed to facilitate both the standard analyses we have used over the years, and new approaches. The toolset includes the means to access large amounts of data with relative ease, and comprises a number of basic modules that can be combined to create sophisticated analyses. The system requires Mac OSX 1.5 or later, but perhaps it will be generalized in the future.

A note of interest for mental martial artists is the response chosen by Bill Scott when I apprised him that I'd heard someone was degrading the beautiful Global Brainpaintings Bill creates from GCP data. There is a facility to place some text in a future painting, and it was being used (probably by a juvenile) to post vulgarities, detracting from the paintings. Rather than disable the facility, Bill set up scripts to filter the incoming, and replace bad words, substituting, for example, fortify for kill and love for hate. Nice application of the principle of using the opponent's energy to overcome.

May we all work as much as possible in this way. It is important to recognise the negative, but not to dwell on it. Our energies are best applied to the positive vision of what might be.

GCP/EGG Update March 8 2010

A day after the last update, which was calm and suggested impressions of a positive outlook for the future, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. The epicenter was just a few kilometers from Port Au Prince, and the effect was truly catastrophic. More than 200 Thousand people apparently have died, and the destruction of the city was virtually complete: 2 million people lost their homes, and must struggle for survival. The GCP data show a very strong negative deviation during the time set for the formal analysis. The Z-score is -2.1, and the graph shows a very steady cumulative trace. Our predictions are for positive deviations, so the result counts against the overall composite for the GCP. However, this result and others like it—strongly opposite to our predictions—can also be seen as pieces of the larger puzzle, potentially teaching something we need to know. It is possible for any given individual outcome to be just noise masquerading as signal, but it is hard to escape the impression the network is responding to the event.

This question was enormously amplified six weeks later when an even larger earthquake shook Chile with such violence that even structures designed to withstand major quakes were destroyed. The 8.8 magnitude quake was one of the largest ever recorded. Possibly because it was further from major cities, but very likely because Chile's infrastructure and building codes are modern and designed to withstand such forces, the death toll is in the hundreds, about 700 in recent estimates. Tragic but very different from what happened in Haiti. In both cases, the rebuilding and recovery will take years, and will require help from all the world.

We have an egg in Santiago, and an exploratory graph shows how its data looked during the quake until it shut down. This graph also shows the full network data for two days mostly during the aftermath. Yet another exploration shows the Buenos Aires egg. This is located on the other side of South American continent —but people there, many hundreds of miles away, felt the quake.

The ambiguities of interpretation that we confront when looking at individual events, like the two above, are a fact of life or of science at least. This is a natural consequence of research on the subtle, small effects that indicate an interaction of consciousness with the physical world. Fortunately the GCP has been in business for long enough to gather a large, consistent database (11 years and 300 formal replications). The statistical power we can apply to good questions is correspondingly large. The confidence level for the bottom line for the whole project is more than 5 standard deviations, which puts it in the range of acceptable levels in mainstream disciplines like physics.

That level of confidence in the data provides a foundation for serious analysis—not just asking whether there is a significant effect, but beginning the search for deeper understanding. This is the thrust of Peter Bancel's program of analytical research, which has occupied much of his time for several years. The results are powerful. We have recently finished a paper describing the work. We detail first the solid foundation of the primary results, then look at other evidence of structure based on questions implicit in the basic hypothesis of the experiment. Our basic network variance measure represents correlations among the Eggs during global events. Peter's work has established a second, independent measure of a similar type, which was not predicted in the original hypothesis. In addition, we have evidence of both spatial and temporal structure—both of which were implied in the design of the experiment, but which could be established only with sophisticated analysis and a very large database.

The description of this recent work may sound technical and obscure, but it is very important both directly and by implication. It means that we have not just one piece of evidence that shared consciousness and emotion during major events is correlated with deviations of the GCP/EGG instrument—we have four orthogonal or independent indicators. This is the kind of material that is necessary for tests of theoretical models, and that work is underway. Preliminary indications are that the most promising models belong to the class of field models. The next year of two of work in this area looks to be very interesting, and exciting.

GCP/EGG Update January 11 2010

It is already becoming natural to write 2010, though we're not quite 2 weeks into the year. Already lots of interesting things.

I have the feeling of much good happening in 2010 in areas that are of interest to most of us. I'm not thinking of the large scale of politics and business that gets most of the news coverage, so much as the increasing numbers of people who are focused on what we can do individually and collectively to shape the future in ways that are relevant on the human scale. Yes, this is pretty much opposite to the large scale mentioned above, but my good feeling is that the human will progressively take over from the massively disfunctional obsession with money as the meter and war as a medium for operation in the world.

Back to the GCP/EGG update, there are new publications and findings. For example, the current Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE) has two items about the GCP findings. One is a letter from Helmut Schmidt, who can be regarded as the father of RNG research, in which he discusses his idea that the GCP results might be explained as an experimenter effect. The second item is a response from Nelson and Bancel to the Schmidt letter, in which we show how the GCP database allows actual modeling to test and compare models. The exercise suggests that Schmidt's proposal (as we implement it quantitatively) fails, and that a better fit to the data is found with a field-like model. Lots more to do to flesh this out, but it is interesting.

On this point, let me recommend, as I have before, that you consider joining the Society for Scientific Exploration, which publishes the JSE. In the same breath, let me also recommend supporting the Parapsychological Association, which you can best do by becoming a member. There are multiple levels of membership, including categories for students, for people with a general interest, and for people with professional interest and qualifications. Both are organizations that provide a forum for scientific research at the frontiers, and possibilities to interact with bright and interesting people who think there is lots to learn.