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 December 12 2013

The New Year is practically upon us, and it is high time I wrote an update. It has been an interesting and busy time, and that implies some distractions. For example, I have fairly frequent interviews and meetings with interested people, as well as invitations to contribute articles or book chapters. Some of the latter seem good practice for the book I am writing, much too slowly.

An example, for those of you who read German, is an article (actually a translated interview) by Detlef Scholz to be published in Raum & Zeit (Space & Time). He sent a copy for proofreading, and it is a nice job, with good technical understanding, and as it happens, some free-ranging discussion toward the end about why the GCP research and findings might be of value. I have been shifting more toward such questions in recent years, partly because the project's findings and data are ever more clearly sound in the scientific sense, allowing me to feel more free to interpret what we have found.

Another interview article is in French, by Stephane Allix, published a couple of months ago in Inexplore (Unexplored) which is sold in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Allix also has a TV program called Enquês extraordinaires (extraordinary investigation) in France. You can learn more at

The Japanese TV company, NHK, has characteristics of CNN and PBS in the US, and has or will soon broadcast a program in Japan with interviews from several consciousness researchers, including me. They hope to sell an English version of the program but I haven't heard about progress.

A short, accessible, article about the GCP is due in the current issue of MindField, the popular magazine published by the Parapsychological Association. You should consider supporting the PA, and also the Society for Scientific Exploration. These are the two professional organizations I turn to for serious interests at the edges of what we know. Both look at important but challenging issues that are too difficult for much of academia.

Coming soon, I will be a guest on a program called America Meditating with Sister Jenna Mahraj, who is a teacher with a broad range. Should be interesting. The time is Monday 16 Dec at 08:00 ET.

The most recent volume of Advances, Stanley Krippner's long series of books treating professional research in Parapsychology, was recently published. It includes a chapter on the GCP. The editors for this volume are Krippner, Julie Beischel, and Harris Friedman, and the publisher is McFarland.

Coming soon is a book called The Science of Psi, edited by Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel, which includes two chapters on the GCP, one by Roger Nelson, and one by Peter Bancel. It's scheduled for publication sometime in 2014, so this note may be a bit early. But you can get a flavor of Peter's chapter from a Webinar he did a few weeks ago. The Global Consciousness Project webinar recording has been posted.

With all that activity writing and talking about the data and results, I'm pushed to think about implications. I am also writing about that in response to a request to think about Implicit Physical Psi, which refers to the idea that psi happens even when nobody is thinking about it or intending anything. That is, we don't have to have someone wishing or willing to change an RNG's behavior, though that is the usual laboratory model. When we branched out to Field studies, going to concerts, cathedrals, and sacred sites, and finding indications of group consciousness effects on the local RNG, the implicit link was between the RNG and a group deeply engaged in something, but typically unaware of the RNG and the experiment. Of course the GCP is a global scale expansion of this situation. The implicit linkage is common to many kinds of experiment, but the important questions are about what this might mean for us. What can we learn about consciousness and who we are, what potentials we have? This is what seems of increasing importance to me. In the context of a world where there is a tremendous increase of communication but a real concern that we are becoming more isolated (earplugs in, texting screen on, gaming scores up) with most of our attention focused inward, our best energies seem to be frittered away on challenges that don't matter.

What often is missing are opportunities to be creative. To invent from the ground up, using the mind and heart as both vehicle and driver. Suppose the GCP's finding that something changes in the world when we connect unconsciously (no mobile technology needed) correctly reflects some facts about consciousness that we haven't known. Suppose we come to know about it, and then come to incorporate such knowledge in our self-perceptions and our interactions. We can, in principle, use some of our best energies to work on the challenge of connecting deliberately and deeply. What would happen if this came to occupy many of us in a manner similar to the ubiquitous texting one sees all around? I imagine a pretty joyous feeling, much like that we all have experienced as love—for another person, for a family or circle of friends, for one of our four-footed friends. You can't text your dog, but you can connect.

Enough philosophizing. What's been happening lately?

The bottom line composite score across the whole database, which now has more than 450 formal analyses has fairly clearly passed the seven sigma level, with the current Z-score at 7.225. The most recent event contributed a big increment. You will not be surprised that many people identified the death of Nelson Mandela as a major global event. It did indeed bring untold millions together in a shared focus on the man and his character. That shared emotional engagement is the power behind the GCP correlations. It is the condition when we are most connected.

GCP/EGG Update July 30 2013

About to go traveling again, and want to give greetings to people interested in the GCP, and to give an update on what's been happening.

Recent professional travel took us to Germany for a day-long conference organized by Quantica, GMBH. It was a pleasure for me, reconnecting with Rupert Sheldrake, and meeting Pim van Lommel, who knows so much about near death experiences. We spent extra time with Dirk Getrost, Alex Walz, and Marco Bischof, who put the symposium together. This was time very well spent. In June we went to Dearborn, Michigan, for the annual meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, one of my favorite gatherings. I presented The Three Rs of the GCP, Replication, Replication, and Replication. I will post a video of the talk on the GCP website soon.

In a few days, the Project will be 15 years old. We recorded the first trials on August 5 1998, and never looked back, as they say. There were just 3 eggs for the first few days, including during the first formal event we examined, the terrorist bombings of US Embassies in Africa on August 8. By the 10th there were 4 eggs, 5 by the end of the month, and then growth over the next years to 50 or 60 eggs in the network for most of its history. It is quite a history, in fact, and I have been privileged to see the events of the last 15 years through a special lens. It is hard to imagine paying such close and penetrating attention except through the comparison of our data history with the event history that records the joys and the trials of humans all around the world. The book I am perennially writing is to be a reflection on that long focus of attention.

The events we've analysed in the past few months have been mostly tragedies, Boston Bombing, Bangledesh Factory, Arizona Firefighters, Spanish Train Crash, but there are, fortunately, some happier moments too. One of these that stands out is the Royal Birth of Prince William and Katherine's son. It was a major media event, and no doubt there were hundreds of millions paying attention and looking forward to the announcement. It is just one event, of course, and the accumulated bottom line summarizes results for ∼450 events. The total deviation hovers around 7 sigma, with an odds ratio of hundreds of billions to one against it being a chance fluctuation.

Peter Bancel will be presenting a talk on his analyses of the GCP data in Viterbo, Italy, at the Parapsychological Association Convention. I wish I could be there, and if you are in the general area, you may want to consider attending the meeting. There will be many interesting talks, but I think Peter's will be especially intriguing because he will be describing years of sophisticated analysis. There are always loose ends, or new questions that arise from such work, but for many aspects of his work, Peter is satisfied that the numbers and the implications are clear. There are multiple kinds of structure in the data recorded during our defined global events. The basic effect can be seen as pair-wise correlation—some of the independent eggs produce data that appear to be driven in the same direction. This happens to pairs of eggs that may be thousands of miles apart, but it is stronger when the separation is smaller. This represents a distance effect, though it isn't what comes easily to mind—a distance from the event to the eggs. Instead it suggests that a field-like influence from our synchronized reactions to an event may be more effective when the pairs are closer together.

There are other indications of structure in what should be purely random data, and together they become input to modeling or tests of competing models of how the GCP correlations arise. It is a difficult question, and Peter is continuing to chase down the hints and the problems that make any simple answers unlikely. The good news is that the data push us to think about how they can be accommodated. They hold the potential for insights linking consciousness into physical models which otherwise ignore mind, and thereby one of the uniquely defining characterics of living beings.

Those of you who are egg hosts will have the pleasure of meeting Paul Bethke, who has begun helping maintain the Egg network in a more public way. Paul created the Windows version of the Egg software at the beginning of the project, and has been helpful solving problems for many egghosts along the way. I asked if he would like to take a broader role and he agreed—for which I am grateful. I hope it might even give me more time to write, or at least less reason to think I don't have time. :-)

GCP/EGG Update March 18 2013

I will be leaving shortly for Modena, Italy, and a conference called The Circle of Life. Among others, I will be seeing there Rollin McCraty of Heartmath and the Global Coherence Initiative, and Lynne McTaggart of What Doctors Don't Tell You. Looking forward to it, because fundamentally this meeting is about bringing the circle of logic and understanding to enhance and surround deeply important matters of life and emotion. The circle of life is the circle of compassion and love, and that will be what can save us from the spiral of destruction that seeks to draw us all down. Not to be over-dramatic, we do see around us in all directions, from wherever we stand, threats to our very existence. But most of those threats are within our power to defuse by the simplest of expedients. I don't know who first said it, but it surely is true that if we feed our enemy, he will be disarmed.

Perhaps that will be the message of the new Pope, Francis. His first steps are taken with humility and a quite charming smile. We looked at the GCP data just at the time of his election, and for the next couple of hours the data showed a similarly charming slope. It devolved into a more random looking trace, but it is a positive start.

The recent months have been busy ones for the Project, with quite a number of events. As always, the hypotheses we set turn out to be both hits and misses, but as has been the tendency in the past, more of them are hits, actually close to 70%, and they add up gradually but persistently to a highly significant departure from expectation. The accumulation as represented by the composite Z-score now exceeds 7 sigma, and the corresponding probability is on the order of 1 in a trillion: 9x10^–13. What is more compelling is that beyond the high significance of our major statistic, we have half a dozen other indicators of structure in the data.

We watched the End of the Mayan Calendar pass, fortunately without much in the way of apocalypse, but with lots of people attempting to be more conscious and more connected. We saw in a New Year, and tuned into the pomp of a second inauguration for US President Obama. The Kumbh Mela of 2013 was the second Maha Kumbh we have watched, and it gave again evidence of the power of millions seeking in concert a spiritual goal to affect the GCP network.

I've been writing, and have made great progress on a book that documents the EGG Project. It is at last looking like I'll finish it in this lifetime :-) although there is lots to do still. We all know that the last 20% takes 80% of one's effort, and I expect that to be so here too. But I am optimistic. I've also written chapters for three different books, and two of those are likely to be published soon. More information as it becomes available.

In April, we will have another trip to Europe, this time to Germany. On April 13, I will join Rupert Sheldrake, Pim van Lommel, and Marcus Schmieke in a Quantica Symposium on the Mystery of Consciousness. It will be in Frankfurt Germany and should be a memorable day. Then in June we have the 32nd annual meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration. This will be in Dearborn, Michigan. My talk there will be entititled The Three R's of the GCP, Replication, Replication, and Replication.

That's what makes the project work, ultimately. We are, as George deBeaumont, one of our earliest collaborators once said, chasing a subtle beast. The only hope we have of catching it is by patiently trying again and again, learning from each instance how to refine the trap we are setting. It is an interesting thing to look back on repetitions of similar questions. More than just interesting, actually. It bears the potential of intelligent fruit. As a splendid example, take a look at the work of a more recent collaborator, Bryan Williams, whose survey of effects of meditation, prayer, and intention on global harmony shows how much can be learned—and how many new questions may be raised by the patient replication of efforts to learn about special flavors or subspecies of the subtle beast.