posted on Jan, 3 2013 @ 08:55 AM
These group consciousness experiments opened a broader range of considerations. What if the group were widely distributed and very large, perhaps
millions of people all sharing a focus? What if instead of using one RNG, we were to collect data from many of them, and what if they too were
distributed, perhaps separated by global distances? Questions like these were at some intuitive level pushing me toward what became the Global
Consciousness Project (GCP). There were other sources as well, some deep in my personal history and philosophy. In particular, when I encountered the
priest and paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, I was deeply affected. Teilhard wrote about the phenomenon of man with such poetic grace that his
ideas captured my attention and stayed with me through decades of change and development. His central notion was that while we tend to think of
humanity as the pinnacle of evolution, there is another stage that will come. Through what Teilhard called “complexification” and
“planetization” we humans would gradually be forced together in ever denser conditions that inevitably, he thought, must yield an organic
integration. In short, we humans would become a functioning “noosphere,” a layer of intelligence for the earth. We would take on the role of
neurons in a global brain. Though uniquely expressed, this is not a new concept; the wise ones of all cultures have long said “We are one.”
But Teilhard's idea was evolutionary and physical, and not simply a philosophical description. It was a proposition that could be treated
scientifically. I decided to ask whether there might be any evidence of a noosphere, a global version of the group consciousness we had already seen
with the tools developed to study mind-machine interactions. Together with colleagues and volunteers, I created the GCP to look for such evidence. We
built an instrument with RNGs placed around the world, sending continuous streams of random data for archiving in Princeton. We created a formal
protocol for defining special moments that we expected would bring large numbers of people to a shared state of consciousness and emotion. We
predicted changes in the random data during great tragedies and grand celebrations and began building a large database. The general hypothesis is that
we would find structure in our otherwise random data, correlated with events of great importance to humans.
The GCP is 14 years old in 2012 and has compiled more than 400 independent replications rigorously testing the general hypothesis. The composite
database shows a deviation from expectation greater than 6 sigma, with odds against chance of 100 billion to one, and the simplest interpretation is
that we humans become a faint suggestion of Teilhard's noosphere, brought together in response to emergencies and ritual celebrations. What is more
important in considering the next quarter century of parapsychology, there are aspects of the data that can go directly into parametric models,
producing insights into what eventual explanations must be like. Hint—field-like models handle the data best. We can generate prescriptions for new
research on consciousness at the edges of what we know.
Is there really an interconnection that links us even though we are unaware of it—except when we fall in love, or when we “know” that our
long-lost friend will be on the phone when we answer its ring? The poets and sages have told us so for all our history, but mainstream science says
no, that's impossible. Now it seems that good science is opening the question again. The next decades will exploit an opportunity presented by these
strong, 6-sigma databases. They hold information and implications that beg to be understood, and they will be joined by new, equally potent paradigms.
We need more bright minds to look at these data, and to work on the theoretical demands they make on our present picture of the world.