# Quantum Physicist Offers Solution To Global Market Meltdown

I briefly met John Hagelin when I was an undergraduate. At the time he was a Harvard particle theory graduate student, soon to get his degree and start a quite respectable career in the subject. His biography on his web-site claims that:

His scientific contributions in the fields of electroweak unification, grand unification, super-symmetry and cosmology include some of the most cited references in the physical sciences. He is also responsible for the development of a highly successful Grand Unified Field Theory based on the Superstring. Dr. Hagelin is therefore at the pinnacle of achievement among the elite cadre of physicists who have fulfilled Einstein’s dream of a “theory of everything” through their mathematical formulation of the Unified Field—the most advanced scientific knowledge of our time.

Hagelin moved on from doing physics research, first to help run the Maharishi International University (now the Maharishi University of Management) in Fairfield, Iowa, then to run for president as the candidate of the Natural Law Party (it seems that “Joe the Plumber” was a member of this). Nowadays, the Maharishi has passed away, and Hagelin has moved to New York, where he is Executive Director of the Global Financial Capital of New York.

Soon after Hagelin moved to New York, his organization bought an impressive building down near Wall Street (chosen because “It’s one of the very few buildings in all of New York City that’s oriented due east”), with the goal “to inspire financiers to come forth to support the creation of Heaven on Earth”. They also are buying up land near Princeton “where, with the support of the township, a university for 5,000 Yogic Flyers is to be established.” Part of the plan seems to be to raise $3 billion or so from the financial industry, by offering 10% interest on 15 year loans. Last year they held a news conference to explain how the a “surging stock market” was one of the concrete signs of the success of the Invincible America Assembly in Iowa—the largest-ever scientific demonstration project to document the effects of large group meditations on the economic and social trends of the nation, according to Dr. John Hagelin, world-renowned quantum physicist, executive director of the International Center for Invincible Defense, and President of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, who is leading the Assembly. This year the story is a bit different, with a recent press release entitled Quantum Physicist Offers Solution to Global Market Meltdown explaining that: a group of nearly 2,000 advanced experts is now in place at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. He said the influence of coherence generated by this group is helping to calm the nation in the midst of the global crisis, but a larger, more powerful group of 8,000 experts (the square root of one percent of the world’s population) is needed to neutralize worldwide fears and re-establish confidence in the global markets. The cost to establish this group on a permanent basis, Dr. Hagelin said, would be negligible compared to what has been lost in a single hour during the current financial crisis. In a recent Open Letter to the Yogic Flyers of the Nation, Hagelin, the Raja of Invincible America, urges them on as follows: I am writing you from Wall Street, where I am living and working with members of my national team at the Global Financial Capital of New York, one block from the New York Stock Exchange. We are starting to make remarkably good progress in our efforts to bring Maharishi’s knowledge of enlightenment and invincibility to leaders here whose thinking and actions vitally impact the whole world. However, ultimately, our success is dependent on you. We will be successful when the leaders are receptive to our message. But their openness is 100% dependent upon the numbers in the Domes. Why? Because a rise in national consciousness directly translates into a rise in openness among leaders of business, health, education, defense, government, etc. At this critical time I urge everyone to fly together in large groups Maharishi said we need 2500 experts flying together to guarantee invincibility for America. This requirement is because the turbulence in the collective consciousness of one country can easily spread like a wildfire to create a similar turbulence in another country. And this is why, at this critical time, with the economic stability of the world hanging in the balance, I urge everyone in Iowa and everyone in the country to recommit to fly together in large groups. Update: Today was a beautiful day, and on a bike ride downtown I stopped to take a look at 70 Broad Street, the headquarters of Global Financial Capital of New York. Looking in the windows of the below ground level and the lobby level, the place looked pretty much abandoned. The building has some floors upstairs, maybe there is some activity up there. They did just put out this press release, announcing a press conference to be held in the lobby at 11am on Tuesday and webcast. Hagelin will be announcing a$1 billion plan to fund 1000 experts in New York and 8000 experts in Iowa who will “create coherence for the whole world—the basis of an invincible, prosperous global economy.” No word in the press release about where the $1 billion was going to come from. Update: Video of the press conference is here. The plan is simple: just give Hagelin and his followers$1 billion, and they’ll have this financial crisis all sorted out soon, by means of experts using the unified field.

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### 87 Responses to Quantum Physicist Offers Solution To Global Market Meltdown

1. Joe the Physics Student says:

Hi Peter,

How does this individual’s activities have anything to do with current physics research?

Thanks.

Joe the Physics Student

Simply hilarious!

(At least he is making a prediction, though.)

3. Vishal says:

Is this for real?? Seriously? Is our science education not doiing its job well?

4. Chris Oakley says:

Rather than committing to yogically fly together in large groups, I would recommend

(i) Not allowing banks to pay big bonuses to their employees. These seem to end up being funded from my and your pension fund.

(ii) Ensuring that there is no such thing as an “off balance sheet” transaction … anything that could harm the ability of a bank or investment institution to pay its debts is, AFAIC, on balance sheet

5. chris says:

hmm.. i guess the square root of one percent of the worlds population is more like 8000 sqrt(people). how can such a renowned quantum physicist not get the units correctly?

6. Funny stuff. Let him get his numbers, if it works, it’s nice.
@Chris: Looks like the units are OK. If you square an expert you get a normal person. Sounds about right to me 😉

7. ObsessiveMathsFreak says:

If I have learned one thing about “invincibility” it is that it always wears off a few seconds after you get the star, and if you weren’t thinking ahead you’ll probably have landed yourself in a very sticky situation by the time this happens.

You cannot apply physics to economics. I think that the only reason physicists migrate to this field is hubris, thinking they can “solve” the stock market. Ironic considering they have been essentially unable to solve/resolve the existing problems in their original field.

8. andy.s says:

Jesus, these guys are loaded with cash. All of it from thousands of saps who think they can fly by flapping their legs.

I am in the wrong business.

9. Thingumbob says:

I believe that it might be possible to get the Boltzman brain to astral project into this corner of the landscape to overcome our financial crisis. Has Professor Hagelin considered this?

10. Bee says:
11. A says:

Actually, quite sadly this is an example of where a physicist has become a crackpot and is now conning a bunch of spiritual people who try to understand meditation and consciousness through what appear to be honest means.
It’s a disgrace.
Joe the physics student, the relevance here is that he has risen to a position of power because he has sold himself as the world expert on The Grand Unified Theory. He has sold his GUT research as being The solution. Frankly, the Maharishi people are being scammed by Hagelin and his ilk.

12. Joao Leao says:

Hum! I wonder what kind of golden parachute Global Financial Capital of New York will provide for Hagelin given that his flying days may be about to end soon and abruptly. On the other hand that 3 Billion raising proposal looks to me quite like an “airplane” (Ponzi) scheme…

13. Aaron Bergman says:

I think that the only reason physicists migrate to this field is hubris, thinking they can “solve” the stock market.

Hubris had nothing to do with it. The reason physicists migrated to finance is because they paid lots and lots of money.

14. Yatima says:

“The reason physicists migrated to finance is because they paid lots and lots of money.”

I can feel that in my bank account.

Ok guys, you had a good laugh, now how about getting back to doing some serious, honest-to-god work?

15. Covariant says:

I think I am beginning to appreciate Peter’s opinions on things

16. Sakura-chan says:

Thanks for the laugh Peter. You presented the info beautifully, and with a straight face. =)

17. gasp says:

Imagine if we had to choose between Hagelin and Bush. I honestly don’t know who I would choose.

18. Peter Woit says:

Please, no more off-topic comments about quants and Wall Street,especially because no one seems to have anything new to say about that topic.

19. I think assuming that John Hagelin is conning the group is jumping to conclusions. Never underestimate the power of belief, just because someone got a PhD at Harvard that doesn’t mean they are susceptible to it. Spiritual belief is a powerful force, and although the ideas may seem nutty to some of you they speak loudly to lots of people. In fact spiritual beliefs are more powerful than science because it taps into emotions. Emotion is all to often stronger than logic. Think about it-emotion comes from the deep-seated more ancient part of the brain, the limbic system. Spirituality is something people feel in their gut, but analyzing something scientifically is something you do with your cortex. So what I am saying is I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Hagelin believed every last word of this. Doesn’t matter if he was a particle physicist or not.

20. Covariant says:

David McMahon said

“Spiritual belief is a powerful force”

So should we quantize and study it? Who gets to be Yoda?

21. Marty says:

Actually when you go beyond a natural gut reaction to be skeptical and dismissive, there is a lot of absolutely amazing (and published) research behind what John Hagelin is saying. Take a few minutes and check out http://permanentpeace.org/
In more than fifty studies published in scientific journals, including the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Mind and Behavior, the method of sustained large group meditations has been documented to powerfully reduce violence and criminal activity and even calm open warfare. It is a technique that is currently also being used in some of the most troubled inner-city schools in the country to defeat the stress and violence that plague the learning process.
Please don’t laugh at it. Inform yourself about it. Then decide whether it is hokum or a new paradigm that presents consciousness as a magnificent and unbounded existential frontier full of all possibilities. Practiced individually, Transcendental Meditation reduces mental stress and increases personal wellbeing, harmony, productivity, creativity, and happiness. When practiced together in a group, the “good vibes” radiate outward into the unseen field of collective consciousness, creating the same effects on a societal scale. The bigger the group the better, and the further the effects spread, like ripples in a pond. Another analogy is to think of radio or TV transmitters that beam signals through an unseen electromagnetic field. Instead of picture or sound signals, groups of meditators generate a strong wave of coherence and positivity through an underlying field of collective consciousness. Stress and tension diminish.
Scientists are beginning to recognize a “non-local” field of global consciousness into which intentions can have effects at great distance. A field effect. We should explore this territory, for it may hold the secret for planetary peace and harmony. We’ll never know unless we are bold and courageous enough to put it to the test.
Obviously, I am one of Dr. Hagelin’s admirers, and a practitioner of meditation. But I am also a professional medical writer who writes about many so-called “breakthroughs.” Most are far from breakthroughs. This is the real thing.

22. gasp says:

Marty, religious and cult-like memes are not transmitted by telepathy. They use more mundane forms of communication, such as you typing a reply on a blog.

23. Thingumbob says:

This non-local TM stuff sounds like spooky action at a distance to yours truly. Ahem.

24. gasp says:

David McMahon, emotional experiences exist. Spiritual experiences do not. So they should not be equated.

25. Marty says:

Gasp and Thingumbob:
I understand your reactions. Take a few minutes though to check out the science. It is very strong. So strong that public educators from around the country are introducing TM in their schools. If it was based on a religious or cult-like meme they would have none of it.
Gasp…I like that word meme…hadn’t heard it before.
Meanwhile, the memes of the Wall Street cult have been a disaster.
Cheers.

26. Marty says:

gasp
what’s interesting about the subjective spiritual experiences in meditation is that they have measurable physiological effects. studies have shown, for instance, that cortisol levels improve through meditation and that high blood pressure is knocked down. In fact, the National Institute of Health has funded a number of studies showing how TM has been as effective, yet without any negative side effects, as medication in improving blood pressure among african-americans with refractory hypertension. One of the reasons that I am such a believer is that the practice normalized my blood pressure after a couple of months. The doc wanted to put me on medication. I said I would rather try something natural. It worked great.
Regards

27. You guys completely miss the point. Spirituality is a powerful force IN PEOPLES LIVES and the EMOTIONAL STATES they have. Spiritual experiences exist through the emotional experiences people have. There was an implication that Hagelin was conning the TM crowd because he had a PhD in physics and “should know better” and I am saying no, Hagelin probably really believes what he says. Spiritual belief (and the accompanying emotion) is more powerful that logical thought for most people.

28. Marty says:

David…you are correct. Spirituality is indeed a powerful force in peoples lives and their emotional states (e.g., symapthetic vs. parasympathetic mode).
The implication that Hagelin is conning us in the TM crowd is based on some outside speculation with no basis in fact. If I am being conned, so are a lot of Ph.Ds, doctors, lawyers, scientists, students, investment managers, principles, actors, writers, etc., who are a whole lot smarter than me. They ain’t stupid and they ain’t gullible. They see the results. They see the science.
Hagelin not only believes what he says, but he has participated in the published scientific studies that explain or validate very fascinating explorations into consciousness.

29. Covariant says:

David McMahon said

“Spiritual belief (and the accompanying emotion) is more powerful tha(n)t logical thought for most people.”

I think that is a valid observation, but what happens when one group’s beliefs are different from another’s and both groups “know” they are correct in their beliefs?

I think Hagelin hasn’t thought about that too much.

30. Marty says:

Covariant:
I think Hagelin has thought about that a lot and has attempted to prove the value of spirituality (and specifically a spiritual practice such as meditation) on personal and societal scales through science. Could it be that the fundamental basis of subjectivity (call it emotions, spirituality, belief) and objectivity (science, matter, the physical world) are one and the same: an unseen universal field of intelligence.
Why don’t you invite Hagelin to speak to you. He lives in the neighborhood. You can throw all your implications, doubts, and questions. I am sure you would find it very informative and it would open your awareness to a very cool world that begs exploration by bright minds such as yours.

31. a.k. says:

..one should add that the intertwinement of obscure reasoning (I am not denying any effect of meditation etc. on physical and mental health) and financial power, especially the entanglement of irrational methods in physics and political and economic power manifested in one single person, seems to shed light onto some well-known ‘dialectic’ aspects concerning the role of quasi-religious movements, esoteric ‘enlightment’ opposed to those methods which were in europe once called ‘enlightment’, in the western society. ‘Esoteric enlightment’- this also stands for non-rational analysis of the financial market (solving problems by ‘flying together in large groups’), for ethnocentric views of human societes and for poorly reflected boundaries of the scientific method. To cut it short, Hagelin manifests one of the reasons why I quit thinking about physics a long time ago.

32. Thingumbob says:

I would invite him, sure, but just now I have brought back from other side Monsieur Mesmer, and he confides in me that I need beware: there may be many hoaxers who only want the great and mighty of this world to supply their unspiritual monetary wants. Of course, if all this could be done without any need for money…

33. Covariant says:

Marty

I have no doubt that meditation is great; I have no doubt that a lot of people of common beliefs meditating together is even better.

I also have no doubt that there are a number of people who absolutely don’t feel that way, and some of those never will feel that way.

34. Marty says:

Thingumbob:
You folks are delightful to chat with. But my garden overfloweth with weeds and I must leave you.
Please look at the science. And then draw your conclusions and critiques. At least then you will be armed with more than mere opinion and suspicion. And then invite him.

35. Marty says:

Covariant
You are absolutely right about a lot of people never changing their minds, and never will. No problem.
One of the neat things about this whole concept is that MOST people are skeptical….it is some mystical hogwash…etc. That’s what they thought about meditation when it first became popular forty years ago. Now doctors prescribe it for patients, and school principles are using it to transform the most stress-ridden schools into the learning facilities they were meant to be. Science has shown it is very valid and relevant for our modern conflicted society. It is not a matter of belief.
The greater concept of group meditation on a societal scale that Hagelin advocates is a exploration and exploitation of the unchartered and unbounded possibilities of consciousness. It is amazing to me that psychiatry and psychology spend so much time groping around in the darkness of mental illness, when there is this huge and untapped universe of consciousness and mental potential to explore.
Over and out.

36. Vishal says:

I am pretty sure the Buddha would have been “horrified” to hear people talk about TM and stuff like that. There is nothing inherently “spiritual” about meditation, which is a wonderful and beneficial way of exploring phenomenon and events from a phenomenological perspective. There is no doubt that meditation confers great benefits (physiological, mental) to the practitioner, but people like Hagelin, not to put too fine a point on it, simply delude themselves into believing the esoteric or anything that is out of this world. Frankly, with so many “gurus” coming out of India, it tends to create more often than not a wholly incomplete and distorted picture of that country.

37. Marty says:

Vishal
To speak for Buddha is purely speculative on your part.
In India, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM, is revered for having put into motion a great revival and “cleanup” of the massive distortions that have crept into the vast body of Vedic knowledge.

38. Peter Woit says:

Enough with repetitious comments on the pro/anti meditation topic, which in any case seems to have little to do with Hagelin’s venture into the financial industry.

39. A says:

David McMahon, I think in fact you missed my point. The fact that Hagelin may or may not believe in the beliefs of the Maharishi is by the way side. He is SELLING them grand unified field theories. He is using his status as a physicist, his PhD from Harvard in his position with them. It is not his spirituality that is relevant but rather the fact that he attained that position using physics. It is not that a physics PhD taught him to be well reasoned and solve problems and so he has gone into the world and applied general principles to other work, like for example physicists have in finance. He is telling the Maharishi people that grand unified theories and string theory are the solution to what the search for. Hence he has conned them. He has told that that the grand unified field is itself the field of consciousness ( notice the trick by using the world field here ). They are trying to understand consciousness which is a perfectly respectable goal. And they have tried to speak to scientists to describe their experiences in the hopes of understanding and recording more scientifically what they have done. Hagelin and his ilk have conned them – in that they use fancy physics words to convince these people that they are experiencing the string field of consciousness blah blah blah. They translate basic human experience into fancy vacuum landscape language that is frankly just junk.

40. Vishal says:

In India, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM, is revered for having put into motion a great revival and “cleanup” of the massive distortions that have crept into the vast body of Vedic knowledge.

Marty,
It is amazing to see how much people (especially non-Indians) buy into this whole “Vedas contain all knowledge” idea! They tend to miss the point that the resurgence of interest in the “Vedas” and other “ancient scriptures” of India is closely connected with right-wing politics and nationalist ideology, today. A lot of the Vedas contain purely speculative knowledge – now that sounds almost like an oxymoron. The Buddha had thoroughly and rationally debunked a lot of the core beliefs of the Vedas more than two thousand years ago, and the fact that those debunked beliefs are regurgitated again and again, to me, is an indication of how powerfully those ideas grip the minds of people throughout history and even to this day.

Peter,
Please forgive me if my comments are totally off-track. But I do want to point out that some of the huge confusion people have about modern physics, “field of consciousness” and so on, clearly spring from the misinformation that is spread vis-a-vis “Vedic knowledge”. The fact that Indians themselves don’t know what to make of the claims about Vedas but that quite a few non-Indians readily accept whatever is told them about the Vedas should immediately raise a red flag. Anyway, the end result, as A correctly pointed out above, is that a lot of ordinary people get conned in a subtle way without even their knowing what hit them.

41. If you are conning somebody, you are misleading them with something you know to be false. I don’t necessarily buy that Hagelin believes these ideas are false but is selling them off on people anyway. So that is why I don’t think Hagelin is necessarily a con.

42. Covariant says:

Well, its a free country, and as long as Hegelin and crew use the money they raise as intended, and as long as they make their payments to whoever feels inclined to invest, then there really isn’t much one can do or say.

I will be curious if they can pay it all back in 15 years at 10%. I doubt they will raise \$3 billion, not without posting some significant collateral. If they have market research that supports their claim about the amount of money they’ll make, then I think they will have a number of businessmen interested.

43. Steve says:

it may be a challenging stretch (which is sometimes a very good thing), but it definitely isn’t completely off base and unsupported:

“Consciousness & Superstring Unified Field Theory”

…give a listen (or not) and then critique the substance, and not just the superficial notion

44. Thanks for posting the videos. I would say his claims about what string theory says are a bit of a stretch.

45. Hi Steve,
I think the videos are pretty good, and I don’t think Hagelin is completely wacky (wish I could use italics). Who knows, there may be something to his explanations. Afterall consciousness is something hard to grasp for science as it stands now. I would say explanations that its an “emergent” property from the “complexity” of the brain are non-explanations when you get right down to it. The fact is no scientist alive has any idea how the brain gives rise to awareness. Its the biggest problem in science-far bigger and more complex than anything in particle physics. But it would be an interesting twist if Hagelin’s musings (and lets call them musings, they are not much more) about string theory (or lets say any unified theory since string theory is frowned upon here) had something to do with why life is conscious. David

David

46. David H. Miller says:

David McMahon wrote:
>Afterall consciousness is something hard to grasp for science as it stands now. I would say explanations that its an “emergent” property from the “complexity” of the brain are non-explanations when you get right down to it. The fact is no scientist alive has any idea how the brain gives rise to awareness. Its the biggest problem in science-far bigger and more complex than anything in particle physics.

Dave, I agree with everything I just quoted from you. And, so do many sensible scientists and philosophers: the late Nobel laureate in neural science Sir John Eccles and the philosopher Karl Popper (see their book “The Self and Its Brain,” physicists such as Schrodinger and Penrose, serious contemporary philosophers such as David Chalmers (“The Conscious Mind”) and Colin McGinn (“The Mysterious Flame”), etc.

At some level, this should not even be controversial: after all, no neural scientists that I’ve heard of claims to have fully explained consciousness. I myself won’t be surprised if the full explanation of consciousness shakes science just as much as quantum theory or evolution did.

However, I see no evidence that Hagelin is moving us towards such an explanation. I suspect that he does believe his own nonsense, but most of what Peter quoted from Hagelin is, indeed, nonsense.

To use one’s standing as a scientist to point out that there is much we do not yet know and, probably, some big surprises in store is perfectly fine. In a sense, that is what Peter is doing in theoretical physics: he maintains that the future of theoretical physics is much more open than some of the superstringers think.

But to claim to have answers that you do not have, as Hagelin does, is dishonest, even if it is the sort of dishonesty that consists of deceiving oneself.

Dave Miller in Sacramento

47. Thingumbob says:

I guess perhaps I need to be less satirical to attempt to bring home my point here. There have been all sorts of spiritualists that have used many different varieties of scientific sounding gobbledygook to gull rubes out of their fortunes. For instance, the Rosicrucians, Annie Besant, Aleister Crowley, and on and on. This stuff is as old as dirt. The problem today is when it comes to this or that variety of GUT, its very hard to know the difference. (As far as the notion that consciousness has a physically mechanistic causality, I would remind you that this quixotic idea led Descartes to the absurdity of believing that the pineal gland was the seat of the soul.)

48. Jeff McGowan says:

OK, why do so many scientists seem to think it is inevitable that scientists will one day “explain” consciousness. I have no doubt that consciousness is a physical phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean that anyone is ever going to explain it (whatever exactly that might mean). It seems to me there might very well be a metalanguage problem here of the highest order.

49. Covariant says:

After watching the videos two thoughts struck me:

1) I am even less inclined to believe that there really is such a thing of self awareness or consciousness. As against the grain that might be; although I manifest thoughts, I can observe that those thoughts are not entirely dependent on me. (Or as a mathematician I know stated, similar people tackling similar problems tend to come up with similar solutions).

2) The “unified field” as described by Hagelin, really seems to leave out the observed randomness in nature. He seems to describe a unified and interlinked universe that has no room for independent random events. There is a lot of randomness in how our brains actually function, and this can best be captured by the observations of Ebbinghaus in 1885.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgetting_curve

50. kuhn dog says:

It is said above (by Dave): “…to claim to have answers that you do not have, as Hagelin does, is dishonest, even if it is the sort of dishonesty that consists of deceiving oneself.”

Many of the posters on this blog make this heavy judgment and denouncement of Hagelin, but based on what? How do you actually know that he is wrong? (Really, how would you KNOW this? On what epistemological grounds?) Granted, it may be your personal belief, your knee-jerk reaction. But, what answers does Hagelin claim to possess that are counter to empirical evidence, or even counter to current physical theory? And specifically, what claims does Hagelin make that are not supported by empiricle evidence or physical theory? (not counting the theory in neuroscience that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain, which, as mentioned above, is a non-theory anyway…)

Hagelin’s fundamental assertions seem to be
1. that there is a unified field (a claim made by many physicists)
2. that the u.f. is, in essence, a field of consciousness (perhaps a surprise to many, but, not without precedence in Eastern and Western thought)
3. that the u.f. as a field of consciousness can be subjectively experienced and thereby validated. (again, not without extensive scholarly precedence…)
4. that large groups of people experiencing the u.f. together at the same time (i.e., “group practice of the TM and TM-sidhi programs”) influences the environment in a measurable way through the “field effect” of consciousness…yes, spooky action at a distance (which seems to be something that physicists are no longer so spooked by…yes?).

This fourth point seems to be the crux of the matter, as far as empirical testing of Hagelin’s theory. (Not that subjective experience of the u.f. is without merit—the Upanishads, Gita, Yoga Sutras, etc. uphold the necessity of directly experiencing the unified state of consciousness in order to truly KNOW the underlying reality.)

Can group meditation really influence the environment? Is there a level of life where we’re all interconnected?

I remember reading years ago in Yale Journal of Conflict Resolution, which published one of the research studies on what Hagelin calls “the Maharishi Effect”—the proposed “influence of coherence” that results from large group meditation. (I know, some of you are wondering why such a topic as this is even being discussed on this blog—how “out there” can one get? But, please, bear with me..) The editors interjected a caveat, as if to justify why they, a highly reputable sociological journal, would publish a study on something so outside the box. I paraphrase the journal’s editors: “While we consider this research study on the extended sociological effects of meditation to be worthy of publishing because of it is solid research with sound statistical analysis, we must also acknowledge that the theoretical explanations of the findings are well outside the current paradigm of current sociological research.”

My thoughts were, no kidding. It’s BECAUSE the research is outside the current paradigm that Hagelin’s group may be on to something—perhaps they’ve found a far better way of improving society than anything we’re currently doing.

If Dave or any of you haven’t actually looked at the research, read through the studies, duly considered the theory that Hagelin is proposing, and determined scientifically whether or not any of the 50+ research studies on the Maharishi Effect are valid science, if you haven’t considered the design and controlls of the experiments and looked closely enough to discern whether or not the data supports the findings, then how can you dismiss the theory out of hand? Just because it’s “outside the current paradigm of sociological research”?

My man Thomas Kuhn has a word for those who refuse to examine the data and cling to their old paradigm, despite overwhelming evidence: NON SCIENTISTS. “They have ipso facto ceased to be scientists.” —TK.

In all fairness, maybe some of you didn’t even know there was empirical evidence to support Hagelin’s approach. I’ve actually read through most of these research studies (there are dozens of peer-reviewed studies on the Maharishi Effect). The data and findings seem to strongly support the theory that group mediation can influence crime, violence, and yes, even the stock market. There may be people on this site more qualified than me to ascertain statistical significance; if so, perhaps you should examine the studies. People often say, why take the time, the theory is so outside the box… Why bother? Because everything else has failed, and these peer-reviewed studies support the theory. Because if it’s true, it would alleviate much suffering.

Instead of ridiculing Hagelin, perhaps consider the possibility that this is all he’s is trying to do—make our world a better place. Have we become too cynical to listen to such a voice of hope? Not all of us have. I’m not talking about gullibility, but mere open-mindedness. Rake it across the burning coals of scientific scrutiny, but first give it a chance.

Patanjali said thousands of years ago: “In the vicinity of yoga (unified awareness) hostile tendencies disappear.”

Maybe he was right. There are many ancient texts, passed down from the Vedic rishis (scientists of consciousness. perhaps?) that record experiences of a fundamental, unified field at the basis of nature’s functioning. They called it Atma, Brahman, Samadhi, and had many precise technical terms for various levels of the experience. But the experience is universal and is recorded in every culture.

And I’d like to hear from Vishal: what specifically was overthrown by Lord Buddha, as far as the fundamental principals of Vedic knowledge? I don’t mean, what were the points of misinterpretation that Buddha debunked, but what actual expressions of Vedic texts did Buddha prove (didactically or through other means) to be invalid?

Just because fundamentalist Hindu nationalists have appropriated certain Vedic teachings does not invalidate the fundamental principles of Vedic knowledge that pertain to the development of consciousness. The Vedic tradition of knowledge and what today is known as Hinduism are two different things. The Vedic tradition and it’s methodologies predates the Hindu religion by several thousand years. But this is another discussion that would probably take more explaining than people here have patience for, at the moment.