The Way Home
This book’s full title is The G.O.D. Experiments – How Science is Discovering God in Everything, Including Us. I came across it when it fell into my hands one afternoon while I was trawling the stacks at the Bangor (Maine) Public Library. The title piqued my interest immediately, so I flipped open the first few pages. At the top of the first page I focused on was, “It’s too coincidental to be accidental”. That did it. I hauled in my nets, signed the book out, and took it home.
For a seeker, this book is an interesting read. Its only aspect that threw me a little off balance is a tendency by the author to remind the reader repeatedly of his credentials, which are impressive. I suspect in those instances he is writing more for his peers in science than the rest of us. That is, he may be concerned that they will think he’s nuts, and he wants to prove that he isn’t. For the rest of us, though, one exposure to his credentials is enough. From there, our interest is in his work, which is compelling.
Here is how the book introduces itself: “We no longer need to accept God on faith alone. This news won’t rock the boat of people for whom faith has been and always will be sufficient. But even the committed will, I think, find the support for their beliefs persuasive. And for everyone else, the results of the experiments and research presented in these pages open a world of new possibilities and new understanding.”
As regards the punctuation within the word GOD, the author explains, “To avoid all the emotional baggage that too often comes into play when somebody tries to tell you about his or her notion of God, in these pages you’ll find, instead, ‘G.O.D.’, which I use to suggest a Guiding, Organizing, Designing process.” It is that process, and the author’s scientific discovery of it throughout, well, the universe, which this book is about.
I chose Chapter 15, entitled “The Organizing Mind – New Discoveries Show How The Mind Organizes Matter”, to post here because it relates directly to the proposition considered often on this website that the inner and the outer are one and the same, that what each of us calls “my life” is simply what each of us calls “me” perceived outwardly. While many of us have suspected the reality of that, and even have come to know it, it is encouraging, as the author suggests, to have science prove it. (The other reason I chose Chapter 15 is that on its first page was an inked check mark, the only one in the book, presumably left by some previous reader!)
The principal author of this book, Gary E Schwartz, is professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at the University of Arizona and director of its laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health. He is also director of development of Energy Healing for Canyon Ranch Resorts. He earned a doctorate degree from Harvard. Besides the University of Arizona, he has taught at Harvard and Yale. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Schwartz has published more than four hundred scientific papers, edited eleven academic books, and, in addition to the The G.O.D. Experiments, he is the author of The Afterlife Experiments and The Truth About Medium, and the co-author of The Living Energy Universe.
The material reprinted here is from THE G.O.D. EXPERIMENTS by Gary E. Schwartz. Copyright © 2006 by by Gary E. Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. N.Y. for which we are extremely grateful.
As I was writing this chapter, Lonnie Nelson, now a Ph.D. but then a brilliant graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, was completing his fifth and final experiment for his master’s thesis. When I looked at the results of this experiment, my reaction was, “Okay, I give up”. He appeared to have demonstrated that a person’s state of mind leads electrons in a special electronic device to become more organized, even at a distance. That conscious intention can increase the organization of electrons flowing in a resistor shielded both from electrical and magnetic influence is a concept worthy of courageous thought.
The device he had been using, a random even generator, or REG, detects electron “noise” in a resistor, which is assumed to be random. A computer counts and plots the distribution of this electron noise over time. The RED used in our laboratory was designed and built by the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory (known as PEAR) in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. The pioneering work from PEAR, described in Professor Robert Jahn’s and Brenda Dunne’s book The Margins of Reality, requires that we revise our understanding about how the universe works.
An elegant series of studies conducted over two decades has shown conclusively that the human mind can influence the seemingly random behavior of balls and electrons, not only from a few feet away but from a distance of thousands of miles away as well; in these tests, the human subjects demonstrated their influence when working with mechanical machines such as pinball-like devices, and with electronic machines such as REGs. They are also called RNGs, which stands for random number generators.
For most subjects, the effects are very small, but they are highly reliable and replicable. If the average number of hits and misses detecting an electron in the REG averages 50 percent, people can shift the average up and down by intention alone approximately 2 percent.
In Paul Pearsall’s Wishing Well , current research on the organizing mind is reviewed, and the implications for human life and health are illustrated. When I read Paul’s book, I remember feeling (and resisting) the Margaret Mead statement quoted earlier, “These are the kind of data I wouldn’t believe, even if they were true.” But these data are valid. The data are real, and truth is supported by evidence. Moreover, the data are predicted by contemporary physics and systems science.
It was Lonnie’s fifth and final experiment that convinced me he had discovered something wonderful in our laboratory. One of the members of Lonnie’s master’s committee wanted to make sure that the effects he was observing were not due to subtle hand movements. To address this valid question, Lonnie and I designed the following experiment.
The subject was requested on some trials to move his hands up and down a few inches directly above the REG device. Though the device was electrically and magnetically shielded, and therefore should not respond to simple electrostatic body-motion field effects, we rant the hand movement trials nonetheless. On other trials, the subject moved his hands up and down four feet away from the device. It is known that electrostatic body-motion field effects decrease dramatically with distance; hence, if moving hands did have an electromagnetic effect on REG, the effect would be larger when the hand movement trials were close to the device. The order of trials was counterbalanced as required by controlled experimental design. After each one-minute trial, the subject rated how absorbed he was (that is, how well he had managed to concentrate on the task), and also the degree to which he lost track of time (a measure of “trance” or “daydream” state).
The data spoke for themselves. Distance per se had no measurable influence on the average number of hits and misses of the electron’s behavior detected and tracked precisely on the computer. In other words, the electromagnetic shielding worked as designed by the electrical engineers at Princeton. However, the trials where the subject reported being in a deeper trance or daydream state, regardless of distance, were associated with statistically significant increases in the organization of electrons’ behavior. Just as Lonnie had found in his previous four experiments, high states of trance or daydreaming were associated with increased organization of electrons in the REG.
It is important to understand that in this research, the subject was not attempting to influence the device per se with his mind. There person was simply moving his hands, or playing a computer game, or deliberately daydreaming, or doing different kinds of meditation. Regardless of the task, when the subject was more absorbed, the RED responded with increased order. In other words, in a system where electrons have relative freedom to change their behavior (that is, they have relative independence — recall that contemporary physics tells us that nothing is completely independent), the electrons spontaneously became more organize in the presence of an absorbed, organized mind. Remarkably, the organization of the subject’s mind was paralleled to some degree by the organization of the electrons in the REG. Mind and electrons, connected over distance, spontaneously resonating together. A new form of the synchronization described in Steven Strogatz’s book Sync.
From One Mind To Many Minds
If you follow the reasoning, you are led to the prediction that groups of minds, joined by a common cause and absorbed together, might have an even greater effect on REGs. Research by Roger Nelson and colleagues from Princeton and by Dean Radin, currently at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, as well as Dick Beirman, a professor at a university in Germany, have separately and collaboratively documented many examples of group consciousness effects on REGs, even over thousands of miles distance. I know that this sounds hard to believe, but when we let the data speak, sometimes the data say very strange things; in quantum physics, there is actually a term for such things: they’re called “quantum weirdness”!
My colleagues and I conducted an experiment that truly challenges the commonsense belief that randomness can exist in nature. We collected REG data twenty-four hours a day from Friday through Sunday over three consecutive weekends, with a pre-test weekend baseline in Arizona, an experimental weekend in New York, and a post-test weekend baseline in Florida.
The experimental weekend was at an international Qigong conference in New York City, where approximately twenty-five hundred practitioners of Yan Xin Qigong, a particular form of Chinese meditation, met for a conference. I brought a laptop computer and the REG device to the meetings, and recorded the REG data both in the meetings and during the evenings back in the hotel. The meetings included group meditation practices, watching dancing, hearing meditative music, and listening to Qigong lectures.
There were three possible predictions:
Prediction 1: There would be no REG organizing effects during the conference periods. The conference periods would look like non-conference periods recorded as baselines in Tucson and Boca Raton.
Prediction 2: There would be REG organizing effects during the conference periods, but the effects would disappear during the night and also during periods when the conference broke up into groups. this was the prediction my Western U.S. collaborators made.
Prediction 3: There would be REG organizing effects observed during the conference periods, and these effects would carry over and continue, even the device was moved back to the hotel. This was the prediction made by my Eastern Chinese collaborators. They claimed that the group qi continues even during the evenings, since they meditate and interact virtually nonstop for the entire weekend.
The Evidence: What did the data say? The Western scientists were wrong: the data supported Prediction 3. Much to my surprise, the REG continued to deviate from chance throughout the entire weekend. Was this just a New York City effect? Or did this have something to do with the Qigong conference? (The questions are tantalizing, and I look forward to conducting follow-up studies.)
However, whether the effect was due to group Qigong, group process per se, New York City group consciousness, or other possible sources of synchrony is not important here. What’s important is that reliable deviations of REGs could be observed, even in group contexts, and that the behavior of electrons in electromagnetically shielded devices is not immune from the organizing influence of the human mind — individually or collectively.
Mind may be able to organize matter in ways that the mind has yet to even imagine. As Paul Pearsall describes in his Wishing Well, and Larry Dossey in Reinventing Medicine , the mind is more than amazing — it may be an expression of the ultimate organizing process, a Universal Organizing Consciousness.
In a most remarkable series of recent studies, William Tiller, professor emeritus from Stanford University, and his colleagues have been documenting how mental intentions can be imprinted in an electronic device that then alters the structure of systems, even when the devices are shipped and tested thousands of miles from where they were imprinted. In my favorite example, Tiller and colleagues have the devices imprinted with the intention that the pH of water will be increased. They then ship the devices, along with control devices not imprinted with intention, across the country for blind testing in a laboratory. the imprinted devices, when placed near water, produce an acceleration in the pH of water as recorded by a computer. The control devices do not.
Tiller proposes that the mind is the original and ultimate organizing process. This parallels what the physicist Gerald L. Schroeder, Ph.D., author of in The Science of God, proposes in the quotation that introduces this chapter.
These are indeed paradigm-shaking experiments whose implications change our visions of everything. The general predictions follow directly from the integration of contemporary physics with systems science, and they point to the existence of a G.O.D. process in the universe as a whole.
Is The Age of Perceived Independence Coming to An End?
The age of independence may be coming to an end. As Einstein said it, “Our experience of separation may be an illusion of consciousness”.
The new science of dynamic interconnectedness, as expressed in Ervin Laszlo’s The Whispering Pond: A Personal Guide to the Emerging Vision of Science, leads us slowly but surely to an alternative vision of a creative unfolding, Guiding-Organizing-Designing universe, and therefore the end of randomness as we once thought we knew it.
In the process, this emerging vision provides us with “a reason to hope” (the title of R. Wayne Kraft’s visionary book). Everything may ultimately matter, including our wishes and even our prayers.
The great question becomes the origin of intention in all things everywhere.
Even what we see as disease may be revised by the emerging vision. Here is what I wrote in my 1983 master lecture to the http://www.apa.org/ American Psychological Association; the “third perspective” referred to is a special kind of complex order than in layman’s terms we think of as disorder.
The implications of this third perspective for viewing health suggests that what are typically called diseases are not random disorders. Rather, it is proposed that disease serves some ordering function for the evolution of the human species and nature in general. This ordering perspective encourages researchers to attempt to create a “periodic table of diseases” just as other have created a periodic table of the elements …
This analysis implies that there may well be a wisdom [intelligent evolution] to disease, and that people may need disease in order to help them be healthy. In other words, the existence of disease provides people with essential feedback that informs them of the fundamental rules for survival and evolution. If they listen to this feedback, they have the potential to evolve to the extent that they recognize how these fundamental limits and regulations are essential for survival and growth.
However, it is now the twenty-first century, and biology can guide us only so far. Our capacity to evolve our mind and consciousness is key, in addition to academic knowledge. With knowledge comes the need for the emergence of wisdom and taking personal responsibility.
It may be time that we start taking personal responsibility for the organizing potential of our minds, and learn how to become a wise species. Though it has been wise historically to separate Church (religion) and State (government), it may be time scientifically to connect G.O.D. (universal spirituality) with State; for example, “In G.O.D. We Trust”.
From THE G.O.D. EXPERIMENTS by Gary E. Schwartz. Copyright © 2006 by by Gary E. Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. N.Y.
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