What does it really mean to say we are all connected?
Three decades of research at Princeton University probed this question, daring to explore radical ideas about the relationship between mind and matter. Controversy stirred when the researchers published surprising evidence that mind and matter reflected each other in a mysterious way.
Ordinary individuals were able to shift the distributions of carefully designed random number generators (RNGs) using nothing more than their mental intention. The Princeton researchers seemed to have replicated an enigmatic effect previously reported by physicist Helmet Schmidt back in the 1970s.
The underlying probabilities of their sensitive systems were apparently responding to the intentions of otherwise completely separated individuals, revealing a mysterious ordering influence of consciousness. Later, Dean Radin reported similar effects at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Surprisingly, the RNGs also seemed to respond to marked shifts in attention occurring in their environment, departing from their ordinary random behavior and producing outputs that were more “ordered.”
Researchers took RNGs to a range of events, including mass meditations, sports events and other gatherings. Peaks of order were recorded during moments of shared attention and emotions. These controversial effects became the motivation for the Global Consciousness Project, in which psychologist Roger Nelson set up a network of RNGs all around the planet.
At first, nobody knew if the RNG network would produce anything significant, but as global events began unfolding, the RNGs responded. Some of the largest effects recorded by the Global Consciousness Project occurred on the fateful day of 9/11. Other events, including presidential inaugurations, tsunamis and deaths of public figures all seemed to stir the collective consciousness, producing ripples of order in the network. These findings stirred deep questions about the nature of consciousness for those scientists brave enough to confront the evidence.