The Issues: Are There historical precedents for the idea that individuals influence each other at a distancs?
Is there scientific evidence for the Maharishi Effect: Does the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program improve the quality of life in society?
Rationale for the Maharishi Effect
Summary of Key Studies
The Maharishi Effect is a phase transition to a more orderly and harmonious state of life, as measured by decreased crime, violence, accidents, and illness, and improvements in economic conditions and other social indicators. The scientists who discovered this effect named in honor of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who predicted 50 years ago that only a small fraction of the population participating in the Transcendental Meditation program would be sufficient to improve the quality of life and the whole society. During the past 31 years, this transformation of society has been documented scientifically, first at the city level, then at state and national levels, and then at the global level-the Global Maharishi Effect.
It has been found that the proportion of members of a society necessary to generate the Maharishi Effect is 1% practicing the Transcendental Meditation program or only the square root or 1% participating in the group practice of the TM-Sidhi program. This proportion is so small that the beneficial effects on society of the Maharishi Effect cannot be accounted for by behavioral interactions of the participants with other members of society. Instead, the results indicate a field effect, in which an influence of coherence produced by the participants radiates throughout the society.
There have been 50 studies showing that the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program (which includes Yogic Flying) improves the quality of life in the larger society; the findings of which have been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented and published in the proceedings of professional conferences.
Variables assessed in these studies include armed conflict, crime rate, violent fatalities (homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle fatalities), economic indicators, and broad quality of life indices which incorporate the above variables as well as rates of notifiable diseases, hospital admissions, infant mortality, divorce, cigarette and alcohol consumption, and GNP. Effects for each variable or for overall indices are in the direction of improved quality of life.
Download Word document list of 60 research and review papers on 51 studies on the Maharishi Effect. (click here)
Download a PDF of a recently published study on the Maharishi Effect reducing war: Davies, J. L. and C. N. Alexander. “Alleviating political violence through reducing collective tension: Impact Assessment analysis of the Lebanon war.” Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17: 285-338. (click here )
Link to new book on the application of the Maharishi Effect to create world peace: "Victory Before War". (click here)
Rationale for the Maharishi Effect
in the Perennial Philosophy
in the Social Sciences
Some Conceptual Precedents for a Field Theoretic View of Consciousness from the Perennial Philosophy, Social Sciences, and Quantum Physics
David W. Orme-Johnson, Ph.D.
February 4, 2008
The suggestion that individuals interact directly at a distance through an underlying common field of consciousness has a long history. Indeed, it is embedded in the “perennial philosophy,” the term Aldous Huxley (1945) first applied to the universal system of thought that has persisted throughout history in all parts of the world and which continues to be seriously discussed by major thinkers, as documented by Shear (1994). The key tenets of the perennial philosophy can be stated as: (1) the phenomenal world is a manifestation of an unmanifest transcendental ground, a field of consciousness or Being, which is the infinite organizing power structuring all forms and phenomena in the universe; (2) the human mind also has a transcendental ground, which is the silent level of transcendental consciousness at the basis of all thought and perception; (3) transcendental consciousness is the direct experience by the individual of the transcendental ground of the universe; and (4), this experience organizes individual and collective life to be fully evolutionary, creative, harmonious, and problem-free. From this perspective, the key to creating an ideal society is a technology that promotes transcending from the waking state mind to experience transcendental consciousness (Maharishi, 1977). The physiological correlates of transcendental consciousness through Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation technique have been extensively studied (e.g., Wallace, 1970; Travis & Pearson, 1999; Travis, Tecce, Arenander, & Wallace, 2002).
The transcendental ground of the universe is conceived of in terms of a God concept in many cultures. In others, like Taoism and Vedanta, it is simply regarded as an abstract field of pure consciousness.
Collective Consciousness in the Social Sciences
Concepts of collective consciousness have been proposed by some of the founders of the social sciences, such as Fechner’s transcendental basis of perception, Durkheim's conscience collective, and Jung’s collective unconscious.
Gustav Fechner is best known for developing methods of measuring sensory thresholds, which are the least amounts of energy that the senses can detect. What motivated his studies of thresholds was his experience of a single transcendental continuum of “general consciousness” underlying the discontinuities of numerous localized individual minds associated with different people. He illustrated the idea with a model in which individual minds were likened to separate islands in the water. But if the level of the water were lowered sufficiently, the “islands” would be seen to actually be mountains that are connected at their base by the ground. Like that, if the perceptual threshold were insensitive, as is usually the case, then each individual mind would experience itself as isolated from other minds. But if the sensory threshold were sufficiently refined, Fechner believed, the individual would experience the continuity of consciousness at the basis of all minds. Fechner felt that such a lowering of the sensory threshold was what happened to him when he himself had a direct experience of what he called the general consciousness.
Subsequently, Fechner set about to measure sensory thresholds as a way to study this phenomenon (James, 1898/1977). Although Fechner’s enterprise gave rise to the discipline of psychophysics, it did not shed any light on the general consciousness. This is because general consciousness transcends even the finest level of thought, and is far subtler than the finest sensory experience (Maharishi, 1969).
William James, the founder of psychology as an academic discipline in America, argued that none of the empirical findings of science about the brain contradict the notion that the brain may serve to reflect or transmit a transcendental, infinite continuity of consciousness underlying the phenomenal world, rather than produce consciousness de novo, as is commonly assumed in science (James, 1898/1977).
Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of modern sociology, described “collective consciousness” as the mind of society, created when “the consciousness of the individuals, instead of remaining isolated, becomes grouped and combined” (1951, pp. 310, 312, 313).
Carl Jung conceived of a collective unconscious as a “reservoir of experience of our species,” the repository of humanity’s collective experience common to everyone. In Jung’s view, the collective unconscious embodies archetypal patterns. These ideal patterns guide the growth of the individual psyche toward more ideal levels of integration and self-actualization. Jung argued that the common patterns found in the arts, literatures, and cultural artifacts of different parts of the world were evidence for the archetypes of the collective unconscious. He believed that the ideal archetypal patterns inherent in the collective unconscious manifest in cultural traditions, social roles, dreams, and intuition to guide the development of the individual mind (Campbell, 1949). Development of specific individual personalities was seen as actualization of specific universal patterns, which defined the individual’s unique roles in society. In his later work, Jung changed the term from collective unconscious to objective psyche: “objective” because it was common to every one and also objective because it embodied an objective, universal ideal pattern, free from individual subjective notions of what was ideal.
Jung’s archetypes of the collective unconscious can be thought of as laws of nature in terms of structures of consciousness. Precedents for the notion that laws of nature are structures of consciousness can be found throughout the Western tradition. Plato, for example, held that the highest and most fundamental kind of reality were transcendental Forms, which are not known to us through the senses. The Forms are the basic models that structure the universe and from which all created beings are formed. They can be said to be structures of consciousness in Plato's philosophy because they are held to be “Ideas” of the great original intelligence. The most fundamental Form is the Idea of the Good, which is the fountainhead of the entire hierarchy of Forms, the supreme and dominant principle of the whole. The Good is said to be the source of justice, truth, equality and beauty, and all things ultimately evolve towards realizing the qualities of the Good, according to Plato. Related examples from the Western tradition that there are laws of nature, which are structures of consciousness, are St. Augustine’s concept that the laws governing the universe are the Thoughts of God and Leibniz’s idea that the mechanics of creation are governed by non-composite, immaterial, soul-like entities called “monads.”
The historical conceptions of “laws of nature” as structures of consciousness are akin to the usage of the term in ethical theory. In this tradition, Natural Law (capitalized) is held to be an absolute, universally valid set of principles inherent in nature, which are the standard against which human made laws can be compared, criticized, and improved (Natural Law, 1968). This is different from the meaning of natural law in science. In science, natural law means a set of generalized principles, or mathematical relationships, which have been verified by a sufficient amount of empirical evidence to be generally held to be true. They are never said to be absolutes, because they are always open to empirical falsification, which leads to rejection or amendment (Davies, 1992; Feynman, 1965). By contrast, the Laws of Nature in ethical theory, such as Plato’s Forms or Jung’s Archetypes, are said to be absolutes.
Presumably, as science evolves its understanding to fathom the deepest laws of nature through its empirical methods, it will converge on the absolute Laws of Nature. The ethical question is, will the absolutes of science—should they exist, should they be empirically discoverable, and should they be discovered— be relevant to the arena of human law and behavior, as the Perennial Philosophy implies and as the ethical theory of Natural Law asserts? The scientific question is, what instrument of observation will be able to detect this convergence?
Like ethical theory, Maharishi’s theory of collective consciousness holds that there does exist an absolute level of natural law as the basis of ideal human law and behavior. Concordant with science, it asserts that its existence can be empirically verified in transcendental consciousness, the self-referral state in which the observer, observation, and observed relationship collapses into the observer becoming the direct object of observation in the self-referral state of consciousness. As in science, the human observer is the observer. That is, the individual’s experience (observation) of the transcendental ground of the mind, also known as transcendental consciousness, is, in fact, the experience (observation) of the transcendental ground of the universe.
In other words, the only instrument of observation capable of observing this transcendental ground state is the human nervous system functioning in a highly refined state. It may seem unlike science to have the instrument of observation BE the observer. However, the predicted consequences of this observation on the observer’s mind, physiology, and behavior, as well as its predicted consequences on the observer’s environment and collective consciousness, can be empirically investigated and hence validated, as will be documented below.
In any event, none of the previous theories relating to collective consciousness became mainstream pursuits in the social sciences because there was no way to operationally define the key components of the theories so that they could be empirically tested. Consequently, the paradigms of the social sciences have been dominated by the limited materialist worldview of classical Newtonian physics, which precludes the possibility of field effects of consciousness, and has focused the social sciences on direct behavioral interactions. Indeed, before the rise of materialism in the twentieth century, there were many mainstream thinkers in the West who spoke of an all-pervading field of consciousness (mind or spirit) at the basis of manifest world. In the context of history, the heterodox view is the materialist one that eliminates consciousness from the equation, not the view that there is an all-pervading consciousness. Twentieth century social scientists are in a minority of the historical view that there is a universal consciousness at the foundation of the world (c.f., Chandler, in press).
However, the development of quantum mechanics has reopened the question of a more basic role of consciousness in natural law.
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Field-Theoretic Views of Consciousness in Modern Physics
Many of the founders of modern physics have expressed their insights that, like the perennial philosophy, the ultimate reality is a field of consciousness. Although the remarks of great scientists are not formally a part of science, it is significant that those who understand the scientific paradigm most clearly have made such statements. For example, Sir James Jeans (1932), the eminent British physicist and mathematician who was the first to propose that matter is continuously created throughout the universe, said: “Thirty years ago, we thought, or assumed that we were heading towards an ultimate reality of a mechanical kind .... Into this wholly mechanical world .... life had stumbled by accident .... Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimously, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter—not of course our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms of which our individual minds have grown exist.....” (pp. 185-186).
Jeans further said, "When we view ourselves in space and time, our consciousnesses are obviously the separate individuals of a particle-picture, but when we pass beyond space and time, they may perhaps form ingredients of a single continuous stream of life. As it is with light and electricity, so may it be with life; the phenomena may be individuals carrying on separate existences in space and time, while in the deeper reality beyond space and time we may all be members of one body." (1981, p. 204; c.f., Dossey, 1989, p. 125)
Eugene Wigner, Nobel laureate and pioneer of measurement theory, explains this change in science’s perspective on consciousness as follows: "When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again: it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness .....” (Wigner, 1967, pp. 172, 186).
Max Planck, the first physicist to discern the quantized nature of the apparently physical world, was lead by the implications of his studies to state, "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness" (Klein, 1984, front matter). More recently, H.P. Stapp (1993), a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory long acknowledged for his contributions to the S matrix approach to quantum mechanics, concluded his book, Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics, by saying that quantum “particles” and their interactions are “idea-like” rather than “matter-like.”
This view has been similarly expressed by other eminent physical scientists, for example, Sir Arthur Eddington’s “mind stuff” and Wolfgang Pauli’s “unity of all being” (cited in Dossey, 1989, p. 124). In an article on quantum mechanics appearing in Scientific American, French physicist Bernard d'Espagnat summarized the field by stating, “The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with the facts established by experiment” (1979, p. 158).
Quantum mechanics recognizes that the nervous system of the observer, the observed, and the measuring device all form a single quantum mechanical system (Farwell, 1996). The question is, at what point does the system become a classical, discrete Newtonian observation with the definite attributes and locations of our ordinary world of appearances? At what point does the abstract wave function of probabilities collapse into a single result? One of the world’s foremost mathematicians and fathers of computer science, John von Neumann, traced the process from the objective system under observation—the observed—which is quantum mechanical, to the measuring device, which is also quantum mechanical, to the nervous system, which is yet still quantum mechanical. Von Neumann concluded that only in the consciousness of the observer do we have a classical observation. He wrote, “Indeed, experience only makes statements of this type: an observer has made a certain (subjective) observation; and never any like this: a physical quantity has a certain value” (von Neumann, 1955, p. 420). On this point, Maharishi quotes the Rg Veda as saying, “Knowledge is structured in consciousness,” commenting that our conceptualization of “objective” reality is structured in the consciousness of the observer (1994).
Similarly, Erwin Schrodinger, who received the Nobel prize for his development of the Schrodinger equation, the most widely used mathematical tool in quantum theory, put it this way, “Mind has erected the objective outside world of the natural philosopher out of its own stuff” (Schrodinger, 1958/1967, p.131)....The reason why our sentient, percipient and thinking ego is met nowhere within our scientific world picture can easily be indicated in seven words: because it is itself that world picture” (ibid, p.138). Supporting this view, modern neuroscience recognizes that size, shape, color, texture, visibility, and all other qualities of an object of experience are not uniquely determined by the external world but are features of subjective experience (Farwell, 1996; Farwell & Farwell, 1995).
Schodinger also argued for the primacy of consciousness from an analysis of volitional action: “So let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises:
“(i) My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature.
“(ii) Yet, I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take responsibility for them.
“The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I—I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt ‘I,’,—am the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the Laws of Nature.” (Schrodinger, 1944, pp. 92-93, quoted in Farwell, 1996).
The conclusion from quantum mechanics is that our perceptual reality of the material world as well as our voluntary action upon that world is not structured “out there” but is structured “in here” in the mind. The apparent stability of the observed world and the high degree of agreement that is achieved between observers is because the most fundamental level of consciousness where perception is constructed, transcendental consciousness, is universal and eternally non-changing, infinitely stable.
With recent developments of unified field theory, several physicists have noted that at fundamental scales, much of the objective character of macroscopic, classical physics begins to disappear and characteristically subjective qualities begin to emerge (Davies, 1984, pp. 104-112; Llewellyn-Smith, 1981). Physicist John Hagelin, an expert in superstring theory, has advanced this discussion by pointing out structural and functional parallels between the unified field theory (Schwanzschild, 1985; Waldrop, 1985) and pure consciousness, as described in the Vedic tradition of India (Hagelin, 1987). Hagelin’s core papers on superstring theory are among the most cited references in the physical sciences (Antoniadis, et al., 1987, 1988; Ellis, et al., 1984, 1993) and he is directly familiar with transcendental consciousness from over 30 years of practice of the Transcendental Meditation program. In addition, he has spent hundreds of hours discussing modern physics and consciousness with Maharishi, the world’s foremost expert in consciousness and in the Vedic tradition of knowledge. Hagelin points out that while the details of the superstring and its precise mathematical formulation remain lively areas of research and debate, there is little dissension among theorists as to the veracity of the overall picture that natural law is unified at the Planck scale (Hagelin, 1987; Hagelin, 1989).
Hagelin writes, "In the last few decades scientists realized that with the progression towards finer distance scales an increasing unification of the laws of nature takes place so that previously separate quantum fields turn out to be merely different components of underlying unified quantum fields. This process of unification culminates in the complete unification at the level of the Planck scale (10-33 cm). Various force and matter fields are unified into one single unified field—the holistic transcendental field underlying all manifest creation.” (in Maharishi, 1996, pp. 159, 160) Hagelin points out that if, as is proposed in current quantum field theory, the unified field is the source of all phenomena, it should be the source of subjective as well as objective existence. Indeed, since the unified field is the only dynamical degree of freedom present at the superunified scale, at that level the observer and observed both would be found within the same self-interacting dynamics of the unified field, hence it would be formally as much a field of subjectivity as of objectivity (Hagelin, 1987). Hagelin cites research on the effects of Transcendental Meditation program on social indicators as the chief empirical evidence available for a field theoretic view of consciousness and for the connection between consciousness and the unified field. A subsequent paper will review this evidence from 50 studies. (see summary of key studies.)
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Antoniadis, I., J. Ellis, J.S. Hagelin, and D.V. Nanopoulos., 1987 “Supersymmetric flipped SU(5) revitalized.” Physics Letters (insert year); 194B:231-235.
Antoniadis, I., J. Ellis, J. S. Hagelin, and D.V. Nanopoulos 1988. “An improved flipped SU(5) model from four-dimensional string.” Physics Letters (insert year); 208B:209-215.
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Summary of Key Studies
studies on crime
studies on other quality of life indicators
studies on war and international conflicts
This research has: (1) statistically controlled for a wide range of demographic variables; (2) used causal cross-lagged analysis methods, which have indicated that increasing numbers practicing the Transcendental Meditation program are followed by improvements in society; (3) employed time series analyses to control for seasonality, trends, drifts, and rival hypotheses, and to demonstrate temporal relationships among variables that support a causal model; and (4) experimentally created large groups of Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants in various populations to demonstrate positive changes on specific social indicators predicted in advance. In the tradition of naming scientific discoveries after their founder (e.g., the Meissner Effect, the Doppler Effect), this discovery was named the Maharishi Effect (Borland & Landrith, 1976) after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation program and the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program, who predicted the effect many years in advance of its verification.
Studies on Crime
• Decreased Crime Rate in 24 U.S. Cities: Crime trend was established by linear regression from 1967-72 for 24 cities that reached 1% of their population participating in the Transcendental Meditation program in 1972 and for 24 control cities matched for total population, college population, and geographic region. The 1% cities were found to have a significant reduction in crime trend during the six-year experimental period from 1972-1977 compared to controls. The two groups of cities did not differ on a large number of variables known to affect crime: per capita income, percentage of persons aged 15 to 29, percent unemployed, and percent of families below the poverty level. Statistical control through analysis of covariance for three variables on which the two groups of cities did differ (median years education, stability of residence, and pre-intervention crime rate) showed reduced crime trends in the 1% cities when these variables were taken into account (Dillbeck, Landrith and Orme-Johnson, Crime and Justice, IV, 26-45,1981).
• Crime Rate in 160 U.S. Cities: A study of a random sample of 160 U.S. cities found that increasing numbers of Transcendental Meditation program participants in the cities over a seven-year period (1972-1978) was followed by reductions in crime rate (FBI Uniform Crime Index total), controlling through partial correlation for other variables known to affect crime, such as median years education, percent unemployment, per capita income, percent of families in poverty, stability of residence, percent over age 65, population size, population density, and ratio of police per population. Cross-lagged panel analysis supported a causal interpretation (Dillbeck, Banus, Polanzi, & Landrith, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 9, 457-486, 1989).
• Decreased Crime Rate in U.S. Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas: A second cross-lagged panel analysis of a random sample of 80 U.S. standard metropolitan statistical areas representing half of the metropolitan population of the U.S. replicated the above result. Over the eight-year period from 1972-1979, increases in percentage of the population participating in the Transcendental Meditation program were followed by reductions in total crime rate, controlling for the same variables as in the study of U.S. cities (Crime and Justice, IV, 26-45,1981), as well as for black population and change in black population. The pattern of results gave evidence of a causal influence of the Transcendental Meditation program on reduced crime. (Dillbeck, Banus, Polanzi, & Landrith, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 9, 457-486, 1989).
• Decreased Crime Rate in Washington, D.C. Another approach to assessing the causal structure of the relationship between variables is through the use of time series analysis. This approach allows inference to be made about immediate changes in crime on the basis of increases in the size of the group of meditators. Time series analysis controls for the possibility that increasing numbers of meditators is correlated with decreasing crime owing to common cycles and trends in both factors that are causally unrelated. A time series transfer function study of weekly data from October 1981 through October 1983 found that increases in the group participation in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program at the College of Natural Law located in the District of Columbia was followed by reductions in violent crime. It was found that 76.6% of the decrease in violent crimes in the District over the two years can be attributed to the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program group. Changes in the percentage of young male adults in the population could not account for the results, nor could neighborhood watch programs or changes in police coverage (Dillbeck, Banus, Polanzi, & Landrith, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 9, 457-486, 1989).
• Decreased Crime in New Delhi, India: Another time series study found that a group of Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants located in New Delhi from November 1980 to March 1981 produced an 11% decrease in total crime (136.34 fewer reported crimes per day) in the Union Territory of Delhi. (Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, & Mittlefehldt, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8, 67-104, 1988).
• Decreased Crime in Puerto Rico: A time series study of monthly data in 1984 found 543 fewer crimes per month in Puerto Rico during months when a group of long-term Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants exceeded the square root of 1% of the 3.4 million population of the island for two weeks or more during the month. In addition, the study found an increase in crime rate associated with the departure of the group. The result could not be attributed to a police vigilance program or to other causes. This study also observed an apparent attenuation of crime in Puerto Rico associated with a large assembly of 4000 Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants located at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa in July, 1984 (Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, & Mittlefehldt, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8, 67-104, 1988).
• Decreased Crime in Metro Manila, Philippines: A time series study of weekly data found a 12.1% decrease in total crime rate in Metro Manila from August 1984 through January 1985, during months when a group of long-term Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program participants exceeded the square root of 1% of the 8 million population of the city (Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, & Mittlefehldt, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8, 67-104, 1988).
• Decreased Crime in Washington, D.C. and Increased Support for the President: A critical demonstration on the effectiveness of this technology was experimentally tested on its ability to reduce crime and increase governmental effectiveness in Washington, D.C. in June and July of 1993. Washington has one of the highest levels of violent crime of any city in the world, providing a highly stressed collective consciousness for government to work in. In advance of the project, a research protocol was developed by an independent Project Review Board working with scientists of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy of Maharishi International University. The protocol predicted decreased crime and specified time series methods, control variables, and specific statistical criteria of success for evaluating the project. In addition, the Protocol predicted improved public confidence in government. A group of 4,000 Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program participants assembled in Washington from 82 countries. The dependent variables were daily violent crime in Washington, D.C. and weekly public opinion poll data on President Clinton. The experimental design employed Box-Jenkins time series transfer function analysis. The results showed that as the group size increased, there was a highly significant decrease in violent crime from predicted levels, reaching a 16% reduction when the group was largest; p=.0008. In addition, there was a highly significant improvement in President Clinton’s ratings in the public opinion polls; p<.00001 (Hagelin, Orme-Johnson, Rainforth, Cavanaugh, and Alexander. The effects of the national demonstration project to reduce violent crime and improve governmental effectiveness in Washington, D. C.: Interim report. Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy Technical Report 94:1, 1994).
Studies on Other Quality of Life Indicators
• Improved Quality of Life in the Philippines: Another time series study, which used monthly data for Metro Manila and the Philippines in 1979, found improved quality of life on a global quality of life indicator. This consisted of reduced crime index data, fetal deaths and other mortality rates. The effect decreased as the size of the group decreased over the next two years. Other factors, such as change in police activities, could not account for the result (Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, & Mittlefehldt, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8, 67-104, 1988).
• Improved Quality of Life Rhode Island: A study in the state of Rhode Island in the summer of 1978 found improved quality of life on a monthly index of eight measures, including crime, deaths, motor vehicle fatalities, auto accidents, unemployment, beer and cigarette consumption, and air pollution (total suspended particles) (Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, & Mittlefehldt, Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8, 67-104, 1988).
• Decreased Violent Death in the U.S.: A time series study was carried out using weekly data on violent deaths (homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle fatalities) for the U.S. during 1982-1985. Using the intervention analysis approach, the study found a decline of 31 deaths per week when the group of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program participants at Maharishi International University exceeded the square root of 1% of the U.S. population (approximately 1600). Using the transfer function approach, the steady state gain showed 55 fewer deaths per week associated with a group of 1600 (Dillbeck, Social Indicators Research, in press).
• Reduced Inflation and Unemployment in the U.S. and Canada: Time series transfer function analysis of monthly data from 1979 to 1988 revealed that an index of inflation and unemployment (Okun’s Misery Index) in the U.S. decreased as a function of increases in the number of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program group program at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, controlling for crude materials prices and the monetary base, as well as controlling for seasonal changes and trends. The estimated long-run effect on the U.S. of 1600 or more in the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program group was a 52.8% decline in the index from the peak level for the index during the period 1979 to 1988. The effect on Canada was less than for the U.S. (Cavanaugh and King, Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Business and Economic Statistics Section, 1987, 1988).
Studies on War and International Conflicts
• Reduced Armed Conflict and Improved Quality of Life in the Middle East: Using Box-Jenkins impact assessment, cross-correlation, and transfer function analyses, this study found that increases in a group of individuals in Jerusalem practicing Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program had a statistically significant effect on improving the quality of life in Jerusalem (reduced automobile accidents, fires, and crime), improving the quality of life in Israel (reduced crime, and increased stock market and national mood, measured by news content analysis), and reducing the war in Lebanon (fewer war deaths of all factions and decrease war intensity measured by news content analysis). The effects of high religious holidays, temperature, weekends, and other forms of seasonality were explicitly controlled for and could not account for these results. Cross-correlations and transfer functions supported a causal interpretation. This was a prospective experiment, in which the outcomes were predicted in advance. All the variables were publicly available data, and a list of the variables used in the study was posited prior to the experiment with an outside Project Review Board. (Orme-Johnson, Alexander, et al., Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32(4), 776-812, 1988; Orme-Johnson, Alexander, & Davies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 34(4), 756-768, 1990).
• Decreased International Terrorism and Conflict: Three large assemblies of the Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants were held from 1981-1985, ranging in length from 8-21 days, in which the group approached or exceeded the size predicted to create a global influence (approximately 7000). International conflict was measured daily for a period of time before, during, and after each of the three assemblies; the three time series analyses were generated from blind rating of news events in major international newspapers (New York Times for two assemblies, London Times for one) using a standard methodology for scoring international conflict events. A second variable studied was casualties and injuries due to international terrorism, which was received from the Rand Corporation data bank for 1983 to 1985 (aggregated in five-day periods). Capital International’s world index of stock prices was also obtained daily from mid-1983 to mid-1985 as a measure of global short-term economic confidence. Time series intervention analyses using the Akaike information criterion to objectively define optimal noise models indicated a significant decrease of 36%, 24%, and 35% in international conflict during the three assemblies, a significant drop in international terrorism of 72% at five days (one observation) after the beginning of the three assemblies taken together, and a small but significant increase in the World stock index during the three assemblies taken together. Control analyses conducted for previous years indicated that these results could not reasonably be attributed to year-end effects, the time of two of the assemblies. (Orme Johnson, Dillbeck, Alexander, Chandler, and Cranson, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 1989).
• Alleviation of Political Violence in the Lebanon War: Seven assemblies of the Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants held within a two and a quarter year period in Lebanon, Israel, Yugoslavia, The Netherlands, and the U.S. were each found to have a highly significant impact on the Lebanon war, as indicated by a 66% increase in the level of cooperation among antagonists, a 48% reduction in the level of conflict, and a 68% reduction in war injuries. (Davies and Alexander, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August, 1989).
• Improved U.S.-Soviet Relations: From January 1984 to December, 1987, time series analysis found that when the number of Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program participants at MIU exceeded 1755, there was increased positivity in the U.S. president’s statements about U.S.-Soviet relations, as well as a marked increase in the number of such statements (Gelderloos, Frid, & Xue, Proceeding of the Annual Meeting of the Iowa Academy of Science, Abstract, 1989).
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