The Global Consciousness Project

What is the nature of Global Consciousness?

Blog years


Roger Nelson

GCP blog

This (archived) page is the repository for the occasional updates I have been sending to the GCP mailing list every two or three months over the years.

GCP/EGG Update Dec 23 2007

In my cover note I sent wishes for the holiday season and a healthy, peaceful New Year. I also mentioned a quest for a short, strong expression of a thought that seems to be a necessary understanding, and to present an important question: What can we do about the fact that throughout history it is our leaders who have caused trouble, have made war, and who have thus created the misery that too often characterizes the lives or causes the deaths of so many people?

Leaders want war. People don't. (Most will realize this is an exaggerated form of Some leaders choose war to serve their needs, while most people don't benefit and don't want war.)

Is this so? Well, usually, yes. We can find exceptions I am sure, like simple migratory invasion of a settled territory by people from elsewhere, looking for survival sustenance. But even in such an example close examinations finds leadership that instead of cooperative intent chooses violent cooptation of land and resources—and, not insignificantly, control and power. As Teilhard de Chardin put it:

The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth.

Albert Einstein put the same understanding in different words:

A human being is part of the whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences his thoughts and feeling as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal decisions and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

In the GCP/EGG project it is fair to say that the convergent evidence for something we like to call Global Consciousness continues to gather. Personally, I have had to give up a part of my skepticism. (It may surprise many readers that I am skeptical, but that is the way I was raised, and all my formal education was typical in reinforcing a show me attitude.) The independent pieces of evidence generated by my colleagues, notably Peter Bancel and William Treurniet, look at the data from different perspectives from mine, and they all dovetail. That is, we see statistically significant effects in answer to very different questions, and in all cases, there should be no effects because the data are designed to be random. Moreover, the context for these effects is what one can think of as control data which are indeed random as expected.

Some recent work has focused on separating the 250 formal events into categories, updating and extending similar work in 2004. Beyond the assignment to subsets such as War, Celebration, Sports, Politics, etc., we have been looking at a more sharply defined set of categories, attempting to collect those events that evoke or contain basic emotions like Fear, Love, Grief, or Anger. Of course assignment decisions have to be largely subjective, but they can be made with sufficient reliability to be instructive, and quite interesting. The upshot is that we find some strong differences that suggest the global consciousness we are attempting to detect responds in ways quite similar to individual humans. The strongest and most reliable GCP/EGG responses are to powerful emotions of fear and love or compassion. Events with low emotional intensity don't produce much effect. Both positive and negative events have strong influences, but if the events are neutral, non-emotional, we don't see trends in the data. I have made a small slide show of the emotion results. This is work in progress, not to be further distributed, please.

For now, let me wish you all the best for this holiday season, and for all of us peace and good health in the coming New Year. I expect 2008 to be eventful, and for many more of our leaders to take positive steps toward wise and creative stewardship of the earth.

GCP/EGG Update Nov 18 2007

The past few months have been something like a whirlwind of travel, conferences, meetings, interviews ... I am looking forward to some downtime with a slower pace and meditative moments. The metaphors of the seasons really seem especially appropriate this year. It is time for a Winter season in my schedule, and in some respects, it actually is necessary.

For example, in the last two weeks, while catching up from a month on the road, and preparing for presentations and workshops that I'll be doing next week, I have also been working to bring the Egg network back up to its full size. Eggs stop running for various reasons, and it is part of my job to keep track, and to help the hosts bring their eggs back online. Most of the time that's easy, but there are some cases that require troubleshooting and dealing with new issues (like increasingly agressive firewalls that don't know about our unique communication protocols.) Anyhow, the upshot is that the total number of Eggs in the network has fallen under 60, and I'm hoping we'll soon recover or replace the lost Eggs.

The good news is that our world is a beautiful place, and it is a delight and a privilege to be able to experience the geography and the people out there. Travel gives perspective on who we are, and enriches our possibilities by stretching our conceptions. There are lots of serious problems in the world that mostly come down to seeing others where we could see brothers. Quite by accident I came across an insightful speech by an Irish foundation official to colleagues in Washington, DC, about perceptions of the US abroad. I think it is worth a read.

We have several new events in the Results table, and the bottom line probablility for a chance explanation of the formal tests of our general hypothesis is now less than 1 in a million. Some of the recent events are samples from what seems to be a growing number and richness of broadly organized meditations and vigils for peace and a heathy future (e.g., the Global OM on Sept 15, and the International Day of Peace on Sept 21). Others are sharply focused. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies for Al Gore and the UN Panel on Climate Change are associated with a heartening data trend. There are great tragedies too, in our complex world. The effects of the category IV cyclone Sidr that smashed and flooded the coast of Bangladesh seem to have been noted by the Egg network, which displays steady data trends over many hours.

There are also new results in the comprehensive analyses that are mostly the work of Peter Bancel. These can be seen through links on the analytical extensions page. One of the most astonishing of these is the long-term trend examination and the apparent correlation with polling results. The results in this analysis continue to get stronger, and stimulate inclinations to attribute real-world meaning to the GCP results. The most recent update of this analysis shows that the surprisingly long, downward trend in the data that began in late 2001 still continues, and it is highly significant.

I am tempted to predict an inflection in the trend about one year from now, and a return to normal expectation (a level cumulative deviation trace). If we are really lucky and begin to recognize and accept our fundamental interconnection and interdependence, I think the trend will reverse and turn positive. This expectation is not mine alone, as you all know. For example, Positive Future Consulting has promising and provocative messages for those who look forward. I looked around there, and found much to appreciate, including Three Prayers for Humanity.

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving, which will be in a few days, on Thursday the 22nd of November in the US. I think this holiday is increasingly celebrated in other countries, often with a different date, but with the same meaning. It commemorates a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, and now as in 1621 it is to give thanks for the things one has at the end of the harvest season. It is almost unique in retaining a non-commercial character, and bringing people together to share the blessings nature bestows. Thank you for your presence among those blessings.


GCP/EGG Update Sept 14 2007

Sometimes I am tempted to write about political and propaganda matters in these update notes. But since I want the notes to reflect the science and art of the GCP, I can't do much of that despite the deep feelings of sadness and frustration we probably all share about the difficulties we face making a healthy world.

As usual, there are interesting new bits and pieces. For example, I have developed the Conclusions page somewhat further, and it now has an extensive list of clear and well-supported findings, as well as a shorter list of recent analyses. There appears to be a moment for global consciousness on the order of 1 or 2 hours, analogous to a moment in human consciousness of something like 100 milliseconds.

Several new formal events have been added (e.g., the Fire the Grid event, and the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the Peruvian earthquake). And some recent exploratory events may be of interest, including the release of Deathly Hallows and more recently, the safe landing of NASA's teacher in space, Barbara Morgan. The former are linked to the Results table, and the latter to recent items in the list of Informal analyses.

A moment of social/political rumination: How can we actually affect the way things develop on the earth, our only home? One of the implications I see from the GCP work is encouragement to believe what we think and feel and wish for actually has a presence in the world. In other words, that holding an intention for things to change can help them do so—albeit with such subtlety it is difficult to see. On the other hand, many of the changes I wish for, and imagine you do too, are an uphill challenge because there are strong forces and influences that would rather maintain our societal structures and emphases as they are. I am thinking of, for example, the political system in the US. It is not working as we naively think it should; it no longer seems to be, as Lincoln so elegantly put it, of the people, for the people, and by the people. So—I am wishing for a change toward that old-fashioned expression of what a democracy should be. Good luck!

I had written more in this vein when I started this update note a couple of weeks ago, but the examples were of the cup half empty variety. Instead of those, here are some positive notes:

Flying to Denver on a trip to visit my brother in Nebraska last year, I sat next to Julie Speer Hunniford, who is the Executive Director of Little Voice, a non-profit making documentaries to raise awareness of social issues and inspire positive social change. The coincidental seating allowed us to discover the remarkable fit of Julie's interests and mine, so this year, Lefty and I stopped in to visit, and to talk about a film Little Voice is planning on Connections like those we document in the GCP/EGG data. Check out their website, and look for a fit to your interests and mission.

Some time ago I think I recommended Ode, a wonderful magazine for optimistic social observers. The current issue has an interview article with the Dalai Lama saying, War is old-fashioned. In Denver we discovered another one, with a similar perspective in a fresh and very young mode. Elephant is published in Colorado, I think in Boulder, but I suspect it will soon be (inter)national. The subtitle is It's about the mindful life and it can be found at organic food stores, yoga schools, etc., or at their website. In an interview in the current issue, Bill McKibben says,

Our great shortage in this country [the USA] is community. Connection. We've become a hyper-individualist, self-obsessed society, the likes of which the earth has never seen.

And in the process we're changing the earth in unbelievable ways....

But the good news is that ... we may finally be in a place where, if we get the message, we could begin to think about changing.

I agree with that—it is good news, and will be better when we individually recognize how powerful we are when we engage with each other and become a community. We are connected, and that's beautiful. It appears (if you squint) that we are changing, and that trust in our interdependence is growing. It may be too subtle to see, but the evidence is good that it's real.

My best to you all,

GCP/EGG Update July 7 2007

The deeper analysis of our data yields surprises, and sometimes even require me to re-examine the notions I have built up over a quarter century of research at the edges of what we know about consciousness. The most likely candidate explanations are differences in the state and the effects of global consciousness over the time course of a major event. Watch this space for further developments.

MoveOn, the political action organization is helping to promote a giant rally for a solution to the climate crisis this Saturday, 7/7/07. They envision two billion people around the world gathering at concerts on seven continents and at over 6,000 parties from Alabama to Zimbabwe. Al Gore is a major mover, and while it is hard to imagine 2 billion actually paying attention, it will be interesting to see how the GCP network responds. You can find more information at or

The SSE meeting in early June was fine. Lots of interesting papers and people. The invited speakers included Barbara Marx Hubbard, with whom I had really interesting connections. We agreed to engourage everyone we know to work toward creating a Planetary Smile. Nice image, and entirely possible over the next few years—maybe in time for the famous Mayan calendar year, 2012. I made a slide show of GCP materials for the poster session, and will make that available on request.

The Southwest is a draw. In addition to the Seed Dialogue in Albuquerque mentioned in the last Update, I will be going to the Sedona Creative Life Center in November. Canada is on the list too this year, with the Meeting of Minds mid-July in Vancouver, and the Parapsychology Association annual meeting in Halifax in early August. In October we will be in Europe, but no professional meetings (just relatives and friends and interesting places). Then in November, I will make a presentation on the science of intention to doctors interested in alternative perspectives at a meeting in St. Maartens.

The results table has some interesting new items. The grand scale meditations organized by Common Passion during the last half of May had striking outcomes, especially on the focal day of May 20 (see event #241 for details). World Tai Chi and Chigong day, though much smaller, also had interesting trends. But political activities continue to be of minor interest to the network, even when, as happened to Rudy Giuliani, lightning strikes nearby.

Shelley Yates, the driver behind the Fire the Grid event, is very persuasive. Whether we believe the fine details of her account, or her interpretaions of her experience, her argument is powerful. We can remake the world, and create something fine. I am not sure she says it this way, but to me it is clear that there are so many of us who want a healthier, more compassionate world that we have the power to accomplish that. In the PEAR lab we had a tiny poster on the wall that said, If we all work together we can subvert the system. True then, true now, always true. Be well, everyone,


GCP/EGG Update April 22 2007

I'm listening to Shubhra Guha singing Raga Chhayanat with accompaniment by harmonium and tabla. It is beautiful. The world is filled with such beauty, which blooms when there is peace. I have added some new links to the political and application pages of the GCP website. For example, there is access to a website called Global Citizens for Peace. While the Global Consciousness Project focuses mainly on doing the science well, it seems appropriate also to think about the implications of our work, which by now provides remarkably clear indications of human interconnections that are subtle but important. In any case, it seems most important to push strongly and persistently toward peace because peace is the necessary condition for creativity. It is an obvious underlying assumption in a no-holds-barred assessment of leadership by Lee Iacocca.

The annual meeting of the SSE 2007, which I've mentioned before, is shaping up to be interesting. There will be a whole day given to consciousness related research and theory. We'll have a presentation by Peter Bancel, whose sophisticated analyses have produced a deep understanding of the GCP data. He will preview a comprehensive paper on the evidence for structure where there should be none coming from several independent statistics. Sounds dry, but in terms of implications, the current state of the evidence is, to me, mind-boggling. Though it may not be obvious, I am a skeptic, meaning that I'm willing to consider unlikely things only if there is really excellent evidence for them. I like multiple perspectives, and independent confirming research. That's the sort of thing Peter has been developing, and it is looking good.

There are several additions to the formal event analysis sequence, and the composite result now has odds against chance of about a million to one. The average effect size is equivalent to a Z-score of about 0.3, and since we like to think of a Z-score of about 1.6 as significant, this means that we can't expect individual events to show significance. Instead, we have to patiently collect 30 or 40 likely cases to have reliable statistics. Despite this it is interesting to look at individual cases and we may be able to learn something from them. You can see descriptions and graphical displays linked from the results page. You may also have interest in new explorations added to the list of informal analyses.

There's also an interesting change in the egghosts page. I received an email from Fernando Lucas Rodriguez, suggesting we use a google map to show where the eggs are. And he had done all the hard work of translating my table into the needed format. The resulting Egghosts Map is pretty cool.

Travel season begins this week. I'll be at conferences in various places over the next months, including a talk at the Rhine Research Center in Durham on 27 April, a conference on Imagination, Consciousness and the New Science in New York May 18-20, the Society for Scientific Exploration meeting in East Lansing May 30-Jun 2, the Parapsychology Association meeting in Halifax Aug 2-5, and shortly thereafter a Seed Dialogue in Albuquerque. Let me know if you would like more information about any of these.

I wish you all well. Spring is happening in my northern hemisphere location, and blooming flowers make it look like all is well with the world. I continue to see us as filled with potential like flower buds waiting to bloom. We just need a Spring season in the world of human thought and action.


GCP/EGG Update February 28 2007

Here is an irony that I noted in a recent news item. Japan continues to hunt whales, despite wide opposition. But their primary processing ship caught fire during the hunt near New Zealand, and this season's hunt may have to be abandoned. I hope they and all other whale hunting nations will grow wiser.

I have started a new page on the GCP website. It is called Applications and will be for ideas about doing something in the world to help us move toward the potential indicated in the interconnections we see in the data. For example, one morning I woke up with the question how to understand torture, so as to do something about it. This is no new question, and it is one that, personally, I don't want to think about. But it comes unbidden, and it begs for an answer because until we learn how to cure that disease, we can't replace war with peace. Yes there are other problems, such as marketplace greed, but first things first.

Another new item on the website is a little change in the materials related to funding. The Donations link and the Participation button both lead to a page with some brief descriptions of things we would like to do and how much money is required. The GCP remains a project that runs mainly on energy and time freely given by very generous (remarkable) people. But there are always a number of very good ideas waiting for support, and I will be working more directly to find it. Your ideas, suggestions, and help are welcome.

New results have been flowing in from Peter Bancel's analyses. Among them are the clear establishment of correlations between eggs as the major source of the effects we see. This means that the eggs act more like each other than they should during the global events we identify. We also have evidence for a functional relationship of effects with the distance separating egg pairs. Results like these are powerful, objective, and independent confirmations that there is real structure in the data.

Many of you will think, well, what's new? Isn't it clear already? But we are looking at subtle things, and working at the edge of understanding, and multiple perspectives provide converging evidence of the structure, and more important, they become building blocks for models and eventually, for understanding how this strange, unexpected, and wonderful effect of human consciousness is made.

We know that the signal to noise ratio is so small that individual events won't reliably create significant effects in our analysis. But occasionally things stand out in a surprisingly persuasive way. You're familiar with the 9/11 case, and some others. A couple of recent cases you might like to look at are the TM meditation gathering over many weeks in the summer and fall, and the Burning Man event that has been going on for years. Both show enormous deviations, and both cases are composites of multiple instances. For details and illustrations, see: tm resonance and burning man 8

I can recommend Dean Radin's new book, Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. Dean is one of the original team who helped create the GCP/EGG project. He is also famously prolific, and has an amazing array of research projects and experience. You can read up on it in his book, but also his take on how things (might) work. Along the way, he gives an intelligent and intelligible short course in modern physics, and entanglement—which works well as a description for the interconnection implied by the GCP data.

We have some new eggs—in Quepos, Costa Rica hosted by James Lindelien, in Beijing, by Peter Sallade, one just now running in Buenos Aires, hosted by Kristen Neiling, and one in Novosibirsk, by Ivan Avdeyev that we hope soon will be online.

Let me remind you again about the SSE and the 26th annual meeting, in East Lansing, Michigan, May 31–June 2. See for more details. The meeting is shaping up to be very interesting. Come if you can. The SSE provides a forum for science and research that otherwise tends to be excluded. Check it out, and join if you want to support this open minded perspective.

Days ago, when I first started composing this update, I made some notes. One was No new wars. Not sure what inspired it, but I am glad to hear that the US, Iran, and Syria will join other neighbors of Iraq for talks. No guarantee that this spells the end of violence there, but each journey begins with a single step. Standing last Wednesday with Quakers in a silent prayer for peace, I considered what peace could mean. A great gift of resources would be made free to power creativity and a flowering of social goods. What a good idea.

Best wishes to you all, Roger