This post is an extension of my previous post “The 100th Monkey Effect“. The 100th Monkey effect talked about how information reaches a certain critical mass in the Collective Consciousness, and the entire population becomes aware of the information. This is a post about another study that influences the Collective Consciousness.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (founder of Transcendental Meditation) had come up with a phenomenal theory in 1979 which went on to be called as the ‘Maharishi Effect‘.
The theory says :
IF THE SQUARE ROOT OF 1% OF THE POPULATION FOCUSES THEIR ATTENTION ON A CERTAIN IDEA (over a period of time) THROUGH FOCUSED MEDITATION, THAT IDEA WILL MANIFEST IN THE ENTIRE POPULATION.
In 1979, a research group decided to study this phenomenon in 11 cities across USA. They identified the square root of 1% of the population in each city – trained them in Meditation techniques and asked them to focus on lower crime rates.
It was observed that each of the 11 cities showed a significant fall in the Crime Rate over a period of 1 year.
Subsequently a lot of studies have gone on to show the Power of Intention and Focus through the Maharishi Effect.
For example – In August and September 1983, a group of people in Israel were guided to practice focused meditation. In the 2 months period there was a decrease in the war-deaths by 76%
In 1987, Merseyside had the third highest crime rate of the eleven largest Metropolitan Areas in England and Wales. That’s when researchers introduced this study through a meditation group. By 1992 it had the lowest crime rate. 40% below levels predicted by the previous behaviour of the series. There were 255,000 less crimes in Merseyside from 1988 to 1992 than would have been expected, had Merseyside continued to follow the national crime trend.
Violent crime was reduced by almost 25% in Washington DC when a group of 4,000 Meditators assembled for several weeks in the summer of 1993. This research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Social Indicators Research 1999 47(2):153-201.
The earth’s population today is about 7.4 billion.
The square root of 1% of the total population is approximately 8400 people.
In 1979, 7000 meditators assembled for 3 weeks in hopes of positively affecting the surrounding city. Over those 3 weeks, there was a global reduction in crime rates, violence, and casualties by an average of 16%. Suicide rates and automobile accidents also were reduced. There was a 72% reduction in terrorist activity during the times at which this group was meditating.
Well, there is a lot of data in this post that I have liberally picked up from the Internet. I possibly cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data. (I have a few links listed below this post for reference nonetheless).
But this is not meant to be a post on the benefits and power of meditation. My objective was to talk about the Power of Focused Attention – especially in a group.
A lot of people have experienced the power of a Group Prayer or Group Meditation. And the Maharishi Effect is a wonderful theory that in some way tries to quantify Collective Focused Attention. Many spiritual groups today in their own way are working very hard to use this principle and create a better world. And I deeply believe there is hope.
However, when I look at all these powerful studies and mind-blowing results, I start to wonder…. I wonder what happens when an entire nation turns on the 9pm news hour? What is the entire Collective Consciousness focusing on at that point? Peace or Misery?
Read more about some studies on Maharishi Effect :
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