The Global Consciousness Project

What is the nature of Global Consciousness?

Global Consciousness Project

Brief Overview

Personal experience is supported by a growing number of good experiments which show that consciousness and intention have subtle but important effects in the world. We know that groups of people sometimes experience a special resonance of feelings and ideas, and recent scientific evidence indicates that effects of coherent group consciousness can be detected with appropriate instruments. The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) is an international collaboration of researchers extending this research to global dimensions via the Internet. The project uses technology and methods designed to record effects of events that stimulate us to integrate as a world-wide consciousness. Examples include the funeral ceremonies of Princess Diana, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, terrible accidents and natural disasters, major religious gatherings, and midnight on any New Years Eve.

The GCP is fundamentally a scientific experiment. We test a broad general hypothesis using a series of completely specified simple hypotheses, in which all parameters are fixed before the data are seen. The composite result of the accumulating series of replications is a test of the general hypothesis:

Periods of collective attention or emotion in widely distributed populations will correlate with deviations from expectation in a global network of physical random number generators.

The GCP works with a synchronized network of electronic devices (random event generators) which record data at dozens of sites around the world and report it via the Internet to central computers. The heart of the system is the server named noosphere, after Teilhard de Chardin’s idea of a global intelligence. Here, all the data are gathered, processed, and archived. Sophisticated programs create and maintain a growing database generated continuously at a rate of one trial per second at each of the nodes in the network. Analytical software and integrative algorithms are designed to assess the scientific question whether there is any evidence for a global consciousness that can affect our instruments.

Displays of the data take various forms, and show current activity as well as a complete historical record beginning in August 1998. Regularly updated tables of statistical information as well as simple and easily understood graphical summaries of several kinds are available. For example, we can show a graph of the cumulative departure of data sequences from their expected values, as a composite across all the GCP sites around the world for the past hour or the past day—or during a defined Global Event.

The Global Consciousness Project is an ongoing, long-term experiment, and the results from the instances that have been analyzed thus far show considerable evidence of a correlation between particular events and the data from our network of random event generators. A summary for 15 years (to Jan, 2014) shows a highly significant result. It is tempting to draw the conclusion that a true global consciousness is creating the anomalous effects. Indeed, the probability that we are seeing just chance fluctuation is on the order of one in a trillion. We believe the data are correct and definitely show anomalous departures from expectation, but we can't claim to have proven the existence of a global consciousness. We must consider alternative interpretations such as anomalous effects created by the intentions and expectations of the people involved in the project. But thoughtful examination of the accumulated evidence shows something very remarkable, and the most parsimonious and elegant interpretation is that a global consciousness is at work. There are some further speculations that are worth thinking about.

The complete database is publically accessible from the GCP website via the Internet, and this ensures that all claims and conclusions can be independently verified, while providing an opportunity for a wide variety of exploratory analyses.

A detailed technical article describing the experimental methods and procedures, with examples and a summary of the first two years of results, has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Parapsychology. A preprint is available for download. More recent articles include a technical description published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, and a more general article in Explore, the Journal of Science and Healing. A non-technical description is available in a series of four articles in The Golden Thread.