Zero Conflict - A Technology of World PeacePeace

"Think about it. There must be higher love."

by Stevie Winwood

This is eyewitness news about World Peace. Years ago I took part in experiments to create peace. As a willing guinea pig, I was startled by the results, and concerned they were not more widely publicised at the time or taken up by governments. Now, with the World Trade Center bombings in New York it seems especially poignant, and the least I can do is write about it.

The terrorist airline bombings in the US are an act of senseless violence has brought out the best in a lot of people, and reminded us of our essential humanity. Despite the talk of war and plans for reprisals, there is more in my email inbox about peace and compassion, and Gandhi's wise reminder "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Sorry about the length. Compared with the endless media replays of the bombings and the aftermath, and propaganda for war, this is short. Maybe this will resonate with you, and you'll pass it on and the ripple will spread. And this, and the other ripples make a wave...

New York 911: September 11, 2001

This is one of those events -- you remember where you were when you heard about it. I was sitting in my favourite café in South London, drinking cappuccino, writing emails to friends on my Macintosh portable, when I looked up at the wall TV and saw shots of a building with a plume of smoke rising. You know the rest. I was transfixed by the images, and shocked, at least in part because I'd taken part in some experiments that could have prevented it, guaranteed. I started writing about this while the story unfolded on the screen, because it seemed to me that people should know.

The story's not always what you see on screen. It starts with the economic system called capitalism, designed to accumulate and concentrate wealth, capital and power in the hands of a few rich individuals and corporations, when really there is enough wealth and resources for everyone, and to spare. Globalisation amplifies this. We should be careful listening to politicians and the media when people lash out, who have been impoverished by the system we created.

Fundamentalists and terrorists lose their breeding ground if people are well clothed, well fed, well housed, well educated and have plenty of opportunity to pursue their social, economic and spiritual goals. So if we want to rid the world of these mosquitoes, better than using the military as a DDT, is to eliminate the swamp. Still, until people know that this is possible, and how to do it, they can be forgiven. I'm sure President Bush is preparing to use the best technology he knows is at his disposal to eliminate a threat. But THERE IS a far better technology for creating peace, that really works.

Rather than believe individuals and governments are evil and systematically conspiring against us, it's more helpful to observe that the capitalist systems itself is designed to generate some pretty weird effects, and what we need is a redesign. In 'The Fifth Discipline' Peter Senge (MIT professor, and founder of the Society for Organisational Learning, http://www.solonline.org) shows how closed systems go out of control, and argues for 'systemic thinking' to help us design newer, better, more inclusive and sustainable systems. In 'When Corporations Rule The World', David Korten (publisher of Yes Magazine, http://www.yesmagazine.org) shows the specific design faults in capitalism. Systemic thinking tools are emerging, including Gunter Pauli's Zero Emissions (www.zeri.org) and Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins' Natural Capitalism (www.natcap.org). But here I write about the most fundamental system in nature -- our own inner nature -- that can be used to set the precondition for reform -- peace.

Eyewitness News of International Peace Plot

I feel like one of the soldiers who saw the first atom bomb blast in the New Mexico desert and was sworn to secrecy. Only I was a witness to -- and participant in -- some crucial peace experiments. I've spent a long time learning more about it and trying to figure how to explain it. Right now it seems to me especially important that people should realise we have incredibly powerful options for peace, which scientific research validates as being extremely effective, and which cost far less than bombing the heck out of Afghanistan ... and with lots of positive side effects.

As with the Atom Bomb, the enormous power of the new technology, in this case for peace rather than war, comes from using subtle and until recently unknown and unexplored levels of nature. (Well, this is actually like me saying Australia or the USA were undiscovered before the whites arrived, as you'll see.) I'm going to tell this as my own personal story -- as an eyewitness to extraordinary events, if you'll forgive me, with a little pop science thrown in -- I was a chemist / physicist once... There are references at the end to a more scientific perspective.

In 1972 I was working as a computer system designer, and I started getting regular stomach cramps. The local hospital tested me and said I didn't have ulcers, which wasn't much help -- years later I learned it was called duodenal spasm. Distrustful of western medicine, and after something of a search, I learned Transcendental Meditation (TM), and my stress symptoms cleared up overnight. How could a simple mental process bring peace to my entire body? And why didn't western medicine tell me about it? I realised everything I had read about Eastern mysticism up to that point was totally inaccurate. I experienced a paradigm shift -- as Americans say "It was a whole new ball game."

Computers were fun, but this was a neat and subtle technology, and I was fascinated. Here I was, effortlessly finding a space of total peace inside myself. After meditation I was more relaxed and happier in my activity, but at the same time sharper and more creative. But how did it work? Was it real or hypnotism, or some placebo effect? How does it relate to what we know in the west? What was the scientific basis? I set out to find out. It's been fascinating...

Einstein, the Bomb, and the Unified Field

A century ago, Louis de Broglie showed that energy and matter were both aspects of the same thing. Einstein gave it mathematical expression, e=mc squared, and wrote to President Roosevelt warning him of the destructive potential inherent in releasing the pent up energy stored in matter itself. This led to the Manhattan project (with today's hindsight that's a very ironic name) and destruction of twin cities in Japan - even worse than the twin towers in New York.

Einstein intuited that there was a level of nature deeper than atomic energy, that unites all the laws of nature, a 'Unified Field'. Recently, fairly good unified field theories have emerged, and the best ones so far are called 'superstring' theories. In these, a very abstract, (virtual) unified level of nature has several levels of excitation, and creates matter and energy from pure abstract potential through a process known as 'symmetry breaking'. It's like a string (the superstring) plucking itself and giving rise to a fundamental frequency and several harmonics.

In the 'n=8' superstring theory, the first three levels are all totally abstract, virtual, and occur 'within' the unified field itself. It's only at the fourth level that the abstract geometry of space-time itself emerges. The fifth and sixth correspond roughly with energy and force fields, and the seventh and eighth with the matter fields. Different laws of nature predominate at each different level, but all these levels exist in everything, and everything interacts all the time with this underlying unified field. However, western classical material physics observes that wave effects usually cancel each other out, and so in a lot of materialist physics (statistical mechanics) we ignore wave effects.

But waves don't always cancel. Sometimes, they combine additively, and we get extraordinary effects -- magnets, superfluids, lasers, superconductors and DNA. These are called 'Bose-Einstein condensates' and all our high tech products rely on coherent wave effects of 'matter' rather than the random statistical behaviour. Microprocessors are based on quantum mechanical tunnelling, and fibre optic cables on laser light. Bose-Einstein condensates operate in total order, interacting directly with the unified field, which has zero entropy. No heat, no chaos, no randomness.

Early researches on Transcendental Meditation showed that the brain waves of meditators were increasingly orderly and coherent, which suggests some kind of analogous coherent wave effect. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced TM to the west and was himself a physics student at university, explains that in TM we allow the mind, the wave aspect of the body, to shift from a focus on the surface, chaotic material level, towards its source, the Unified Field.

Incidentally, our DNA is already there -- DNA gives out coherent light in the visible spectrum, and inherently interacts with the unified field -- which is why the body, all bodies, know intuitively how to act in tune with everything else. Somehow our minds have lost this trick -- in the Indian system it's called pragyaparadha -- 'the mistake of the intellect' to forget its unified source, and identify with the diversity perceived by the senses. Transcendental Meditation, which Maharishi also calls a 'Technology of the Unified Field', is a way to remind the mind. The root of the word religion, 're-ligare' means to tie back (to the source). Have we forgot how?

'World Peace Project' - Syria and Iran

In 1975 through 1977, I trained between jobs as a teacher of TM, and in an advanced programme Maharishi called 'the TM-Sidhi programme' based on the 'Yoga Sutras' developed by another Maharishi, Patanjali, a thousand or so years ago. This was the start of my being a guinea pig in peace experiments.

In 1978 the TM movement called and asked me to take part in a project somewhere 'hot'. At work I'd wanted to port our timesharing software to microprocessors -- two Harvard dropouts who'd already put BASIC on a chip had approached us wanting to work with us on APL as well, but Paul Allen and Bill Gates were sent away empty handed -- in retrospect, this may have been a mistake, kind of like EMI not signing the Beatles. I was fired too, so I was at a loose end -- obviously this 'World Peace Project' had my number on it. It sounded like an adventure, and I was up for it. Eight of us flew to Damascus and when we arrived were asked to look for hotels for reinforcements. In a few weeks we were part of a group of 62 meditating to create peace. Later, we learned there were similar groups in Rhodesia (before it was Zimbabwe), Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cambodia, and Iran. ALL these places were 'hot' -- there was violence and warfare.

We weren't preaching peace, just practising our advanced form of meditation in a group. The theory was this had a laser like effect, creating peace proportional to the square of the number of people in the group. Meditation uses the mind to bring peace to the body, now we were using a group mind effect to influence a wider body, the community. Starting in 1974 we saw that 1% of meditators in an area was enough to create an influence of peace, reduce crime and hospitalisations, etc., etc. Our group of 62 doing the advanced TM-Sidhis should work for a population of 100 times 62 squared -- 380,000. We hoped this would bring peace in nearby Beirut. Afterwards, we found there had been groups in Cyprus and Northern Israel as well, surrounding Beirut with a coherence-creating effect.

Violence decreased in Beirut, and in every country where there were 'World Peace Project' groups. In fact a pan-Arab summit was hastily and unexpectedly convened in Baghdad while we were there. The atmosphere on the streets changed from VERY tense, expecting a further Arab-Israeli war, to almost carnival-like, with open celebration. It was quite uncanny to watch these changes and realise they were coming from our quiet time meditating together. The signs were that our experiment worked -- people even started to ask us to learn to meditate. The Syrian girls running our hotel walked up and said "We don't know what you are doing, but we know it is good, and we would like to learn." This was a sign Maharishi had hinted at in a phone call at the start "We won't talk about meditation because they will not be interested in our message when there is fear in their hearts." Clearly, this had changed.

That was it. End of experiment -- Peace. Maharishi called and explained that we'd proven the technology, but that the TM movement's resources weren't unlimited. So we returned home, and most places we'd left reverted to business as usual - violence. More evidence of our effect was that places we'd come from had got MORE chaotic while we were away -- when I returned, the UK had four national strikes going on, but that seemed tame after my Syrian adventure.

I volunteered to go out to Iran as part of reinforcement for American groups there, and had a very interesting time that included our group getting our apartment shot at by the military, and a buddy and I being taken at gunpoint in a jeep to the military Headquarters. Formative times! By the way, the mosques in Esfahan, Iran, are breathtakingly beautiful.

Reviewing the situation in Iran, Maharishi said "It is a very big mess," which was a little bit disconcerting. He said we'd need a group of 1,000 meditators to ensure peace and stability in the country, and if the Shah would pay for it, fine, but if not we should leave, and he emphasised that we should all leave together, or things might be dangerous for us. Well, before we left, the Shah left too, and the words echoed in my mind when the US embassy hostage crisis started months later, dogging Carter's presidency. And then of course there was the Iran-Iraq war. All preventable...

What we learned from Iran was that in a big, intense situation, lots of meditators are needed. But how many..?

The Year of World Peace - End of an Enemy, Fall of the Berlin Wall

In a big group practising this peace technology together, all the brainwaves become more coherent, and interact more directly with the unified field, bringing the quality of perfect order that usually lies deep in nature to the surface level of life. This coherence is analagous to -- or, rather, probably the same as -- an effect in superconductors and Bose-Einstein condensates, called the Meissner effect. Superconductors spontaneously respond instantly to any outside interference and balance it out, throw it off. Vedic science calls this 'Kavatch', or 'shield'. The reason western science correlates so closely with Indian wisdom, as Maharishi explains, is that consciousness IS the Unified Field.

During the next decade this was tested from time to time with groups of varying sizes coming together, moving or being disbanded, during courses, or as special events. Always the statistics correlated well, relating reductions of violence (outbreaks of peace and prosperity) with movements of these groups. The technology was proven. Maybe I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it myself, but I had, so I was convinced. In the next few years there were bigger experiments, two or three courses, in the USA or Europe where 7000 people were gathered practicing this group technology of consciousness, also called 'Super-radiance', after the analogous effect of coherent light radiating from lasers. These experiments had the predicted effect -- improvements in stock markets and quality of life indicators around the world, and reductions in crime, hospitalisations and violence.

But these were short term effects that went away at the end of the experiment, and Maharishi wanted to create a permanent effect of World Peace. The Yoga Sutras say, "In the vicinity of yoga (coherence), hostile tendencies are eliminated." How big a group to create such an effect? Maharishi predicted a nation with a 'coherence creating' group the size of the square root of 1% of its population would be invincible -- would find it didn't have an enemy. For the USA the number was 1,600 (for the world it was 7,000). In the 70's the TM movement bought a disused campus in Fairfield Iowa, and called for people to come, meditate together for peace and start businesses (gotta eat somehow)! Soon they had two beautiful large wooden group meditation domes on campus.

In 1986 I moved to Fairfield from California. Following my adventures in Syria and Iran I'd been working in Silicon Valley, at a very exciting time, but it turned out I wasn't a great software entrepreneur, and in any case I was more interested in this grand experiment. As the numbers meditating together morning and evening approached the magic figure at the start of 1988, Maharishi announced it would be his 'Year of World Peace" and predicted "America will find itself without an enemy." He made four specific predictions in January:

[1] The end of superpower rivalry
[2] The end of international terrorism
[3] The opening up of global trade
[4] The dismantling of the Iron Curtain

During the year meditation numbers reached an average of 1600 every morning, and 2000 in the evening. And even though we were 'in the know' about what was going on, it was still awesome to be sitting glued to our screens watching communism dissolve and the Berlin Wall come down. Reagan went to Moscow and said " I don't know what I am doing here". Gorbachev said "A higher power is at work". And we knew it was the combined effect of a couple of thousand people meditating together to create peace.

Footnotes - Liverpool and Yugoslavia

I returned to the UK and lived in the 90's in the UK's far smaller meditation community in Skelmersdale. By the 'square root of 1 percent' rule, numbers were only enough to affect a nearby town, Liverpool. Still, when that figure was reached, Liverpool had a step change 40% reduction in crime rate and went from being equal first as UK's worst crime city, to being equal first UK's least crime. Someone who did a statistical analysis showed that for every hour any of us was meditating, Liverpool saved £3,000 in reduced crime. Not bad -- but I'm still waiting for the cheque!

In March 1990 there was a surprise call. Maharishi wanted to assemble a course with 3,000 people (the European 'superradiance' number) in Yugoslavia, saying there would be real problems there otherwise. Understand, at this time Yugoslavia was still united and a major tourist destination, with not a cloud we could see in the sky. Still, I bust my butt, as did others, to get people there, but we only got a total of 2,500 people. What then happened in the Balkans was tragic to watch, especially as it could so easily have been prevented. That we don't do this makes me very sad.

That's my story. This technology has been offered to governments, but only one taker (see below). In Fairfield the economy is thriving. As a result of the meditation group, the millionaire density is one of the highest in the entire USA -- wealth grew along with the peace effect. But the winters are bitter, some people who came for the peace experiment moved away, and the meditation group has halved in size in recent years, so it has only a quarter the effect. America has felt a false sense of security, having lost its 'shield', and this recent violence was a disaster waiting to happen.

Having conducted his experiment in the USA, Maharishi has revived more technologies from the ancient Vedic system -- Ayurveda for healthcare and longevity, Jyotish for tuning our lives more closely to cosmic rhythms, and Stapathya-Veda, a natural spiritual architecture system. He has also set to building large groups of meditators in his native India, and it's interesting to note that while the USA has been weakening in influence, significantly since the WTO summit in Seattle a few years back, India's star appears recently to be in the ascendant. Coincidence or what?

We Have A Choice for Peace

OK. Now you have the story. There IS a technology of World Peace. It relies on deep laws of nature, being activated by the human nervous system exploring its true potential. And it can guarantee peace and plenty. All it takes is resolve. World Peace could be guaranteed for a hundred years for the cost of a single B1 Stealth Bomber. With the US spending $20bn a year combating drugs and budgeting $40bn to flush out bin Laden, this starts to look like a very cheap option. Why wouldn't governments go for that? President Eisenhower warned "don't trust the military-industrial complex." (and remember, this guy was a General!) He also said "The people have been asking for peace for a long time. Some day we may just have to give it to them." Maybe it's time for us to start insisting...

Buckminster Fuller pointed out that in an information age knowledge is wealth, and it can be copied for free. He predicted years back that when this knowledge-based society emerges, there would be a world-wide levelling up to peace and plenty. With the Internet that's possible now. In a network, we all have far more power to influence our governments and media than ever before. More important, we can reach out to each other.

Any area can have its own peace creating group. Meditation is only part-time work and there's plenty of time for other things. There are other beneficial effects like decreased illness, crime & drug use, and improved quality of life. Once a group has been created, it can be economically self-sustaining. I'm working on a vision for an environmental campus that will also serve as a peace university. Of course you can start with an existing group -- the Fairfield community in the USA is committed to rebuild its numbers to the 1700 now needed to ensure America is again without an enemy. A story below explains how a group was created in Mozambique by training soldiers, the ideal peace keepers, and ended a guerrilla war without using violence. Hmm. Not a bad idea. If it can work for Mozambique...

Indian Vedic consciousness technologies are NOT for solving problems. Their saying "Heyam Dukham Anagatam" means 'Avert the danger that has not yet come". In Ayurveda, the Indian Vedic health care system, the idea is to establish perfect order, maximum health and longevity, and then problems aren't going to be found. Does this make sense, or are we too committed to our problems? Winston Churchill said wryly "You can trust the Americans to do the right thing - after they have exhausted the alternatives." It's not just Americans, of course...

Appreciative Inquiry

Many many people are working on peace from many many different angles. This was written not a promotional mailing for the TM movement, with which I have currently no official connection -- but to bring people's attention to technologies of peace that really work. (…)

Peace... or as Maharishi says, "Jai Guru Dev," which translates roughly as 'hail to the tradition of masters teaching the wisdom of integration in life'.



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Last update: 4/2005