Smile for Peace Day: An Experiment in Global Consciousness

10/17/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Since the United Nations passed a resolution in 1982 establishing an International Day of Peace, millions around the globe honor "Peace Day" every September 21st. While global peace might seem like an ideal harbored by naïve dreamers, emerging science is bringing us closer to the realization of this dream. As satellite views of Spaceship Earth allow us to see our planet as a whole and the interconnectedness of its various parts, little known research may be facilitating our ability to picture our global consciousness. The results of this experiment suggest how we might combine our states of mind to influence the evolution of our global brain and peace on earth.

It stretches the imagination to consider that when we "think globally," this process could actually be graphically depicted with empirical data. The Princeton Global Consciousness Project (GCP), also known as the EGG Project (referring to the global network of sensors), is a multidisciplinary collaboration of scientists, engineers, artists, and others throughout the world currently providing us with both scientific and aesthetic views of our global brain.

Since August 1998, this consortium has been collecting data from an international network of random event generators (65 computers) around the planet. Each of the 65 generators is, in essence, "flipping coins" 200 times per second, and every minute those data are uploaded to the Princeton server. Conventional wisdom says that the computers should come up with "heads" 50 percent of the time and "tails" the other 50 percent. While recording data over the past 10 years, however, the data often skews, significantly favoring one or the other. Since large planetary events often coincide with these deviations, the GCP researchers have speculated that the global psyche may be affecting the data.


The GCP scientists have learned that when millions of us share intentions and emotions, the network has revealed correlations suggesting a connection of global consciousness. For example, when a large-scale event occurs, a shock like a major earthquake or a terror attack like 9/11, the data can significantly skew, deviating from the expected 50/50 probability. Princess Diana's funeral, the Papal visit to Israel, and Senator Obama's presidential nomination acceptance speech in Denver all coincided with statistically significant deviations. The GCP has observed larger deviations associated with positive events than with negative ones. These results have inspired the scientists to postulate that "We make the world we live in...we can create a planetary smile."

BrainPaint Inc. is the first company to use fractals (ideal representations of complex systems) for the practical application of neurofeedback, brainwave performance training. Recently, Roger Nelson of the GCP contacted Bill Scott, CEO and co-founder of BrainPaint to request that Scott adapt the software he developed for EEG biofeedback to the Princeton project. Nelson wanted to learn what would happen when GCP's complex data was inputted into BrainPaint's neurofeedback algorithm. This experiment resulted in a new global BrainPaint image every sixty seconds. The pictures range from constricted geometric designs to expansive breath-taking motifs. Visitors at a science or art museum offered a chance to view these "paintings" on a wall-size flat screen would invariably be mesmerized by them.

This September 21st, when individuals, communities, nations, and governments highlight efforts to end conflicts and promote peace, you can participate in an experiment to test the hypothesis of the Princeton team by clicking on the website with a positive intention. Any time after midnight on September 21st (Pacific Standard Time) and for the next 24 hours, when you visit the site, just think positive thoughts. You will receive instant feedback on whether the data have been affected by global participation as every image will indicate the number of participants and whether deviations are observed. With this effort, you may also help create a graphic representation of peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh's message, "Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful."

Find information regarding the GCP and BrainPaint projects.