In this week's edition of Mysterious Universe, Ben and Aaron debated how Earthlings would react if there was unequivocal proof that UFOs and their E.T. pilots were really visiting Earth. Ben thought humans could handle the news with aplomb; Aaron thought most would freak out.
Coincidentally (or synchronistically), I came across not one, not two, not three, but four articles that offer insights into where and how we get the thoughts we have in our heads (hint: not by thinking) and what we do with them next (basically, OBEY).
The first comes from Edgescience and describes the results of a ten-year study conducted by the Global Consciousness Project. Working in collaboration with over 100 scientists, the GCP installed Random Number Generators (RNG) at 65 sites around the world that churned away mundane day after mundane day in order to capture those few less mundane days when major global events occur such as 9/11 Terrorist attacks, the 2004 tsunami, and the 2008 election of President Barack Obama. Or, say, the landing of flying saucers on the White House lawn.
The study started from the hypothesis that during such events the RNG instrument would become non-random and thereby provide evidence of a global consciousness. GCP director Roger D. Nelson explains:
"We predict departures from expectation when there is a widespread, profound sharing of mental and emotional responses. [What they found was] "the overall statistics for the project indicate odds of about 1 in 20 million that the correlation of our data with global events is merely a chance fluctuation....The GCP effect implies that the behavior of RNGs separated by global distances becomes correlated during events of importance to humans. This is a profoundly mysterious outcome that stretches our scientific imaginations."
And although the study doesn't attempt to explain the source or nature of the global consciousness connection, the results showed that when a big event happens, we all sense the vibe--maybe in the same mysterious way that a flock of starlings will suddenly rise up en masse as though they shared a single brain.
The GCP results might have Nelson--and Ben--humming "We Are the World," as it suggests that when the paradigm shifts, even radically and/or tragically, our interconnectedness as a species in some as yet unknown way helps us keep our equilibrium as individuals and carry on as a society.
Meanwhile, Aaron may find himself whistling a happy tune after reading the New England Journal of Medicine (a peer reviewed publication; nothing "airy fairy" about it). Needless to say, this study has nothing to do with hive mind much less E.T. The results, also dissected in The Buddy System the October issue of Wired magazine, uses data from a unique 40-year study on one community's long-term health to answer the question: if there's really an epidemic of obesity, how is it spread?
What the researchers found was that fatness spreads like the plague throughout an individual's social network You can actually see happen over time via Wired's awesome graphics but the gist of it boils down to this statistic: if your spouse becomes obese, your chances of becoming obese increased by 57 percent. If it's a close friend who takes on tonnage, your chances of obesity increase by a artery hardening 171 percent! But even if you're just a friend of a friend of a friend of the obese one, you'll probably end up fat, too.
Again, the scientists cannot explain the kind of psychic wi-fi that transmits the fat flu (although, in fairness, happiness, and quitting smoking and happiness are spread through social networks via the same unexplained contagion). Still, this seems to add weight to Aaron's argument that E.T. arrives some people will utterly freak out, which will set the thought virus loose, spreading fear and prejudice (think Nazi Germany or the folks at recent American townhall meetings on health care reform who seem to have caught the crazy bug from some Ebola brainwaves broadcast by Fox News).
Of course, there's always the possibility that we (as a species) will have advance warning of our new out-of- area callers via prophetic dreams, which inexplicably beam knowledge of future events into our sleeping as studied in the new book The Power Of Premonitions: How Knowing The Future Can Shape Our Lives by a medical doctor, Larry Dossey, who has experienced premonitory dreams and cataloged many extraordinary examples experienced throughout history.
Maybe an MU listener will have a dream that answers the question of whether ET will freak us out ala Aaron, or be welcomed with open minds as Ben would like to think.
Or, finally, could it be that the question itself is being asked a couple of thousand years after the fact and therefore way too late? Greg Bishop explains at UFO Mystic considers the possibility that the whole UFO phenomena is simply an idea planted in our heads :
An article by Benedict Carey from the New York Times reports on research into seemingly nonsensical events and how they are useful in deconstructing our endless search for structure and meaning, injecting helpful doses of depatterning. Participants in a study were asked to read an absurdist short story by Franz Kafka and then given a test that analyzed their ability to find hidden patterns in strings of letters:
The test is a standard measure of what researchers call implicit learning: knowledge gained without awareness. The students had no idea what patterns their brain was sensing or how well they were performing.
But perform they did. They chose about 30 percent more of the letter strings, and were almost twice as accurate in their choices, than a comparison group of 20 students who had read a different short story, a coherent one.
What this may indicate is that UFOs may exist as a mega-experiment in deconstructing our ideas of what is possible, our place in the universe, our ways of accepting what is real and even our methods of cataloging sensory input. The question remains as to who is conducting the experiment, and how much we are either subjects, equal partners, or almost wholly responsible for the experiments and the results.