A field-theoretic view of consciousness: reply to critics

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2009
Authors  Orme-Johnson, David W.; Oates, Robert M.
Journal Title  Journal of Scientific Exploration
Volume  23
Issue  2
Pages  139-166
Abstract  This paper replies to a critique (Fales & Markovsky, 1997) of a study reporting that group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program had a measurable effect on objective measures of the quality of life in Israel and the war in Lebanon (Orme-Johnson et al., 1988). The critics proposed various cultural/political events as alternative explanations for the results. These events could not explain the results, as indicated by (1) simple inspection of the published data; (2) statistical analyses controlling for these events; (3) analyses of reduced data sets that completely eliminated the days of the events from the analyses; and (4) analyses of six random samples of 50% of the data. Although some of the cultural/political events suggested did have a significant effect on a composite index of crime, traffic accidents, fires, war intensity, stock market, and national mood, the effects of these events were independent of the effect of the meditators and could not explain it. We argue that Maharishi’s theory of collective consciousness provides a unifying framework that explains these results through a logical structure of clearly defi ned, operationalized terms grounded in physiological and behavioral research, which makes specific quantifiable and socially important predictions that have been extensively replicated.