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The biggest obstacle to world peace

 10th Dec 2015

The supreme challenge of our time is to get enough people to understand that with Super Radiance we already have the most powerful technology to create world peace.

Super Radiance is the astonishing, influence radiated to the rest of society by a group of specially trained meditators known as TM-Sidhas. Repeated research demonstrates the dramatic, positive impact of Super Radiance on open warfare, terrorism, political violence, crime, social disorder and economic activity. Findings from different field research include:

Super Radiance corroborated by forty-nine field studies and four laboratory experiments

In addition to corroborative results from forty-nine field studies, we also have four laboratory experiments that demonstrate how TM-Sidhas influence the psycho-physiologies of nearby non-meditators including altering serotonin and cortisol levels and brain-wave coherence. The researchers can actually observe and measure how a group of TM-Sidhas drives down non-meditators’ stress levels and get them into a more natural and happy brain state. And as though this extensive research isn’t enough, modern quantum physics underpins these findings with a coherent scientific framework that explains the whole concept of Super Radiance.

So, you might well think that with such an impressive track record Super Radiance would be a household name. Anything capable of reducing terrorism by 72% must be highly sought after in the much-vaunted global war against terrorism. Surely politicians of every persuasion should be clamouring after this technology to help control the international conflagration in the Middle East and provide a fertile environment to rebuild their economies after the recent recession?

But as we know, outside the realm of the meditating community, Super Radiance is universally ignored or worse, written off as weird. In a supposedly scientific age, this indifference or derision seems incongruous with our society’s alleged values and ‘rational’ understanding. So the question is, if scientific studies backing up the claims for Super Radiance are extensive and irrefutable, then why do politicians, governments, the media, think-tanks and most of academia stubbornly refuse to even acknowledge the research let alone do something useful to assist its introduction into society?

Revolutions in knowledge take time to be generally accepted

History tells us that we have been here before. Revolutions in knowledge take time to be accepted by a wider society. In the meantime getting the ideas a fair hearing can be an uphill task.

Marconi was written off as a lunatic by the then Minister of Posts and Telegraphs when he first introduced his ‘wireless telegraph’ to the Italian government.

Similarly, Galileo got into a spot of bother with the Inquisition for advocating the outrageous idea that the earth revolved around the Sun. At the time most educated people were firmly of the opinion that the earth was the centre of the universe. Traditional ‘Geocentrism’ was of course validated by Biblical texts and any way was obviously correct. All you have to do is watch the horizon and you will see the Sun rise in the East, traverse the sky and set majestically in the West. Our common senses reinforced the theory that the Sun revolved around the earth. Eventually science vindicated Galileo and showed up the rest of the established order as being somewhat simple minded, but not before he had spent the rest of his life in house arrest.

Rhodesia civil warWell, now we have another revolution in thinking. And it is one that once again upturns common sense . This time the premise is that the world around us is not purely material.

As a technology Super Radiance offers mankind a giant leap forward in social cohesion and progress. As is usual in these sorts of circumstances, people who really ought to know better and who incidentally are paid quite well to look after our interests are avoiding the whole issue.

After twenty-years of research and fifty-three research studies, much of it published in peer reviewed academic journals, governments, at least in the G20 nations, have resolutely refused to hear the message and have failed to respond constructively. The media have remained deaf to reason, as have the politicians, NGOs, think tanks and government officials.

Why do people reject new ideas so swiftly?

Why is this? Why do people reject new ideas so swiftly, even though they offer an invaluable way forward?

Fortunately modern neuroscience can come to our assistance here. The answer to this perennial puzzle can be found from new understanding about the way the human brain handles our beliefs and assimilates new information. Neuroscience now reveals why pre-existing beliefs can be a huge obstacle to the adoption of radical or counterintuitive ideas. In fact this new understanding tells us why our beliefs can also block the learning of anything significant, prevent successful problem solving, and subvert effective planning and decision-making.

How premature cognitive commitment obstructs the learning process

The obstacle to radically new ideas arises whenever our senses pick up new evidence that conflicts with our pre-existing beliefs, then a particular facet of the brain filters out this evidence before it even reaches our conscious perception. In this sense, the brain is hard-wired in a way so that we literally cannot see what we do not already believe in. When this deception occurs, we make, what the psychologists term, a ‘premature cognitive commitment’. In other words we jump to a conclusion based, not on available new evidence, but on our pre-existing belief about the situation. In this context, I use the term ‘belief’ not in the religious sense but generically to include any pre-existing supposition, assumption, preconception, self-belief, ideology, hypothesis, theory, premise, attachments or the emotional memory of some past associated event or situation. All these sub-categories of belief are fully capable of getting in the way of us seeing the facts.

Cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias

As you can see, whenever we may be experiencing premature cognitive commitment our beliefs become seriously self-limiting. The brain seems programmed to use beliefs to help us make sense of customary situations quickly. But, sometimes this is at the expense of really learning what is going on, especially when the environment we are looking at is changing. The obstruction to learning occurs because we are by nature creatures of habit, and so are comfortable with our beliefs, whereas the process of changing them or being confronted with their inadequacy can be acutely uncomfortable to us. Typically our beliefs are very dear to us, and even form part of our identity. So, new information that contradicts our existing beliefs essentially threatens our sense of meaning and even our sense of security, or of knowing whom we are (or more accurately threatening our belief as to who we are). The key factor here is that, like any other threat to our emotional needs, these acutely intimate threats to both our sense of meaning and our identity, trigger a powerful stress response.
In other words, at the point of conflict between our pre-existing belief and the contradictory facts, we become emotionally aroused, our higher rational faculties are hijacked and we slip quickly into our primeval flight or fight mode. This type of mental stress response is known as ‘cognitive dissonance’.

The relevance of cognitive dissonance to the assimilation of new information is important.

In a situation where the apparent facts or evidence seem to contradict entrenched beliefs, cognitive dissonance compels us to remove the threat and reduce the pain of the dissonance. To achieve this immediate aim we do one of two things. Either we change our belief to match the revealed facts, or we try and preserve our belief by conducting what has been termed ‘confirmation bias’ (sometimes known as ‘myside bias’).
Cognitive dissonance
Typically where we have been caught unawares, or where we are not accustomed to having our settled worldview challenged or where we have deep-rooted attachments to our beliefs, we tend to adopt the second approach. As mentioned above, we are essentially creatures of habit, so at the moment of stress arousal, we take the easy route and plump for some sort of confirmation bias.

In effect, when given the choice of either doing what is right or doing what is easy, we tend to choose the easy option. What comes easy to us is a range of less than useful learning tactics.

These can include a stubborn resistance to change; a wilful misinterpretation of the facts; the demonization of opposing views; the obsessive hunt for any possible evidence (however weak) to back-up our beliefs; a trancelike or oblivious denial of the situation, hysterical opposition to the alternative idea and solution; an evangelical crusade to persuade others to follow our beliefs; and the persistent advocacy of anachronistic and otherwise highly inappropriate solutions that tend to perpetuate the problems not ease them; all this as a ruse to escape the pain of adapting to new ideas and new evidence.

What is missing in the heat of this emotional reaction is the cool, calm and objective assimilation of the new ideas by our higher faculties. As at any other time, the stress response shuts down our higher faculties and so prevents a balanced evaluation of the facts and the development of rational judgement.

The three unwise monkeys create a lot of harm in society and organisational life 

The three unwise monkeys of premature cognitive commitment, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias are responsible for a lot of harm in society, especially in organisational and political life. In an organisational setting, this new understanding of the brain’s filtering system explains why bad news moves slowly up an organisational hierarchy and is often met with disbelief by senior managers. It also explains why, senior managers often find it difficult to accept negative feedback that disrupts their settled worldview of how they are running things. Instead of working with the new information to improve the organisation they tend to chastise those who offer differing opinions or who expose the facts and brand them as ‘whistle blowers’.

Similarly, this phenomenon accounts for the common experience of scientists, politicians and others dismissing or disregarding factual evidence when it does not meet the criteria laid down by their pre-existing beliefs, ideologies, theories and understanding.  

Cognitive dissonance is the main obstacle to world peace

The significance of this phenomenon in the context of Super Radiance and world peace is therefore obvious. Most of us have been brought up with the ingrained view that the universe is a purely material phenomenon. Despite Albert Einstein and others challenging the concept of the material nature of the universe some one hundred years ago, essentially the common belief, reinforced of course on a daily basis by our common senses, is still that the universe exists within a linear time frame and is made up of pieces of matter separated by vast tracts of intergalactic space.

In essence the common and habitual belief is that I am in here and everything else is out there. Our intellect takes the cue from our common senses and sees us as separate to the rest of the world. Whereas the fact is that the universe is a playground of self-interacting energy and intelligence and every one of us is an integral part of it. Unfortunately, those who still hang on to their old beliefs are literally physically blocked from recognising the actuality that the widespread view of the material universe is largely an illusion of the common senses.

Propositions that contradict the established worldview are deeply threatening to people’s sense of meaning, which explains the rigid resistance or simple denial or hysterical opposition to the idea of Super Radiance.

Psychology recognises that ‘having a sense of meaning’, is an important motivational human need. Those of us who have now got used to the idea about Super Radiance have to accept that the research around it violates an important sense of meaning for many people and this of course includes scientists, academics, journalists, politicians and officials in senior positions. Violating an emotional need can quickly trigger a powerful stress response. In other words the sort of cognitive dissonance provoked by this type of situation, where the evidence conflicts directly with both the subject’s belief and sense of meaning, is extremely uncomfortable. You can see that the experiencer is faced with evidence that potentially seems to undermine the very purpose of their work, their careers, their belief in their own competence (a feeling of competence also being an emotional need) and perhaps even the fundamental validity of their organisation. As a result, the reptilian survival mechanism kicks in and it becomes far easier, quicker and simpler to ignore the evidence, carry on as usual and try and persuade everybody that everything is OK the way things are. This is by way of an explanation not an excuse.

Our supreme challenge is not so much trying to create world peace but getting enough people to believe that we can.

So, premature cognitive commitment to an essentially materialistic view of existence is predominantly the reason why the exciting research on Super Radiance has been largely ignored by governments, international agencies such as the UN, and also the media. The people who inhabit such organisations literally cannot see the evidence placed before them. As a consequence, Super Radiance is mostly unheard of among the wider public.

So how do we remove premature cognitive commitment?

Ironically the most powerful way to reduce our natural tendency for premature cognitive commitment is to practice Transcendental Meditation (TM). Learning how to meditate and then regularly experiencing the universal field of lively consciousness (the Transcendent) promotes self-awareness. As you become increasingly familiar with the transcendent you become increasingly aware that you are not your beliefs, anymore than you are your thoughts, or your bodily sensations. Gradually, greater self-awareness loosens the attachment to personal beliefs and diminishes the tendency to identify so closely with them. Furthermore, practising TM regularly sees a steady erosion of stress in the nervous system that allows you to relax into being more who you are rather than who you think you are or who you think you should be or for that matter who other people think you should be. In a more relaxed state of ‘being’ it is much easier to discern between your true self and your beliefs.

This separation of self and beliefs is important because it allows you to feel less threatened when you suddenly discover that your beliefs are being challenged by some awful ‘new’ reality. The reduced ‘threat’ means less stress arousal, which means that you are a lot less prone to cognitive dissonance and so are more amenable to making the ‘right’ decision rather than opting for the ‘easy’ one.

When, from personal daily experience, you recognise the deeper reality that all the diverse strands of life in the universe coexist and interact in a universal field of lively consciousness, then the apparent magical effect of people sitting in a room in silence with their eyes shut and having a direct impact on millions of others, thousands of miles away suddenly becomes a plausible possibility.

And of course, when you meditate there is also the 1% factor. Every meditator influences the brain wave coherence of about 100 other people through the medium of the unified field of pure consciousness, the source of all material existance. So as your own premature cognitive commitment dissolves you are also helping to dissolve other people's as well, silently and unseen.

But we need more meditators to create a full 1% effect and here we have a slight problem; getting new people to meditate. If people have a premature cognitive commitment to the materialistic view of existence they are probably not going to learn to meditate are they? The various TM teaching organisations throughout the world are already doing their level best to teach as many people as possible to meditate; but first people have to want to learn, and if they don’t we are stuck where we are today with a priceless technology for world peace languishing in wasteful redundancy.

What to do?

There are other ways (albeit more laborious) to deconstruct premature cognitive commitment. From my own experience of leading team-based business improvement planning workshops I have learned that the twin pressures of a cascade of corroborative information and gentle peer pressure can help most people handle evidence that conflicts with their beliefs in a rational and grown-up way.

When I work with organisations to develop performance improvements, the first step in my team planning process is the extraction of ‘bottom-up’ feedback from all the stakeholders; most importantly this includes feedback from subordinate staff. As you may imagine there is very often a torrent of data about the defects in the organisation. The volume of the data and the fact that it is put in writing tends to swamp management’s own beliefs about how well the system is working and their own self-belief about how well they are running it. Similarly, in this type of planning workshop setting, peer pressure tends to prevent executives get away with ignoring new evidence that contradicts their personal preconceptions or beliefs. In other words, executives are less prone to suffer cognitive dissonance. Similarly, they are able to slip into denial about overwhelming evidence when they know that everyone else in the group knows about it.

We are by nature highly collaborative group problem-solving animals and derive a real sense of security where the group is striving jointly to overcome some problem. An emergent group consensus as to what the problems are and how to solve them tends to override the individual’s own fear that their personal cherished beliefs are being destroyed. In other words, this factor tends to overwhelm the defensive mechanisms of someone’s personal belief systems. The natural process of gently deconstructing premature cognitive commitment by providing group security underlines the importance of a secure, non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere. If peer pressure is hostile and critical it is likely to have the opposite effect and get the various antagonists to dig their heals in.

The implications for the promotion of Super Radiance, as a viable mechanism to create world peace, are that we need to tell more people about it – a lot more people and a lot more often than we have done in the past. In addition there is nothing to be gained by criticising those who have not got the message yet. Generally we can accept that people in positions of power and influence are genuinely trying to do there best. From our perception, they may be screwing up big time but that is only because they are still locked into their pre-existing beliefs. It is the responsibility of everyone who understands the concept of Super Radiance to get this message across about the awesome and proven potential of Super Radiance to transform the destiny of mankind. The more that people in power who know about it and the more they talk with colleagues and associates, the more familiar the whole concept becomes and this familiarity makes it the less unreal, less intangible and less threatening.

In practical terms this means transmitting relentlessly the research findings to MPs, Congressmen, civil servants, think tanks, the media, social media and so on. In this sense, running petitions, like our World Peace Group call to the three world leaders helps to generate further peer pressure (If you want to sign the petition just click here). The more people that sign, the more individuals feel they are part of some supportive group process. Everyone wants to be on the side of history. Ultimately, an unremitting wave of advocacy for Super Radiance will gradually untie the knots of cognitive dissonance in some group of individuals who will then feel confident to back the idea. We only need one government or large institution to take the plunge, for Super Radiance to suddenly become a practical reality in our day-to-day lives.

The need for tough-minded thinking

“Let us consider first the need for a tough mind, characterized by incisive thinking, realistic appraisal, and decisive judgment. The tough mind is sharp and penetrating, breaking through the crust of legends and myths and sifting the true from the false. The tough-minded individual is astute and discerning. He has a strong, austere quality that makes for firmness of purpose and solidness of commitment. Who doubts that this toughness of mind is one of man’s greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

Martin Luther King

The aim of my book on ‘The Super Radiance effect’ is to help more people break through the fallacy of their common senses and social conditioning and so become aware of what our generation can achieve if only we are alert enough to grasp the responsibility. Download the book and read the research summaries for yourself and you will see that the facts are unequivocal; the evidence is beyond doubt. We now have a practical and reliable technology to release our societies from the grip of warfare, terrorism, violence and crime.

Whether we take advantage of this opportunity or not is entirely up to us.

You can now buy a hard copy of 'The Super Radiance effect' in paperback from Amazon. Much of this article is extracted from "Reinventing management thinking -  Using science to liberate the human spirit" by Jeremy Old, also available from Amazon

"Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which the world is headed the ecological, social demographic or general breakdown of civilization will be unavoidable."

Vaclav Havel
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