Communion Of Dreams

Collective awareness?

[This post contains both minor and major spoilers about Communion of Dreams. As usual, I will insert an additional note prior to each paragraph where the spoiler occurs.]

I’ve written previously about psychic abilities, and specifically addressed how they may function in the way I use them in Communion. Via TDG, another perspective on how a collective awareness among humans which functions below the level of consciousness may demonstrate this. From the article about the Global Consciousness Project:

From then on, Dr Nelson was hooked. Using the Internet, he connected up 40 random event generators from all over the world to his laboratory computer in Princeton. These ran day in day out, generating millions of different pieces of data. Most of the time, the resulting graph on his computer looked more or less like a flat line. But during the funeral of Princess Diana something extraordinary happened: the graph shot upwards and reached for the sky. It was clear that they’d detected a totally new phenomena. The concentrated mental effort of millions of people appeared to be influencing the output of random event generators around the world. But how? Dr Nelson was still at a loss to explain it.

In 1998 he gathered together scientists from all over the world to try and understand the phenomena. They, too, were stumped and resolved to extend and deepen Jahn and Nelson’s work. The Global Consciousness Project was born.

Since then, the project has expanded massively. A total of 65 Eggs (as the generators have been named) in 41 countries have now been recruited to act as the ‘eyes’ of the project. And the results have been startling and inexplicable in equal measure. The Eggs not only ‘sensed’ the moment that Princess Diana was buried, but also the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the Kursk tragedy and America’s hung election of 2000. The Eggs also regularly detect huge global celebrations such as New Year’s Eve. Even more bizarrely, they sense the celebrations as they sweep through the Earth’s different time zones. The project threw up its greatest enigma on September 11th 2001. As the world stood still and watched the horror of the terrorist attacks unfold across New York, something strange was happening to the Eggs. Not only did they register the event as it happened, but the characteristic shift in the pattern of numbers began four hours before the two planes hit the Twin Towers.

The article, and the Wiki entry about the Global Consciousness Project, explain more of the background behind the Project. Basically, in the 70s experiments were done using random number generators to see whether individuals could effect the outcome of the machines. Some tantalizing results were found, and further research lead to even more possible evidence of some kind of psychic ability, particularly among groups of people. I followed a lot of this work being reported in the popular press and was always intrigued with it.

[Minor spoilers in the next paragraph.]

When I got to thinking about Communion, I decided to make use of some of the ideas generated by this research – ideas pertaining to the collective awareness of a large group of people anticipating some significant forthcoming event. This is specifically why I have the AI Seth being directed to perform large-scale analysis of discussion boards, chat rooms, personal blogging (though I don’t call it that), and so forth, to see if there are any keyword descriptors which pop up with some unexpected frequency. The assumption is that in a survey of a large enough population, some collective hint of the future is possible.

[Major spoilers in the next paragraph.]

It turns out that not only is there indeed a collective awareness operating, but that it clearly and closely reflects the personal experiences of the protagonist Jon, as seen in his ‘dreams’. Hence one of the meanings of the title of the book: Communion of Dreams. This, however, turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg – that there is not just a collective unconscious awareness that can be tapped into (individually through dreams, or statistically by seeing the sorts of things that people are discussing), but that there are other psychic abilities which have been artificially suppressed as a result of outside interference. I have my own thoughts on how these mechanism would operate, and some of those are hinted at in the text, but I decided that it would be better to leave some mystery about that, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.

Now, I am a skeptic – I do not ‘believe’ in things unless there is sufficient data to support a theory explaining how something works. But I also keep an open mind about areas where the data provide some insight but support no conclusions. This is one of those areas – and as such, perfectly suitable for use in a book of Science Fiction . . . as has been used by countless authors over the last 150 years or so.

Read the article. It might challenge your thinking.

Jim Downey

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[…] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptUsing the Internet, he connected up 40 random event generators from all over the world to his laboratory computer in Princeton. These ran day in day out, generating millions of different pieces of data. Most of the time, the resulting … […]

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[…] But I do find it fascinating that there are these cracks in our current perception of reality. Little glimpses into perhaps a greater understanding. There may not be a concerted effort to hide the truth from us, as in my book, but there is something going on, some way in which our scientific theories only ride along the surface of a wave without penetrating it. Perhaps we exist not in the moment, but in a moving field of possibilities, some of which are so powerful that they echo backwards in time. […]

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