Evaluating a Field Theory of Consciousness and Social Change: Group Practice of Transcendental Meditation and Homicide Trends

Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, Michael C. Dillbeck, David W. Orme-Johnson


This study outlines and empirically tests a field-theoretic view of consciousness and positive social change based on the ancient Vedic tradition of knowledge from India (Veda means “knowledge” in Sanskrit) as brought to light by the Vedic scholar and scientist of consciousness, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In contrast to most contemporary theories of mind and consciousness originating in the West, Maharishi’s Vedic science of consciousness posits the existence of an interpersonal, nonlocalized dimension of consciousness that underlies both individual consciousness and the “collective consciousness” of society, or “national consciousness.” We review previous empirical tests in Cambodia, India, the Philippines (and other countries) of hypotheses derived from this field-theoretic view of consciousness. We then present new empirical results, which together with prior research, provide evidence for an interpersonal dimension to consciousness. Segmented-trend regression analysis of data from a prospective, 15-year U.S. national social experiment found support for the hypothesis that “field effects of consciousness” created by group practice of Transcendental Meditation® and its advanced technique, the TM-Sidhi® program, by a theoretically predicted number of participants contributed to a reduction in social stress in national consciousness as indicated by improved monthly homicide trends during the study’s experimental period 2007-2011 (p < .0001). These results are consistent with significant reductions in crime and violence associated with group practice of the TM® and TM-Sidhi® program as reported in previous peer-reviewed research. This reduction was followed by a predicted subsequent increase in homicide trends 2012-2016 (p < .0001) after the group fell below the required size (approximately the √1% of the U.S. population).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/sass.v8n1p1


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Copyright (c) 2022 Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, Michael C. Dillbeck, David W. Orme-Johnson

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Studies in Asian Social Science    
ISSN 2330-2143 (Print)  ISSN 2330-2151 (Online)

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