The Meaning of Random

— Random Number Generators and Tarot cards
The implications of Princeton's research which confirms that consciousness can directly affect Random Number Generators (RNGs) goes far beyond mind-over-matter considerations, overturning basic assumptions about causality and also questioning probability.

WHAT DO THE I-CHING, the Tarot deck and computer diagnostic programs have in common? They all rely on specific interpretations of random processes. In other words, they are all equivalent to dice throwing. This is not a dismissal, but rather a clarification. The question is, if they work, what does this say about random processes?

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program was a research program established in 1979 by Robert G. Jahn at Princeton University to study the interaction of human consciousness with physical systems. Central to part of the research were Random Number Generators (RNGs) which allowed the researchers a chance to measure even the very smallest influences of consciousness on matter. RNGs are physical or computational devices that give a random number output. A dice, for example, is an simple RNG with a whole number output from 1 to 6. Now if the mind can affect matter, you would not be able to determine your ability to influence a dice roll with only a small number of throws, because a small number of uninfluenced dice throw are very variable. However, throw a dice a million times and you will consistently find, with each million throws, each of the different faces coming up approximately 160,000 to 180,000 times, because large numbers of throws average out the outcomes. Likewise, the large number of 'throws' of an RNG also have a somewhat predictable outcome, allowing researchers to measure the effects of consciousness on the system.

The experiments at Princeton University came up with some intriguing results, indicating that the mind can indeed influence matter, but because the the whole process is based on statistics, the those in the scientific establishment are still prepared dismiss the results as flukes, despite the odds of these flukes happening by chance being vanishingly small. This is normal behaviour by scientific dinosaurs who are unhappy at having their worldview tipped upside down. However, those with open minds realized the significance of the results, and this research spawned The Global Consciousness Project which begun in 1998 also at Princeton University, research that looked at the results of a world-wide RNGs set up to monitor human consciousness globally. This project was developed by Roger Nelson, and the results since its inception confirm that our collective consciousness can directly affect matter, with a statistical significance of a million to one). There is also now research going on into the effect of consciousness on RNGs at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS).

Here is an excellent explanation by Dean Radin on random number generators:

What RNG experiments prove is that the mind is entangled with matter in some capacity, but quite what capacity nobody really knows. What is known is that when large groups of people are focused on an event, for example the tragedy of 9-11 or the new millenium celebrations, RNGs veer off random into more coherent (less probable) distributions. Are they following intention or attention or both? Probably a combination, although even that is not clear-cut.

Even though this direct interaction of what we label as mind and what we label as matter seems so nebulous in these experiments, and the effects so small, it has huge implications philosophically. It means that consciousness is not just an epiphenomenon of matter, but is linked in a way that must make it at least as fundamental as the material world. And if consciousness is fundamental to the universe, then objectivity goes out the window and suddenly what happens in our minds takes on a reality of the same quality as what happens out in the world. Science prides itself on detachment and objectivity, but if consciousness is also a primary ingredient of the universe, then science would have to acknowledge that the subjective component of the experimenter can never be ruled out and science would become more of a creative art, losing its authority to define the world and determine its limits.

However, just because the philosophical implications of RNG experiments are so enormous does not mean that practically RNG experiments amount to much just yet. Exactly how the mind is interacting with matter, and how consistent the interaction is, has not yet been determined. But this has not stopped inventors taking RNGs and using them in medical diagnostic machines. These machines are set up using RNGs to determine the health of different organs and meridians in the body, what toxins are present, our emotional health and which nutrients the body needs. The only trouble is that there is little consistency: run such tests back to back on the same person, and the results can be very different, and there have been no independent studies showing that the results correlated with more accepted methods of medical diagnosis.

But what these RNG diagnostic systems lack in consistency and accuracy, they more than make up for in presentation, PR and marketing. Most of them have impressive graphic display outputs that gives the impression they are actually scanning the body, rather like an MRI, and some require the patient to hold a small handheld device attached by a wire to the machine to give the impression that something local which needs electrical contact is actually being measured. (The truth is, as one inventor admitted to me, that the handheld peripherals are superfluous and only included to give such devices credibility. After all, if you do not have to even be near the machine, or indeed on the same continent as it, then it all starts to look a bit more iffy.)

However, the experiments on RNGs seems to indicate that consciousness is non-local, meaning that it is not a thing that is localized to brains and nervous systems, but is everywhere throughout all time and space, a bit like the zero-point field. (Indeed, leading theories on the mind-matter connection unite consciousness and matter at the level of such fundamental nonlocal fields.) What the inventors of these machines are actually hoping is that the intention of the design — the consciousness put into the software program — will be enough to correlate particular RNG coherence results to a particular organ, meridian, nutrient or disease. This is a tall order because it is unproven, and the fact that the machines are not consistent with their output indicates that randomness is not eliminated. Remember that the RNG experiments are measuring very slight deviations from randomness — the effect is very subtle and usually requires large numbers of similarly focused minds in order to show up the effect. Hoping that a the single mind of a patient in conjunction with the single mind of the tester will be enough to give accurate and significant results for a local biological system, uninfluenced by other minds on this planet, is quite a hope! But at least it is one that is easy to test, which unfortunately does not mean that it is being adequately and independently tested.

If these RNG diagnostic machines were as accurate at the inventors claimed, then this would imply that the effect of consciousness on matter is many orders of magnitude greater than that indicated by RNG experiments conducted by research organisations such as The Institute of Noetic Sciences and Princeton University. This may be the case, but it is probably more likely that RNG diagnostic system inventors are jumping the gun and making assumptions about RNG output that simply are not true.

However, there is another issue here. RNG experiments involve trillions of what are effectively cyber 'coin tosses' in order to have the sensitivity to measure very small consciousness effects because such large numbers of coin tosses are much likely to deviate from an ideal random distribution of 50% heads and 50% tails, thus allowing any effects of consciousness to show up statistically. But such a large number of coin tosses might be introducing a lot of noise into the system from all the other minds on the planet, and indeed in the entire universe, making the effects much smaller. Whilst it is true that this is absolutely necessary to prove the mind-matter entanglement scientifically, from a practical perspective, it would be like averaging out a million Tarot readings and expecting a more significant result.

Now I am not saying that Tarot readings necessarily mean anything. But if they have meaning, if they have validity (and I will leave that up to the reader to decide), then we know that the significance of a reading is lost if the process is repeated and repeated. Tarot readers warn about constant reselection of cards because each new reading starts to lose significance in the minds of the reader and the person being read. If we draw lots, throw the I-Ching, or do a card reading, the result has to be honored ahead of time for the reading to have any significance.

So maybe the way that RNG experiments are being undertaken in order to gain mathematical significance and scientific credibility, is actually a recipe for minimizing the effect of consciousness on matter. Maybe the RNG diagnostic machine inventors, by effectively plumping for an outcome in the same way that a Tarot reader does, have something after all? Could it be that the combination of randomness and an inchoate mindset of result significance will give the most meaningful outcome? Perhaps the scientists who are investigating RNGs are too open-minded for their own good, and that their results would be more significant (and less scientifically valid) if they closed their minds a bit in favour of meaningful results?

This might appear to be a vindication of RNG diagnostic systems, but whilst it accepts the possibility of greater validity, it also equates such systems with other random systems such as a Tarot deck reading. In other words, rather than use an RNG diagnostic system, you could use a special set of diagnostic health cards, and start doing body readings. (There's one for any inventor out there… they would be a huge hit… but make sure you highlight the disclaimer — For Entertainment Purposes Only!)

This is all conjecture, but it would be interesting to examine some of the consequences if the assumption that random events such as the I-Ching or a Tarot reading give significant results (significant in the sense that the random processes of these readings gives results that correlate with the 'objective' physical world — not just display 'subjective' psychological significance). What would random then mean in such a world?

Random events are chaotic and undirected, by definition, but if randomness can result in an ordered, coherent and directed outcome, then it is not actually random at all. A process can only be random if the components of that process, which exhibit the randomness, are all acting independently because they are separate. For example, throwing a dice 10 times is considered a random process because of the assumptions that: each number has an equal chance of coming up due to the uniformity of the dice; consciousness/expectation does not affect the outcome; and subsequent throws are not affected by previous or future throws. In other words, the dice is separate from the universe, including consciousness, and the event of a throw is separate in time from other events. But we know that consciousness can affect random processes, and it appears that it does it, not through some known mediating influence like a physical force, but just in the final outcome.

This has intriguing implications, not only on the connectivity of the universe, but also on causality itself. If outcomes can be affected by consciousness through no medicating force, then this implies that consciousness is more fundamental than physical matter, and that it is influencing matter outside of normal space-time. And if this is true (the jury is still out), then this would mean that the world could and is literally changed instantly through changes in group consciousness. Suddenly, all the problems in the world are reduced to problems of consciousness, and the battle for a viable future is actually the battle for consciousness.

None of this is new: wise people have known for millennia that we can only change the world by changing our minds. But from spiritual perspective, the change of the world is mediated by a change in behaviour caused by the change in mind. But if consciousness influences matter outside of space-time then there is no mediation… the change happens instantly throughout all space and time. The conscious/ego mind that is embedded in space-time cannot register these changes, only the deeper mind can, which is why we do not notice, for example, changes in history being caused by changes in the group mind. The problem with these types of hypothesis, of course, is that it is not testable and therefore not scientific, but that does not mean it is not valid. As they say, nature does not read physics textbooks!

This also questions what we mean by words like chance and probability, both of which are predicated on the assumption that consciousness is not involved. After all, if consciousness can affect outcomes outside of space and time, then these terms lose meaning because each situation becomes absolutely unique, and the term probability which implies knowable potential outcomes becomes redundant. It is ironic that RNG experiments use probability to prove the entanglement of consciousness with the physical world, for if consciousness is entangled in the way that they think it is, without force mediation, this brings into question the whole concept of probability.

The closest we can come in our space-time-anchored minds to understand this entanglement is to assume the everything is predetermined and the world is orchestrated by a divine intelligence. This is the God/fate hypothesis that has been so popular over most of human history. Intuitively we know that the world is coherent on a very deep level, and that all outcomes have significance, and if we do not have the depth to drop beneath the space-time paradigm then God/fate suddenly looks like a good working model. In fact, it takes some real mental gymnastics and denial to believe otherwise. Newtonian scientists call the mind-over-matter perspective magical thinking, but what is actually magical is the way that they deny the subjective component of their experience, and actually believe that it can be factored out with the correct experimental techniques.

But if we get in touch with aspects of consciousness that are outside space and time, outside normal surface consciousness, then the God/fate concept is no longer necessary as we realize that we are an integral part of the whole energetic system that is manufacturing reality. Both free will and predeterminism go out the window as we come to directly know that the whole shebang is a shadow-puppet show, and that the real world is beyond all such limiting concepts.

So RNG research is opening up a can of worms, a process that could end up deconstructing the world as we know it. For when random no longer means random, the world as we know it is turned upside down.