Friday, February 18, 2005

Global Consciousness & the Incarnation:

"It's earth-shattering stuff," says Dr. Roger Nelson, whose Global Consciousness Project--orginally hosted at Princeton University and now joined by researchers around the world--aims to detect whether all of humanity shares a single subconscious mind.

You can read the entire article here. The short of it is that a growing number of carefully designed experiments have suggested that the human mind possesses powers which no known laws of science can (yet?) explain.

For instance, Random Event Generators (called Eggs) are machines that generate random numbers which, according to the law of chances, should generate equal numbers of ones and zeros. A researcher in the 1970s decided to investigate whether the power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with the machine's usual readings:

He hauled strangers off the street and asked them to concentrate their minds on his number generator. In effect, he was asking them to try to make it flip more heads than tails. It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.

Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations on the graph, 'forcing it' to produce unequal numbers of 'heads' or 'tails'.

During the 1990s, Dr. Nelson decided to set up 40 Eggs around the world and hook them up to his lab at Princeton. Then, on Sept. 6, 1997, something odd happened: "the graph shot upwards, recording a sudden and massive shift in the number sequence as his machines around the world started reporting huge deviations from the norm."

That was the same day that an estimated one billion people worldwide watched the funeral of Princess Diana on television. The most amazing finding, however, occurred the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when similar fluctuations began to occur four hours before the terrorist attacks. The same thing happened last December 24 hours, only this time the fluctuations began 24 hours before the earthquake that generated the tsunami occurred.

Dr. Nelson admits he has no idea what, exactly, these findings suggest about either the human mind or time (i.e., whether time runs backward as well as forward). But he does draw this conclusion:
We're taught to be individualistic monsters. We're driven by society to separate ourselves from each other. That's not right. We may be connected together far more intimately than we realise.
What Dr. Nelson does not mention--and what, without implying any disrespect for the work of Dr. Nelson, must be pointed out--is that there are already a number of people who believe exactly this, and have for some time now. They're called Christians.

Writing during the Second World War--a time when it was hard for anyone to have faith in the proposition that human beings aren't monsters--C.S. Lewis explained the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation this way:

The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man--a real man of a particular height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many stone....

The result of this was that you now had one man who really was what all men were intended to be: one man in whom the created life, derived from his Mother, allowed itself to be completely and perfectly turned into his begotten life...Thus in one instance humanity had, so to speak, arrive: had passed into the life of Christ.

Lewis goes on to explain how Christian theology links this event--the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ--to all other events in human history:

[Human beings] look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then, we are so made that we can only see the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of this father as well...

If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would not look like a lot of separate things dotted about. It would look like one single growing thing--rather like a very complicated tree. Every individiual would appear connected with every other. And not only that. Individuals are not really separate from God any more than from one another. Every man, woman, and child all over the world is feeling and breathing at this moment only because God, so to speak, is "keeping him going."

From that point [of the Incarnation] the effect spreads through all mankind. It makes a difference to people who lived before Christ as well as to people who lived after Him. It makes a difference to people who have never heard of him....

What, then, is the difference which He has made to the whole human mass? It is just this; that the business of becoming a son of God, of being turned from a created thing into a begotten thing, of passing over from the temporary biological life into timeless "spiritual" life, has been done for us. Humanity is already "saved" in principle. We individuals have to appropriate that salvation. But the really tough work--the bit we could not have done for ourselves--has been done for us...

If we will only lay ourselves open to the one Man in whom it was fully present, and who, in spite of being God, is also a real man, He will do it in us and for us

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