A Brain-Based Approach to Reducing Violence and Global Conflict
“Violent behaviour is rooted in the brain. The only way to prevent violent behaviour is to restore balanced brain functioning. The Brain-Based Approach to Peace restores balanced neurological functioning on the individual and global scale.” John Hagelin, President Global Union of Scientists for Peace
[To download the full colour brochure PDF of the Global Peace Initiative to go here. The text below is a summary.]
WHY A NEW APPROACH?
Conventional approaches to reducing violence and social conflict are costly and, ultimately, ineffective because they do not address the underlying cause: acute societal stress—including political, ethnic, and religious tensions in critical hotspots around the globe. Stress negatively impacts the brain, impairing reasoning and fueling impulsive, violent, antisocial behavior. The Global Peace Initiative has identified powerful, scientifically proven meditation-based “technologies of consciousness” that neutralize individual and societal stress, restore balanced brain functioning, and markedly reduce crime and social conflict. The Global Peace Initiative is now implementing this “Brain-Based Approach to Peace” on a national scale in the United States and on a global scale in India.
THE COST OF VIOLENCE
- 36 – Number of wars and armed conflicts being waged in the world today
- 26 – Number in thousands of terrorist attacks since September 11, 20012
- 225 – Deaths in thousands resulting from international military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 2001
- 61 – Percentage of civilian casualties stemming from current international military operations, compared with 5 percent in World War I
- 4 – Cost in trillions of dollars of the United States war on terror and of killing Osama bin Laden
- 8 – Cost in trillions of dollars of global violence in 2010
THE BRAIN-BASED APPROACH TO PEACE
- Behavior is directly linked to brain functioning.
- Stress impacts the brain. It shuts down the prefrontal cortex (the “higher brain”) and can overstimulate the amygdala (“fear center”), causing fear- driven, aggressive, violent, antisocial behavior.
- Acute stress on a societal scale similarly impacts the brain and behavior of everyone in society, fueling crime and social violence.
- Extensive research shows that a simple, evidence-based meditation practice, Transcendental Meditation® (TM®), dramatically reduces individual stress and its deleterious effects on brain and behavior.
- Twenty-three published studies have also shown that TM practice, and particularly group TM practice, effectively defuses acute societal stress, and markedly reduces associated violence and social conflict—including war and global terrorism.
- The Global Peace Initiative is dynamically implementing this Brain-Based Approach to Peace on a national and global scale, and is conducting large- scale research on its global effects as well as cutting-edge research on the fundamental physical, neurophysiological, and sociological mechanisms that underlie these global effects.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON THE BRAIN-BASED APPROACH TO PEACE
The unique effectiveness of this Brain-Based Approach to Peace has been confirmed by more than 50 demonstrations and 23 scientific studies.
This research has been carefully scrutinized by independent scholars and accepted for publication in top academic journals. In every case, this approach produced marked reductions of crime, social violence, terrorism, and war, and increased peace and positivity in society. In addition, these studies are backed by more than 380 additional published studies conducted at over 200 independent universities and research institutes in 30 countries on the individual and societal benefits of these technologies of consciousness. This extensive body of scientific research makes the Brain-Based Approach to Peace the most thoroughly tested and rigorously established technology of peace in the world today.
For this research go to Scientific Research.
The Global Peace Initiative is now dynamically implementing this Brain-Based Approach to Peace on a national and global scale.
Harnessing the power of a large group of peace-creating experts for America
The United States clearly plays a pivotal role in world events and in global policies and trends. Creating a powerful, peaceful influence in the U.S. and in its domestic and foreign policy will itself have a significant positive impact on global peace. In addition, building confidence in the scientific, public policy, and philanthropic communities in the U.S. through a successful implementation of this national project will accelerate its acceptance, support, and utilization on a global scale.
Previous research demonstrates that a group of 2,500 advanced meditation experts (approximately the square root of one percent of the national population) in one place in the U.S. is enough to produce the “National Maharishi Effect”—a peaceful, positive influence of sufficient magnitude to defuse national tensions and prevent the upsurge of crime and violence on a national scale.
Harnessing the power of a large group of peace-creating experts for the world
Previous published research9, 19 indicates that one large group of 9,000 experts (approximately the square root of one percent of the world’s population) in one place would be sufficient to produce the “Global Maharishi Effect”—a positive, peaceful influence of sufficient magnitude to defuse global tensions and prevent the outbreak of violence and conflict anywhere on earth.
For the combined reasons of lower per-capita costs, widespread availability of trained experts, and presently secured land and facilities, this global group of 9,000 peace-creating experts would be most practically situated in India. The critical task of assembling and training these 9,000 experts is well under way, with over 1,500 experts already in place.
India is the home of the ancient Vedic wisdom, which is the knowledge source of the powerful, peace-creating technologies of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced technique—the TM-Sidhi program. Consequently, instruction in these technologies can be integrated easily and cost-effectively into the current training of the custodians of the Vedic tradition in India, who are known as“Vedic Pandits.” Thousands of these experts have already been trained in these technologies, and many thousands more are being trained in villages and cities across the country. From these will be culled the most proficient to comprise the core group of 9,000 experts.
At the center of India, the Global Peace Initiative has acquired 1,800 acres of land, and the basic infrastructure of roads, utilities, water, and communications is now in place. More than 200 buildings have been completed, capable of comfortably accommodating more than 2,000 peace-creating experts, and further construction is under way. At this current rate of progress, and with access to funding, we will soon complete facilities to house 9,000 experts so that we can accomplish, from this one place, the peace and security of the entire world.
INVESTIGATING THE EFFECTS
To promote broader acceptance and support within the scientific, public policy, and philanthropic communities, GPI is supporting large-scale, independent, rigorous research on the crime-reducing, peace-promoting impact of this Brain-Based Approach, as well as cutting-edge research on the fundamental physical, neurophysiological and sociological mechanisms that underlie these far-reaching societal effects. In addition to the reductions in crime and social violence found previously, we anticipate, and will investigate, broader evidence of reduced stress in non-meditating subjects in the vicinity of the peace-promoting groups, including:
- increased serotonin
- increased alpha EEG coherence
- reduced plasma cortisol (stress hormone)
- reduced stress related illness
- reduced alcohol and drug abuse
- reduced psychiatric crisis calls
- reduced emergency room admissions
- reduced other established indicators of societal stress
BRAHMANANDA SARASWATI FOUNDATION
Honoring one of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders
Funding for the Global Peace Initiative and the Brain-Based Approach to Peace is being organized by the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation. The Foundation was established by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program and principal architect of this Brain-Based Approach to Peace. It is named in honor of Maharishi’s teacher, Brahmananda Saraswati, one of the world’s most highly revered spiritual leaders, who served as Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math—the chief representative of the Vedic tradition of knowledge.
The Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation is a non-religious, 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is overseen by an international board of scientists, financiers, and business leaders from around the world. The Foundation has put in place the rigorous financial and operational controls needed to ensure the project’s success and to provide its donors with the high level of disclosure that such a project merits. In addition to its own audits, the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation maintains a system of detailed grant requests and grant reports, including audits, from the recipient Indian organizations, as well as a team for onsite progress verification.
INVITATION TO JOIN US
Supporting large groups of peace-creating experts
Farsighted well-wishers of humanity are invited to support the establishment of a large, permanent group of 2,500 peace-creating experts in America and 9,000 peace-creating experts in India, to establish a basis for lasting peace and harmony among nations.
ENDORSEMENTS FROM LEADING SCHOLARS
“This work… deserves the most serious consideration.”
“The claim can be plausibly made that the potential impact of this research exceeds that of any other ongoing social or psychological research program. The research has survived a broader array of statistical tests than most research in the field of conflict resolution. I think this work, and the theory that informs it, deserve the most serious consideration by academics and policy makers alike.” —David Edwards, Ph.D., Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin
“We have to take these studies seriously.”
“In the studies that I have examined on the impact of the Maharishi Effect [the Global Peace Initiative] on conflict, I can find no methodological flaws, and the findings have been consistent across a large number of replications in many different geographical and conflictual situations. As unlikely as the premise may sound, I think we have to take these studies seriously.” —Ted Robert Gurr, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland
“The work is sound.”
“The hypothesis definitely raised some eyebrows among our reviewers. But the statistical work is sound. The numbers are there. When you can statistically control for as many variables as these studies do, it makes the results much more convincing. This evidence indicates that we now have a new technology to generate peace in the world.”—Raymond Russ, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Maine; editor, Journal of Mind and Behavior
“This research… demands action.”
“I have been following the research on the Maharishi Effect [the Global Peace Initiative] as it has developed over the last twenty years. There is now a strong and coherent body of evidence showing that [this approach] provides a simple and cost-effective solution to many of the social problems we face today. This research and its conclusions are so strong, that it demands action from those responsible for government policy.” —Huw Dixon, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University
Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation
For more information, please contact:
- The Global Peace Initiative
- Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation
- 80 Broad Street, 5th Floor New York, NY 10004
- 1750 Maharishi Center Avenue Maharishi Vedic City, IA 52556