Book review: An Antidote to Violence – Evaluating the Evidence by Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders
This is not an easy reading book. But it is a book that anyone in a position of influence should read.
Or maybe, if you are not in a position of influence, you know someone who is?
Or maybe you are concerned about violence in our society?
Or maybe if you would love to see global peace, perhaps you would be interested in sharing what could be a very simple solution…?
Let’s start with an indication of the value and the essence of An Antidote to Violence:
● The introduction to this book is by Dr John Hagelin, President of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace.
● The essence of the book is the scientific research which demonstrates Transcendental Meditation (TM) can influence collective consciousness leading to a decrease in negative social trends and a decline in war fatalities.
Healthy Life Essex has previously featured a couple of articles on Transcendental Meditation and Genetically Modified Food by Barry Spivack and thus I was aware of his scientific approach to topics. But as I also knew the book was about TM, I expected there would be a high level of, shall we say, quite fluffy spiritualism. I can assure you, there is absolutely none of that!
This book examines the Maharishi Effect, which is defined as the influence of coherence and positivity the group practice of Transcendental Meditation and the more advanced TM-Sidhi Program has on collective consciousness.
In 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi predicted that one percent of a population practising the Transcendental Meditation® technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population.
Scientists now estimate that just 1% of the square root of a population practising TM can create a significant impact on collective consciousness.
This book users four methods to verify the Maharishi Effect:
1. Experimental Research
2. Scientific Explanation
3. The traditional wisdom of humanity, especially that derived from Vedic literature
4. Personal Experience
It is important at this point to stress two specific points which are covered briefly in An Antidote to Violence:
1. The benefits to an individual of practising meditation, and specifically Transcendental Meditation, are well documented and are not in question
2. Not all meditation is the same! The researchers respect all types of meditation but research shows that TM differs, in simple terms, because the alpha activity associated with meditation is, for most people, in the back of the brain, but moves to the front of the brain with TM.
This book does not seek to validate the individual impact of TM, but the impact on collective consciousness and the prospect of reducing violence.
The concept of collective consciousness may be considered very New Age and yet, as the authors explain, the theory was developed by French sociologist Emile Durkheim at the end of the 19th century.
The book further details the birth of quantum physics in the early 20th century and how many scientists accept the correlation of that science and collective consciousness. The following are just a few examples of quotes detailed in the book:
“Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.”
Erwin Schrodinger: one of the founders of quantum theory
“The common division of the subject and object, inner world and outer world, body and soul, is no longer adequate and leads us into difficulties.”
Werner Heisenberg: founder of quantum theory and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
“Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”
James Jeans: A mathematician from Cambridge University
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative of consciousness.”
Max Planck: Nobel laureate and regarded as ‘father’ of quantum physics.
Perhaps the final paragraph in the Epilogue of this book may be sufficient for you to purchase a copy of An Antidote to Violence?
These new studies provide further evidence that the Maharishi Effect works, that it is effective across cultures, that it is a cost-effective means to reduce violence and increase peace and harmony, and that if implemented by as many governments as possible, our future can be unfathomably bright.
Sometimes, you need to read a book just because it is really important to read it, even if it is a challenging read. An Antidote to Violence is certainly one of those books.