Celebrate Global Orgasm for Peace Day
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When anti-war activists Paul Reffell and Donna Sheehan planned their latest peace-making project -- the synchronized global orgasm -- to fall on Dec. 22, they may not have realized that it's the last Friday before Christmas. It's a day many people take off, and so, have a little extra time on their hands. Sweet coinkydink or a holiday miracle, today's your chance to improve the world -- batteries not included.
The goal of the Synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace (or as I think of it, The Other GOP) is to effect a change in the world's energy by having as many people as possible orgasm while focusing their thoughts on world peace.
The rules are simple: Yes, you can do it on your own. No, there's no specific time. And, no, you can't fake it.
Personally, I hope this will usher in a whole new method of activism -- one that doesn't involve buying poster board. Even if it doesn't work, hey, it's more fun than marching.
But Paul, 76, and Donna, 55, have high hopes for the global orgasm and its potential to counter a widespread yet commonly dismissed problem.
"Human behavior has become so pronouncedly violent and destructive," Paul said in a phone interview. "And it's sort of accepted that way."
The couple wondered what they could do to help change that, so they decided to use the same brand of witty activism that inspired a previous project, Baring Witness. As you might guess from the name, protesters used their naked bodies to create peace-promoting slogans and symbols -- a tactic which drew international notice.
The Global Orgasm for Peace certainly has the same winking cleverness, but it also invites us to consider the power of collective thought. Does what we think really effect anything?
The project's Web site points to the work of another group, the Global Consciousness Project, which is trying to answer that question. Directed by Dr. Roger Nelson, the GCP is a volunteer group of researchers from various disciplines, whose goal is to find out whether collective thought can be measured and scientifically validated.
Here's how it works: The GCP has a series of random event generators (REGs) around the world, each of which produces a random number each second. Using these generators, the GCP has been able to note that sometimes events of global focus cause the patterns to become less random. For example, data collected after certain major events such as the death of Princess Diana and the international Winter Olympics show a greater degree of structure, indicating an increase in shared emotion and collective thinking.
Paul and Donna heard about the REGs, and, Paul said, "wondered what would be the most powerful and the most positive change on consciousness we could make?" They had heard about the influence of mass meditations and decided to take it to the next level.
"We thought, well, that's great," Paul said. "If meditation can do it ... what if everyone orgasmed at the same time, and what if they combined that energy with a spiritual intent for peace?"
Now the question is, will it work? Anyone who has practiced visualization or, indeed, who even has taken comfort from the song about the ant moving the rubber tree plant because he had high hopes has probably wondered if it's possible. But if wishing makes it so, how come we're all still wishing? And what if your wish is in direct conflict with my wish?
Dr. Hoyt Edge, Professor of Philosophy at Rollins College and my former parapsychology professor, whom I called on for a little guidance in what is really a dizzying field of scientific and metaphysical jargon, said these are essentially the kind of questions that need to be asked in good research.
Dr. Edge knew of Dr.Nelson's work and said that, although such research still seems speculative, Nelson does a good job.
"He is, as critically as possible, trying to put to a test something with not a very high a priori probability." In other words, Nelson is trying to quantify something that is hard to measure and whose conclusions cannot be easily deduced from reason or self-evident observation.
Even a skeptic might have to say the attempt to look at something so esoteric is interesting, and even a cynic might have to smile at Donna and Paul's ideas on using esoterica to improve the world.
"We're all hoping the random event generators go off the scale," Paul said.
Many will be curious to know if the REGs will be effected and, if so, what it will mean. But Nelson said that there won't be easy answers because, for anything to be scientifically and statistically significant, its results must be replicated.
"Reliable interpretation requires assessment of data from dozens of similar events," he said.
Guess we'll just have to try it again, which is fine. Donna and Paul plan on staging the event once a year until 2012.
Fortunately, the Global Orgasm is one prospect where wishing sort of does make it so in some small way. If it works, it's great. And if it doesn't work, it's great.
Just talking about it seems to delight everyone you mention it to, and the activity itself will likely bring a certain amount of peace to its participants. Orgasms are just a win-win.
So you might want to set some time aside today. It's always a good day when you feel the earth move ... especially if you think you're helping it move in the right direction.