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No. 123: May-Jun 1999

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Focused group energy (fge)

Anyone who has played a team sport can appreciate FGE. The team resonates and seemingly can do no wrong. The following quotation conveys this sense of "group attunement."

"Every so often we hear of a group of people who unite under extreme pressure to achieve seemingly miraculous results. In these moments human beings transcend their personal limitations and realize a collective synergy with results that far surpass expectations based on past performance. Anyone hearing a fine symphonic or jazz group hopes for one of those "special" concerts that uplift both the audience and the performers. Perhaps less frequent, but more spectacular, are examples in sports, such as the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, a group of talented amateurs who stunned the world by winning the gold medal against the vastly more talented and experienced, virtually professional Russian and Finnish teams. These occurrences, although unusual, are much more frequent in American business than is commonly suspected."*

Assuming that FGE is a real phenomenon, can it be measured objectively? Yes, says W.D. Rowe, and he tells how it has been done. The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research group has developed a random number generator that produces an unbiased series of bits such that a large sample will average 50% 1s and 50% 0s. PEAR normally uses this machine in psychokinesis experiments in which an individual mentally attempts to skew the statistically expected 50:50 outcome. But that's a different story. Here, the thought is that the PEAR random number generator is also a "consciousness detector." Since FGE seems to involve a group's collective consciousness, perhaps this random number generator will respond with a skewed train of 1s and 0s -- even when the group in unaware of its presence.

Rowe reports that eleven group experiments have been carried out in which FGE seemed to be present according to participants. During these periods of group resonance, often hours long, the random number generator produced results that were two, sometime three standard deviations from the mean. Rowe concluded that FGE is a real and robust phenomenon that can be measured. It is "an extra sense above the five common senses."

(Rowe, William D.; "Physical Measurement of Episodes of Focused Group Energy," Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12:569, 1998.)

*Keifer, Charles F., and Senge, Peter M.; "Metonic Organizations: Experiments in Organizational Innovation," in Visionary Leadership, Framingham, 1982. As quoted in the above reference.

Comments. If it is real, the implications of FGE are enormous. Any physical measurement or computer calculation can be skewed by FGE, perhaps not intentionally! Understandably, mainstream scientists cannot accept FGE or psychokinesis, for they undermine the objective measurements that science depends upon.

We venture that FGE might also transpires at the level of the individual. We all have days when all goes well and the entire world seems in tune. Further, FGE could easily include animals, as with a horse and its rider in a "resonating" rodeo performance.

From Science Frontiers #123, MAY-JUN 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss