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Praying For Peace (for 30 days)
Status: Malarkey
If you live in Cincinnati, watch out. Sometime during the next month you may feel a calm sensation wash over you. And that sensation may be caused by the "Maharishi Effect." At least, it might be if you believe tai chi teacher Vince Lasorso. Lasorso is hoping to convince 3000 residents of Cincinnati to pray or meditate for 30 days, starting on April 29th, in order to create a "peaceful field of consciousness" in the city and hopefully reduce its murder rate. As the Cincinnati Enquirer reports:

He says studies have shown that if 1 percent of a community practices meditation and other inner peace techniques, the crime rate can dip more than 20 percent. In transcendental meditation circles, that's known as the Maharishi effect, named for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a mystic who became famous in the 1960s after teaching the Beatles to meditate.

Check out Lasorso's website, movementsofpeace.org, where he states that "Research conducted at Princeton University demonstrates that human consciousness creates a field around the Earth as real and measurable as gravity. Experiments in over forty U.S. cities reduced crime rates as much as 24 percent when one percent of the population meditated on loving peace." I'd like to know what this research at Princeton is that he's citing. Or he is just making it up? (I can't find any references on his site.)

This kind of thing (praying for peace) seems to be a bit of a trend right now. I posted about Global Spell Casting day a few weeks ago. And Katy Kurione emailed me about a dial-a-prayer outfit called PrayLive.com that has a slightly different spin on the idea. On April 27 they gathered "clergy from around the Washington, DC and MD area... to pray for the lowering of gas prices." Forget about peace... just lower the price of gas!
Categories: Religion
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 01, 2006
Can
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  in  Earth  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  03:05 AM
After all, the Maharishi effect has worked so well at Maharishi University...

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1207936,00.html
Posted by Joe Littrell  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  09:00 AM
I have a friend in cincinatti...I'll ask him how he feels...Or if he feels less inclined to commit murder.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  11:32 AM
Sounds like they're referring to PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) project.

My guess is that if the murder rate in Cincinnati was unusually high last year, it will regress toward the mean, and these guys will claim proof of the Maharishi Effect.
Posted by Joe  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  12:53 PM
I live a few miles outside of Cincinnati and haven't noticed anything yet.

One of the Prometheus Press books (I think Psychic Cops by Joe Nickell) had the results of one of these types of experiments. After the crime rate increased in the area, the prayer group still claimed success. They said that the crime rate would have been even higher if they hadn't done it.

I'll report if I decide to kill anybody.
Posted by Mark  on  Tue May 02, 2006  at  09:25 PM
I did a little research. You might have done the same before dismissing Vince Lasorso
Posted by Alchemy  on  Wed May 03, 2006  at  02:41 PM
I don't think anyone sees it as threatening, it's just completely useless. You might as well go to a baseball game for all the impact it will have on the crime rate. There has never been a properly conducted experiment that showed any evidence for the veracity of prayer.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Wed May 03, 2006  at  05:47 PM
Cincinnati has been hit by some unusual crimes since the experiment started, the most noteworthy being a national rapper getting in a gun battle after playing at a local club.

I wouldn't be so skeptical if this didn't follow the study that showed no evidence of prayer helping hospital patients.
Posted by Mark  on  Sat May 06, 2006  at  09:41 PM
im ashamed to say i once told a hippy friend that meditation does lower the crime rate... although it almost could work i mean if you got enough people to meditate then the ones that would be commiting crimes will be too busy humming to themselves in their bedrooms
Posted by joeodd  on  Tue May 09, 2006  at  05:23 PM
Charybdis, if you could just get everybody to go to a baseball game, the crime rate would go way down for a few hours-- at least, the crime rate outside the ballpark would.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA  on  Thu May 11, 2006  at  06:59 PM
Most of the pro-TM literature has been churned out by the Maharishi's dipolma mill and is methodologically flawed. It has been debunked by, among other organizations, the Behind the TM Facade group http://www.behind-the-tm-facade.org/ Maharishi_Effect-mdefect.htm.
Posted by JoanRC  in  Edmonton, Albert, Canada  on  Tue Apr 22, 2008  at  09:11 PM
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