Creating Bonds in Cyberspace
- Created on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 10:02
- Written by Maria Tadd
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Prior to Facebook and MySpace and more recently Google Plus, the opportunity to make online friends was pretty limited. Aside from internet games and chat rooms, some salacious and others more benign, there weren’t many opportunities. But of course all that has changed.
One of the First Virtual Experiments
Ten years ago, James Twyman, a singer/songwriter had an idea that if a lot of people from around the world could learn to bend a metal spoon by just using their thoughts, then by virtue of the Maharishi Effect, they could change the minds of President George W. Bush and Congress and abort the planned invasion of Iraq.
In December 2002, he created an online website, Emissaries of Light aka spoonbenders. People from every continent but Antarctica joined the chat rooms - everyone doing his or her best to stave off the invasion of Iraq and subsequent loss of innocent lives. President Bush was going to declare “war” in March, so we had about two months to hone our skills and learn how to bend a metal spoon. Virtual friends were created overnight. The number of users grew exponentially. Needing to buy more band width he charged a nominal fee, as it was quite costly back then. Within no time there were 100,000 users and by the time March arrived, we were 300,000 strong.
The Maharishi Effect
The Maharishi Effect establishes the principle that individual consciousness affects collective consciousness. When a large group of people work together the influence of coherence can improve international relations and reduce international conflicts. Nearly 50 scientific research studies conducted over the past 25 years verify the unique effect and wide-ranging benefits. These studies have used the most rigorous research methods and evaluation procedures available in the social sciences, including time series analysis, which controls for weekly and seasonal cycles or trends in social data. (Refer to: Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation Programme—Collected Papers 98, 166, 317-320, 331, and 402.)
In order for the Maharishi Effect to work, the number of participants must equal the square root of one per cent of the population. To neutralize negative tendencies and promote positive participants need to practice a form or meditation or TM in the morning and evening.
Spoon bending is not something new. Uri Geller did it and even ordinary people have demonstrated that it can be done. Many years ago, at The Dowser’s Conference in Vermont I saw someone bend a thick, cafeteria style spoon while the audience chanted, “bend, bend, bend.” Having witnessed spoon bending, I certainly was willing to give it a go. At the risk of ruining my cutlery, I bought some inexpensive spoons for my experiment. Some, who joined the chat room, were successful - yours truly wasn’t. But that didn’t discourage me from practicing daily, using the different meditations that changed weekly during our six-week training session.
According to the Maharishi effect, one percent of the square root of 6.2B people (1B fewer people than today) is just 7,874. We had 38 times the needed number to affect change. So what happened? Why didn’t we succeed? Perhaps we will never know or perhaps there were forces that were impossible to overcome. Even though we didn’t accomplish our mission, ten years later many of us are still in touch with fellow spoonbenders from around the world.
The Breadth and Depth of Online Friendships
Much has been written about online friendships. Some psychologists say they are superficial and vacuous, that they fill a void - they are a substitute for physical friends. And perhaps in some cases that is true. However, with spoonbenders we had a common goal as we so deeply wanted to spare Iraq from unnecessary death and destruction. This common cause, this shared spirit of one mind, the abhorrence of war, and universal love continues to run deep and keeps us connected.
For the past ten years, one of my spoonbender friends, who lives in Austria, has sent me pictures of his children and I’ve enjoyed watching them grow up. When he and his wife decided to build a house he sent me pictures showing the various stages of his home and I “celebrated” with them when they moved in.
Some of us have spoken on the phone as we keep each other appraised of what is going on in our lives and the lives of children and grandchildren. When just this year a spoonbender passed away from breast cancer, I grieved for her and her children as if I had known her in the real world. In the chat rooms, she had shared so much of her struggle about caring for a sick child and their financial hardships as they searched everywhere looking for a diagnosis. She died one year after her husband’s passing. Like friends in the physical world, we support each other in our endeavors. There are times when I refer potential clients to a spoonbender in CA who is an exceptionally talented graphic artist. Many spoonbenders have visited each other and I’ve been invited to stay with people from all over the world.
The breadth and depth of these virtual friendships really isn’t that different from those in the real world – we share our joys, our sorrows, the good times and the bad. I treasure them both.
Please share your stories about your virtual friends. We’d love to hear from you.