I recently passed through Washington, D.C., and my brain simultaneously sorted through images purloined from House of Cards and data from a fascinating eight week study in the summer of 1993.
During the experiment, a number of experienced meditators, some with feathered or crimped hair, practised transcendental meditation as a focused group over two months. This effort precipitated a 23% drop in homicide, assault and rape in the D.C. area. The crime rate rose again shortly after the experiment stopped. The bean-counters determined the odds of this being a coincidence were roughly 1 in a billion.
The most amazing thing is that this experiment took place over two decades ago! I started thinking about all the nefarious, conspiratorial reasons why there would be no organized official follow-up to such staggering data.
Then I did my own thought experiment. I began to imagine what it could be like if there was a significant portion of National Defence and Homeland Security and R&D money flowing into similar experiments. I imagined police meditating on compassion and justice and entire armies being trained to meditate on peace.
What an image: some 65,000 shorn-haired troops in Canada and roughly 1.5 million in U.S. uniform dedicating ten hours a day to focused meditation with the intention of loving kindness. The technique could be completely non-sectarian! 175,000 more soldiers in the U.K. 186,000 in Afghanistan. We wouldn’t even have to pay them overtime! There are about 2.3 million soldiers / potential-meditators in China alone! 1.3 million in India. Roughly the same in North Korea. 845,00 in Russia.
It took 4000 meditators a few weeks to reduce crime in D.C. by a quarter of what it was. Basic training in insight meditation only takes ten days. There are 140,000 troops in Ethiopia, 480,000 in Vietnam, 360,000 in Thailand. There are apparently energetic economies of scale. With these kinds of numbers, with troops having meditation duty for six hours a day, with staggered rotation five days on, two days off, my calculations put us in a state of World Peace within nine months.
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