Why the EGG Acronym?
The Global Consciousness Project is also known as the EGG project, and we should explain why. The public name (GCP) is transparently meaningful, and provides an orientation to the nature and purposes of the project. As you will see, however, the EGG acronym is often favored in the materials you will find on this website. It is also the conventional usage within the project's planning and working group for a number of reasons, and we offer this background as explanation and context.
A bit of history
Starting in about 1992, a variant of the PEAR REG experiment called ContREG was implemented as a continuously-running monitor, with indexing to identify times and events such as the beginning and end of runs in an intentional experiment, or the presence of a small group meeting in the room. This led to a
field version of the experiment, using a laptop and battery pack for power, and later to a miniaturized version using a palmtop computer and a micro-REG. These FieldREG experiments differed from those in the lab most importantly by not having any assigned intentions to distort the data distributions, but instead the purpose of recording deviations associated with special states of group consciousness. The field experiments, which began formally in 1993, were immediately interesting, and were soon conceptually replicated by Dean Radin and Dick Bierman, using variations on the theme of identifying events and periods of time with special characteristics that might correlate with anomalous deviations of the REG or RNG data sequence. The idea of a broader application came early, as notes from 1994 indicate, but the development of the technology would take some years.
In an early cooperative effort, we all contributed data to Dean's measurement of the jury verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. A serendipitous meeting at the Esalen Institute with the organizers of the Gaiamind global meditation led me to organize a project to gather data from as many sources as possible, asking friends and colleagues with suitable equipment to run it during the defined period on 23 January, 1996. When Princess Diana was killed, another opportunity called to take data with multiple sources, distributed widely in Europe and the US. These and related global-scale projects are described in some detail in the electronic journal eJAP.
These collaborations preceded a conference in late 1997 that brought Psychophysiologists and Psi researchers together in Freiburg, Germany to talk about integrating some sophisticated physiological measures such as EEG into experiments on anomalies associated with consciousness. In a casual conversation during a break, Dean said, perhaps jokingly,
Why not a World EEG? This captured the essence of a large-scale, and more sophisticated version of the global consciousness measurments that had yielded striking and potentially important results. The notion quickly grew into a concrete possibility as I began talking about it with others.
The EGG name
The image for the project is drawn from that of the EEG, as this technology is used in an attempt to capture something of human consciousness in the form of brain activity measured by electrodes distributed over the surface of the head. Of course the earth is not a head, and yet, the image of a global consciousness, comprised of a complex and active layer of interconnected, intelligent creatures, is compelling, and has generated profound scientific and literary work, including that of Teilhard de Chardin.
I set about organizing a small working group, and began developing specific plans for implementing a network of global dimension to take data using the best available technology for assessing direct effects of consciousness. Greg Nelson was among those I talked with in depth about the possibilities. He saw the project as an opportunity to do some work directly in anomalies research, and offered to write the backbone software for gathering and archiving the data. We were searching for a good name for the project, and his suggestion was ElectroGaiaGram, or EGG. Although it might imply we intended to measure electrical effects, which we did not, the name was appealing, not least because
egg, as a metaphor, is among the richest words in the English language. In any case, the name stuck, and we continue to use it, not only for its fertility in connotation but, as explained in the architecture document, because it has led to a very concise and convenient set of terms for technical communications.
Thus, although the transparent meaning of the formal name Global Consciousness Project is prefered for the first layer of public access to the project, we wish to make this more personal, internal name, with its metaphorical richness, available to you as well.