The Brain-Based Approach to Peace
John Hagelin, Ph.D.
Brain functioning is directly linked to human behavior. Stress impairs brain functioning and thereby negatively impacts our behavior; it shunts blood flow away from the prefrontal cortex—the “higher brain,” seat of impulse control and judgment—to the primitive, reactive brain, resulting in the “fight or flight” response. Under chronic stress, the prefrontal cortex shuts down chronically and thereby fails to develop properly, an outcome linked to the pervasive, impulsive violence plaguing society today. Societal stress further exacerbates this situation, fueling crime, war, terrorism, and social violence.
Extensive research has shown that a simple, easy-to-learn, evidence-based meditation practice, the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, markedly reduces individual stress and its damaging effects on the brain and behavior. It provides the individual with the experience of a unique, fourth state of consciousness—a state of deep physiological relaxation and heightened mental alertness. Health benefits include striking reductions in anxiety, high blood pressure, and rates of heart attack, stroke, and death. The EEG coherence produced by TM practice leads to increased creativity, IQ, moral reasoning, and academic achievement and markedly reduced violent, antisocial behavior.
Groundbreaking research also shows that large groups practicing this powerful, stress-reducing technology together produce a spillover effect in society, resulting in measurable reductions in societal stress and associated crime and violence. This Brain-Based Approach to Peace therefore offers a field-tested solution to global conflict and a practical technology to create peace on earth.