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An alternative approach to reducing crime and violence in our tainted Rainbow Nation
Late last week, thousands of government vehicles and boots, at the cost of billions of rands, were expended following “the situation in Diepsloot”. This euphemstically called ‘situation’ refers to the murder of several foreign nationals by vigilante South Africans in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa released a letter speaking out against this xenophobic violence, which has tainted our Rainbow Nation. Ramaphosa’s letter to the nation opens with reference to our country’s past “of race-based social engineering that manifested itself through influx control, job reservation, group areas and the dreaded dompas”. What is fascinating, particularly for those who follow the content on BizNews.com, is the reference with which this letter was concluded. Ramaphosa quotes the words of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. ‘Niemöller’ being the chosen pseudonym of the author of three open letters to President Ramaphosa published on BizNews.com following the July riots last year. The patently poignant final words of the original Niemöller’s war confessional prose were: “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” The letter below, written by Dr Richard Broome – the founder of Thinking Skills Training – both acknowledges and applauds the steps taken by the SA Government in response to the xenophobia that stained our country last week. Broome, however, takes it a step further and suggests a Brain-Based Approach to reduce violence and crime. An alternative approach that may just be worth trying. – Nadya Swart
Dear Mr President
Thank you for your email received this morning.
Agreed: “Crime is a serious problem in this country.” And “Crime, not migrants, is the common enemy we must work together to defeat.”
We applaud the recruitment of 12,000 more police officers. And re-establishing community policing forums (CPF) across the country is a great step. You observe that today our anger may focus on foreign nationals; but, “Tomorrow, our anger may be directed at each other.” So: “Let us focus on defeating crime, no matter who commits it.”
Mr President, please note that traditional approaches to crime and conflict resolution fail. This is because they do not address the underlying cause of violence and social conflict.
Employing 12,000 more police officials is a laudable step but the cost of this must exceed R3bn per annum and it will not relieve the acute political, ethnic and other tensions that fuel crime and conflict. We need an effective means to defuse these deep-seated tensions. We need approaches that can relieve these tensions at the source.
Such innovative, effective approaches to crime and conflict prevention exist. Furthermore, they already have a better track record of success than conventional approaches. Research shows it is possible to defuse societal tensions and reduce crime and research points to powerful, evidence-based, stress-reducing, peace-promoting technologies.
We can apply these within the police or military, or even in large schools or universities right now. The cost is unlikely to exceed R100m per annum. This is a fraction of the cost of 12,000 police officers and would provide dramatic support for their deployment.
Violent behaviour starts in the brain. Restoring balanced brain function transforms violent and criminal behaviour. Science calls these technologies, the ‘Brain-based Approach to Peace’.
Science also refers to the Consciousness-Based approach, or the unified field-based approach, which promotes balanced, harmonious behaviour on the individual and societal scale.
What is the Brain-Based Approach to reducing crime and violence?
1. Brain functioning impacts behaviour.
2. Stress negatively impacts the brain. It shuts down the prefrontal cortex (the ‘higher brain’). Further, it over-stimulates the amygdala (fear centre). This causes fear-driven, aggressive, violent, antisocial behaviour.
3. Society consists of individuals. Stressed individuals create a stressed society. So, stress impacts the brain and behaviour of everyone in society. This fuels crime, social violence and conflict.
4. There is extensive research on a technology that markedly reduces individual stress. The technology reverses the deleterious effects of stress on the brain and behaviour.
5. This technology has an evidence base of around 650 studies. A sub-set of 27 studies follows. These studies show that trained groups can apply the technology within a population. This reduces crime, violence and social conflict. The technology has a staggering cost:benefit ratio.
As you write: “Let us work together to resolve our country’s challenges…”
With warm regards
Dr Richard Broome.
Selected references with hyperlinks. Pay particular attention to the 15 journal articles in boldface.
- Hagelin, J. S., Orme-Johnson, D. W., Rainforth, M., Cavanaugh, K., & Alexander, C. N. (1999). Effects of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on preventing violent crime in Washington, D.C.: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June—July 1993 Social Indicators Research, 47, 153-201.
- Orme-Johnson, D. W., Alexander, C. N., Davies, J. L., Chandler, H. M., & Larimore, W. E. (1988). International peace project in the Middle East: The effect of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32(4), 776–812.
- Davies, J. L., & Alexander, C. N. (2005). Alleviating political violence through reducing collective tension: Impact assessment analyses of the Lebanon war. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 17(1): 285–338.
- Eppley, K., Abrams, A.I., & Shear, J. (1989). Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45(6), 957–974.
- Dillbeck, M.C., & Orme-Johnson, D.W. (1987). Physiological differences between Transcendental Meditation and rest. American Psychologist, 42, 879–881.
- Rees, B., Travis, F., Shapiro, D., & Chant, R. (2014). Significant reductions in posttraumatic stress symptoms in Congolese refugees after 10 days Transcendental Meditation practice. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 27(1), 112-115.
- Rees, B., Travis, F., Shapiro, D., & Chant, R. (2013). Reduction in post traumatic stress symptoms in Congolese refugees practicing Transcendental Meditation. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 295-298.
- Brooks, J. S., & Scarano, T. (1985). Transcendental Meditation and the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment. Journal of Counseling and Development, 64, 212-215.
- Rosenthal, JZ, Grosswald, S, Ross, R, & Rosenthal, N. (2011). Effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a Pilot Study. Military Medicine, 176(6), 626.
- Heffner, K. L., Caine, E. D., Crean, H., Franus, N., Moynihan, J. A., & Talbot, N. (2014). Meditation for PTSD demonstration project: Final report to Mental Health Services, Department of Veteran Affairs. Final report to Mental Health Services, Department of Veteran Affairs (pp. 172). Rochester, New York: Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester.
- Rainforth, M. V., Bleick, C., Alexander, C. N., & Cavanaugh, K. L. (2003). Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on recidivism among former inmates of Folsom Prison: Survival analysis of 15-year follow-up data. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 36, 181-203.
- Alexander, C. N., Rainforth, M. V., Frank, P. R., Grant, J. D., Von Stade, C., & Walton, K. G. (2003). Walpole study of the Transcendental Meditation program in maximum security prisoners III: Reduced recidivism. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 36(3), 161-180.
- Alexander, C. N., Robinson, P., & Rainforth, M. V. (1994). Treating alcohol, nicotine and drug abuse through Transcendental Meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 11, 13-87.
- Gelderloos, P., Walton, K. G., Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Alexander, C. N. (1991). Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in preventing and treating substance misuse: a review. International Journal of Addictions, 26(3), 293-325.
- Schneider, R. H., Grim, C. E., Rainforth, M. A., Kotchen, T. A., Nidich, S. I., Gaylord-King, C., Salerno, J. W., Alexander, C. N. (2012). Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Randomized controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation and health education in Blacks. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes, 5(6), 750-758.
- Hagelin, J. S. (1987). Is consciousness the unified field? A field theorist’s perspective. Modern Science and Vedic Science, 1(1), 29-88.
- Orme-Johnson, D. W., Dillbeck, M. C., & Alexander, C. N. (2003). Preventing terrorism and international conflict: Effects of large assemblies of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 36 (1-4), 283–302.
- Hatchard, G. D., Deans, A. J., Cavanaugh, K. L., & Orme-Johnson, D. W. (1996). The Maharishi Effect: A model for social improvement: Time series analysis of a phase transition to reduced crime in Merseyside metropolitan area. Psychology, Crime, & Law, 2(3), 165-175.
- Dillbeck, M. C., Cavanaugh, K. L., Glenn, T., Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Mittlefehldt, V. (1987). Consciousness as a field: The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and changes in social indicators. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8(1), 67–104.
- Dillbeck, M. C., Banus, C. B., Polanzi, C., & Landrith III, G. S. (1988). Test of a field model of consciousness and social change: The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and decreased urban crime. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 9(4), 457–486.
- Dillbeck, M. C. (1990). Test of a field theory of consciousness and social change: Time series analysis of participation in the TM-Sidhi program and reduction of violent death in the U.S. Social Indicators Research, 22, 399-418.
- Assimakis, P. D., & Dillbeck, M. C. (1995). Time series analysis of improved quality of life in Canada: Social change, collective consciousness, and the TM-Sidhi program. Psychological Reports, 76, 1171–1193.
- Dillbeck, M. C. & Cavanaugh, K. L. (2016). Societal violence and collective consciousness: Reduction of U.S. homicide and urban violent crime rates. SAGE Open, April–June, 1–16.
- Cavanaugh, K. L. & Dillbeck, M C. (2017). The contribution of proposed field effects of consciousness to the prevention of U.S. accidental fatalities: Theory and empirical tests. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 24 (1–2), 53–86 (34).
- Dillbeck, M. C. & Cavanaugh, K. L. (2017). Group practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® program and reductions in infant mortality and drug-related death: A quasi-experimental analysis. SAGE Open, January–March, 1–15.
- Cavanaugh, K. L., & Dillbeck, M.C. (2017). Field effects of consciousness and reduction in U.S. urban murder rates: Evaluation of a prospective quasi-experiment. Journal of Health and Environmental Research, 3 (3-1), 32–43.
- Cavanaugh, K. L., King, K. D., & Ertuna, C. (1989). A multiple-input transfer function model of Okun’s misery index: An empirical test of the Maharishi Effect. Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Business and Economics Statistics Section, 565-570.
- Goodman, R. S., Orme-Johnson, D.W., Rainforth, M.V., & Goodman, D.H. (1997). Transforming political institutions through individual and collective consciousness: The Maharishi Effect and government. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington D.C.
- Soares, Claire (23 October 2007). Joaquim Chissano: Democrat among the despots. The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/joaquim-chissano-democrat-among-the-despots-397608.html
- Dai, T., Proceedings of the International Conference on Invincible Defence, 21 (1994). MVU Press, The Netherlands; Dai, T., Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Invincible Defence, 9 (1995). MVU Press, The Netherlands; Chissano, J. A., & Dai, T., Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Invincible Defence, 11–13 (1995). MVU Press, The Netherlands.
- Villamil, J. M., & Leffler, D. (29 January 2003). Project: Coherence. What’s Hot—Analysis of Recent Happenings, India Defence Consultants, New Delhi.
- ‘We’ve moved so far away from the Rainbow Nation’ – David Shapiro on Ramaphosa’s leadership
- Mailbox: BEE – current version of Apartheid. Robbing the ‘Rainbow Nation’.
- Massive dividend awaits SA’s return to the Rainbow Nation
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.