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Joy and Communion Through Physics: Malcom Carter's The Connected Universe

11/24/2016 02:30 pm ET
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I started college as a physics major. I wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t love the math and I refused to take any labs. In fact, one day my physics professor called me into his office and asked why I wasn’t taking any labs.

“I don’t want to,” I replied.

He gave me a skeptical look. But I really didn’t want to mess around with test tubes and hands-on experiments. I just wanted to think about cool stuff: How can light be both wave and particle? What makes up the universe, and how does it work? What is the fabric of space-time? How small is the quantum domain, how large is the cosmos, and how do the two realms mirror each other? This is a sumptuous thought feast!

I pulled off a B because of a good-looking physics tutor, though I did get an A in astrophysics, and by astrophysics, I don’t mean astrogut for humanities majors. It was a solid astrophysics course and the nature of stars enchanted me enough to elicit my best work.

Anyway, at the time, I was being seduced into the humanities by an elderly blind Greek poet whose works on the Trojan war dazzled me and cleft my soul like a thunderbolt. When wrathful Achilles finally kills the noble Hector, I was transfixed. I was an English major from that moment.

But I never forgot the fascination of physics, which is also dazzling and soul-cleaving, qualities that are captured in full by Malcom Carter’s beautiful new film The Connected Universe.

The Connected Universe profiles Nassim Haramein and his work on a unified theory. At the same time, the film extrapolates what his theory means for human consciousness. Haramein tackles the issue of randomness: Is our universe random? He looks at the wondrous symphony of life’s diversity and calculates that it can’t be.

For this calculation, the film uses a cool visual metaphor of a blind person being sent back to the beginning of our universe with a Rubik’s cube and making random turns of the cube, one per second. How far along in solving the puzzle would she be now, after these billions of years? About one percent of the way. But if someone was giving her one simple cue each time the cube was turned, “yes” or “no,” then the puzzle would be solved in minutes. With this metaphor, the film argues against unmitigated randomness.

Rather, says Haramein, there’s a feedback system at play. “Consciousness is a system of how space feeds back on itself, which is a dynamic that could generate self-awareness.”

With my own background as a hands-on spiritual energy healer and an explorer of consciousness, I started to muse that God is a feedback system. Or perhaps the divine field of karma is the feedback system, responding to each of our life choices with a kind of “yes” or “no” from which we have an opportunity to learn and evolve.

The Connected Universe explores the feedback system and its meaning in our lives. “Gratitude and positive thoughts build on each other, creating a positive, upward spiral.” Also, says Haramein, “You have the power of the universe inside you and you can overcome anything in life.”

In fact, his theory sees the power of the universe inside every single proton. Haramein is fascinated with the concept of spin and he theorizes that the fabric of space-time is pixilated with planck pixils, that the universe is filled with a planck pixil soup. Those pixils spin. “Spin may be the one thing that connects us all.”

Postulating the universe this way has yielded some extraordinarily accurate results, such as that of the charge radius of the proton. His theories sometimes fly in the face of the standard model of physics, and there is a very funny scene with Haramein disputing the strong force, one of the four fundamental forces that is axiomatic in physics. I imagined my old professor making his skeptical face at Haramein. It gave me a good chuckle.

But the film isn’t taken over by abstruse science. The science is set forth simply, in layman’s terms and elegant visual metaphors. My favorite was a scene of cream pouring into a cup of coffee, showing the beautiful galactic swirl that results on the surface of the black coffee.

Ultimately, the science in this wonderful film, though mesmerizing, isn’t the protagonist. The real hero of this film is human potential.

The Connected Universe aims to show how powerfully and profoundly we are all connected, so that knowing our intrinsic connection can dissolve the sorrowful disconnect of modern life. Our consciousness matters. Our feelings of love and joy and gratitude matter. They imprint themselves on the very fabric of beingness.

Malcom Carter is a humanitarian and a philanthropist and he intends to succor people in their journeys. The science Carter depicts has intimate, personal meaning for each of us. It’s not ‘out there,’ it’s within each of us, collectively and individually. His film has the exhilarating power of a Rocky song, inspiring the viewer to want to burst into a victory lap with arms held aloft in exultation. I can do it, I can do anything! the viewer thinks.

“You are in a constant, cosmic dance with the universe,” Haramein says. “People can transform themselves and as a result transform the universe.” This is science at its peak: uplifting, heartfelt, inspirational. Go see the film, it will expand you.

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