In the movie Theory of Everything, about Stephen Hawking’s relationship landscape, intertwined with bits of his brilliance about the elusive Theory of Everything that is the universe, the poignant moment for me comes when he looks at his children, with love for his former wife — there is a recognition that we are creators of our own universe.
It is a reminder that Everything is contained within our connections. The message seems to be: what do we make of those connections, regardless of how — in Hawking’s case — our bodies give out, or how our intellect fires? And it is a reminder, in my view, of how the universe is continually evolving as we add to it our own genetic combinations, our own emotional vibrations, and our own conscious thought. [See my earlier post on this in a personal vein.]
I see slogans, like I did the other day on the t-shirt of a man buying cigarettes at a convenience store: “You are either with us or against us.” And, knowing what I’ve been learning from scientists, philosophers and curious people like me, I realize he’s much more black-and-white with that viewpoint than most of us are. News stories, of course, are full of events caused by that stark dichotomy.
But the truth, we know, is not as polarized as that. Easy as it can be to forget, most of us recognize the middle space where we connect and create something new, every moment, every day.
Within our search for The Theory of Everything, there is much disagreement. Because we don’t know anything. But… we are trying. Here are three levels of thought.
Theory: The Matter of Science
Some scientists believe our universe is largely created of pure physical gases, elements, quantum-level particles and waves. Some behavioral psychologists and neuroscientists believe our emotions are triggered by impulses in the brain, tied to a consciousness we create by the stories we tell about our identity and our past.
It is hard to control these particles and impulses and memories, however, because they don’t behave in predictable ways.
- Why do the smallest elements — photons, electrons, neutrons, protons, atoms, molecules — seem to choose to act as either a particle or a wave, depending on a random observation by an outside party?
- How can protons that are split instantaneously act in union even if they are thousands of miles apart?
- How can we explain the many cases of near-death and out-of-body experiences, reported by patients to their doctors, suggesting that consciousness seems to move outside our brain?
- What prompts someone to take a gun into a school and kill classmates? If our minds work in predictable ways, why can’t we fix them?
The fear we tend to have about unpredictability is, I think, why so much funding is devoted to finding a Theory of Everything. The motivation is not simply curiosity, but also to help us feel more secure about Knowing.
Theory: Interconnected Vibrations
The string theory of quantum physicist John Hagelin (pictured left), a spokesperson for transcendental meditation, and the emotive viewpoints of Science and Non-Duality co-founders Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo… are among the concepts of people I have met who believe that intentional vibrations (aka communication) are as much a factor in the connection of our universe as matter.
HeartMath offers research about how the heart regulates brain activity and awareness, rather than the other way around. The organization was represented in the documentary “I Am,” which shows how an organism as simple as yogurt picks up vibrations from our emotions, such as stress.
“I Am” director Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty) captured the flavor of how our physical, consumeristic, competitive selves might have it all wrong — that the “good vibrations” around compassion and cooperation and love ultimately are closer to the roots that bind us.
Physicist-turned-philosopher author Peter Russell eloquently promotes the idea that we are all connected down deep — and that at the quantum level, every cell of humans, animals, leaves and even rocks are one. [See this page on Peter Russell.]
And, particular news to me, since I hadn’t been following post-Darwinian science: research has found that genes are essentially taking communication from elsewhere about how to organize, and mutate — they aren’t driving evolution in the way we thought only a few decades ago. As Craig Venter, leader of the Human Genome Project put it, “Genes cannot explain all of what makes us who we are.”
Researchers are detecting that the vast amounts of non-coding DNA in our genome are offering vibrational responses — like an antenna — receiving and sending signals to turn on and off expressions of genes as part of an active two-way signaling process.
Mendelian inheritance — the idea that everything that passes to the next generation only through the genes — is giving way to a more complex inheritance process called epigenetics. Perhaps lifestyle and behavioral tendencies are passed on at the cellular level (not simply through imitation). How are these signals from the environment transferred?
Like the process of photosynthesis — which enabled Earth to become populated by organisms more complex than bacteria — wavelike energy transfer involves communication of information. We don’t seem to be paying as much attention to that deeper level: how is this energy communicated?
Theory: The Field of Awareness
Edgar Mitchell, who walked on the moon, turned his scientific curiosity into more than 40 years of research into Eastern philosophy, parapsychology and the formation of the Institute of Noetic Sciences after he had a transcendent moment in outer space.
Edgar had felt a palpable connection to everything in the universe and innately realized that everything he had thus far learned as a scientist was only partially complete. He transcended his training to believe that the universe consists of a conscious state of awareness. [See this page on Edgar Mitchell.]
Rupert Sheldrake, also highly educated, has gone beyond his academic training as a biologist to come up with a revolutionary theory of how animals and human beings interact. He believes that there is a “morphic” field that connects us in ways far beyond what our five senses detect. [See this page on Sheldrake.]
Ervin Laszlo has become a favorite author of mine on his views of the Akashic Field. [MORE TO COME ON THAT, AND MICHAEL TALBOT’S HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE, and LYNN McTAGGART’S FIELD]
Physicist Sir Roger Penrose, in collaboration with Stuart Hameroff, has taken the concept of the field of awareness a step further with a theory that encompasses the wave-collapse function, by giving (and my interpretation here is simplistic), the universe of consciousness a method for choosing a result, based on evolving qualia values. [See my conversation with Stuart Hameroff here.]
The Theory of Everything in Sum
In my innocent outlook, as a non-scientist and a non-philosopher, I see my own theory of the universe evolving as this: 1) our bodies and all matter are at the base, 2) our emotions and vibrations are connectors to other bodies and matter, 3) and underlying it all is a field of conscious awareness that supports us.
Those who reach this state of awareness more often than not are the ones who live in harmony with a kind of convergence — a sense of the interconnectedness and oneness of the universe that we might otherwise find temporarily in meditation, or experience in the transcendent moments of nature or “being in the zone” of creativity.
But… talking in an isolation chamber is not useful for anyone. What do you think? What is your theory about the “everything”? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below.
— Mikki Morrissette