Tag Archives: cosmology

How to Get Reality Back on Track


By Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas Kafatos, PhD

Reality, that most important concept about everything that exists, has gotten out of kilter, and yet very few people have noticed or are paying attention. The problem goes deep into the heart of things, however, so deep that future generations may look back and wonder why this generation didn’t wake up. The reason isn’t mysterious, actually. It has to do with how much we have come to rely upon contemporary science and to trust it: science has been appointed to inform us about what is real and what isn’t. Myths, superstitions, personal prejudices, and obsessions are unreal, while facts, data, and measurements are real.

Nothing seems more secure than science in most people’s minds. As long as technology keeps progressing on all fronts, it’s commonly believed that the most intractable problems, such as curing cancer and reversing global climate change, are open to scientific solutions. But what if reality has something else in mind? Quite apparently it does, if you bother to look deep enough. Reality has decided to bring physics, for example, to a profound crisis, not on one front, which might be easily circumvented, but on almost all fronts. This sounds like a drastic statement, but it’s actually a foreshadowing.

Judging by the current state of affairs, certain difficulties are now at least forty years old without solution and sometimes a century or more.  To name the top seven dead ends that science faces,

  1. No one knows where the Big Bang came from.
  2. No one knows how life began.
  3. The origin of time, space, matter, and energy remain obscure.
  4. The relation of mind and brain is as up in the air as it was at the time of Plato and Aristotle.
  5. The nature of consciousness and how it evolved–if it evolved–cannot be agreed upon.
  6.  The process by which the brain creates a three-dimensional world of sight and sound using only chemical and electrical signals is totally mysterious.
  7. The two leading theories in physics, General Relativity (which explains how large objects work) and quantum mechanics (which explains how tiny things work) turn out to be completely incompatible.

In previous posts over the past five years we’ve gone into detail about each of these difficulties, and as much as mainstream science resists any crack in its armor, a host of leading thinkers acknowledges exactly what these problems are. But let’s back away from details to look at the big picture. If there are seven dead ends in our understanding of reality, isn’t something drastically off kilter? If the answer to that question is obviously yes, then why doesn’t science self-correct and change course? We emphasize “science as it is being currently practiced,” because quantum reality is drastically different from the outmoded assumptions of classical physics that still dominate in the everyday work of physicists. Why this gap exists is a complex issue, but let’s ignore the details once again and give a simple, workable answer: inertia. Science advances through the momentum built up over the decades, and like a car rolling downhill, inertia will keep things moving even if the engine is dead. Continue reading

Why the Physical Universe Needs Mental Glue


Deepak Chopra, MD and Jennifer Nielsen, PhD candidate


Robber barons in the 19th century were so rich that they didn’t have to do things the way ordinary people do. If they wanted to live in a French chateau or an Italian palazzo, for example, they didn’t have to build one from scratch. Instead a chateau or palazzo could be dismantled in Europe, its parts carefully numbered and packed into crates, and then shipped to America to be reassembled on the spot.

If you wanted to ship the universe somewhere else, you could try to do something similar. You’d need four crates labeled time, space, matter, and energy—the basics for taking apart the universe. To save shipping costs, you could try to cut these down to their bare constituents at the quantum level. But when the Fed Ex man shows up, he would scratch his head. “I can’t ship this,” he’d says. “You squeezed everything down, too far. There’s no stuff in these crates.” This is a fanciful summary of the basic quandary created by the quantum revolution of a century ago. When space, time, matter and energy are studied at the very smallest level, they cease to behave as the familiar parts of reality that we think we know. Continue reading

How to See the Whole Universe: Nonlocality and Acausality


By Deepak Chopra, MD and Jennifer Nielsen, PhD Candidate

Whenever there’s a new breakthrough in science, a closer step is taken to seeing reality as a whole. Essentially science works on the jigsaw-puzzle principle: Having taken apart a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon, reassembling the pieces gives you the whole picture again. Applied to science, cancer research pursues a hundred clues in the hope of discovering what makes a cell suddenly turn cancerous. The whole picture (a tumor) is being broken down in the hope that a view can be gained of cancer itself. In physics, most people have heard of the Theory of Everything (TOE), which would combine the four fundamental forces in nature into a single picture of the universe.

But after almost a century of investigation, it is dawning on some prominent physicists, such as Stephen Hawking, that a TOE may be impossible. Instead of reassembling the whole universe out of its basic parts, something isn’t working, and that something goes right to the heart of what the quantum revolution did to science over a century ago. The common-sense world we live in, a world of solid objects that stay in place and only move if a force, or cause, makes them move, no longer suffices. Quantum objects, such as subatomic particles, aren’t solid. They don’t stay in one place, and their activity doesn’t obey simple cause-and-effect. In essence, pieces of the puzzle that refuse to fit together are why Hawking and others believe that perhaps physics will wind up like a country with dozens of regional rulers and no king to unite them. Instead of a TOE, the best we may do is a patchwork of specialized theories such as general relativity and quantum electrodynamics that explain parts of reality but never the whole. Continue reading

Physics’ Split Personality: Is the Dark Side Winning?


By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD

For some time now most of the universe has gone dark. This startling news was brought to popular attention in a June Op-Ed piece in the New York Times called “A Crisis at the Edge of Physics.” It began, “Do physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories?” In other words, once you work out a theoretical explanation for how Nature works, do you need evidence to prove it?

The answer seems like an obvious yes. If someone had a theory that unicorns live at the center of black holes, no one would believe it without evidence. But for a hundred years, ever since the quantum revolution, mathematics has often substituted for empirical data. The quantum world is too far removed from the everyday world for empiricism to guide the way. There have been famous validations of arcane theories, as when astronomers used a total solar eclipse in 1919 to verify Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity that light can been bent into a curve by strong gravitational forces. Continue reading

Human Universe and Eternal Inflation


I was reminded recently that we live in a Catch-22 Universe. What makes it a Catch-22 is that no one is qualified to penetrate the mystery of the cosmos without skill in advanced mathematics, and yet those who have this skill are so tied to numbers that they see reality no other way. Clearly the universe isn’t a set of equations. It’s the all-embracing reality that gave rise to human life. This obvious fact makes many physicists very uncomfortable.

In the last post I challenged Brian Cox, the author of Human Universe—a book, ironically enough, that rejects the concept of a human universe—to confront the current crisis in physics. For many non-scientists, this crisis only came to light thanks to an op-ed last June in the New York Times. But in the profession, especially among physicists who deal in cosmology, the crisis is well known. Cox, a physics professor at the University of Manchester and a popular science presenter on the BBC, didn’t accept my challenge. Yet his book makes no mention of any real sense of crisis. To him, as to all the most orthodox physicists, every answer will be revealed as long as the public continues to trust in the current state of affairs. Continue reading

Making a Choice: Is the Universe Mental or Physical?


By Deepak Chopra, MD, Menas Kafatos, PhD, Bernardo Kastrup, PhD, Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD

Science often makes strides by contradicting what we take for granted, and the biggest thing everyone takes for granted is the physical world.  Our senses wrap themselves around tangible objects so naturally that it’s difficult to believe that they may be misleading us completely. This is true of working physicists as well, so when any prominent theorist states the evidence of a different view of reality, one in which the mind creates the properties of what we call “the physical world,” it’s more than intriguing.

The possibility of a mental universe has a strong lineage going in the quantum era, but present-day physicalists (physicists who accept the physical nature of reality as a given) feel free to dismiss or ignore figures as towering as Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, and John von Neumann. We discussed them in our last posting. Physicalism holds sway with the vast majority of cosmologists, and yet Andre Linde of Stanford University made some important points in an article on the most current theories of the inflationary universe: “…carefully avoiding the concept of consciousness in quantum cosmology” may artificially narrow one’s outlook.” ( http://scienceandnonduality.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/UNIVERSE-LIFE-CONSCIOUSNESS-Andrei-Linde.pdf)

As a result, Linde points out, a number of physicists have replaced “observer” with “participant” when describing how humans interact with the universe. Others use the phrase “self-observing universe.” It’s startling when an important authority on the inflationary cosmos opens the door for human participation as a key element. Linde asks the same question posed by many quantum pioneers a century ago: “Is it really possible to fully understand what the universe is without first understanding what life is?” Continue reading

From Facts to Meaning, Through Beauty


By Frank A. Wilczek, PhD and Deepak Chopra, MD

Science tells us what the world is, not what it means. As expert as they are at collecting and analyzing data, most modern scientists tend to shy away from the question, “What does it all mean?” To them, the question seems so vague as to be, well, meaningless.

But it was not always so. The boundaries separating science from other ways of understanding reality–mysticism, theology, and philosophy–used to be more fluid. In ancient Greece Pythagoras was both a rigorous mathematician and a charismatic shaman. Sir Isaac Newton was both a hard-nosed empirical physicist and an obsessive Christian theologian. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr elucidated physics and at the same time wrestled with issues concerning the basic nature and meaning of reality. Although not a conventional believer, Einstein was comfortable with fluid boundaries, as one sees in a famous quote of his: “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.” Continue reading

Why the Universe Is Our Home – It’s Not a Coincidence (Part 2)

ImageJ=1.31o min=0.0 max=65535.0By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Murali Doraiswamy, MD, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Menas Kafatos, Ph.D

At the human level, everyone would like to feel that life has meaning, which implies that the setting for life – the universe at large – isn’t a cold void ruled by random chance.  There is a huge gap here, and for the past century, science hasn’t budged from its grandest assumption, that creation is ruled by random events. There was good reason for this adamant position. The mathematics of modern physics is a marvel of precision and accuracy.  No guiding hand, creator, higher intelligence, or deity was needed as long as the equations worked.

Now there is a crack in the theory, tiny at first but opening into a fissure, that casts doubt on how science observes the universe. The fault isn’t that the mathematics was wobbly ad loose. Quite the opposite.  The universe is too finely tuned to fit the random model.  God isn’t going to leap into the breach, although religion has reason to feel better about not accepting the so-called “accidental universe.”  The real fascination lies in how to match reality out there” with the potentiality of the human mind.  Both are up for grabs.

In the modern era, Sir Arthur Eddington and especially Paul Dirac first noticed that certain “coincidences” in dimensionless ratios can be found. These ratios link microscopic with macroscopic quantities. For example, the ratio of the electric force to gravitational force (presumably a constant), is a large number (Electric Force/Gravitational Force  = E/G ~ 1040) while the ratio of the observable size of the universe (which is presumably changing) to the size of an elementary particle is also a large number, surprisingly close to the first number: Size Universe/Elementary Particle = U/EP ~ 1040.    It is hard to imagine that two very large and unrelated numbers would turn out to be so close to each other.  Why are they? (For earlier examples of fine tuning, please see our first post, which gives some general background as well.)

Dirac argued that these fundamental numbers must be related. The essential problem is that the size of the universe is changing as the cosmos expands while the first relationship is presumably constant, since it involves only two supposed “constants”. Why should two very large numbers, one variable and the other not variable, be so close to each other?  (It’s like seeing a person’s vocal chords vibrating in all kinds of ways and yet discovering that each word he speaks is exactly half a second apart –even this image is a simplification compared to the actual problem, which spans similar ratios in terms of light years and time in the trillionth of a second.)

Dirac’s Large Number Hypothesis attempts to link ratios in such a way that they aren’t coincidental.  But fine tuning was a pervasive finding in other places, too, where unexpected ratios match in terms like the number of particles in the universe to the entropy in the whole system.  Such “coincidences” extend beyond cosmology to all-encompassing relationships at many levels.  Let’s look at some cases at our level of reality, where matter is comfortably composed of atoms and molecules. . The “fine structure constant” determines the properties of these atoms and molecules. It is a pure number,  ~ 1/137. If the fine structure constant were different by as little as approx. 1 %, no atoms or molecules would exist as we know them.

For example, the fine structure constant determines how solar radiation is transmitted and also how it is absorbed in the Earth’s atmosphere; it also applies to how photosynthesis works. Now the Sun “happens” to emit the majority of its radiation in a part of the spectrum where the atmosphere of the Earth “happens” to be transparent to it. However, the radiation from the Sun is determined by the value of the gravitational constant.  Why would a “macroscopic” quantity, namely the force of gravity, be such that the spectrum of radiation would just happen to be the right one to be transmitted through the Earth’s atmosphere and absorbed by plants (the atmospheric transmission being determined by the “microscopic” fine structure constant)? If these two effects did not work together exactly right,   there would be no life as we know it. The initial question we asked, “How do humans fit into the universe?” isn’t satisfactorily answered when one coincidence must be piled on another.

The coincidences don’t end there. For instance, massive supernova explosions are responsible for forming the heavy elements like iron that are in your body today, billions of years hence. The specifics of the supernova explosion are determined by the weak force, which exists at the infinitesimally small scale of the atomic nucleus. If this weak force were different by as little as 1 % or so, there would be no supernova explosions, no formation of heavy elements, and therefore no life as we know it.

The problem of fine tuning is one of the biggest embarrassments facing modern physical and biological science. These “coincidences” may be indicating the existence of some deep, underlying unity involving the fundamental constants, linking the microcosm to the macrocosm just as the ancients saw without mathematics. The so-called Anthropic Principle has been proposed to account for fine tuning, as follows, if the constants were not exactly right, there would be no life on Earth, no humans, etc. Being here, we look around and find that the cosmos led to our existence. This is an attempt to preserve reality “out there” by limiting it to the aspects a human mind and the five senses can understand. However, if you think about it, the Anthropic Principle just states the obvious, “we are here because we are here”. It has little explanatory power.

As far as we are concerned, the dilemma boils down to two clear choices: On the one hand, fine tuning is indeed just coincidence piled higher and her, and humans “happen to be in the right universe”. This is the point of view favored by M-Theory proponents, including Stephen Hawking, using superstring theory.  M-theory posits trillions upon trillions of possible universes  (the multiverse) that bubble away,  churning out every possible combination of constants, zillions of which do not match to form life. But one did, and we live in it.  This is the cosmic equivalent of putting a hundred monkey to work tapping randomly on typewriters, eventually producing the complete works of Shakespeare after also producing an almost infinite mountain of gibberish.  (At the mathematical level, superstring theory fits any number of models, extending beyond counting. Unfortunately, no observations support which model is correct, and worse still, it may be that no possible observation can, since superstrings exist – if they do at all – beyond time and space.

Although superstring theory may one day be proven, there is no reason to try to invoke it for the extreme fine tuning we observe, simply as a means to avoid a huge embarrassment for today’s science. M-theory waves its hands around, invoking a randomly picked universe that “happens” to be right. As such, nothing in the end needs to be explained: Pure randomness rules if we live in nothing more than an incredibly unlikely universe of our own – lucky us.

How unlikely is it? Estimates from superstring theory yield one out of 10500, or 1/10 followed by 500 zeros, a number far greater than the number of particles in the universe. But it gets even more cumbersome: From chaotic inflation theory, the chances of being in the right universe are much smaller, 1/(1010)10)!  The proponents insist that we just live in one of the many, many universes and there is nothing to explain. It is hard to swallow this view and see how scientists can be proposing anything so empty. It’s one thing to claim that a hundred monkeys can write Shakespeare, but it’s quite another to declare that there is no other way.  The fact is that all these fine-tuned constants fit together far more precisely than any work of literature, even at Shakespeare’s level of genius.

We said that two clear choices exist. The other, which we favor, is that the universe is self-organizing; it is “self-driven” by its own working processes. In a self-organizing system, each new layer of creation must regulate the prior layer. So the generation of every new layer in the universe, from particle to black hole, cannot be considered random, given that it was created from a pre-existing layer that in turn was regulating the layer that produced it. The same holds true throughout nature, including the workings of the human brain. This “recursive” system of self-organization, where every layer curves back on itself to monitor another layer, pervades physics and biology. For example, your genes produce proteins that monitor and regulate the genome itself.

In your brain, neural networks create new synapses (the connecting gaps between brain cells) that in turn monitor and regulate the pre-existing synapses which gave rise to them. The brain integrates all new knowledge, information, and sensory input by associating it with what you already know. Whether we’re speaking of genes and the brain or solar systems and galaxies, self-organization is present, operating through the constant activity of feedback loops. Existence requires balance, which demands feedback so that imbalances can be corrected automatically. Every new bit of the universe, however minuscule, must create a feedback loop with what gave rise to it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be connected to the whole; in human terms, it would be homeless.

Viewed this way, even when a new creation appears to be random, purpose is invoked, beginning with the overarching purpose of homeostasis, the dynamic balance of all parts into a whole. In our view, the fine tuning of the universe fits into the scheme; indeed, it shows how sensitive Nature is, balancing galaxies by making sure that subatomic particles are in balance first.  Self-organizing is embedded in the fabric of the cosmos, acting like an invisible off-stage choreographer to drive evolution (not the red herring of “intelligent design” by a supernatural God in the sky). The self-design of the universe is underpinned by quantum processes, rapidly picking choices that lead to optimal final results, as required by acts of observation. Certain assumptions are needed for this alternative, as they are for any theory:

·         We are able to observe the universe because we are woven into its unfolding existence.

·         The universe reinforces the patterns and forms that are successful in evolving from random ingredients.

·         The same organizing principles that exist in us were inherited from the universe. These include creativity, intelligence, and evolution.

·         In some way the universe monitors and governs itself.  Call it a self-aware of conscious universe, the terminology is secondary to a primary fact: Something knows how to self-design on the grandest scale as well as the most minute.

·         This something permeates creation, including ourselves. The linkage between self-aware humans and a self-aware cosmos is necessary – it must exist or we wouldn’t be able to observe the world that surrounds us.

·         Randomness isn’t the opposite of meaning and purpose but serves them, just as the randomly smeared colors on a painter’s palette serve the highly organized picture that is being made.


The two choices are infused into everyone’s life: Either incredibly small odds of finding the right universe from a random set of universes “out there”. Or, a universe imbued with life and consciousness that drives itself. We hold the latter to be simpler and more logical but also more scientific. It fits the facts without abolishing any cherished, precise observations.  Indeed, we are going to all this trouble in order to preserve observation.  The precise matchup of so many constants, ruling the biggest and smallest domains in creation, can be taken as natural rather than accidental.  Einstein hit upon a deep truth when he said, “I want to know the mind of God; everything else is just details.” Substitute “the mind of the universe,” and you have a goal worth pursuing for the coming century.


Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine. 

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), co author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University, co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles. (Harmony)


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Why the Universe Is Our Home – It’s Not a Coincidence

urlBy Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., & Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., 

It would be reassuring to most people to discover that the universe is constructed to favor life.  If the human race isn’t a freakish outcome of highly improbable chance events, we have every right to see the universe as our home. But this psychological reassurance strikes physicists and biologists as wishful thinking – the bulwark of modern science, from the most minuscule events at the quantum scale to the Big Bang itself, is the assumption that creation is random, without guidance, plan, mind, or purpose.

Only very slowly has such a blanket view been challenged, but these new challenges are among the most exciting possibilities in science. We’d like to outline the argument for a “human universe” with an eye to understanding why the human race exists. This question is too central to be left to a small cadre of professional cosmologists and evolutionary biologists– everyone has a personal stake in it.

The most accepted theory of the large-scale structure of the universe is big bang cosmology, which has achieved impressive results. Yet when you try to model the universe, you can’t escape the problems surrounding what seems like a simple act: observing it.  Measuring the cosmos is intricately interwoven with limits imposed by the process of observation itself. As you go back in time or ahead into the future, as you reach so far into space that light takes billions of years to reach Earth,  any possible model encounters horizons of knowledge at some ultimate, faint observational limit. Beyond such a horizon, not just observation is blocked, but so is physics, mathematics, and the human mind.

For example, with the big bang theory, light cannot be used to observe further back in time or across immense distances to arrive close to the very beginning itself. The first instant of the big bang remains forever hidden from the present. Knowledge about the early universe has to be inferred, as indeed. We can examine the parts that scattered after the big bang, but we cannot grasp the whole. As such, our observational limitations prohibit verifying cosmological theories to any degree of accuracy for any observational test. So the Hubble telescope, marvelous as it is for sending back photos of distant galaxies, can’t reveal reality independent of cosmological theory.  Theory cannot be verified with complete certainty, which means that important topics like the expansion of the universe and the evolution of galaxies are our own mental constructs – they reflect who we are as observers, not independent reality. 

Fine Tuning in Cosmology

What science can see and infer about space and time is certainly fascinating. We want to touch upon the inexplicable fact that the cosmos fits together with the smallest and largest aspects fine-tuned beyond anything that pure chance can explain. Talking about this fine tuning is done mathematically, in a language beyond the reach of non-scientists.  Yet as soon as anyone ventures to suggest a creation that departs from randomness, two bad things happen. Religionists leap into the breach with God, and in reaction scientists become hotly defensive. We aren’t out to add to either of these bad things.  But we can’t ignore the human implications of what we’re about to discuss, because God and science will both be forced to take new shapes.

The most basic aspect of fine tuning is the consistency of the cosmos, which is the smoothest of cream soups compared with lumpy oatmeal. The universe we observe is essentially flat, which has given rise to the Flatness Problem. Being nearly flat today, the universe must have been exactly flat close to the time of the big bang itself, to one part in 1050  (10 followed by 50 zeros, an unimaginable vast number). Why?  The usual interpretation proposed in the 80’s is that early on the universe was in an inflationary state, washing out any departures from flatness on extremely short time scales of 10-35 sec. (Imagine one of those whirling paintings sold at carnivals, with the colors swirling outward with incredible force – not a single drop would leap up off the paper.) In more general terms, it would appear that the universe followed the simplest possible theoretical construct (flatness) in its large-scale geometry.

The inflationary model was developed to account for the flatness of the universe and also supposedly solves the horizon problem.  That problem arose because , looking in all directions, the universe is remarkably homogeneous, as related to the microwave background radiation that fills it  — the temperature of this radiation is constant if one looks at different parts of the sky, to 1 part in 106 .  Such consistency isn’t easy to explain. Observations indicate that the background radiation filling all space was emitted around 100,000 years after the beginning, meaning that opposite sides of the sky at that time were, separated by approximately 10,000,000 light years. How could two opposite parts of the sky be so similar to each other if information had no chance to get from one to the other? Imagine a hot pancake fresh off the griddle that you tear into pieces and fling into the air.  A hundred thousand years later, all the pieces have the same temperature as one another, even though they never came into contact again – this is like the horizon problem.

Yet the biggest fine tuning is the value of the so-called cosmological constant, introduced by Einstein as part of general relativity to keep the universe stable and not collapse back on itself. The idea was proposed before Edwin Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe, which then presented a dynamic cosmos, without the need to keep it stable. Einstein later called the cosmological constant his biggest blunder. Today we don’t believe it was a blunder. The cosmological constant is a value to describe the density of energy everywhere in empty space. Such constants, like gravity and the speed of light, are necessary for the mathematical computations of physics to work.  In this case, we are talking about the dark energy in empty space that cannot be seen.

In recent decades the cosmological constant has been reintroduced because current observations seem to indicate that the universe not only is expanding but is also accelerating in its expansion. The standard model of particle interactions predicts a value that is 10122 larger than the actual observed value. Had the value been what standard particle theory predicts, the universe could not exist in its present form.  This is known as the Cosmological Constant Problem.

This last has shaken our confidence that we can rely upon observation in the normal sense if we want to grasp what the universe is. Regular matter (i.e., atoms and molecules) contributes 4% or less of the enclosed density of the universe right now. As such, if one insists on exact flatness, one needs to introduce unknown forms of “dark matter” (around 25%) and “dark energy (around 70%) to make a flat universe.  Worse still for cosmologists, unknown physics is required by a non-zero cosmological constant. The mathematical model for a flat universe is simple in its initial assumptions but the underlying physics required to maintain it is complex and even unknown.

Let’s translate the dilemma into everyday terms. Only 4% of the universe – meaning all the stars, galaxies, planets, light, heat, and interstellar dust – fits into science.  We are perched as if on the cherry that tops an ice cream sundae, trying to make the whole dessert conform to being like a cherry, since that’s the only world we know. But the universe refuses to be a cherry, and what it insists on being may be inconceivable. For unlike a bacterium that may have floated on to the top of an ice cream sundae through the air, we were born on the cherry, are made of its substance, and can think only in terms of our small specific surroundings.

Yet fine tuning has always lurked on the edges of standard physics, being ignored only because for a century, observation was triumphant, carrying theory along with it. You can do wonders with subatomic particles, relativity, and quantum calculations before you have to worry about events that occurred over 13 billion years ago. The universe “as it presents itself” was good enough, as it has been for a long, long time. But the numbers are inescapable, and on every side they point to a universe that is fine-tuned at the smallest and largest levels.  An ancient Indian proverb can be put in modern terms:  “As is the large, so is the small. As is the microscopic, so is the macroscopic.”

This similarity defies randomness.  Pure chance is the clumsiest, most inelegant, and least probable way to explain a fine tuned cosmos, which means that it isn’t good science.  In an ironic twist, the numbers game of modern physics has revealed that the numbers match too well.  It’s like a bingo game where the machine spits out the same ball millions of times in a row. How can that be? More importantly, why is creation fit together seamlessly? We’ll look for plausible answers in the next post.

(To be cont.)


Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

P. Murali Doraiswamy” and my degree to MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), co author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony) 

Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University, co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles. (Harmony)


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Intent Video of the Day: Does war inspire us to dream? (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

Does war inspire us to dream? Neil deGrasse Tyson says yes, and in this dazzling video he suggests that when the Cold War ended, so did many of our collective dreams.  By losing faith in NASA,and the “four tenths of one penny on a tax dollar” it represents, he says, we’ve “remov[ed] the only thing that gives people something to dream about tomorrow.”

Everyday we spotlight one remarkable video to inspire you to fulfill your intentions and improve your life. Do you have a video you’d like to suggest? Send it to us at editor [at] intent.com.

Thanks to our friends at prAna for sharing this video!

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