The Kingdom of Awe

A blog about finding the wonder in life

Magic city with old books

Our universe is astounding in that the laws of physics have to be perfect beyond belief for stars and planets, and for human beings, to even exist. Does this demonstrate, if not prove, an intelligence behind the universe, who many call God?

Here’s the big question about consciousness: is consciousness a product of the physical world alone? If it is, however complex, then consciousness as physicalism would defeat those who believe, or hope for, the existence of nonphysical realities.

What is inside a black hole? Inevitable crushing doom? Gateways to other universes? Weird, multidimensional libraries? If you’ve ever wanted to know then you might be in luck – Some physicists have argued that you’re inside one right now.

Today we’re going to ask a simple-seeming question that will lead to so pretty wacky places. The question is this: If the universe has a center, where is it?

Carolyn Clapper shares her Near Death Experience (NDE) that she had one day after contracting meningitis. Carolyn is now is a medical medium, an evidential psychic medium, and a psychic.

Ishtar Ishaya (Thomas Howell) shares his NDE (Near Death Experience) that he had at age 13 when he was in a car accident with his mother.

The human immune system is the most complex biological system we know, after the human brain, and yet, most of us never learn how it works. Or what it is. 

Everything will end. Even the universe. But in a future so far away that it defies description, there will still be light and therefore a chance for life. It will be around White Dwarfs, the corpses of stars. But even they will fade one day..

There are cosmic snipers firing at random into the universe. What are they and what happens if they hit us?

What is the largest star in the Universe? And why is it that large? And what ARE stars anyway?

The largest things in the universe are black holes. In contrast to things like planets or stars they have no physical size limit, and can literally grow endlessly. Although in reality specific things need to happen to create different kinds of black holes, from really tiny ones to the largest single things in the universe. So how do black holes grow and how large is the largest of them all?

What is something? On the most fundamental level thinkable, what are things? Why are things? And why do things behave the way they do?

If the deep laws of the universe had been ever so slightly different human beings wouldn’t, and couldn’t, exist. All explanations of this exquisite fine-tuning, obvious and not-so-obvious, have problems or complexities. Natural or supernatural, that is the question.

We human beings sit roughly midway between atoms and galaxies, and both must be so perfectly structured for us to exist. It’s called “fine tuning” and it’s all so breathtakingly precise that it cries out for explanation. To some, fine-tuning leads to God. To others, there are non-supernatural explanations. Featuring interviews with Robin Collins, Victor Stenger, Ernan McMullin, and Michio Kaku.

There’s a deep connection between gravity and time – gravitational fields seem to slow the pace of time in what we call gravitational time dilation. And today we’ll explore the origin of this effect. And ultimately, we’ll use what we learn to understand how curvature in time – this gradient of time dilation – can be thought of as the true source of the force of gravity.

We know that gravity must cause clocks to run slow on the basis of logical consistency. And we know that gravity DOES cause clocks to run slow based on many brilliant experiments. But I never explained WHY or HOW gravity causes the flow of time to slow down. And I’m not going to explain it now – because in a sense it’s not true. Gravity does NOT warp the flow of time. It’s the other way around – the warping of time causes gravity.

Neuroscientist Beau Lotto conducted an ambitious study with Cirque du Soleil on the emotion of awe and its psychological and behavioral benefits. In this talk and live performance, he shares some of their findings — and stands back as Cirque du Soleil dancers create their own awe-inducing spectacle.

Lani Shiota, an associate professor at Arizona State University, argues that awe is a fundamental part of being human—making our bodies and minds more receptive to new information, new experiences, and life’s deeper meaning.

Daniel Tammet claims that since he was 4-years-old he’s been able to do huge calculations in his head. Since then he’s been tested in number memorisation games, tested for theories and calculations, and finally challenged to learn Icelandic and speak on a national television show, all in a week.

Akiane Kramarik is a child and teenage prodigy, she has become a self-made millionaire by selling her incredible paintings from the early age of 5. Akiane paints from her visions of God, who she claims speaks to her.

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar contains many awe-inspiring feats of cinematography. Some of the most powerful are the ones involving the supermassive blackhole Gargantua. What makes these visuals so breathtaking is the fact that they are a scientifically accurate portrayal of what a real-life blackhole looks like. This isn’t science fiction. These things are real!

At the center of a galaxy more than 55 million light-years away, there’s a supermassive black hole with the mass of several billion suns. And now, for the first time ever, we can see it. Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, speaks about the iconic, first-ever image of a black hole — and the epic, worldwide effort involved in capturing it.

Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience while in a coma, explains how the mind is like a hologram of universal consciousness that brings together oneness and duality simultaneously. Meditation is how we can all experience this.

One of the most startling possibilities of physics is that our 3+1 dimensional universe may better described as resulting from a spacetime one dimension lower – like a hologram projected from a surface infinitely far away.

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.

Is all that exists just whatever exists right now? Is the past erased and the future a void yet to be filled? Well, the answer lies in between the past and the future – in the elusive, ever-moving eye-blink that we call the present.

Scott Drummond shares his amazing experience of what he felt and saw when he was pronounced dead for 20 minutes. It is a very personal and tender moment in his life, a moment that drastically changed the rest of his life forever.

This awe-inspiring video illustrates the size of our universe by starting with quarks and zooming out to the entirety of the observable universe.

From a translator who speaks not three or four but *32* languages to an artist who draws elaborate cityscapes from memory to an NFL player who is now a neurosurgeon, these five gifted people have honed their talents through hard work and perseverance.

Imagine being able to remember every minute detail of your life. You can recall what the weather was like, what you were reading or what you wore to the shops at any minute, any hour or any day stretching back decades. It sounds like some kind of parlour trick, but it’s actually a real and very rare medical phenomenon.

Melissa McCracken thought everyone associated colors with music the same way she did. But she soon realized that her senses were unique. The Kansas City-based artist is a synesthete, and she is able to translate sound into vivid paintings. Talk about seeing the world in a different light.

In 2002, Jason Padgett was the victim of a vicious beating outside a karaoke bar in Tacoma, Washington. Upon regaining consciousness, Padgett’s sight was forever altered by a condition called acquired savant syndrome. The brain trauma opened his eyes to an entirely new world—one filled with mathematical patterns and strobes.

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