Ode asked 25 famous people–Hollywood actors, prominent politicians, scientists, authors–to nominate their favorite Intelligent Optimist, a person who isn’t famous but should be for his or her work to create a better world. The result: 25 inspiring profiles of changemakers you’ve never heard of–yet.
Jurriaan Kamp | Jan/Feb 2010 issue
Recently I read Dan Brown’s new novel, The Lost Symbol, after a friend told me the book was based on the works of the Institute of Noetic Sciences as well as journalist and author Lynne McTaggert. Brown has a talent for popularizing interesting theories at the edges of history and science. He catapulted the story of the Holy Grail to the center of public attention with The Da Vinci Code. The same is happening to the Institute of Noetic Sciences and McTaggert’s book The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World. “The idea of universal consciousness is no ethereal New Age concept; it’s hard-core scientific reality, and harnessing it has the potential to transform our world,” says the fictional Dr. Katherine Solomon in The Lost Symbol. “I promise,” she continues, “if we as humans can grasp this one simple truth … the world will change overnight.”
The concept of a consciousness that binds everything in the world may not yet be a “hard-core scientific reality,” but it is definitely the next frontier in science. In 2003, Ode published a cover story on the “zero point field.” That story, still one of our most popular, also featured McTaggert and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The most challenging assertion of that story is that mind and matter are related and that we can, just like the subtitle of McTaggert’s book, use our thoughts to create our reality. That’s also the point that Brown wants to get across in his new book.
It’s no longer a far-fetched idea. More and more research shows that mind does influence matter. Telepathy and telekinesis may already have been realities in the experiences of many, but they are beginning to find their place in the realm of science. The potential impact of entering this next scientific frontier is literally mind-blowing and will, indeed, to quote Brown’s character, “change the world overnight.”
Seventeenth-century philosopher René Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am.” The next axiom could very well be, “I think about it, therefore it will be.” Science could prove that we may create our ideals through our imaginations, that concentrated thought can change our reality. The following pages feature our annual list of 25 Intelligent Optimists, people who may not need that scientific proof. They are already showing the world that they are making their dreams into their realities. They are following their inspiration—that connection to the immaterial world—and they are changing our world and their own.
Like last year, our 25 not-yet-so famous optimists have been chosen and nominated by 25 famous people. Our nominees vary from peace activists to social entrepreneurs and from nature conservationists to community organizers. Their inspiring examples show that we can meet our challenges and solve our problems, that optimism is not just a state of mind. It is the beginning of the thought that changes the reality. It is the beginning of the solution. It is the driving force for positive change, a force that will gather further strength and momentum as science catches up.