John Samuel Hagelin
June 9, 1954
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Education||A.B. (physics), Dartmouth College, 1975|
M.A. (physics), Harvard University, 1976
Ph.D. (physics), Harvard University, 1981
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College, Harvard University|
|Employer||Maharishi University of Management|
|Known for||Three-time candidate for U.S. President, leader of U.S. Transcendental Meditation movement, president of Maharishi University of Management|
|Title||Raja of Invincible America, president of the US Peace Government, and others|
|Political party||Natural Law Party|
|Kara Anastasio (2010)|
|Awards||Kilby, Ig Nobel|
John Samuel Hagelin (born June 9, 1954) is the leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement in the United States. He is president of the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, and honorary chair of its board of trustees. The university was established in 1973 by the TM movement's founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to deliver a "consciousness-based education".
Hagelin graduated in physics in 1981, and began post-doctoral research at the CERN for less than a year, then at the SLAC. He vanished in 1983 in the midst of personal problems and reappeared a year later as physics professor at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM), then became its president. Hagelin believes that his extended version of unified field theory is identified with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's "unified field of consciousness", a view that is rejected by "virtually every theoretical physicist in the world".
Hagelin stood as a candidate for President of the United States for the Natural Law Party, a party founded by the TM movement, in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections. He is the author of Manual for a Perfect Government (1998), which sets out how to apply "natural law" to matters of governance. Hagelin is also president of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes TM.
Hagelin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second of four sons, to Mary Lee Hagelin, née Stephenson, a school teacher, and Carl William Hagelin, a businessman. He was raised in Connecticut, and won a scholarship to the Taft School for boys in Watertown. In July 1970, while at Taft, he was involved in a motorcycle crash that led to a long stay, in a body cast, in the school infirmary. During his time there, he began reading about quantum mechanics and was introduced to TM by a practitioner, Rick Archer, who had been invited to the school to talk about it.
After Taft, Hagelin attended Dartmouth College, and at the end of his freshman year studied TM in Vittel, France, and returned as a qualified TM teacher. In 1975 he obtained his A.B. in physics with highest honors (summa cum laude) from Dartmouth. He went on to study physics at Harvard University under Howard Georgi, earning a master's degree in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1981. By the time he had received his Ph.D., he had published several papers on particle theory.
In 1981 Hagelin became a postdoctoral researcher for few months at the European Center for Particle Physics (CERN) in Switzerland, and in 1982 he moved to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California. He left SLAC in 1983, reportedly because of personal problems. A year later he joined Maharishi International University (MIU), later named the Maharishi University of Management (MUM), as chair of its physics department. Two of Hagelin's previous collaborators, Dimitri Nanopoulos and John Ellis, were uncomfortable with his move to MIU, but they continued to work with him. While at MIU, Hagelin received funding from the National Science Foundation.
Hagelin became a trustee of MUM and, in 2016, its president. It was intended that he become president of Maharishi Central University, which was under construction in Smith Center, Kansas, until early 2008, when, according to Hagelin, the project was put on hold while the TM organization dealt with the death of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
During his time at CERN, SLAC and MUM, Hagelin worked on supersymmetric extensions of the standard model and grand unification theories. His work on the flipped SU(5) heterotic superstring theory is considered one of the more successful unified field theories, or "theories of everything", and was highlighted in 1991 in a cover story in Discover magazine.
In the years 1979-1996, Hagelin published over 70 papers about particle physics, electroweak unification, grand unification, supersymmetry and cosmology, most of them in academic scientific journals. He co-authored a 1983 paper in Physics Letters B, "Weak symmetry breaking by radiative corrections in broken supergravity", that became one of the 103 most-cited articles in the physical sciences in 1983 and 1984. In a 2012 interview in Science Watch, co-author Keith Olive said that his work for the 1984 study was one of the areas that had given him the greatest sense of accomplishment. A 1984 paper by Hagelin and John Ellis in Nuclear Physics B, "Supersymmetric relics from the big bang", had been cited over 500 times by 2007.
In 1987 and 1989 Hagelin published two papers in the Maharishi University of Management's Journal of Modern Science and Vedic Science in which he claimed that superstring theory's "unified field" was identical to what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called the "unified field of consciousness". Hagelin argued that consciousness is a fundamental property of the natural world, and that TM practitioners can experience a state of consciousness "in which the observer, the process of observation, and the observed are unified". This, he argued, is the experience of the unified field of physics.
Hagelin's arguments at times invoked numerology and critical interpretation of ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas. For instance he linked five different spin types in quantum mechanics to the five tanmatras; he also linked the name of the theory he favors--"superstring" theory--with a Vedic passage that he translated as: "My body is called a string." More central to his argument was his claim that quantum mechanics permits identifying the physical with the mental, an idea he found echoed in the Vedas. A theory linking consciousness to the unified field would be the only natural explanation for purported phenomena exhibited by advanced TM practitioners, he argued, such as the Maharishi effect, levitation and invisibility. Philosopher Evan Fales and sociologist Barry Markovsky remarked that, because no such phenomena have been validated, Hagelin's "far-fetched explanation lacks purpose". They went on to say that the parallels Hagelin highlighted rest on ambiguity, obscurity and vague analogy, supported by the construction of arbitrary similarities.
In a 1992 news article for Nature about Hagelin's first presidential campaign, Chris Anderson wrote that Hagelin was "by all accounts a gifted scientist, well-known and respected by his colleagues", but that his effort to link the flipped SU(5) unified field theory to TM "infuriates his former collaborators", who feared it might taint their own work and requests for funding. John Ellis, then director of CERN's department of theoretical physics--who worked with Hagelin on SU(5)--reportedly asked Hagelin to stop comparing it to TM. Anderson wrote that two-page advertisements containing rows of partial differential equations had been appearing in the U.S. media, purporting to show how TM affected distant events. In his book, Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and The Search for Unity In Physical Law (2007), the physicist Peter Woit wrote that identification of a unified field of consciousness with a unified field of superstring theory was wishful thinking, and that "[v]irtually every theoretical physicist in the world rejects all of this as nonsense and the work of a crackpot".
Hagelin was featured in the movies What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004) and The Secret (2006).João Magueijo, professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London, described What the Bleep Do We Know!? as "horrendously tedious", consisting of deliberate misrepresention of science and "ludicrous extrapolations".
In the summer of 1993, Hagelin directed a project aimed at demonstrating what TM practitioners call the Maharishi effect, the purported ability of a large group to affect the behavior of others by practising TM. The TM movement believes that the square root of one percent of the population of a country meditating can bring about peace. However, critics point to a lack of credible supporting evidence.
Approximately 4,000 people from 82 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. and practiced TM for six hours a day from June 7 to July 30. The meditation included "yogic flying", an advanced technique taught through the TM-Sidhi program in which practitioners engage in a series of hops while seated in the lotus position. Using data obtained from the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department for 1993 and the preceding five years (1988-1992), Hagelin and collaborators followed the changes in crime rates for the area--before, during and after the six weeks of the gathering. According to their study homicides, assaults and rape (HRA crimes) decreased up to 23,3% when compared to previous years. Additional data used for control purposes included weather variables (temperature, precipitation, humidity), daylight hours, changes in police and community anti-crime activities, prior crime trends in the District of Columbia, and concurrent crime trends in neighboring cities.
According to Hagelin, the analysis was examined by an "independent review board", although all members of the board were TM practitioners. Robert L. Park, research professor and former chair of the Physics Department at the University of Maryland, called the study a "clinic in data distortion". In 1994 a science satire magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, "awarded" Hagelin the Ig Nobel Prize for Peace, "for his experimental conclusion that 4,000 trained meditators caused an 18 percent decrease in violent crime in Washington, D.C."
In 1999 Hagelin held a press conference in Washington, D.C. to announce that the TM movement could end the Kosovo War with yogic flying. He suggested that NATO set up an elite corps of 7,000 yogic flyers at a cost of $33 million.
In 1990 Hagelin founded Enlightened Audio Designs Corporation (EAD) with Alastair Roxburgh. The company designed and manufactured high-end digital-to-analog converters. EAD was sold in 2001 to Alpha Digital Technologies in Oregon.
Hagelin and 12 others founded the Natural Law Party in April 1992 in Fairfeld, based on the view that problems of governance could be solved more effectively by following "natural law", the organizing principle of the universe. The party platform included preventive health care, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy technologies. Hagelin favored abortion rights without public financing, campaign-finance law reform, more restrictive gun control, and a flat tax, with no tax for families earning less than $34,000 per year. He campaigned to eradicate PACs and soft money campaign contributions, and advocated safety locks on guns, school vouchers, and efforts to prevent war in the Middle East by reducing "people's tension".
The party chose Hagelin and Mike Tompkins as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates in 1992 and 1996. Hagelin received 39,212 votes from 32 states in 1992 (and 23 percent of the vote in Jefferson County, where MUM is located), and 113,659 votes from 43 states in 1996 (21 percent in Jefferson County).
Hagelin ran for president again in 2000, nominated both by the NLP and by the Perot wing of the Reform Party, which disputed the nomination of Pat Buchanan. Hagelin's running mate was Nat Goldhaber. A dispute over the Reform Party's nomination generated legal action between the Hagelin and Buchanan campaigns. In September 2000 the Federal Election Commission ruled that Buchanan was the official candidate of the Reform Party, and hence eligible to receive federal election funds. The Reform Party convention that nominated Hagelin was declared invalid. In spite of the ruling, Hagelin remained on several state ballots as the Reform Party nominee because of the independent nature of some state affiliates; he was also the national nominee of the Natural Law Party, and in New York was the Independence Party nominee. He received 83,714 votes from 39 states. During the 2004 primary elections, Hagelin endorsed Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich, and in April that year the Executive Committee of the NLP dissolved the NLP as a national organization.
Hagelin is the Director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy (ISTPP), a MUM think tank. According to the ISTPP's website, he has met with members of Congress and officials at the Department of State and Department of Defense to discuss terrorism. In 1993 he helped draft a paragraph in Hillary Rodham Clinton's 10,000-page health care plan; according to Hagelin, his was the only paragraph that addressed preventive health care. In 1998 the ISTPP testified about germ-line technologies to the DNA Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health; Hagelin's report to the committee said that "recombinant DNA technology is inherently risky because of the high probability of unexpected side-effects".
Hagelin established the US Peace Government (USPG) in July 2003, as an affiliate of the Global Country of World Peace and served as the latter's minister of science and technology. According to USPG's website, the TM movement created US Peace Government and the Global Country of World Peace to promote evidence-based, sustainable problem-solving and governance policies that align with "natural law".
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi appointed Hagelin the "Raja of Invincible America" in November 2007. Hagelin organized the Invincible America Assembly in Fairfield in July 2006. The assembly comprised individuals practicing TM and TM-Sidhi techniques twice daily. Hagelin predicted that as the number of Yogic flyers increased towards 3500, "[p]eace and prosperity will reign [in America], and violence and conflict will subside completely". In July 2007 he said that the assembly was responsible for the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a record high of 14,022 and predicted that it would top 17,000 within a year.
Hagelin is also president of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, an organization of scientists opposed to nuclear proliferation and war, and president of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes TM.
In 1992 Hagelin received a Kilby International Award from the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce "for his promising work in particle physics in the development of supersymmetric grand unified field theory". According to a member of the selection committee, Hagelin's nomination was proposed by another selection-committee member who was a fellow TM practitioner.Chris Anderson, in a 1992 Nature article about Hagelin's first presidential campaign, questioned the value of the award.
John S. Hagelin; et al. "Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, DC". Maharishi University of Management. Archived from the original on November 27, 1999. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
Movement publications over time have suggested various numbers needed to create this Maharishi Effect, moving from as high as one-tenth of the adult population to one-hundredth and even one-thousandth. The movement settled on the figure of the square root of 1 percent of a given population....
On August 9 Dr. John Hagelin married Kara Anastasio in Manchester, VT. The couple lives in Fairfield, Iowa.