Hard-Wired for Connection and Community

                My hope is that I AM is a window into Truth, a glimpse into the miracle, the mystery and magic of who we really are, and of the basic nature of the connection and unity of all things~ Tom Shadyac

The documentary I Am (http://www.iamthedoc.com/is the brainchild of director Tom Shadyac, whose film credits include hits like Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, and Liar, Liar.  Shadyac decided to make this documentary after a serious biking accident made him reevaluate his priorities and share publicly what he had been thinking about for years.  Once he had recovered, he set out with a camera crew to interview the great thinkers and scientists of our time, asking them what is wrong with our world and what we can do about it.

Interestingly enough, Shadyac found out instead what was right with the world.  One thing he discovered was that science has proven every human being is hard-wired for a compassionate response to the troubles of others, and that there is a measurable magnetic field given off by every human heart which can have a physiological effect on other living beings around us.

This “hard-wiring” comes in the form of the vagus nerve, which gives us the physiological response (the tearing of the eyes, the tension in the stomach) when we see others suffering.  One unexpected proponent of this was Charles Darwin, who said in his book The Descent of Man, “Sympathy is our strongest instinct.”  We are equipped, at the most basic level,  to empathize with others.

At one point in the documentary, Shadyac was in a scientific lab where electrodes had been connected to a Petri dish filled with yogurt containing live bacteria cultures.  Whenever Shadyac was shown a gruesome photo or asked a stress-filled question, the electrical charge in the yogurt increased, showing the bacteria’s response to his stress.  Researchers at the Institute of Noetic Sciences verified that this response reveals how every living thing is connected.

This interconnection of all living things should come as no surprise.  After all, the Triune God permeates all of creation:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men (John 1:1-4, NIV).

Shadyac’s documentary I Am provides more confirmation that the life that pulses through each one of us, through all living things, has its origin in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Because “…in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), we are all part of a greater whole and hard-wired for connection and community.  Once we finally embrace this, we will never feel separated, never alone.

~by Nan Kuhlman

8 comments so far

  1. Jane Hinrichs on

    Wow. That is fascinating!!!! And this reveals truth God knew was already there. Sounds powerful.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      It was a powerful documentary. I watched it on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), and I believe that they are repeating it from time to time, if you have access to the station. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Sherwin Scott on

    For Unto Us A Child Is Born

    “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah 9:6, NIV)

    George Frideric Handel made the scripture above one of the most well-known verses in the Bible. Using the scripture he composed music for the very popular oratorio Messiah. But what may be overlooked when this beautiful music is performed throughout the world is the triune nature of God. It is an ancient prophecy about the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus Christ.
    There is no comma between “Wonderful” and “Counselor” in several modern translations. To name some of them: New International Version; Amplified Bible; Common English Bible; English Standard Version; The Message Bible; New American Standard Bible; New Living Translation. “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God” is a reference to the Holy Spirit. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”. (John 14:26). “…you have lied to the Holy Spirit…You have not lied to men but to God”. (Acts 5:3-4). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand…” (1 Peter 5:6).
    “Everlasting Father” is clearly a reference to God the Father. God is a Father, we are his children. “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” (Hebrews 12:9).
    “Prince of Peace” is none other than Jesus, the Son. The prophecy in Isaiah predicted that not only will a child be born, but also that a son will be given. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16). ). “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel”. (Acts 5:31).
    This ancient prophecy about the Incarnation clearly shows the triune or trinitarian nature of God, that he is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”. (Colossians 2:9

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      I’m not sure the point you’re making regarding my blog post. You’ve listed a number of wonderful scriptures, but because you’ve not shown how they tie in directly with what I’ve written, it’s like you giving me a beautiful bouquet without telling me what the occasion is. Your comments would be more meaningful and might prompt interesting dialogue if you offer more than just a list of scriptures.

      Thanks for your interest,

  3. Wow, Nan, the bit about the yogurt bacteria is super-interesting; I’d never heard that before. I will try to take a look at “I AM,” though my current home-entertainment department is Oprah impaired.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      The documentary will be available on DVD in early February, according to the website. I interpret this to mean that it should be available to rent through local video stores and perhaps even Netflix in the near future. It will be worth the wait.


  4. Jeannine on

    That is amazing, Nan!! I’m going to have to watch “I Am” too. I’m reminded of when I was pregnant with my first child – my husband and I had taken a “babymoon” and it was during that time that I felt my first baby kicks at about 15 wks gestation. During our flight home, we encountered bad weather, and it made me nervous – my tiny baby sensed my tension and kicked and kicked untll I relaxed when we landed. And then, months later when I was facing an induction since I was 2 wks post-term, they had me hooked up to electrodes for a non-stress test and I broke down because I was so unhappy about having to be induced. Jack’s heartrate shot up until I relaxed again. I could see and hear it on the monitor. I was amazed at the clear connection between mother and baby in both cases – my emotions clearly affected my child.

    Anyway, amazing to think that these kinds of connections exist throughout Creation. It makes it seem all the more important that what we put out there is loving, gentle, kind etc, because it has impacts we can’t see.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      Love your stories, and I appreciate your emphasis that our interconnection “has impacts we can’t see.” The documentary goes into the implications of our interconnection, yet it manages to handle even the scientific evidence in an understandable way, one that appeals even to a “non-scientist” like me. I would love to hear what you think about it once you’ve seen it!


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