When I first encountered his work I was blown away and became an instant fan. I watched his four-disc DVD set Crossing the Event Horizon, as well as what is probably his most viewed and famous talk on the net that he gave at the Rouge Valley Metaphysical Institute.
All was great for a while, I even made friends with him on facebook! Then I stumbled upon this series of posts by someone named Bob critiquing Nassim:
- Nassim Haramein - Fraud or Sage? (intro)
- Nassim Haramein - Fraud or Sage?
- What's so misleading about Nassim Haramein?
- The Physics of the Schwarzschild Proton
Some pretty convincing stuff here! It completely changed my opinion for a while and I felt angry that I had fallen for Nassim's frauds. In fact at that point in my life I did a 180° and changed a lot of my opinions, so it wasn't strictly due to this. I became very academic and formulated a goal of getting a Ph.D. I was convinced that Nassim was pretty "un-academic" in his approach and research. Which didn't make much sense as a critique because that's exactly the point. He isn't associated with the academy (though he does work with people who are) and he doesn't pretend to be. Nassim's responses to these critiques weren't able to change my mind:
(I want to throw in here that I have seen Bob saying on his own blog and various message board that Nassim never properly replied to him, that he only resorted to ad hominem attacks. My problem with that is that in the above link "The Schwarzschild Proton Manifesto" Nassim quotes just about every line from Bob's post "The Physics of the Schwarzschild Proton" and most definitely does reply to it)
I don't understand the math that either of these guys are talking about and I will never pretend to. The thing is that when I was reading Bob's critique and letting it change my opinion, I forgot what made me a fan of Nassim in the first place. It wasn't the math. It wasn't even the talk about aliens or ancient civilizations. It was everything he said about infinity.
At the time, however, as much as I loved it I didn't really get it. Little did I know that for me this whole year has been a journey to get to that point of understanding. Everything I researched/studied/read for school this year had to somehow relate to immanence and transcendence, finite and infinite. I became obsessed with Mahāyāna Prajñāpāramitā literature, and the works of Rudolph Otto, Soren Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and especially Walter Terrance Stace, particularly with mystery and infinity and transcendence.
All of this work primed me perfectly. Before writing this post I wanted to brush up on my Nassim Haramein knowledge again, to look at him again with an open mind before putting another post on the internet about what a fraud he is. So I watched his most recent "Black Whole" DVD and suddenly everything clicked again.
I have no issues with letting Bob's criticisms stand and liking Nassim's work for my own reasons. For me the two don't necessarily have to clash because I must stress the "philosophical" way in which his ideas clicked for me. This is why I cannot even pretend to be able to comment on Nassim's math or his claims about the ancient world. Though I feel more ready to comment on his ancient civilization ideas, being a religious studies major and all.
Though I have changed my opinion on Nassim, Bob does raise important and valid points, ones that I am not going to ignore just because I happen to "like" Nassim again. For one, I am not a fan of the way that Nassim attempted to present his paper as having been "peer-reviewed." Yes, it was chosen by some "peers" for a best paper award at a conference, but this is most definitely not what most people think of as "peer review" and not what "peer review" actually means. Check out Bob's comments on this issue for more info. I don't like this because I think it is obvious that Nassim is touting his paper as having been peer-reviewed because it "looks good." It would have been plenty for him to simply say it won a best paper award (which it did, even if Bob does try to dismiss it as an inconsequential conference), and admit that it was published as part of a conference proceeding.
This may be enough for some people to consider him a fraud and give him no more consideration, and I really wouldn't fault them, especially if his ideas don't ring for them like they do for me. But I can't deny the fact that I do legitimately see that he HAS done research, that he isn't just tossing different, appealing religious and spiritual ideas together and serving them up, as other fake "guru's" tend to do. I do have a good knowledge of the world religions. It is my passion as well as my studies. I can see that he must have done his research, even though in some areas I wouldn't consider it up to par.
I absolutely believe that he has true insight regarding infinity, however. The questions of infinity that he is dealing here are in no way new, but I believe that the ways he has of talking about these things are.There are a lot of "spiritual gurus" out there trying to make a buck, and I've spent my time raging against a fair number of them. Nassim, however, does actually try to do real physics (Bob would say he doesn't, and I can't actually comment on it, but the fact of the matter is that right or not he does work on this stuff), and he does work with people in the field. His site has a testimonials page - which sort of irks me (as all "testimonial" pages do, for some reason) - but there are real academics there who I looked up and found and who have presumably given him the time of day. Also, if you read his replies to Bob you will see that he does have a knowledge of physics literature that to me, at least, looks like it goes beyond superficial, fraudulent acquaintance.
I don't mean to say that just because I like Nassim's ideas about infintiy I just don't care if his math is completely wrong, that it wouldn't matter to me at all. Of course it would, especially because the guy bills himself as a physicist. All I can currently say to this matter, barring further attempts at understanding, is that carefully reading through Nassim's replies again make me believe that he does know what he is doing. But as I am woefully unable to really judge any of this because I know nothing about it, I leave that choice up to you.
I urge ANYONE, no matter what your opinion is on these matters, to check out all sides of the issue and make up your own mind. If you're a fan of Nassim, don't be afraid to take a look at his critics. If you think the guy's a total and complete fraud then I urge you to check out his reply as well as any of his videos that you can get your hands on, with an open mind. I would say it doesn't matter to me what opinion you walk away with, but there is one point-of-view that I am pushing - and that is that even if you leave all this thinking that Nassim is totally wrong in everything he says, that you're open-minded enough to see that he isn't a "fraud", that he's simply doing something different, something you maybe don't agree with. I don't mean to say that if you find him to be a fraud that you are somehow stupid or ignorant, but I do personally feel that if one honestly gives the guy a shot you'd see that he's genuine.