Consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence, declares University of Oregon physicist Goswami, echoing the mystic sages of his native India. He holds that the universe is self-aware, and that consciousness creates the physical world. Calling this theory "monistic idealism," he claims it is not only "the basis of all religions worldwide" but also the correct philosophy for modern science. Once people give up the assumption that there is an objective reality independent of consciousness, the paradoxes of quantum physics are explainable, contends Goswami, writing with his wife and Reed ( Building the Future from Our Past ). He also applies his hypothesis to the so-called mind-body schism, which he attempts to heal. Sketching a model of the self, this demanding but rewarding treatise uses analogies from the "new physics" to throw light on choice, free will, creativity, the unconscious and paths to spiritual growth. Illustrated.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Goswami (Physics/University of Oregon; coauthor, The Cosmic Dancers, 1983) uses quantum physics to promote monistic idealism- -the theory that both matter and mind have their origin in consciousness. The villain here is materialism--the teaching that everything is comprised of atoms--and its tag-along doctrines of locality (that interactions between objects occur in local space-time), strong objectivity (that objects exist independently of consciousness), and epiphenomenalism (that mind is an accidental by-product of brain function). According to Goswami, quantum physics has laid to rest this view of reality: Quantum objects jump from here to there without passing through intervening space, disproving locality; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle disproves strong objectivity, etc. Goswami's explication of modern physics- -which draws on everything from Winnie-the-Pooh to optical illusions--is a model of clarity. Vastly less satisfying is his brief for monistic idealism. For one thing, he writes off an important alternative, dualism--the ``common-sense'' view that mind and matter both exist, that a rock is a rock and a thought is a thought--in a few skimpy paragraphs. For another, his argument is inconsistent: He cites paranormal events as evidence for idealism, but when an exception arises (such as out-of-body experiences, which suggest dualism), he becomes a debunker. Worst of all, when he tries to describe how idealism actually shapes the world, he sounds like Madame Blavatsky with a hangover (``the universe exists as formless potentia in myriad possible branches in the transcendent domain''). Goswami's aim is inviting--who does not wish us to ``realize our full potential--an integrated access to our quantum and classical selves''?--but most readers will remain agnostic. More substantial than Fritjof Capra, which isn't saying much. This is one cosmic egg that may be too big to crack. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Not exactly as "easy" read, however, it is highly rewarding. Amit is a great mind and his thoughts are articulated very well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Stacey
While this topic interested my curiosity and even though I consider my self an above average reader with a reasonable IQ, I found this presentation nearly unreadable. Read morePublished on March 19 2011 by Ronald W. Maron
This is a wonderful and timely book. It gives a fresh view of science, religion, mind, body, consciousness and the universe, stimulates thinking and makes one really understand... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2006 by Kate Bazilevsky
It has been a long time since I was so happy reading a book.
I grew up in Christian Science. As a Christian Scientist I would not normally approach the subject of spirituality... Read more
I thought that this book was very interesting. I would also recommend "The Science of G-d" by Israeli physicist Gerrard Shroeder. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003
As a non PhD Biologist, which in this case makes me an interested layman, I may not be qualified to review this book. Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2002 by Tom Herren
As a non PhD Biologist, which in this case makes me an interested layman, I may not be qualified to review this book. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2002 by Tom Herren
When I read books on subjects I am not very familiar with, such as subatomic physics, I tend to access the reliability of the author by his accuracy on subjects I know more about. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002 by David Marshall
Like many New Age books, The Self-Aware Universe is a confusing and often confused mixture of scientific knowledge, recycled spirituality, good intentions, and gobbledygook. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2002 by J. Hofferman