God Is Not Dead Hardcover – Apr 4 2008
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"Goswami is a pioneering frontier scientist and "quantum activist" who, perhaps more than anyone else, has helped advance the quantum revolution in society through his popular writings. In his latest book, God Is Not Dead, he shows how quantum reasoning may resolve deep mysteries, including the nature of God, evolution, dowsing, the vital force, the soul, creativity, and more. For anyone grappling with the interrelationship of mind, matter, and divinity, this book will offer much new food for thought." --Beverly Rubik, PhD, Biophysicist, Institute for Frontier Science, Adjunct Professor, Saybrook
About the Author
Amit Goswami is professor emeritus of physics at the University of Oregon where he taught for 30 years. He was featured in the hit movie What the Bleep? and in Who?s Driving the Dream Bus? He is the author of seven books, including The Self-Aware Universe.
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Now, infinite possibility does not mean randomness nor chaos. There is a higher force acting in downward causality, which created delicate and complex life-forms out of nothingness; self-reflecting entities out of carbon atoms. And this is the same intelligence that, given the chance, will manifest the most perfect outcome for us in any given situation. And I say given the chance, because every time we entertain our mind with the ever-recurring wave of limited thought patterns, we actually collapse the possibility function from its infinite potentiality into the finite and often lame egoic frame of experience. By imagining the quantum possibility wave as it is, we open up a Divine gap of peace and silence, where the power of the Absolute can enter the picture and do its magic.
It is this meditative practice of emptying ourselves of every thought and of every attachment, as both eastern sages and western mystics have taught for thousands of years, that we can make a sudden quantum leap into the realm of the unimaginable, the land of true creativity, as Goswami puts it. We suddenly start to live according to God's Will, if you will. Thanks to Goswami's insights I was able to understand the science of meditation from a quantum physics point of view.
Goswami's treatment springs from his understanding of quantum mechanics, the quantum wave function, and the wave function's collapse. He (page 22) writes: "Quantum possibilities are possibilities of consciousness itself, which is the ground of all being. This takes us back to monistic idealism.... Our looking is tantamount to choosing, from among all the quantum possibilities, the one unique facet that becomes our experienced actuality." Looking collapses the wave function, as much as we can tell from quantum mechanics.
Goswami (page 23) writes: "We don't choose in our ordinary state of individual consciousness that we call the ego the subjective aspect of ourselves that the behaviorist studies and that is the result of conditioning. Instead, we choose from an unconditioned, objective state of unitive consciousness, the non-ordinary state where we are one, a state we can readily identify with God."
Goswami writes (page 23) the following. "Our exercise of choice, the events quantum physicists call the collapse of the quantum possibility wave, is God's exercise of the power of downward causation. And the way God's downward causation is this: for many objects and many events, the choice is made in such a way that objective predictions of quantum probability hold; yet in individual events, the scope of creative subjectivity is retained."
Goswami writes (page 24): "The quantum signatures of downward causation are discontinuity (as in our experience of creative insight), nonlocality (as in the signal-less communication of metal telepathy), and circular hierarchy, also called tangled hierarchy (as sometimes experienced between people in love)." Goswami expands on the tangled hierarchy, a structure introduced by Douglas R. Hofstadter.
Goswami writes (page 30): "The paradigm shift of our science now taking place is revealed in depth psychology and transpersonal psychology and the branch of medicine that is called alternative medicine. The paradigm shift is also revealed in the work of organismic biologists who see causal autonomy in the entire biological organism, not merely in its microscopic components. Some evolutionary biologists even see the necessity of invoking `intelligent design' of life to break the shackle of Darwinian beliefs. The practitioners of these branches of science have penetrated the camouflage to some extent. With the help of quantum physics, the penetration of the camouflage is much more extensive. "
Goswami's book provides evidence for the reality of God, and he gives (page 34) an early outline: "In view of quantum physics, the vast data on life after death, and alternative subtle-body medicine, it is considerably more difficult to refute the ideas of downward causation and subtle bodies. And who in their right mind would try to refute the importance of virtues and values in our lives? Clearly, the religious have a more plausible theory of virtues and values than the biologists who claim they evolved from Darwinian adaptation via chance and necessity."
Goswami writes on the sometimes hidden foundation of religious attitude: "Jesus himself was a great mystic. Following his lead, Christianity in the West has had other great mystics who have propounded monistic idealism, mystics such as Meister Eckhart, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Catherine of Genoa, etc. But the organized nature of Christianity drowned out the voices of the mystics (ironically, including Jesus), and dualism has prevailed in the official thinking of Christendom."
Goswami tells us that it is feeling that gives us the first sign of something beyond the physical that leads to the spiritual. It is feeling that is left unexplained by science. Goswami writes (page 137): "When we look at our experiences of feeling, meaning, and the archetypal contexts of feeling and meaning through the conceptual lens of the new science - science within consciousness - we find that there is ample experimental proof that they don't arise from the physical body. They occur in conjunction with the body, but they are not the physical body. Instead they come from God, or more accurately from the Godhead; we choose them from our own God potentia. In other words, no mystic has to tell us that God is our `father.' Every one of us has that intuition already. The new science is just validating that intuition."
Goswami writes (page 153): "The God hypothesis is needed to incorporate feelings as part of our experience. You will notice that feeling-oriented cultures tend to be believers in God (good or bad), whereas when rationalism dominates a culture, it tends to move away from the God hypothesis. This is not a coincidence."
I am afraid that my brief review will not do justice to all of the topics in Goswami's book. There is discussion of reincarnation, karma, parapsychology, mind-body healing and other topics that are being related to the reality of God as philosophical arguments. Goswami is breaking new ground here. Nevertheless, the book could benefit with additional treatments of some classical philosophical arguments, and I mean to point to arguments that are beyond Thomas Aquinas. Hegel's "ontological proof of God" and Charles S. Peirce's "neglected argument for the reality of God" (as they are known) provide non-dual understandings that are agreeable to Goswami's monistic idealism, in my opinion.
In his previous books Goswami has tackled problems about the universe we live in, life after death/reincarnation and the Eastern concept of enlightenment, all viewed from his special outlook: combining quantum physics and spirituality in a non-dualistic vision.
Here he again tackles the hot subject of intelligent design, presenting af view that's challenging both for creationists and neo-Darwinists (Dawkins & Co.). Showing that there's ample reason to admit, that we live in a Universe that's somehow 'created' by a higher intelligence. And showing convincingly, that subscribing to the sound view of 'Intelligent Design' has nothing whatsoever to do with (fundamentalist) Christianity.
This territory he has covered before, but here he takes it a step futher, dealing with the loaded concept of a Creator/God. And trying to anchor his views in a practical morality, always a difficult matter to deal with.
As always with Goswami the book is well-written, entertaining and thought-provoking. Another cry of insight and vision in the often all to barren modern day intellectual climate! Should appeal to readers interested in a new scientific paradigm. And in writers like B. Allan Wallace, Deepak Chopra, Stan Grof, Fred Alan Wolf. And anyone open minded enough to challenge his/hers prejudices about how the world around us (and in us) functions.
As with his previous book this one feels more engaging and challenging than deeply convincing.
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