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Mysticism and the New Physics (Arkana) Paperback – 28 Jan 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 Jan. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140193286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140193282
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Michael Talbot (1953-1992) was a writer whose other books include Beyond the Quantum and The Holographic Universe.

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Nothing is more important about the quantum principle than this, that it destroys the concept of the world as 'sitting out there', with the observer safely separated from it by a 20 centimeter slab of plate glass. Read the first page
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. P. Marsh on 16 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very detailed book that can be quite heavy going in places, which is not helped by the small type print of the content. Michael Talbot builds the case for the parallel findings of quantum physics and the teachings of the spiritual masters. Ultimately he questions the old Newtonian paradigm of the universe being an objective fact with incontrevertable laws, but instead highlights that the universe is essentially a field of possibilities which is only manifest through the interaction of consciousness as observer. Written over twenty years ago as a young man, Talbot has revisited his work and built upon his earlier theories. As I am a person who has experienced non- medical healings of potentially serious maladies through conscious intent, I believe the findings of quantum physics has infinite potential for anyone to create their day and control the circumstances of their lives. I wouldn't recommend this book as an introduction to the subject as there is an assumption that the reader has an understanding of the scientific terminology. It is well worth a read though and I can personally validate the awesome implications of throwing off old models of thought, by understanding how we are not merely passive observers of a random universe but participators in it's unfoldment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Judith Lugg on 18 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, along with the other in similar vein, The Holographic Universe, is a fascinating informative read and, to me, anyway, gives a very good idea of how the whole of the universe works.

As another reviewer said, some of the passages are quite profound and have you reading them again and I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment.

I did not find either of these books 'hard-going', in fact, I think that they are written in an easily understandable, erudite style.

If you are interested in how everything comes into being, why, what is conciousness, I suggest you read this book and The Holographic Universe, as I have read many books on the subject and these two, actually come very close to my mind in explaining these notoriously difficult aspects of our 'being', which 'conventional' science either ignores or debunks and throws scorn on many aspects of mystcism, which are extremely well documented.

If Michael had lived, I just wonder what else he would have written in this area and what great insights he may have given us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MR FERGUS MACKAY on 22 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written quite some time prior to the holographic universe the content of this quite small book belies that time scale. Written from an instinctual knowledge that is less deliberate than the 'Holographic Universe', and in some chapters more profound in a raw sense. Some of the passages have such a powerful gravity that it will have you reading them time and again.
If you connected with his other book then this is strangely on some levels a progression from that, and unlike what the other reviewer suggested , not heavy going at all. An invaluable piece of understanding in our own personal journey. I dont write many reviews but felt compelled to do so as the content of this book is so very important for those at that point in their understanding that boundries need to be stretched.
Michael Talbots death in 1992 was a trajic loss - his insights and understanding have been sorely missed!
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Mysticism and the New Physics is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read. It left a lingering impression since I encountered the first publication early in the early 1980's and the power of this work has not diminished in the least in the updated version, revised in 1993, which I re-read quite recently.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
155 of 161 people found the following review helpful
A journey 4 Sept. 2002
By Jeff Dickerson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Talbot opens the book with an introduction that gives the reader some idea of where he's going. The first several chapters lay down a quick ground work, introducing the reader to the old physics' universal precepts. He then goes into what new areas of quantum research are uncovering and postulating, and ties it in with mostly eastern mystical thought: Tantra, Buddhism, and the in-betweens. He makes references to specific cases, specific theories, and specific thinkers, past and present. The work is overall well written and well cited, very coherent and unesoteric. I recommend the book to anyone looking for an explaination for what they can't explain and who is not satisfied with occidental mythoi.
112 of 119 people found the following review helpful
(3.5) Like Quantum Foam: More Fluff, Less Stuff 15 Mar. 2007
By Suvit Singhsachakul - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first plunge into the world of quantum physics and its religious ramifications started with the book, "God and the New Physics" by Paul Davies. Although I was thoroughly ensnared by the theoretical implications of the "new physics", I was underwhelmed with his treatment of the "God" factor. On the other hand, Micheal Talbot's book, "Mysticism and the New Physics" (which sounds eerily similar to Davies') puts the spiritual factor on overdrive while relegating science to the backseat. This prequel to "The Holographic Universe" pales in comparison to it: In the latter, it is obvious the author has had a chance to fine-tune his theories, flesh out the explanations, add newer material, and in the process, render this book as mere "reading fodder" for Talbot fans.

The book starts off with a cursory explanation of quantum physics (The Uncertainty Principle, Wave-Particle duality, etc.). It then proceeds to elaborate upon the popular paradox known as "Schrodinger's Cat", an analogy that was drawn to highlight the inexplicable behavior of quantum systems that go into superposition before "collapsing" into one of the many possibilities in the very presence of an observer. Whether it is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle or Schrodinger's Cat, both theories seem to imply that there is no such thing as a truly "objective" non-interfering observer: Moreover, there can only be a "participator" who influences the environment he/she "observes" through the act of consciousness. The author goes on to define human consciousness as a quantum system, albeit holographic, that is capable, like all other such systems (for example, subatomic particles), of emitting electromagnetic "fields" that may interact with other such fields. Of course, all these fields find their expression in "Superspace", a sea of quantum foam (space as "measured" on sub-Planck scales) that is constantly frothing with mini blackholes and whiteholes, enabling photons to travel outside the "light cone" into other regions of space-time and back. This is the basis by which David Bohm's vision of the Holographic Universe is carried out, whereby information about the whole universe is inherent at every "point" in it(non-locality). The grand conclusion here, is the fact that subatomic particles ultimately lack "substance" and are mere essences or "ripples" in superspace, thereby making reality as we know it a hollow illusion, a giant hologram as it were. As a corollary, the paradox that is Schrodinger's Cat places human consciousness at center-stage as "directors" of the cosmic super-hologram. Importance is also placed on the existence of parallel universes (the Many-Worlds Theory or "garden of forking paths") that permeate superspace but is obscured by the illusion we call Reality, or "Maya" by the mystics.

The second part of the book is where the author dives straight into mysticism. Talbot draws comparisons between Quantum Physics and Tantric studies, especially the concept of the Akasa, that he likens to superspace, and the Nada/Bindu duality (you guessed it, the wave/particle duality of light). Taking the Many Worlds theory one step further and calling it "Interpenetrating Universes", the author paints reality as a "mass" hallucination shared by the collective consciousness and brought into being from a palette of infinite possibilities. In the words of don Juan (from Carlos Castaneda's "Journey to Ixtlan"), we see with our "tonal" eyes (that "fixes" things in space-time)when the "nagual" is the infinity that exists beyond it. As shown by the miraculous feats of Himalayan Yogis and Tamil priests (such as walking on hot coals), and mass hallucinations of the Virgin of Fatima (experienced by 70,000 people in Spain), reality is "omnijective": a middle ground between objective and subjective where the reality of an event is determined by the strength of people's belief in it. Herein lies the rub: How does one break this veil of illusion called Reality? According to Talbot, as "Reality-Structurers", we must dismantle the "metaprograms" (the sum total of all our conditionings) that permeate our nervous systems by engaging in religious disciplines. The practice of religion, despite its negative connotations in the modern world, can possibly furnish us with new sets of metaprograms that may help us un-block our energy centers (also "Chakras" or "Kundalini"). This way, our nervous systems may learn to see with "nagual" eyes (a dreamlike state of malleable possibilities)and not the "tonal". As an afterthought, the author also stresses the inadequacy of words to describe the "nagual" because language is inherently fragmentary (emphasis on duality and separation) and therefore cannot comprehend the undivided wholeness that lies beyond Maya.

The author has added appendices to the book in order to incorporate newer information that has become available since the original publication. As I said, this book is a far cry compared to his later masterpiece. Although including many interesting factoids that he omitted in "The Holographic Universe", this publication nonetheless is riddled with too many citations and quotes. It is excessively done to the point where reading one page may require the reader to switch "reading modes" several times to accommodate the rhetorical styles of the sources Talbot cites. Such chaotic juxtapositions can create a great deal of confusion and leaps of logic especially for those who have not read his follow-up masterpiece. I know people have given this book five stars, but in my opinion, it is more a reflection of the author's reputation than the actual book itself, which, while engaging and engrossing, I still found to be quite patchy and disorganized. There's just too much quantum foam in this cup of coffee!
48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
a classic 6 April 2004
By Brian Wallace (Co-author of It's Not Your Hair) - Published on
Format: Paperback
very challenging, stimulating and ultimately satisfying dialogue that nicely coalesces with the seminal works of such great writers as Alan Watts, Fritjof Capra and Robert Anton Wilson.
The science versus spirituality "conflict" dissipates into thin air with each elegantly written page of this wonderful book.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Steven H Propp - Published on
Verified Purchase
Michael Coleman Talbot (1953-1992) was an American author of several books (such as The Holographic Universe, Beyond the Quantum, etc.), and has also been called "a role model for gay intellectuals." (He died of leukemia.)

Here are some quotations from this 1980 book:

"The most astounding transformation of world view that the new physics has undertaken is this---the recognition that consciousness does play a role in the so-called physical universe." (Pg. 4)
"A holographic view of consciousness (and, indeed, a holographic conception of the entire universe) is, perhaps, the closest physics can come to mysticism without the two losing their identities." (Pg. 59)
"Most importantly, the new physics is offering us a scientific basis for religion... The religion offered by the news physics is not a religion of values or absolute principles... It is a religion based on the psychology of the human consciousness---indeed, on the psychology of the entire universe as a conscious force acting upon itself." (Pg. 161)
"There are two interesting points to be learned from the convergence of mysticism and the new physics. The first is that the ultimate nature of reality transcends language..." (Pg. 179)
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Mind Expanding 11 Nov. 2006
By N. Montgomery - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will really give you a new perspective on the world in which you live. It is a great introduction to quantum physics that is written, to the extent possible, in unpretentious, layman's terms. One caveat: If you read this book, you may start to believe that anything is possible.
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