Top positive review
29 people found this helpful
I dont understand the negative comments at all.
on 23 December 2008
I cannot give this book five stars because I admit that at times some of the concepts that get mentioned are done in a too mater-of-fact way. I remember reading some part of the book (in Part 3) when Goswami throws in the term "self-nature of objects". As a buddhist myself I am versed in the notions of non-self and Emptiness, but I had to review the paragraph and its context to confirm this was indeed what Goswami was talking about (he was). Theres been a few incidents like this through the book, which are actually valid, but sometimes hard to immediately understand when not in contact with the concepts on a day to day basis. But the subject of consciousness, quantum mechanics, experience, emptiness, ephiphenomenology, soliphism, etc are not simple.
The above is only a minor criticism. The subject matter is defnitely well covered, and I think Goswami's ideas certainly contribute to the philosophical ideas of this new field of thinking. Goswami covers fundamental principles of quantum mechanics that force materialist scientists to have to re-think the classical principles at the quantum level. He explicates modern thinking of QM, and then brings it into the world of consciousness.
I'm surprised at the comments made by Marc John about relegating the Dalai Lama et al to the status of Santa Claus - such comments seem to come from an inappropriate level of attachment to ideals which, in the final analysis, are just mental constructs of things that dont exist. The Dalai Lama was once asked what he would do if it was proven that reincarnation does not exist (I think that was the question the interview posed), and after a short pause the Dalai Lama highlighted he would believe reincarnation doesnt exist - if letting go of that conceptual legacy allows the progression of the eastern/western understanding of life and how to get closer to happiness, then why hold onto it? Therefore, as the west applies more and more what it is learning about QM, nonlocality and its possibility to radically change our thknking of reality, then to me thats the natural way for it to go and one shouldnt feel upset. No way does Goswami imply any negative connotations towards the Dalai Lama et al (certainly from what I read), which does imply the comment author has misunderstood a lot of what is being said - to be fair, the subject matter isnt simple.
As for the comments from David Hampson, I can appreciate where he is coming from with some of his comments. There is no bending of accepted science when it comes to the struggle classical scientists have with the ideas that are borne out of the theory and mathematics of QM. The clear denial of "Rabbis, Buddhists, fictional religious characters, Yoga dudes, ..." (it goes on), indicats the intellectual (or not) slant of the comment author. I think it would be a severe injustice to Goswami were people to be swayed from buying the book because of these two, ill-informed and highly devisive and content-lacking reviews.
The fact it is that the subject of consciousness is still embryonic, and ideas from any field that helps in breaking old conceptual models to help creative thinking that might help take our understanding further is a good thing. Goswami brings together lots of known facts (remember Goswami has authored academic material on quantum mechanics), as well as bringing together the ideas of the east and its own 2500+ year old experience with the ideas of consciousness. This is a good book and it has some very good ideas. Yes, sometimes its a little difficult and you may need to return to the begining of a section and read it again, but just thinking of quantum mechanics, the ideas of non-locality, the uncertainty principle and the many paradoxes, requires some focus of mind to read. I think other authors may have made such subjects more accessible in places than Goswami achieves, but I do not want to take away anything from what Goswami has achieved with this book, and I think it is a lot. Our understanding of reality opened up when QM was discovered, and the same happened in the east as they understood consciousness, experience and reality. Ill-informed commenters can deny with a blunt knife many well-established and documented worlds of thought that indicate towards a thorough understanding of reality - indeed, some think QM is simply catching up with what the east has always known about reality.
Anyone interested in learning about what the thinkers of today are thinking about consciousness and reality will definitely enjoy this, if they remain open-minded. If you are a black-and-white thinker who refuses anything thats described by science, then you might struggle with the challenges to your mental models that this book throws at you - and you can see with some of the negative comments how difficult such challenges seem to be.