The book with the above title "Quantum Questions......" was received within two days from my order, unexpectedly soon and in perfect order concerning packing and aspect.
As for the book itself, it is a serious editing done by the well known and respected philosopher Ken Wilber who brings together excerpts from the writings of eight great scientists with the aim of finding whether modern physics support the teachings of ancient mystics.
I can not tell more about this book then Wilber himself: " ...It is important to listen to the true masters of physics as they point to the fundamental importance of of both science and religion..."
I can't attempt to review this book with the competence of a philosopher or physicist, and will just try briefly to describe my own reaction.
Perhaps most of us suspect that there exists a spiritual substrate of some sort behind the world. Men like Shroedinger and Jeans go into the matter very articulately, if not even poetically. One of the questions asked at several points is the following: Why does the universe appear to conform so readily to mathematics? Russell dismissed this question by saying things would be much more mysterious if such conformity were absent, if e.g. rolled dice did not on average yield double sixes one twelfth of the time. The reader will have to decide for himself whether Russell was right in thus dismissing a question posed by thinkers of the top rank.
For me the style of the Editor's comments is just a little cloying, but this is not a serious reservation. They nicely complement a most interesting selection of essays. I would recommend this book to anyone in sympathy with the fact that, as I understand it, the great physicists of the 20th century were of mystical inclination.
This book changed my world-view. It redifined what physics is, and the people who redefined it were the 8 top physicists of the 20th century. If they don't know what they are talking about, we may as well all give up now. The book raises throws down a tantalising challenge to all interested in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics. The excellent editor Wilber points out that, on the one hand, none of the 8 physicists felt quantum mechanics provided any proof, or EVIDENCE FOR, any mystical world view. On the other hand, all 8 physicists describe themselves as mystics! If this seeming paradox doesn't interest you, physics doesn't interest you. The answer, it turns out, lies less in the nature of mysticism than in the nature of physics. Heisenberg, Bohr, Einstein et al have shattered my world view, and thanks to Wilber for bringing it to my attention. This is a book that deserves to be widely read. Which is a shame in my case as, before I finished it, I left it on the train. I hope someone else picked it up and got soemthing from it, then...
I share Kent Guy's opinion about the writings of these eminent physicists. However, to consider them to be 'mystics' stretches the meaning of this concept, unless anybody wondering about what lies beyond our 3-dimensional reality is also a mystic - which would put most of us in that category... Ken Wilber is a very talented writer but I cannot agree with his introduction. He is enitled to his opinion that physics and spirtuality are incompatible domains but when he arrogantly dismisses the contrary opinion of other serious writers and of a brilliant physicist such as David Bohm (whom he doesn't mention at all) he puts himself on very thin ground indeed. If we consider spirituality as an experience of information that is not accessible to our current scientific instruments and modern physics increasinly suggesting that the basic unit of the universe consists of information, then we are appraching a merging of these two great human thought systems. This would be of huge benefit to humanity and it is sad when a writer of Wilber's stature does not see this.
An interesting book but mixing up quotes from different books in a single text. Overall I think the general ideas are kept, even perhaps more crisply, by mixing from different sources. But the fact that this is not explicitly stated in the book makes quoting from it a nightmare. I noticed that on Heisenberg's texts.