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Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists Revised ed. Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1570627682
ISBN-10: 1570627681
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Brings together for the 1st time the mystical writings of the world's great physicists - all of whom express a deep belief that physics and mysticism are somehow fraternal twins. Written in non-technical language.

About the Author

Wilbur is one of the most widely read and influential American philosophers of our time. His writings have been translated into over twenty foreign languages.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Revised ed. edition (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570627681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570627682
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is simply a fascinating collection of the words of many recognized masters of physics on the topic of the science of physics and how it relates (or doesn't) to religion and spirituality. There is a short introduction by Ken Wilber. If you value such information, here's your book.
I wrote this review because the book is worth 5 stars. The one person who criticized the book, and brought the rating down to 4 stars, seemed to be talking about some other book. The review made no sense. My take is that it was a rant against a perception rather than an experience of the book. There is nothing New Age about this book. And this is much less a book about Ken Wilber's views (which are not New Age anyway) and much more a book about the views of Eddington, Pauli, Planck, Jeans, etc. If you're curious about the spiritual views of these men, here's your opportunity. Enjoy!!!
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American philosopher Ken Wilber has done a great service by bringing together in a single volume excerpts from the mystical writings of the world's greatest physicists. Six of the eight men included were Nobel laureates including Einstein, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Plank, de Broglie, and Pauli.

These are the intellectual giants who gave us the twin pillars of modern physics, relativity theory and quantum mechanics, upon which all of contemporary science rests. Given the popular view that they must have been atheists it is astonishing to learn that all of them were quite explicit in expressing the need for a mystical outlook extending beyond the physical world.

Let's be clear. Wilber as editor has not pulled a few paragraphs out of context. Erwin Schroedinger for example writes of "the mystic vision", De Broglie writes that "the mechanism demands a mysticism", and Wolfgang Pauli speaks of "embracing the rational and the mystical."

None of these men were particularly 'religious' however. The popular religions of today (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.), may be viewed as specific theories of Ultimate Reality (this reviewer's characterization). They all make specific statements - some empirically testable, many others not - about people and events in the physical world and how these related to God, or Allah, or All That Is, or some similar term.

Mysticism on the other hand is not a religion but a path to understanding. It has nothing to do with religious creeds or doctrines, or whether or not there is a personal God, and certainly nothing to do with science which is something else entirely.
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Format: Paperback
Wilber selects telling comments, in their own words, from
some of the key big names of modern physics. Well edited
and insightfully commented, Wilber presents a strong case
that these physicists were indeed not philosophical
materialists, and some were outright mystical.

Thomas Brophy, PhD (physics)
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Format: Paperback
I am replacing a lost copy of this book. It is essential in my library. People believe the great physicists were atheists. This book will completely dispell that notion. They shared a view of Ultimate Reality (God, if you feel comfortable with that word) that is very consistant with the Eastern, yogic idea that U.R. can be known through direct experience and that all that is is a manifestation of That. If your friends tell you mysticism is a fairy tail, whip out a copy of this book. When they find that Einstein, Plank, Heisenburg, etc. even based their discoveries on it, they will have to eat their words!
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Format: Paperback
If science and religion split after Pythagoras, this book proves that is really was not so. If you believe that science takes away faith, think again. Ken Wilber gives us essays from the greatest minds that shaped the 20th Century. Starting with Heisenberg and ending with Eddington, Wilbers collection of essays is a wonderful example of how it was the deepest of faiths and ideas in God and religion that drove some of the best minds. In his introduction, Wilber goes the step ahead to actually almost lay such faith and views as a precondition to stellar scientific achievement. What Wilber attempts here in his introduction is a masterly synthesis of human thought, in some bold extrapolations.
Definitely worth reading and keeeping as a precious possession.
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I was ready to hate this book, ready to do battle with another soft-headed New Ager who, in a mirror image of the lab coat creationists, wants to bend science to their will, to appropriate its authority to help sway, even coerce, for the sake of their grand cause. Was I surprised! Wilber's introduction is a pellucid repudiation of The Toa Of Physics and The Dancing Wu Li Master and a devestating blow to the even less legitimate "What The Bleep Do We Know." Wilber even abandons his own earlier views on physics supporting his mysticism. Why? Because he read these founders of New Physics, and not one of them believed that their work supported it. And this wasn't out of their ignorance of Eastern thought. No, in fact, each of these great thinkers is well versed in mysticism and, ultimately, they are mystics themselves! Wilber makes it clear that (opposed to my belief that science can only become mysticism henchman if you lessen science) that only by lessening your mysticism can you claim it's proven in the lab. And pragmatically he argues that by hitching your mysticism to the science wagon, you are (as was the case with Capra) subject to the further results of experiments that might disprove your theory. Science is, after all: provisional, changing, abstract and only intelligible in the language of mathematics. Mysticism, on the other hand, is unmediated, absolute and ever-true. Not that Wilber walks away from his dialogue with these great scientists disillusioned. His Mysticism is firmly intact. He just admits that science is not the way to get there, except in the sense that a profound understanding of physics gives you a profound understanding of its limits, of its failure to address being as such. And it is this deep understanding that lead all these scientists to their mysticism.Read more ›
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