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986 of 1,002 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are individual experiences valid scientific data?
This is one of the most provocative books I have read in years. In the first few chapters Mr. Talbot describes the emerging holographic paradigm in science, drawing on David Bohm's work in quantum physics and Karl Pribam's work in neuroscience. I found both descriptions to be fascinating, and especially enjoyed the historical context for the work of these two seminal...
Published on January 8, 2001 by Damian Nash

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203 of 216 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool Idea, but Where is the Correct Skepticism?
Ok, the book is really great, first of all. It has just countless paranormal experiences and explains them using the "holographic universe" point of view. Great idea, awesome analogy, and amazing stories...
One story in particular just blew my mind. On page 150 (soft cover), it talks about this guy, Sai Baba. The book claims Sai Baba could actually...
Published on June 26, 2004 by Sean Connelly


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986 of 1,002 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are individual experiences valid scientific data?, January 8, 2001
By 
This is one of the most provocative books I have read in years. In the first few chapters Mr. Talbot describes the emerging holographic paradigm in science, drawing on David Bohm's work in quantum physics and Karl Pribam's work in neuroscience. I found both descriptions to be fascinating, and especially enjoyed the historical context for the work of these two seminal thinkers. As a person with a master's degree in neuroscience and chaos/complexity theory, I found a couple of his simplifications misleading, but would give him high marks for his overall comprehension of the conclusions of Pribam and his followers.
The remaining 2/3 of the book is a discussion of how the holographic paradigm may provide a rational basis for interpreting a wide variety of phenomenon located around the fringes of established science. He looks at everything from strange historical "miracles" like stigmata and appearances of the Virgin Mary to modern psychic abilities and LSD experiences, from out-of-body and near-death-experiences to UFO abductions. In addition, he compares language used in the modern scientific discussion of holography with the language used by ancient mystical traditions.
Mr. Talbot's writing style is unusually clear and lucid. All of this makes for a highly engaging book. It kept me up late every night for more than a week. I am a person who has had an OBE/NDE (out-of-body, near-death-experience), and can tell you that his description of such events is an astoundingly accurate portrayal of what I experienced.
I am also a scientist, and know that most of my highly rational, empirical colleages would have trouble accepting a majority of Mr. Talbot's conclusions. This work addresses something so completely out of the realm of everyday experience for most people, and probes a world that is normally invisible to the five senses. Hence, objective, empirical science -- as defined by a conventional theorist or practicing technician -- simply cannot address these experiences. They are outside the range of focus of the tool that Western minds currently rely on.
The service that Mr. Talbot provides is a challenge to rethink the conventional definition of science so that it can take into account a much wider range of human experience. What he argues for is the acceptance, as valid scientific data, of the experiences of individual humans, across cultures and throughout history, that are remarkably consistent with one another. These experiences address aspects of reality that are invisible to the skeptical eye, but become obvious to the person who chooses to develop other forms of perception.
As a person who was unwittingly thrown into an OBE/NDE experience, I am naturally inclined to read a book like this one with an open mind, and felt immensely rewarded for doing so. However, if I had reviewed the same book before having my own personal experience of some of the phenomena it describes, I would have reviewed it as a new-age excursion into a realm of fantasy. I am completely sympathetic to some of the reviewers who see it that way, and respectfully disagree.
I believe there is an extraordinary synthesis happening among the realms of human experience, one that can validate each individual's story, however unusual, and also one that honors all the different ways of knowing. I see Mr. Talbot's work as one of the more important bridges yet constructed between traditional science and spirituality, between rational discourse about repeatable, empirically verifiable phenomenon and the quirky, esoteric or mythological elements of personal experience that actually define most people's experience of reality. This book is a "must read" for any passionate seeker of truth.
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299 of 313 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever written, January 25, 2001
I've read The Holographic Universe often, and have gained new insights into the nature of consciousness and reality from its riches every time. I consider it to be author Michael Talbot's most important work, as well as one of the best books ever written on the subject of so-called paranormal phenomena.

Talbot's fascination for finding scientific explanations for psychic and paranormal activity began when he noticed objects moving inexplicably around him, regardless where he lived. He would sometimes awaken to find socks draped on his houseplants, and occasionally found objects in his apartment that he knew for a fact had been hundreds of miles away. His real-life experiences with such shifts in reality combined with his training in physics led him to explore possible reasons for these and other mysterious happenings.

Talbot begins his book with an excellent introduction to physicist David Bohm's concept of the holographic model of the universe, and combines the physics model with Karl Pribram's work on the holographic model of the brain. The result is a marvelous description of a non-local, interconnected and alive universe that moves in response to our every thought and feeling.

I am very impressed with the clarity with which Talbot presents the concept of a holographic universe and how various paranormal phenomena can be explained within that model. Talbot's discussion is comprehensive, fascinating, clear, and packed with relevant and intriguing stories of paranormal phenomena. Out of body experiences (OBEs), near death experiences (NDEs), auric readings, psychokinesis, acupuncture, X-ray vision, healing, and psychic readings are all described and considered for placement into the holographic model.

Talbot presents a wealth of relevant research studies and scientific theories from David Bohm, Helmut Schmidt, Marilyn Schlitz, Robert Monroe, Charles Tart, Larry Dossey, Paul Davies, PMH Atwater, Ian Stevenson, Fred Alan Wolf, Harold Puthoff, Russell Targ, Lyall Watson, Stanislav Grof, and many others.
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190 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars important even after a decade, April 2, 2004
Talbot has created a great book. The Holographic Universe is a discourse on a new way (paradigm) for viewing life and the Universe, based primarily on revelations from quantum physics. While my copy is over 10 years old, and physics has moved forward a bit since then, most of the material in the book is as revelant today as it was when my copy was published in 1991.
The basic premise of the book concerns the nature of holography, and how the Universe and our existence and experience can be viewed through a holographic model. For those who don't know, a holgram or holograph is a photographic image created by splitting a laser beam and recording interference patterns between the two beams after one has been reflected off the subject to be photographed. It has the remarkable property of containing the entire image on each piece if you cut it or break it into smaller pieces. This idea of the whole contained in each piece is the basis of the Holographic principle. It has been found to be very useful in explaining the behavior of many natural systems, hence the purpose of this book.
Talbot discusses many areas of life, including particle physics and physical health. He quotes and cites authorities like Bohm, Grof, Pribram, and many others too numerous to mention here. The book is an incredible resource for a new view of reality as well as a huge listing of people, books, and research to go into more depth on the subjects covered. It is one of my favorite books, and I have given more than one away as a gift. At one time, I kept two additional copies just to loan out.
My favorite parts of the book are the experiment in mass dreams near the end, and the section starting on page 90 dealing with the placebo effect and Multiple Personality Disorder(MPD). The fact that placebo effect can cure illness at a higher rate than many pharmaceuticals should make people sit up and take notice. If that doesn't wake you up, then the research on the health capabilities of people with MPD ought to really rattle your sense of reality darned hard.
The fact that people with MPD can turn illnesses on and off totally destroys the whole Cartesian-clockwork view of physical reality, not to mention the Western allopathic model of medicine. These people can experience radical changes in their biology just by changing which personality is "in charge" of the body. I'm talking total disappearance of diabetes, complete changes in vision (color blindness as well as refractive errors), allergic reactions, erasing the effects of drugs and alcohol; tumors, scars, and cysts coming and going, and more. All of these things are well-documented in the scientific literature (cited in the book). I personally know of a case (not in the book) of a broken bone that would not show on x-rays unless the personality who broke the bone was present! The person who recounted this to me was very much frightened by it, and reluctantly revealed it only when I raved about this sction of the book.
The MPD research alone should force a total redirection of our health research. Of course it won't, because trillion-dollar industries rely on expensive cures that don't necessarily work, and those industries couldn't care less about your and my health, only our ability to pay.
This book is a terrific read and will open your eyes to wonderful new things. It may even open you up to a whole new life, it is that powerful. It is still vital after a decade, and well worth reading. A no-holds-barred 5.
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203 of 216 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool Idea, but Where is the Correct Skepticism?, June 26, 2004
Ok, the book is really great, first of all. It has just countless paranormal experiences and explains them using the "holographic universe" point of view. Great idea, awesome analogy, and amazing stories...
One story in particular just blew my mind. On page 150 (soft cover), it talks about this guy, Sai Baba. The book claims Sai Baba could actually create any object he wanted and it would flow from his hands. It spent 4 pages on stuff Sai Baba has done, and how it's been confirmed. This intrigued me so much, I did a simple Google on "Sai Baba". After maybe 5 minutes of research, I found a website that had videos of Sai Baba producing random objects, and the videos were SOLID PROOF that Sai Baba is a fake. Not only a magician, but a terriable magician!
The book presented his knowledge with such enthusiasm that I believed it. Only after some basic research did I realize it wasn't true. It seems like the author didn't set his skepticism level high enough, and just took ANY paranormal story he could get his hands on, and printed it in his own "hologram" perspective to try and prove his point. I feel very cheated! What other stories in the book are completely false, I wonder?
Overall: awesome idea of reality, and mind blowing, but c'mon! How hard is it to do some basic research?
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109 of 123 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars At First I Was Nearly Convinced Until I Got To Page 150, November 26, 2009
This review is short and sweet. I read the book with great interest and was happy to take as probably genuine the accounts of strange phenomenon and the ability of some people to perform miracles or super-human feats. That is until I reached page 150. There I read about Sathya Sai Baba. He has an enormous following and is said to perform miracles and conjure gifts out of thin air for his admiring followers. This I found just a story too far. A brief amount of investigation plus a look at some of the videos on YouTube was enough to convince me the man is a sleight of hand stage magician. If Michael Talbot can be conned into writing about such people with obvious reverence an awe it doesn't say much for the rest of the so called "facts" in this book. I shall persevere to the end of the book as I have paid out good money but to say I'm disappointed is an understatement.
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79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspend your preconceptions and you may have an epiphany ..., March 23, 2002
By 
Wayne Scott "wayne-san" (Atlantic Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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"I am sure you have gone astray if you are moved to homesickness for anything in this dimension. We transform these things; they are not real, they are only the reflection upon the polished surface of our being." ~~ Ranier M. Rilke, from "Requiem for a Friend"
You've heard the parable of the five blind men who examined an elephant, to find it "like a rope, a tree, a wall, a spear, or a snake", depending on whether they encountered tail, leg, torso, tusk, or trunk? The polarities of the other 68 reviews remind me of that parable. I must comment to three: to 5-star "Mindboggling!!!!", who said, "...should be the new "Bible"!!!"; I liked it, too. But please, let's not. We've religions enough; to 1-star "The only book I ever trashed ... ", who threw it away, because, "To sell it would have made me feel guilty that someone might read it and believe it."; On behalf of the libraries to which you deprived a donation, thanks. Check out Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" at the library nearest you. You may find yourself. And to those who raked Talbot over the coals for his "unscientific" approach, I recommend your re-read his introduction, and understand his intention. For works of a sufficiently scientific approach, explore his 25 page bibliography.
Part one begins, "Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, to follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing." T. H. Huxley, quoted on the overleaf. Part One so thoroughly drew me in that I could not put the book down.
Chapter 1: The Brain as Hologram (Pribram). Memory; local or non-local, that is the question. Do specific memories reside in specific locations (cells)? That they do is stipulated as the commonly accepted view. That they do not is put forward with evidence from Pribram's work, along with that of Penfield, Lashley, and others. Hologram fundamentals are reviewed (keep in mind "reference beam", "object beam", and "interference pattern"). Eyesight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste are spoken of as operating in frequency spectrums. How does associative memory work? And photographic memory? The statement that "there is evidence that neurons respond individually to narrow bands of frequencies" (everything has a resonant frequency) leapt off the page at me. The inference I take from it is that, in a holographic model for memory ~ and consciousness itself ~ our five senses provide the "reference beams". Talbot touches upon transference of motor skills, phantom limb phenomena, and the idea that the brain employs Fourier Transform to process and comprehend sensory input. He concludes by alluding to Pribram pondering the implications of his theory with respect to the nature of reality and how we experience it.
Chapter 2: The Cosmos as Hologram (Bohm). Quanta only behave as particles when we look at them; they are interconnected (both at a distance, instantaneously, and with near-conscious, self sustaining behavior, in a plasma). Physicist Nick Herbert is quoted, "...Likewise humans can never experience the true texture of quantum reality because everything we touch turns to matter." It's a very small leap from there to infer that our brain's cognitive processes influence the physical world as much as the physical world influences us.

The remaining seven chapters are an exploration of these ideas and relate to a variety of phenomena: placebo effect, dreams, hypnosis, psychedelic drugs and psychedelic experiences WITHOUT drugs, shamanism, precognition, near death experiences ~~~ everything but the kitchen sink. I cannot express my thoughts here succinctly enough to fit the word count limit. Be prepared for an excursion into things for which there is no explanation, and to which "pure science" replies "insufficient evidence". There was so much material concerning psychic phenomena that at times it seemed as though Talbot was shouting "Look, look! You cannot ignore this." But then, for the most part my own spiritual beliefs already accommodate things that he seemed intent of providing overwhelming evidence to support. I just have evidence enough of my own (experiential, not "empirical") that it wasn't necessary. Most of it I did find fascinating. The only exception was Talbot's personal experiences with "poltergeist" phenomena, which, while I understand their influence on his curiosity, seemed to detract a bit from the body of evidence he presents.
Personally, I'm not overly impressed with phenomena, and do not hunger for it. Truth impresses me. Alot. That's where my particular appetite peaks. And I think Talbot is on to something true. "Holographic Universe" was an epiphany for me.
I'll concede "Holographic Universe" is not "purely scientific" enough for stalwart academics. it may well be a map to the "Rosetta Stone" for how human consciousness functions within the quantum universe: a "sneak preview" to a "theory of everything" that has the capacity to account for human "mystical" experience, including a plausible explanation of the form and function of the human soul. Name any "pure scientist" who did not, at least in private life, ponder "purely unscientific" philosophical implications of their work in the context of a higher meaning. I cannot. Talbot portrays Pribram and Bohm as deserving, for their departure from the "orthodox" view, their own unwritten chapters in "Profiles in Courage".
"Everywhere I go, I find the poet has been there before me." ~~ Jung
"We transform these things; they are not real, they are only the reflection upon the polished surface of our being ..." ~~ Rilke
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and makes you rethink your view of reality!, September 10, 2000
By 
Winston (Washington state) - See all my reviews
This is definitely a must read for anyone who ever pondered the meaning of reality or the universe. It puts together a big picture of all kinds of phenomenon and how they exist. So many things about our mind, our world, and our universe are explained if we adopt a holographic paradigm. There is convincing scientific evidence to support this too, such as the 1982 Alan Aspect experiment that showed that there was no locality between the twin particles. This book is not some wacky theory, because it contains quotes and studies from credible people and sources. In addition, the holographic theory is consistent with the view of reality by mystics and the idea that we are all connected and one, which is why love is so important because it brings unity.
The only unanswered question I have that this book didn't seem to answer is this: If the universe is a hologram, then how is it that matter is solid to the touch? Why does my hand not pass through this table in front of me if it is a hologram? Upon reading the first 2 chapters closely, it appears that the answer to my question is that since our hands and our bodies are PART of the hologram of the universe, it would "feel" that other objects are solid too. I am not sure of this though, but that is my interpretation of it. If anyone else who has read the book knows the answer to my question, feel free to let me know. My email address is WWu777@aol.com
Thanks, Winston
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is the mind that creates the hologram, January 14, 2004
By 
Paul Caribou (St Leonards, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
"...There is evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it...are ...projections from a level of reality so beyond our own it is literally beyond both space and time."(Introduction p1)
.
Talbot uses the theory developed by physicist Bohm in which he postulates an explicit order and an intricate order. The explicit is the world we see that is the hologram, which is projected from the intricate order, which is the mind.(or thought)(or spirit)
There is a brief discussion of holograms and theory and Talbot moves on to anecdotes.
In biology he notes that human memory is vaster than would be possible if it were stored as on film on the brains surface. It must be stored holgraphically. (p21) Similarly the evidence that the brain sees "out there" is an illusion. The brain cannot tell the difference between "out" there and its own process (eg "phantom limb" syndrome).
With respect to the role of mind in Medicine he quotes Siegal (author Love, Medicine and Miracles). Siegal sees this as a sign of tremendous hope,(p87) an indication that if one has the power to create sickness, one also has the power to create wellness.
And another quote from psychologist Keith Floyd. "Contrary to what everyone knows is so, it may not be the brain that produces consciousness, but rather consciousness that creates the appearance of the brain-matter,space,time and everything else we are pleased to interpret as the physical universe" (p160)
(In other words the brain is the effect of mind and not the cause!)

With respect to quantum physics he notes that small "particles" literally have no dimensions. (This would be consistent with say being a projection)
The quote by the way that "a grain of sand contains all the information out of which the universe is made" which is attributed to Blake in the "Holographic Universe" is also attributed to Jesus in "A Course in Miracles."
Talbot also uses the holographic theory to explain Marian visions, as does Gary R Renard in Disappearance of the Universe.
UFO's are also explained as being the physical manifestations of human (or nonhuman??) subconscious.
Some other insights of the power of mind are
1) The stigmatists. Starting with St Francis of Assisi, a group of mystics were able to alter skin blood vessels etc to create the wounds incurred by Christ. This is attributable to autosuggestion (and not divine intervention!). The mind altering normal body physiology to produce the result.
2) Hawaiian firewalkers. After undertaking various mind training exercises by the shamans, Hawaiians are able to walk across hot lava without harm, something that would be impossible under normal physics. Clearly the mind of the firewalkers alters the local physical environment in some way.
Strengths
1) Offers a scientific theory for the illusory nature of the "physical" world".
2) Offers support for the concept that we can create our own reality. That it is mind that causes body effect. This can be used to treat "dis-ease"!
Weaknesses
1) There is only one major physicist to draw on: David Bohm.
2) The quotation of various biological experiments does not get it all together In fact the brain is as illusory as the rest of the body, and mind must be separate from it as well.
Spiritual Correlates
For 1500 years the fact that the world is illusory is known to Hindu yogis> the illusion is referred to as the "Maya" in Sanskrit.. In the Twentieth Century "A Course in Miracles" also states that the world is illusory, a dream of a mind outside of space and time
In Summary Talbot is on the right track. He however tries to string too many anecdotes in without rigidly sticking to his original theory. Despite that..A must read.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is The Holographic Universe really "occult" in nature?, December 18, 1999
By A Customer
I have read this book over and over and though one may disagree with some of the conclusions reached by Michael Talbot, it is my opinion that he raised some crucial questions which science should look into and investigate. It is easy to relegate some of these areas to the "occult" mainly when one has not had some experiences which science cannot explain. Many years ago, I had 2 dreams at 4 months interval and in each of these dreams I had lost a sister. The day following each dream I received message from home that the sister I dreamt about had indeed died. I had no prior news that anyone of them was sick. At that time I was attending university about 2000 kms away from home. So how can we explain this by science? Michael Talbot views are very challenging and I think that science should now investigate them dispassionately and sift the shaft from the substance instead of throwing away everything off hand.
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59 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Out there, October 9, 2002
Holy smokes, Mulder, the truth really is out there--wa~y out there!
I found the first few chapters outlining the book's theoretical basis absolutely fascinating. I'm not a physicist, so I am in no position to judge the validity of the author's position, but as a layman I found the possibilities truly inspiring.
Then I came to the chapter on 'miracles', in which Talbot cites an extensive list of so-called well-documented incidents of bonafied miracles (religious zealots being hit in the stomach with a sledge hammer so hard it cracks the mortar in the wall behind them, with no sign of injury; people walking through fire without being burned; a girl who could make an entire forest appear and disappear at will; and so on) and my willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt began to falter. So, I decided to check up on just one of his miracles, just to see what I could find.
Case in point: Sai Baba, an Indian guru who claims to be the incarnation of God. According to Talbot (who only bothered to consult one source) Sai Baba can produce holy ash out of thin air, create precious gems with the wave of his hand, pluck fresh fruit from baren trees out of season, heal the sick, and so on, etc. And he's alive today. Eager to find out more about this actual living God in our midst, I did a quick Internet search. Well, it took all of ten minutes to dig up enough dirt on this guy to fill a dump truck: eye witness accounts by people who had seen him palming objects or hiding them in his chair (backed by video tape evidence), testimony by young men who had been sexually molested by him, a suspicious multiple murder at the ashram of people who had fallen out of favor with Sai Baba, and so on. Some God! Yet Talbot refers to Sai Baba uncritically throughout his book as evidence to support his more outlandish claims.
Talbot says that if science is to develop a more complete model of the universe, it must be willing to accept subjective experience as valid evidence. But does this include being terminally gullible? His thesis seems to be that if you are willing to believe anything you hear, than anything is possible. Sorry, but in my universe, that just don't wash! This book is pseudo-science: it adopts the language and posturings of real science, without any of the intellectual rigor that lies at the core of scientific understanding.
That said, I must add that it is very good pseudo-science, interesting and intellectually provocative. I've been through a few doors myself in my life, and the theories presented in this book do give me a fingerhold for trying to understand these experiences. So, for all you Scullys out there, my advice is this: leave your shinola detector in the drawer and treat yourself to a little intellectual fantasy. It might even change your perspective on a few things.
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The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality
The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality by Michael Talbot (Paperback - September 6, 2011)
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