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The Quantum Self Paperback – May 24, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0688107369 ISBN-10: 0688107362 Edition: Reprint
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The authors of this heady discourse seek nothing less than a physics of human consciousness grounded in quantum mechanics. British philosopher Zohar and her husband, Marshall, a psychiatrist, argue that consciouness arises through the interaction of the fundamental building-blocks of mind (photons, virtual photons) and of matter (electrons, protons, neutrons). Out of the "correlated jiggling of molecules in neuron cell walls" (i.e., Bose-Einstein condensates), a human self emerges that is integrally linked to other selves, much as two particles, though light-years apart, may interact. Quantum physics, more than a metaphor, is used here as an explanatory tool, a means to help us go beyond the isolation and narcissism of modern culture. The authors take a perilous speculative leap from a recognition of the creativity built into all living systems to "our selves as co-authors of the world." Illustrated.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Danah Zohar, an American-born physicist and philosopher, teaches at Oxford Brookes University in England and lectures throughout the world. With Ian Marshall, Zohar co-authored the highly-acclaimed The Quantum Self and The Quantum Society.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 24, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688107362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688107369
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'm skeptical of books in this area: I've seen too many New Age gurus citing science that they don't understand to justify opinions they want you to accept. Zohar is different and engaging partly because the writing is clear, and the thought process allows you to qualify conclusions where they need to be qualified (theological students, for example, cringe at the offhand descriptions of religious thought and ideas in this book: nonetheless, the thought is clear enough to be correctible). The science appears well grounded, and to serve as a base for, rather than an excuse for, the insights advanced by the book.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Goodman on December 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
Zohar effectively breaks out of Conventional Wisdom's monologue on human consciousness with her "Quantum Self". It is sometimes a difficult task to use the language of today's thought to describe tomorrow's. It is understandable, therefore, when Zohar dips into her personal stash of religious metaphors to describe a world that is decidedly metaphysical.
A few religious references may come as an unpleasant surprise at first read, to the self-described universalist, but an open-minded reader will easily see the broader truths being espoused without marriage to a specific western or eastern point of view. It is impossible to stop an idea whose time has come. This book takes us a step closer to a unifying theory of consciousness, matter, and phases of existence.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Emet Hodge on March 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I decided to write this review after I re-learned that all of our choices have a cost. I strongly advise you to read another book. This book discusses one of the more difficult questions in science and it does a poor job. It employs wrong scientific principles, logiacal fallacies, and (in later chapters) spiritual nonsense.

Briefly:

1) Bose Einstein condensate does not apply to human tissue.

2) Quantum effects are observed under far smaller scale than neurons. We don't act like our atoms.

3) Quantum theories of consciousness have been shown as highly unlikely.

4) The author gives a poor description of physics, psychology, and phylosophy.

I wish that I read a diffent book. There are several good thinkers. Here is an incomplete list: P.Churchland, D.Dennett, S.Pinker, T.Nagel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on October 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book gets five stars for bravery alone. The author willingly took the tiger (man's last intellectual frontier of understanding consciousness) by the tail and confidently wrestled it to the ground, and arguably achieved at least a "draw." That she was able, in the process, to meld quantum mechanics and psychology into a plausible model, would under normal circumstances be enough to earn her extra credit. But since she is both a physicist and a psychologist, tackling this monster is only what she does routinely on her day job in a normal day's work, and therefore no extra credit is due.

In the grand tradition of one of my intellectual heroes, the great Physicist (and colleague of Albert Einstein) David Bohm, the author confidently has taken full (not half) steps into the unknown, making a plausible, if not always a thoroughly convincing case for a quantum mechanical model of consciousness. In the course of building her model she has, without blinking an eye, or looking back, erected from scratch (with lush metaphors and a rich set of quantum mechanical heuristics), a quantum psychological edifice that (no matter what one may think of the model itself in the end) has deep implications for future work in this area.

In addition to being witness to a fine mind flexing its muscles, the reader also has been taken on a wild ride through the dense jungles of quantum physics, some of the fine points of philosophy, up to the very frontiers of cognitive and existential psychology, brain theory and research, and human nature itself. Along the way, and almost as an aside, she raised many of the most interesting and important philosophical questions that have perplexed and stalked the best minds over the last two millennia.
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24 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
The basis of this book is that consciousness can be explained as a Bose-Einstein condensate of atoms in the neurons. Interesting idea, sadly impossible. Bose-Einstein condensates can only exist at very low temperatures. The inside of the brain certainly doesn't qualify. The authors could've easily established the impossibility of their claim by looking up B-E condensates in any textbook on statistical mechanics.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Ricketts on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I bought this book I was hoping the author had a cogent understanding of both physics and psychology - unfortunately, here was neither. As another reviewer pointed out Zohar bashes Reductionism too much, eg. "For quantum physics really to come into its own, and to replace not just Newtonian physics but also the whole Newtonian world view ...." Of course, any responsible quantum physicist writing on this topic would never suggest replacing Newtonian physics because this is impossible! However, many do advocate for a greater share of cultural/scientific investigation and awareness be given to the quantum/system/ecological/holist/emergence perspectives. Then on the very first page of her book Zohr calls for "... a new, quantum mechanical theory of consciousness...." A mechanical quantum theory? This is a contratiction of terms! Also, her pyschology is uneven and inaccurate. While I admire her spirit and intent for writing this book, I was very disappointed with the material and I would not recommend buying it. I think there are better books on the market about these areas of thinking.
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