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The Self-Aware Universe Paperback – March 21, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (March 21, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874777984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874777987
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence, declares University of Oregon physicist Goswami, echoing the mystic sages of his native India. He holds that the universe is self-aware, and that consciousness creates the physical world. Calling this theory "monistic idealism," he claims it is not only "the basis of all religions worldwide" but also the correct philosophy for modern science. Once people give up the assumption that there is an objective reality independent of consciousness, the paradoxes of quantum physics are explainable, contends Goswami, writing with his wife and Reed ( Building the Future from Our Past ). He also applies his hypothesis to the so-called mind-body schism, which he attempts to heal. Sketching a model of the self, this demanding but rewarding treatise uses analogies from the "new physics" to throw light on choice, free will, creativity, the unconscious and paths to spiritual growth. Illustrated.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Goswami (Physics/University of Oregon; coauthor, The Cosmic Dancers, 1983) uses quantum physics to promote monistic idealism- -the theory that both matter and mind have their origin in consciousness. The villain here is materialism--the teaching that everything is comprised of atoms--and its tag-along doctrines of locality (that interactions between objects occur in local space-time), strong objectivity (that objects exist independently of consciousness), and epiphenomenalism (that mind is an accidental by-product of brain function). According to Goswami, quantum physics has laid to rest this view of reality: Quantum objects jump from here to there without passing through intervening space, disproving locality; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle disproves strong objectivity, etc. Goswami's explication of modern physics- -which draws on everything from Winnie-the-Pooh to optical illusions--is a model of clarity. Vastly less satisfying is his brief for monistic idealism. For one thing, he writes off an important alternative, dualism--the ``common-sense'' view that mind and matter both exist, that a rock is a rock and a thought is a thought--in a few skimpy paragraphs. For another, his argument is inconsistent: He cites paranormal events as evidence for idealism, but when an exception arises (such as out-of-body experiences, which suggest dualism), he becomes a debunker. Worst of all, when he tries to describe how idealism actually shapes the world, he sounds like Madame Blavatsky with a hangover (``the universe exists as formless potentia in myriad possible branches in the transcendent domain''). Goswami's aim is inviting--who does not wish us to ``realize our full potential--an integrated access to our quantum and classical selves''?--but most readers will remain agnostic. More substantial than Fritjof Capra, which isn't saying much. This is one cosmic egg that may be too big to crack. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Amit Goswami, Ph. D. is a professor of physics (retired) at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR where he has served since 1968. He is a pioneer of the new paradigm of science called science within consciousness an idea he explicated in his seminal book, The Self-Aware Universe where he also solved the quantum measurement problem elucidating the famous observer effect.

Goswami has written six other popular books based on his research on quantum physics and consciousness. In The Visionary Window, Goswami demonstrated how science and spirituality could be integrated. In Physics of the Soul he developed a theory of survival after death and reincarnation. His book Quantum Creativity is a tour de force instruction about how to engage in both outer and inner creativity. Goswami's book, The Quantum Doctor integrates conventional and alternative medicine. His latest book, Creative Evolution is a resolution between Darwinism and intelligent design of life. Finally, in his book God is not Dead, Goswami demonstrates science's re-discovery of God.

Goswami's books have been translated in nine languages.

In his private life, Goswami is a practitioner of spirituality and transformation. He calls himself a quantum activist. He was featured in the film "What the Bleep Do We Know?" and its sequel "Down the rabbit hole" and in the documentary "Dalai Lama Renaissance" and the award winning "The Quantum Activist."

You can find more information about Amit Goswami at the website www. Amitgoswami.org.

Customer Reviews

Once he gets into the meat of the book, it's a fun read.
"c-m-a"
The connection that has been ruptured in western thought between science and spirituality is woven back together in this book.
A. Paulson
When you read this book, the author's writing style is such that you feel you are in conversation with him.
Dr. H. A. Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

499 of 521 people found the following review helpful By Henry Reed on February 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've recently returned from a journey to the rain country of western Oregon where I discovered "monistic idealism." It's about to become a philosophy of choice in the consciousness revolution.
I gathered this intelligence at the Eugene home of Amit Goswami, Professor of Physics at the Institute of Theoretical Studies at the University of Oregon. I arranged this special interview because of Goswami's new book, The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World. (Tarcher/Putnam). I wanted to meet the person who authored such a book and to make sure I was correctly understanding its many profundities.
At first glance, the book appears to be one of those "new science" books that have become so popular. It does describe quite well the basic experiments of quantum physics, the ones that produce such paradoxes as the dual identity (wave and particle) of electrons and their ability to communicate at a distance with each other instantaneously (non-locality). But rather than simply leaving us with a "Gee, whiz, isn't this incredible?" impression that the real world isn't as we assumed, Goswami boldly, yet very thoughtfully, introduces us to monistic idealism and suggests we accept it as a foundation for a new, and quite compelling, worldview.
Monistic idealism is the academically correct name given to a philosophical position that once was considered pre-scientific. It existed before the advent of what philosophers today label as materialistic dualism,. or what we might call the current official scientific world view. Materialistic dualism is the assumption that physical matter is the primary reality and that mind is separate from, but dependent upon, matter.
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157 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Sue Larson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Amit Goswami invites us to suppose, for a moment, that our universe is self-aware. Next, let's imagine how this very consciousness of the universe creates the physical world around us. Goswami further asserts that we are all part of THE SELF-AWARE UNIVERSE, and shows us how to lift the veil of material monism that tends to obstruct our ability to peer into the cosmic mind.
Goswami utilizes findings from recent experiments in quantum physics to provide ample evidence of his assertion that old assumptions based on material monism are out-dated and no longer valid. Goswami points out that: we live in a non-local universe, where everything is interconnected to everything else at the most fundamental level; we cannot hope to observe anything without affecting what we are observing; we can only predict the outcome of events in probabilities (not certainties); and there is something much more to this universe than just the matter and energy we can measure.
With a brilliant mind and warm heart, Goswami guides the reader on a wonderful journey. We discover objects that exist in two places at once, effects that precede their causes, the implications of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox and the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment, and the fascinating world of paradoxes and tangled hierarchies.
At the end of this journey, we find ourselves wondering who we truly are. Goswami writes, "the self of our self-reference is due to a tangled hierarchy, but our consciousness is the consciousness of our Being that is beyond the subject-object split. There is no other source of consciousness in the universe. The self of self-reference and the consciousness of the original consciousness, together, make what we call self-consciousness."
I highly recommend this enchanting book!
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100 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Robert Anderson on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Most books that explore the intersection between science and spirituality seem to be written by non-scientists who explain some basic scientific principles and then extrapolate wildly to support their spiritual viewpoint.
Goswami, a physics professor, approaches it from the other direction. He carefully lays out a scientific theory - essentially that matter is a phenomina of consciousness rather than vice versa.
In the process he navigates through various topics in physics, mathematics, religion, and philosophy in order to provide the necessary components for us to get a grip on his theory of "monistic idealism" which he proposes as an alternative to the current "material realism" (matter is all that is real) which pervades scientific thought today.
I don't want to imply that I'm stupid, but the only fault I found with the book was that much of his jargon and scientific references went right over my head - so I came away with a good understanding of his theory, but also with the impression that much of it's depth and subtlties were lost on me.
I'm not sure how this book was received by the author's peers (if at all) but he impressed me as a "blow-the-lid-off-the-subject" type of scientist who is willing to ruffle feathers and push beyond the traditional limitations of his field to integrate various disciplines in a search for a truth that doesn't just look right on paper but also jives with human experience and the soul.
Well worth reading.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By David J. Kreiter on June 18, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It has been said that philosophers never answer any questions, they simply pose them. Amit Goswami does both. Armed with a keen understanding of philosophy and an academic background in theoretical sciences, Goswami is able to both succinctly state the essence of a problem and logically hypothesize an answer, while fending off the criticisms offered by others in his field.

Goswami tackles what I consider the most important question of our time: What are the implications of quantum physics for our everyday reality? Numerous attempts have been made to make sense of the oddities and paradoxes of quantum physics, and there have been as many as a dozen proposals to explain these paradoxes. Among the propositions have been Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation, Everett's many-worlds interpretation, and what some have called the most naive explanation--Consciousness Created Reality. The advocates of this Idealist philosophy, which includes John Von Neumann, Eugene Wigner, Fred Alan Wolf, and the author of this book, unashamedly insist that objects such as the moon don't exist until they are observed.

Goswami doesn't reject other interpretations of reality outright, but rather, he incorporates, and clarifies some of the best points into his strong anthropocentric philosophy of Monist Idealism, which posits that the universe exists in a transcendental domain of potentiality, and it is we, the observer, who collapse this potential into the corporal world.

The fact that observers have not been here during a majority of the universe's existence is no problem for Goswami, as he explains that a myriad of universes have existed in a transcendental realm outside of space/time, and an observation "now" can go "back-in-time" to create the universe we know today.
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