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The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism Paperback – September 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 5 Updated edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590308352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590308356
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First published in 1975, The Tao of Physics rode the wave of fascination in exotic East Asian philosophies. Decades later, it still stands up to scrutiny, explicating not only Eastern philosophies but also how modern physics forces us into conceptions that have remarkable parallels. Covering over 3,000 years of widely divergent traditions across Asia, Capra can't help but blur lines in his generalizations. But the big picture is enough to see the value in them of experiential knowledge, the limits of objectivity, the absence of foundational matter, the interrelation of all things and events, and the fact that process is primary, not things. Capra finds the same notions in modern physics. Those approaching Eastern thought from a background of Western science will find reliable introductions here to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism and learn how commonalities among these systems of thought can offer a sort of philosophical underpinning for modern science. And those approaching modern physics from a background in Eastern mysticism will find precise yet comprehensible descriptions of a Western science that may reinvigorate a hope in the positive potential of scientific knowledge. Whatever your background, The Tao of Physics is a brilliant essay on the meeting of East and West, and on the invaluable possibilities that such a union promises. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A brilliant best seller. . . . Lucidly analyzes the tenets of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism to show their striking parallels with the latest discovery in cyclotrons.”—New York magazine

“A pioneering book of real value and wide appeal.”—Washington Post


“I have been reading the book with amazement and the greatest interest, recommending it to everyone I meet and, as often as possible, in my lectures. I think you have done a magnificent and extremely important job.”—Joseph Campbell

More About the Author

Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. Capra is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Web of Life (1996), The Hidden Connections (2002), The Science of Leonardo (2007), and Learning from Leonardo (2013). He is coauthor, with Pier Luigi Luisi, of the multidisciplinary textbook, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
www.fritjofcapra.net
author photo: Basso Cannarsa

Customer Reviews

This book is very easy to read.
Debajyoti Ray
I've been meaning to read this book for a very long time.
Jen
Anyone having an open mind can read and enjoy the book.
Prasad Ganti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 150 people found the following review helpful By M. Hart on January 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
In 1975, physicist Fritjof Capra wrote an unusual book about physics and Eastern mysticism entitled "The Tao Physics". Though some of Mr. Capra's colleagues were offended that any physicist would compare the science of modern physics with the religious practices of Eastern mystics (primarily the beliefs & practices of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism), the reality is that there are some very striking similarities with the intuitively Eastern mystical view of reality and the experimentally rational view of quantum theory. Part of the reason for this is that both physicists and Eastern mystics find it very difficult to explain their observations in language (including the language of mathematics) because each of their experiences is not encountered in our everyday, mechanistic macro world. Up until the time of Einstein, physicists were comfortable with explaining the world using Newton's mechanistic theories. However, Einstein realized that there was a fatal flaw with the Newtonian view that presumed that gravity is felt instantaneously regardless of distance. Also, Newton's law of gravity really didn't explain exactly what gravity is. With a stroke of insight, Einstein realized that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light, including gravity; and several years later was able to explain gravity as being the consequence of the curvature of four-dimensional space-time due to mass. These discoveries through the world of Newtonian physics upside-down, but as Einstein's theories demonstrated, the Newtonian view was still valid for objects whose speeds come nowhere near the speed of light. Hence, Newton's laws of motion and gravity were still valuable, but in actuality, are only good approximations that can be used to explain movement in our frame of reference.Read more ›
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80 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Lapins on November 11, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read "The Tao Of Physics" two and one half times. The first time was fifteen years ago (the original paperback was a different edition, with a far more thought provoking cover). I then read this edition when it came out (I need to read it a third time, this time with more life experience to draw from). I'm sure most readers struggled with the technical dialogue and laws of physics throughout. I was more able to intuitively appreciate these tougher chapters than intellectually understand these sometimes very abstract and difficult theories and concepts. Mysticism at times can seem equally abstract and difficult when one has not expereinced specific "mystical" experiences or enough of life itself. However, I intuitively connected to the threads which Capra so painstakingly weaved into his book. I was not looking for the answers to the universe in this book. What I was hoping to find was guidance, and a springboard in which to think in a larger universe. And when I look back, I realize my awareness and receptiveness to a "universe"and "consciousness" which is infinitely larger and wiser than the human experience and consciousness does indeed exits. "The Tao Of Physics" opened a window or two for me, and the inertia in which I had formed my opinions and prejudices and, then, learned to see and feel and judge the world around me, seemed embarrassingly narrow, lacking and unwise. That was a great insight for this young man at that time. "The Tao Of Physics" remains one of those books and experience that initially changed me in a small way, that eventually evolved into a substantive life change in how I think and perceive the world around me, and my relationship to it.
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155 of 178 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on September 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this book Fritjof Capra dwells on the parallels between modern physics and traditional Eastern thought. In classical physics and in most Western thought, the tendency is to break down the universe into smaller and smaller objects and systems that are supposedly self-contained and only interact in a linear cause-and-effect pattern. These views started to break down with Einstein's relativity, which shows the duality (or inseparability) of space and time, and even more so with quantum mechanics. The key aspect of QM used here is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which basically states that you can't observe a subatomic particle (or possibly any part of the universe) without interacting with it. It turns out that these new physical concepts of duality and interconnectedness, while a major shock to Western minds, are right in line with what has been thought in the East for thousands of years. In fact, many modern theoretical physicists have become interested in Eastern mysticism to help interpret their seemingly strange findings.
With that aside, this book is not quite convincing as Capra attempts to draw these parallels into an overall unified theory, and unfortunately he is quite a dry and repetitive writer. The book starts usefully with an intro to modern physics, then intros to the main schools of Eastern mysticism (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism). Things start to break down however, in the third part of the book as Capra begins to analyze the parallels between the two worlds. Capra tends to explain the same concepts again and again is slightly different ways, in an attempt to beef up the book, only to reveal the shaky foundation on which these concepts stand. Alas, while there are certainly intriguing parallels, the grand connection fails to materialize as the book drags on.
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