From Publishers Weekly
In his most boldy speculative inquiry to date, physicist Wolf ( Taking the Quantum Leap ) argues that dreams are a vital aspect of evolution, enabling an individual to develop a concept of self. The dream, in his formulation, is a map of possibility, a realm where synchronistic (i.e., noncausal yet meaningfully connected) events occur, producing self-awareness. Our dream images, even if we don't remember them, invade our waking consciousness as patterns that shape our lives, he insists. Wolf posits an "imaginal realm," halfway between material and mental reality, that manifests in lucid dreams (wherein an alert dreamer can control unfolding dream events), in near-death experiences, and possibly in UFO abductions. In this mind-stretching synthesis that challenges accepted beliefs across many fields, Wolf bolsters his thesis that dreams connect with physical reality by drawing on quantum physics, the works of Freud and Jung, modern dream research and Australian aboriginals' concept of an eternal "dreamtime."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
New Age border-crossings that blur more than clarify where physics and the dreaming psyche meet. As in The Eagle Quest (1991), physicist Wolf extends Jung's idea of synchronicity to explain the connection between an individual's dream and the ``dreaming universe.'' He finds Freudian dream theory analogous to, and as limited as, Newtonian physics- -it's no surprise that Jung in turn is praised as being analogous to Niels Bohr, ``the father/mother of quantum physics.'' Reverting to ideas explored in Parallel Universes (1989), Wolf considers the ``essential mystery'' at the heart of quantum mechanics, using a variety of coyly autobiographical anecdotes to suggest that the dreaming brain, by entering the unconscious mind, is experiencing synchronicity. It's this kind of sloppy mixture of anecdotal and scientific material that keeps New Age thought on the fringe. It doesn't get any better when Wolf throws in superficial chapters on ancient views of dreams, the research of neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet, and Crick and Mitchison's theory that ``we dream in order to reduce faults by feeding in certain `unlearning' inputs that poisoned the unwanted modes.'' In each, the analogies are all simplistic and reductive. Wolf claims that dreams are ``an altered state of conscious awareness,'' equivalent to a ``quantum mechanics of dreaming.'' But his thinking is confused; sometimes he uses quantum physics as a model or a metaphor to understand dreams, but ultimately he wants to posit a world in which there is no outer world of space and time separated from the inner world of mental activity, but only a third ``imaginal realm...of the big dreamer.'' Subjectively anecdotal, dilettantish wish-fulfillment. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.