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Elemental Mind: Human Consciousness and the New Physics Hardcover – November 1, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
Building on the insights in his Quantum Reality , Herbert proposes that mind, instead of being localized in our brains, is a phenomenon as deeply imbedded in nature as light or electricity. Three basic features of the universe predicted by quantum mechanics--randomness, the interconnectedness of all phenomena, and thinglessness (quantum objects do not possess attributes of their own)--were rejected by Albert Einstein, but to Herbert, a Stanford-trained physicist, each of these features of matter is a manifestation of a corresponding basic trait of mind: free will, deep psychic connectedness, and ambiguity. A skillful popularizer, Herbert scrutinizes recent brain research, reviews highly conjectural quantum models of mind, and outlines his own theory of "quantum animism" in which mind permeates the world and interacts with matter at the quantum level, which, if true, might help explain paranormal phenomena.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A physicist's daring investigation of mind and its relation to matter. According to Herbert (Quantum Reality, 1985, etc.), the famous ``Turing test''--in which a computer is considered to be conscious if it can talk like a human being--``misses the point.'' The true measure of consciousness is ``inner experience,'' which robots and computers just don't have. But what is inner experience--and how does it arise? In this wide- ranging study, Herbert looks at consciousness from ``inside'' (our felt experience of sensations, emotions, memory, etc.) and ``outside'' (how scientists perceive the brain). Two basic models arise: monism (matter and mind are one) and dualism (matter and mind are separate). Although Herbert never baldly states his position, he enthuses at length over a new twist on dualism that he calls ``quantum mind.'' Drawing on subatomic physics, he finds the mind to possess free will and ``connectedness'' with other minds. A fistful of odd experiments back up his argument, ranging from the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment--which seems to demonstrate the reality of nonlocal connections--to his own invention of a ``metaphase typewriter'' driven by quantum events, through which ``discarnate beings'' can send messages to the human sphere. Future experiments, Herbert suggests, might include telepathy machines and spirit communicators--all logical, if startling, extensions of the basic premise that mind is as fundamental and free as matter. Leading edge or lunatic fringe? Opinions will differ, but Herbert proves to be a reliable guide on this journey through the looking glass. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Roger Penrose might have kick started this as a popular idea, but Herbert's book doesn't really add to the discussion by shedding any useful light on it.
Midwest Independent Research
Elemental Mind is more of the same. To be honest I don't think Nick cracked it here but his book is highly readable all the same.
This book is old but the readability and down right fun personality of Nick Herbert makes it worth the effort.
Now where can I get some acid!
He states in the Introduction to this 1993 book, "I believe that modern mind scientists are making this same medieval mistake by vastly underestimating the quantity of consciousness in the universe. If mind is a fundamental force in nature, we might someday realize that the quality and quantity of sentient life inhabitating just this room may exceed the physical splendor of the entire universe of matter... I confess that I do think that consciousness will turn out to be something grand---grander than our most extravagant dreams. I propose here a kind of 'quantum animism' in which mind permeates the world at every level. I propose that consciousness is a fundamental force that enters into necessary cooperation with matter to bring about the fine details of our everyday world. I propose, in fact, that mind is elemental, my dear Watson."
Here are some representative quotations from the book:
"There is a sense in which we are always awake, and always have been. Nobody remembers, or can remember, not being conscious." (Pg. 43)
"In the midst of such a pandemonium of awareness, why do our own minds feel so unified? Why, at each moment, do I seem to be one mind rather than a community of minds?" (Pg. 138)
"Although the main concern of 'Elemental Mind' is ordinary awareness, the everyday inner life of humans and other conscious beings, much can be learned about awareness from rare and unusual states of consciousness." (Pg. 193)
"Quantum theory is breathtaking---and it's just a theory of matter. I cannot imagine that the nature of mind will turn out to be any less wonderful." (Pg. 284)