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Brain, Mind, Cosmos: The Nature of Our Existence and the Universe (Sages and Scientists Series Book 1) (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Notable Scientists and Philosophers , Deepak Chopra

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Deepak Chopra, M.D is the author of eighty books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, serves as Founder of The Chopra Foundation, Co-Founder and Chairman of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, Founder of The Chopra Well on YouTube, Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, Assistant Clinical Professor, in the Family and Preventive Medicine Department at the University of California, San Diego, Faculty at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization. For more than a decade, he has participated as a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine, an annual event sponsored by Harvard Medical School's Department of Continuing Education and the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

If you gathered all the authors of this collection in one room, you wouldn't hear the hum of perfect agreement. But you'd hear optimism in everyone's voice. "We're going to crack this problem" marks a tidal change from past decades, when it wasn't even respectable to talk about consciousness in sophisticated scientific circles. It's hard to crack a problem that almost no one believes exists. The most distinguished quantum pioneers speculated brilliantly on the nature of mind in the universe. The general reaction in the field, however, was to whisper about old men going soft and leaving "real science" far behind. Such outright dismissal still exists, so it takes intellectual courage for these authors to swim upstream as they argue for the presence of mind in the cosmos. Ironing out their differences for the moment, these essays uphold some common propositions:

• Consciousness must be scientifically explained.
• There is evidence of mind outside the human brain.
• We are probably living inside a conscious universe.
• The assumption that the brain creates mind through a system of physical processes is backed by unreliable evidence.
• Traces of mind can be found at the quantum level of Nature.
• The separation of the subjective and objective domain is artificial. Instead of seeing reality "out there," we must think in terms of a participatory universe.

Each writer has staked his own ground on these claims, some being more conservative, others declaring that mind is everywhere in the universe. It's a breathtaking range of speculation. The fact that some essays reach out to philosophy and Eastern thought is heartening to me personally. The Vedic rishis were true Einsteins of consciousness, and if mind and cosmos can be linked, these seers are urgently relevant. That's the issue that Vedanta confronts. The eyes can detect physical light. The mind is aware of its own thoughts. The soul, if it exists, can attest to God. But none of this is good enough. Our eyes are easily fooled—hence the end of classical physics, and the beginning of quantum theory, whose eyes are mathematical, since physicality itself becomes vague and shadowy, unpredictable and non-local, in the quantum domain.

I’m proud to have edited this collection of essays as the circle around reality grows tighter and tighter. This elusive chimera won't escape. One anticipates an evolutionary leap before it is captured, however. Science must expand to embrace consciousness. Theorists must plunge directly into the participatory universe. The outworn assumptions of materialism must be revised or thrown away. When will all these changes occur? No one can say. But an evolutionary leap will occur when physicists look around the cosmos and agree with a famous saying from Vedanta: "This isn't knowledge you can acquire. This is knowledge you must become."

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2627 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 844 pages
  • Editeur : Deepak Chopra; Édition : 1 (1 août 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00KAKEYIY
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  10 commentaires
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Worthy Collection of Thought 8 août 2014
Par Stephen E. Robbins - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
This book is a collection of 31 chapters, each contributed by different theorists. Only a few, I would say, are by prominent, standard names in the consciousness field. Overall, imho, the vast proportion are interesting contributions, certainly over 80% (depending on one’s interests – mine being the hard problem/physics/mystic), and that is a lot of material given the size (800pp) of the book. Reviewing a book of 31 different authors/chapters presents its challenges. Here is an attempting-to-be-brief try.

While the chapters proceed in alphabetical order, by author, they seem to fall in four categories:

1. Discourses focused heavily on the analysis of quantum mechanics, its general implications for our understanding of the physical universe, the curious relation to consciousness all this implies, and perhaps a (small) foray into the consciousness subject itself. These (11 by my count) generally comprise some of the most interesting and remarkable discussions and reflections and would make the book worth it in themselves.
2. Forays into the hard problem of consciousness (6 chapters by my count). As solutions to the hard problem, these are weak, though none fail to provide interesting observations, facts and arguments.
3. Integrative discussions of the mystical (or cosmic consciousness, or yogic writings) with the problem of consciousness. These chapters (4 by my count) are also unique, interesting and valuable (two especially).
4. Miscellaneous (10). These range from discussions on the need for self-observational methods, speculation on the insolvability of the problem of consciousness, musings on broader systems of consciousness, and more.

The Quantum Chapters/Comments: It is remarkable how the quantum subject is capable of so many different views, perspectives, new insights and general mining. I will note a few here, starting with Grandpierre’s chapter which is a great discussion of quantum theory and leads to the best conjecture (or opening, shall we say) I have yet seen, given the understanding of the quantum framework he lays out, on how consciousness could control matter, i.e., the problem of voluntary action – how we will to lift our finger. Cochran gives an interesting discussion of Pauli and Kepler re imagination. Johnston does a very interesting dismantling of the near-biblical notion of wave-particle duality, bringing us right back to a wave model. (I would recommend trying to find Jacob Kessler’s self-published “The Energy of Space” (1962) for an even wider/deeper move to a wave interpretation.) Craddock and Kaczynski give a great discussion of classic computational approaches vs. quantum re the brain, and the enormous power of computation the brain may actually have. (Unfortunately they show little recognition of the possibility that the Turing notion of computation, no matter how quantum, may not hold the answer at all.) Lucille and Pepin also add a great discussion, to include incorporating the abstruse observations of the great intellectual/mystic, Franklin Merrill-Lynch.

The Mystical Integrative Discussions/Comments: The coolest chapter is by Brazdu, who describes the mystical development and experience of “witnessing awareness,” where - I will attempt to restate - one has identified with the cosmic Self and from this level of Being observes one’s egoic self and its transforming pattern. This concept itself is obviously not new, what is, is Brazdu’s interesting argument that this is a natural evolutionary stage, and that supporting/explaining this experience is where the science of consciousness (with supporting physics) must ultimately head. Also of great interest is Bursa’s attempt to deal with Zen insights and the notion of the union of subject and object. It is unfortunate in this subject/object unity discussion (and this is the case in at least another chapter) that the only way these theorists can deal with this is via the notion that the subject (observer) creates “external” reality. Unknown to all these authors, apparently and unfortunately, is the theory of Bergson (Matter and Memory, 1896), for whom, “subject and object, in the their distinction and their union, must be treated in terms of time, not space.” This theory assumes both the existence of external reality and the union of subject/object without descending to the current temptation to hold that the observer supposedly generates reality. Unfortunately again, Bergson’s statement (re subject/object) is likely obscure to the book’s authors - there is little actual discussion across the chapters on time (save Sobottka’s on “The arrow of subjective time”), a subject with which consciousness is inextricably united. This comes to roost in the hard problem discussions.

The Hard Problem Chapters/Comments: Baer, while filling his chapter with interesting observations, nevertheless ends up with the brain supporting an “internal model” that looks like the external world, e.g., in the brain is a little model of my kitchen with its brass pots, pans, stove and white curtains - as I look at it right now. Given we see only neural-chemical flows in the brain, the “here the magic happens” required for the emergence of this internal image/model is pretty enormous – and subtly unaddressed. The position is heavily discredited in philosophical circles. But Hameroff et al. essentially replicate this stance in their chapter, where in their descriptions of the goings-on in the microtubules of the neurons, again we find the “here the magic happens” as the image of the external world (somehow, by vague magic) arises. Chopra et al. follow on, arguing that “qualia are the building blocks” of our experience - this with no explication of what this actually means, on where the qualia come from or how the brain would “use” their qualia-blocks. Hameroff, I would note, at least trying on this (in another paper, not in this book), saw qualia as virtually little atoms inside those microtubules, just waiting to be configured to look like the external world (I suspect this notion still underlies his chapter in this book). What these “atoms” would look like for qualia that are defined only over time, that are functions of time, especially for dynamic form – Valerie Hardcastle’s “gently waving curtains,” “the conductor waving her baton,” “the patrons shifting in their seats,” or twisting falling leaves, or spinning cubes vs. slowly rotating cubes, or buzzing flies vs. flies slowly flapping their wings like herons (i.e., a change of time scale) – is extremely problematic. What could “form qualia” (awaiting in the microtubules) possibly be? Would these have to exist for every possible scale of time? In any case, all the theorists in this category would have greatly benefited, again, from Bergson’s elegant solution – holographic to boot already in 1896 - to the origin of the image of the external world

In sum, many good chapters and discussions, just very weak when it comes to the actual solutions to the hard problem.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Coming Together 7 août 2014
Par Carol W. Nichols - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
As an Iyengar Yoga practitioner, I was directed to this book by one of the contributing authors, Siegfried Bleher. This particular author is schooled in theoretical physics. Needless to say, his piece, as well as those by other contributors, is quite esoteric. But, the attractive attribute of his article and of those within the compendium is the ease with which science and (dare I say) philosophy mesh. It would be better to state that experiential and intuitive realization of consciousness by each of us (rather than philosophy) is given a platform of deeply intellectual, scientific understanding. These articles do not expand the chasm between body (including the mind) and soul or consciousness. Rather, they seek to weave together the mechanics of learning scientifically with the experience of living with a broad and sensitive consciousness. The distinction is made in Bleher's article between sentience and self-awareness. The point is made (and actually argued mathematically) that the sphere in which we grow our self-awareness introspectively can and does lead to an evolution (as it were) toward a larger, universal playing field of human consciousness or even universal consciousness. The articles presented not only read with logic and intelligence. They resonant with how we actually feel about and perceive our existence. A collection of studies well worth the effort to read.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good, but not quite as good as I had hoped 22 octobre 2014
Par Johnny - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
This book is a compilation of 31 chapters, or essays, written by "sages and scientists" who explore consciousness from both a philosophical and materialistic angle. Some of the chapters are clear and well written and others are extremely obscure and poorly written.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 6: "Bridging from the Mundane to the Conscious Universe" by Theresa Bullard and Barbara Bullard, who I believe are possibly a mother-daughter team. They present a very scholarly and detailed description of the human brain, its components, and how the various senses interact with those components. They then go on to describe "entrainment" techniques whereby you can refocus the brain from the individual self to the universal or cosmic consciousness. Not only that, but they provide the physiological and neurological bases of those techniques. There are YouTube videos of Barbara Bullard's lectures that are worthwhile watching.

By and large, most of the other chapters sowed a lot of confusion as to whether reality is actually real. I believe this confusion stems from the inability or unwillingness of scientists to draw a line between observer and observed. This is a natural result of material reductionism, which says the properties of the whole are indistinguishable from the properties of its parts. Therefore, if atoms exhibit quantum weirdness, then the universe which is made up of atoms must also exhibit quantum weirdness. Thus, observer, the observed, and the process of observation are all part of the same quantum wave function and are indistinguishable from each other. This is nonsense. There is a line that divides quantum from non-quantum reality -- a fundamental duality. The mind could very well operate on the quantum side of the divide whereas our brains, senses, and physical bodies operate on the non-quantum side. (I'm referring to Penrose-Hameroff model of consciousness, which proposes microtubule structures in neurons as "bridges" between the two sides. This model is discussed briefly in Chapters 10 and 15.)

Is reality real or is it an illusion cooked up by our minds? We are biological beings that exist in a material universe -- subject to the laws of a world we did not create. Being subject to physical laws and limitations, we have senses, a brain, and the ability to reason and discriminate between truth and falsehood in order to navigate through the world and survive in it. Although you may believe that we are nothing more than "world lines" in a four-dimensional block universe and what we perceive as reality is an illusion, the truth of the matter is this: If your eyes show there is a cliff in front of you, it is best not to step over the edge. If you wake up at night and hear a smoke alarm and smell smoke, it is best to get out of bed and get away from the smoke. If feel the heat of a fire, it is best to go the other way. If your nose and tongue are telling you that the food in your mouth is poison, it is best to spit it out. Regardless of whether you think the cliff, the smoke, the fire, or the poison are real, pretending they are not could cause your "world line" to end. As the Zen adage goes, the world is an illusion but it is very real.

Despite its shortcomings, I would recommend the book, especially the Kindle version that allows word searches, which is a very powerful tool. Chapter 6 by itself is worth the price of the book.

https://sites.google.com/site/amateurscientistessays/
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 If our brain would be so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't. 9 juin 2015
Par Dr. Thomas Dullien - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
I was looking to expand my perspective between Laszlo's 'Quantum Shift in the Global Brain' (and his 'Systems View of the World'), Fritjof Capra's 'The Systems View of Life' and Ernst Peter Fischer's 'Die Hintertreppe zum Quantensprung' (The backstairs to the Quantumleap'. This book exceeded my expectations. As a lay-person in Quantum physics the philosophical approach makes it easier for me to understand the concepts of this 'weird science'. It also drives home the point that Fritjof Capra 40 years ago: The mathematical framework of quantum theory has passed countless successful tests and is now universally accepted as a consistent and accurate description of all atomic phenomena. The verbal interpretation, on the other hand – i.e., the metaphysics of quantum theory – is on far less solid ground. In fact, in more than forty years physicists have not been able to provide a clear metaphysical model.
— Fritjof Capra In The Tao of Physics (1975), 132.
Brain, Mind, Cosmos continues to force me to think differently, possible, some day, more holistically. The discussion about 'reality' at that point no longer has to make a distinction between a perceived reality and actual reality.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 16 septembre 2014
Par Peter Cohen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
A veritable feast of the most important scientific thinking happening today, IMHO.
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