978-0-7382-0436-9 / 9780738204369

The Physics Of Consciousness: The Quantum Mind And The Meaning Of Life


Publisher:Basic Books



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About the book:

It's not every day you hear a physicist ask what happens when we die. Evan Harris Walker, sparked by the early, tragic loss of his love, does just that and more in The Physics of Consciousness, a book in the same vein as Fritjof Capra's The Tao of Physics, but with a firmer grounding in scientific understanding. Walker marries the traditions of Southern literature--a longing for the past, a resignation toward the present, and a determined optimism about the future--to a technical explanation of the limits of materialism; a weird synthesis, certainly, but charming and engaging nonetheless. Since his primary topic is consciousness, Walker turns to neuroscience and Buddhism (its spiritual equivalent) for inspiration. His quantum-mechanical approach to synaptic transmission and "the speed of consciousness" are difficult to evaluate and seem a bit overstretched, but his discussions of the history and current events of physics are lucid and ironically lend weight to his antimaterialistic arguments. Is this, as he hopes, another step toward 21st-century religion, or just another New Age reinterpretation of the spooky world of the ultrasmall? Don't bet on either--The Physics of Consciousness will jog your brain in new ways and, if nothing else, you'll find a new appreciation for how little we really know about ourselves. --Rob Lightner

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