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I have had this book in my possession off and on over the years, ever since I worked for the author, Frijof Capra, when I lived in Berkeley in the late 70s I only knew then that he was a physicist, not realizing that there was such a thing as quantum physics, which I was not introduced to until 2000 Frijof was a really interesting person, that is, what I knew about him, which wasn t much since I was only his housekeeper Cleaning homes was how I got though college They paid my way, and I coul I have had this book in my possession off and on over the years, ever since I worked for the author, Frijof Capra, when I lived in Berkeley in the late 70s I only knew then that he was a physicist, not realizing that there was such a thing as quantum physics, which I was not introduced to until 2000 Frijof was a really interesting person, that is, what I knew about him, which wasn t much since I was only his housekeeper Cleaning homes was how I got though college They paid my way, and I could make my own hours.Seeing his home, I realized that I got the job because I advertised myself as being meticulous Frijof was meticulous And I loved his house It was a brown single one on a lovely street in Berkeley It was obvious that he loved nature His hardwood floors were covered with grass mats that were not easy to clean because you had to vacuum under them as dirt fell into the holes in the design He had photos on the wall of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, then of his doing Tai Chi On one of his tables he had the I Ching and a book titled How to Meditate I borrowed the latter book and read it He gave me a stack of Brain Mind Bulletins that I loved and wish now that I had kept I went out and bought my own copy of The Tao of Physics, read the first chapter and decided it was not any book that I could understand I now see that I was correct As to meditation, I took TM back then, paid 350 for it, which I now realize was a rip off, and I never used it Still, the few times I had, but only when with my teacher, my mind expanded somewhat, and I found that peaceful, but I also found it interested that there was another state of consciousness I joined the Vedanta Society in early 2000s, and a man named Dave DeLuca came to the temple in San Diego and gave a lecture on The Four Yugas He had a section in it where he talked about Quantum Physics Much like Capra s book, he used the teachings of Quantum theory as a way to compare it with Hinduism I liked his lecture so much that obtained his lecture and still have it It wasn t the comparison to Hinduism that I liked, but the way physicists saw the nature of reality I didn t last in Vedanta, but that is another story I listened again to DeLuca s lecture to see what I remembered, and to write this in my review as it say, this is why I love quantum physics, even though I don t understand it He began with saying, All things are temporary manifestations of God Then he mentioned the great physicist, Schodinger and Deepak Chopra s book, Quantum Healing.Chopra had said that that the molecules that are in us today can be in a tree or another person tomorrow, and the molecules that were in the moon a month ago could be in us today He stated that this is not figuratively but literally But much of this was lost on me, but the idea of our molecules flowing in and out of our body was fascinating DeLuca, like Capra, spent a somee time on comparing quantum physicists with the Upanishads, but Capra also compared it to what Buddha had said about the nature of reality While I could see what they both were talking about, I was not so sure that it could be applied in such a way because what the Buddha and the Upanishads had said were too vague to me.Then DeLuca quoted from another quantum physicist, Max Planck I regard consciousness as fundamental I regard matter as derivative from consciousness We cannot get behind consciousness Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness So what did I get out of reading Capra Not much He had some chapters on Hinduism and Buddhism that I understood since I had been in both religions I saw where he was coming from in regards to his comparisons But then Capra brought up a vague notion of karma, and I personally, do not believe in karma Perhaps the way he sees karma is not the way that it was taught to me by these religions, which end up sounding much like Christianity in that if you do what is wrong you will end up in some hell, and yes, Buddhism and Hinduism both have hells I think the idea of karma developed over time, as it was not mentioned in the early Vedas that I am aware of, as I had looked, and when it finally was, it was vague Then one day, a new Upanishad is written and, well, there is hell in all its glory I also really liked what Schodinger said about Consciousness There is no framework where we find consciousness in the plural And this, to me, says what the Upanishads have said about the nature of reality, All is one, and this is what some who have meditated have experienced a oneness with all Well, this is my first one star on good reads, that means this book was even worse than the Third Hunger Games book.The main reason for the one star is just my complete disappointment in this book I went in to reading The Tao fo Physics expecting to find something that correlated elements of quantum mechanics to the insights of Eastern mysticism and philosophy which I feel was a reasonable expectation However, what I found was an author who not only was dull but founded his correlations Well, this is my first one star on good reads, that means this book was even worse than the Third Hunger Games book.The main reason for the one star is just my complete disappointment in this book I went in to reading The Tao fo Physics expecting to find something that correlated elements of quantum mechanics to the insights of Eastern mysticism and philosophy which I feel was a reasonable expectation However, what I found was an author who not only was dull but founded his correlations on the beliefs of famous physicists and philosophers For a good 1 3 of the book, you, the reader, are submitted to a quote by Einstein or insert another well known physicist name here and then a quote by the Buddha or insert another philosopher, unknown or known here and Capra going, see they are saying the same thing Nothing irks methan this in nonfiction books about physics that target the general public why have my own beliefs or both explaining things when I can say this landmark figure said this at some point whether it be in context or not and therefore it must be true Ironically, the one thing I really do feel Eastern mysticism and physics have in common are that both demand that if you seekknowledge, you must always question everything and through this incessant questioning, you begin to gain understanding Our author here could use a littleof that in his writing ability I have very little positive to say about this book unfortunately I learned a little bitabout Eastern philosophies than I knew, but I feel like there are other books out there that could have conveyed the information Capra tries to presenteffectively I really would not recommend this book to anyone I fell asleep 20 times reading this book no joke, even when I wasn t tired this book put me to sleep , I feel like I gained very little knowledge or understanding from this book, and at some points, it was painfully banal to read Capra is not good at explaining physics, Eastern mysticism, and certainly not the link between the two It is widely recognized, at least by those outside of science, that scientists are notorious bunglers when it comes to philosophical matters So it is not surprising, though hardly excusable, that Capra s book displays a level of incompetence that should be immediately obvious to anyone with even a cursory background in logic or philosophy As a matter of fact, it would be surprising if such an unqualified admirer of Taoism, whose writings Capra notes approvingly are full of passages reflecting It is widely recognized, at least by those outside of science, that scientists are notorious bunglers when it comes to philosophical matters So it is not surprising, though hardly excusable, that Capra s book displays a level of incompetence that should be immediately obvious to anyone with even a cursory background in logic or philosophy As a matter of fact, it would be surprising if such an unqualified admirer of Taoism, whose writings Capra notes approvingly are full of passages reflecting the Taoist s contempt of reasoning p 113 , should display much in the way of sound reasoning While I was not especially sympathetic to Capra s thesis even before I read the book, I at least had high hopes for a compelling argument for his case, but that was wishful thinking The thesis is that the worldviews of Eastern mysticism provide the best framework for understanding modern physics, and that all the advances in physics in the 20th century unanimously confirm these worldviews However, the picture that emerges is rather one of the utter incompatibility of Eastern mysticism with physics of any kind, classical or modern.In order to fully appreciate the force of this book, it is important to keep in mind not only the results of physics, but also the scientific endeavor itself That endeavor consists of an incredibly strenuous exertion of the human rational faculties to uncover truths about reality that we do not know ahead of time, and to systematize the results of investigation into rigorous theories explaining the phenomena In contrast to this, according to Capra, all concepts about reality formed by the human mind are void p 97 the human intellect can never comprehend the Tao p 113 whenever you want to achieve anything, you should start with its opposite p 115 words can never express the ultimate truth p 122 to believe that our abstract concepts of separate things and events are realities of nature is an illusion p 131 the particles of modern physics are merely idealizations which are useful from a practical point of view, but have no fundamental significance p 137 all the concepts we use to describe natureare not features of reality, as we tend to believe, but creations of the mind p 161 the idea of a constant self undergoing successive experiences is an illusion p 212 all phenomena in the world are nothing but the illusory manifestation of the mind and have no reality on their ownwhat appears to be external does not exist in reality p 277 ultimately, there are no parts at all in this interconnected web p 330 there is no absolute truth in science p 337 This collection of quotes does indeed give an excellent picture of the foundation that Eastern mysticism has to offer for science, but is it even possible to think that this view of the world constitutes fertile soil for the scientific enterprise A striking feature of many of Capra s central arguments is the profound gulf between his premises and his conclusions, which would be simply laughable if it were not for the fact that so many people stand to be badly led astray For instance, Capra leaps from Einstein s famous equation E mc 2 to the most astounding claim in the whole book, that modern physicistsdeny the existence of any material substance p 204 Can this be serious This is the logical equivalent of saying that magnetism has been discovered to be an aspect of an electromagnetic field, therefore magnetism doesn t exist or scientists have discovered that houses are made of wood, therefore houses don t exist One of Capra s favorite mantras is that modern physics has discovered that material particles are not distinct entities p 209 Even if we accept for the sake of the argument his repeated confusion of existence and measurability, it is difficult to see how the fact that particles interact, influence each other, and in some cases are even indistinguishable, means that they are not distinct entities.If it were not enough to repeatedly outrage every principle of sound reasoning, Capra is equally adept at mangling the most profound discoveries of 20th century physics He dwells at length on Einstein s General Relativity, arguing that it proves that geometry is not inherent in nature but is imposed upon it by the mind p 162 In actual fact, General Relativity is the scientific rock upon which all the floundering ships in the fleet of subjectivism are dashed From Einstein we have learned that the true structure of space and time is actually so incredibly foreign to our everyday intuitions that it is not even possible to understand it without the formidable apparatus of non Euclidean geometry Capra goes on in the same chapter to give an example that shows that we can always determine whether a surface is curved or not, just by making geometrical measurements of its surface, and by comparing the results with those predicted by Euclidean geometry If there is a discrepancy, the surface is curved and the larger the discrepancy is for a given size of figures the stronger the curvature p 176 But what is it that is curved or not Something created by our mind Why are we doing an experiment at all if the geometry of space is nothing but a creation of the mind But a mind sunk in the quagmires of Eastern mysticism cannot readily recognize such an obvious point In all of science there is nothingobjective than Einstein s General Relativity, a fact of which Einstein himself was well aware.But this discussion brings up another important point I would like to know, if it is true that in modern physics cause and effect lose their meaning p 81 how, even in principle, anyone could ever do a scientific experiment in atomic physics If the answer is that cause and effect are just illusions of the sensory world, then the question remains, how can we ever do a scientific experiment Whence comes this illusion, and how can it possibly be trusted to be reliable If the answer is that cause and effect are indeed principles of macroscopic and sensory reality, but that they are not a part of the unseen ultimate reality which underlies all the rest, then I ask, from whence arises this lawfulness in sensory reality How do we build up from the constituents of a reality where cause and effect are meaningless to an observable world where they are no longer meaningless This constitutes as insurmountable a leap for logic as it does for science.As the book drags on, Capra continues to weary us with his absurdities On p 288 he claims that fundamental constants are arbitrary parameters What does this even mean Is Planck s constant arbitrary I would like to see Capra replace it with something else On p 334 he says that scientists do not deal with truth in the sense of a precise correspondence between the description and the described phenomena they deal with limited and approximate descriptions of reality This is certainly contradicted by the staggering precision achieved in modern physics, both in theories and experiments, but such a consideration would most likely not intimidate a mind infatuated with contradictions Such was certainly not the mind of Johannes Kepler, who spent several years of his life working to account for barely a one tenth of one degree of angle disparity between the orbit of Mars and theory, convinced that the human mind, created in the image of a rational God, could precisely learn the truth about the rational creation of that God How foreign such a mindset must really be to Eastern mystical thought Would Kepler have undergone such Herculean intellectual exertions had he shared Capra s conviction that he could attain only limited and approximate knowledge, or would he simply have shrugged his shoulders and decided that Ptolemaic astronomy was close enough But it is least of all to history that we should look for confirmation of Capra s thesis In the early chapters he blames Aristotle and Christianity for the ensuing lack of interest in the material world p 22 But what cultures ever displayed aprofound and studious disregard for the material world than the Eastern mystical traditions And why would they hold in high regard something that is at best a creation of the human mind and at worst a deceptive illusion On p 198 199 Capra considers the idea of an oscillating and organic universe, and goes on to say that the scale of this ancient myth is indeed staggering it has taken the human mindthan two thousand years to come up again with a similar concept But on the contrary, it took the human mind so many thousands of years to overcome organismic and oscillatory theories of the universe These theories were ubiquitous in all the great ancient cultures, from the Egyptian to the Babylonian to the Indian to the Chinese to the Mayan to the Greek, and it was exactly this conception that so effectively stifled the optimistic and rational view of nature that is indispensable for science.In conclusion, Capra has done a masterful job of presenting the relevance of Eastern mysticism to modern physics, but even a passing consideration readily reveals that this relevance is only the thorough incompatibility of Eastern mysticism with science of any kind As Western culture steadily abandons rationality and the human ability to know truth, the philosophies of Eastern mysticism do indeed continue to gain credence and ascendance, but to exactly the same extent we will surely witness the decline of science Ok so I have a small confession to make I think I might be overrating books Or at least it looks like it from other reviews I recently read I usually read them after rating the books myself but sometimes I go the other way around Today is one of those days I must say I find it harder to criticize a bad non fiction book than a bad novel And that could be because, first of all, with non fiction books it s hardly a matter of writing style unless it s a really good book or a really bad one a Ok so I have a small confession to make I think I might be overrating books Or at least it looks like it from other reviews I recently read I usually read them after rating the books myself but sometimes I go the other way around Today is one of those days I must say I find it harder to criticize a bad non fiction book than a bad novel And that could be because, first of all, with non fiction books it s hardly a matter of writing style unless it s a really good book or a really bad one and second of all I m easily amazed by the knowledge I acquire on things I had no previous idea of Having said that, I really liked this book As the book title itself states it s about drawing parallels between modern physics and eastern beliefs Let me just say there s actually a lot to talk about,than I would have imagined It gives a nice overview on eastern cultures and on those physical phenomena that can be linked to them I thought it a really interestingly mind blowing idea I then discovered being already largely discussed in the physics world, with a lot of actual physicists having studied eastern philosophies and all This book does a good job in underlining similarities between very different culture fields, something I ve always found amazingly fascinating I would recommend it to anyone who is always been curious of eastern cultures but never fulfilled that curiosity ( Kindle ) ♚ The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism ☮ After a quarter of a century in print, Capra s groundbreaking work still challenges and inspires This updated edition of The Tao of Physicsincludes a new preface and afterword in which the author reviews the developments of the twenty five years since the book s first publication, discusses criticisms the book has received, and examines future possibilities for a new scientific world Balancing the Load Capra s groundbreaking work still challenges and inspires This updated edition of The Tao of Physicsincludes a new preface and afterword in which the author reviews the developments of the twenty five years since the book s first publication Most Likely To... discusses criticisms the book has received Blind (Lorelei Bluffs Book 3) and examines future possibilities for a new scientific world Eastern philosophy is not a singular concept it consists of many schools of thought some of which the author has conveniently cherry picked and force fit to draw parallels with Quantum Physics.Truth be told, the book neither has literary merit, nor does it present any groundbreakingly profound idea There is a pretence of the latter, but anyone with some familiarity with the field of philosophy will see right through it The only merit in the book, if one is to force himself to find one, is t Eastern philosophy is not a singular concept it consists of many schools of thought some of which the author has conveniently cherry picked and force fit to draw parallels with Quantum Physics.Truth be told, the book neither has literary merit, nor does it present any groundbreakingly profound idea There is a pretence of the latter, but anyone with some familiarity with the field of philosophy will see right through it The only merit in the book, if one is to force himself to find one, is to see how an author can paraphrase a simple idea again and again, hiding it under the guise of different metaphors and clothing it in different phrases, and make a whole book out of it To see this, one would have suspend the idea that the author s intent matters at all, and and then appreciate the fact that Fritjof Capra has produced a tribute to Queneau s Exercises in Style, albeit accidentally As a matter of fact, I can reproduce the whole book here and save you the time and expense Here it is Nature environment the territory features of reality heaven and earth the universe material world matterIS NOT passive inert in static equilibrium still, BUT IS dancing dynamic moves in vibrating motion with rhythmic patterns ceaseless motion Notions of Space and Time are merely constructs of the mind forms of thought maps of reality limited illusory relative intellectual constructs moh maya exist in relation to our particularising consciousness belong to the realm of experience And modern physics agrees Not entirely sure how to take this book Will come back to it after updating myself on the latest developments. A book that fundamentally changed the way I felt and thought deep down inside at a time of my life when I needed some sort of metaphysical path.When you strip away the mathematics from the concepts of quantum mechanics and strong theory, etc., you get a bewildering array of thought provking images that conjure up those posed by the best koans that Zen has to offer Eastern mysticism meets modern physics.You will understand that everything is connected. I bought this book some 7 years ago, when I was fifteen At the time I was getting increasingly interested in physics, and at the same time Buddhism Unfortunately, I also read another book around this time called What The Bleep Do We Know which turned out to be nothing but quantum woo that is, pretending that quantum mechanics is all kinds of things that it simply isn t I decided that The Tao Of Physics is probably something similar and it s been collecting dust on my shelf ever since I bought this book some 7 years ago, when I was fifteen At the time I was getting increasingly interested in physics, and at the same time Buddhism Unfortunately, I also read another book around this time called What The Bleep Do We Know which turned out to be nothing but quantum woo that is, pretending that quantum mechanics is all kinds of things that it simply isn t I decided that The Tao Of Physics is probably something similar and it s been collecting dust on my shelf ever since Reading this book, though, I realised that this isn t really what this book is Sure, there are legitimate criticisms to be made here For example, some of the similarities are superficial at best The part that really struck me as overly silly is this part right before section III of the book On the left page you see, essentially, some scribbled math equations On the right page you see some Hindu scriptures I mean, come on This means absolutely nothing Another serious criticism has come from Peter Woit, about the fact that Capra uses and continued to use the bootstrap theory The Tao of Physics was completed in December 1974, and the implications of the November Revolution one month earlier that led to the dramatic confirmations of the standard model quantum field theory clearly had not sunk in for Capra like many others at that time What is harder to understand is that the book has now gone through several editions, and in each of them Capra has left intact the now out of date physics, including new forewords and afterwords that with a straight face deny what has happened The foreword to the second edition of 1983 claims, It has been very gratifying for me that none of these recent developments has invalidated anything I wrote seven years ago In fact, most of them were anticipated in the original edition, a statement far from any relation to the reality that in 1983 the standard model was nearly universally accepted in the physics community, and the bootstrap theory was a dead idea Even now, Capra s book, with its nutty denials of what has happened in particle theory, can be found selling well at every major bookstore It has been joined by some other books on the same topic, most notably Gary Zukav s The Dancing Wu Li Masters The bootstrap philosophy, despite its complete failure as a physical theory, lives on as part of an embarrassing New Age cult, with its followers refusing to acknowledge what has happened Although this is a valid criticism, it ignores the biggest part of the book In the first half of the book Capra simply discusses the similarities in thought between these two distinctly different ways of thinking an intuitive and spiritual way contra the empirical and rational way of science He doesn t imply that there is something mystical about quantum mechanics, nor does he pull any New Age trickery trying to fool you in the way that Deepak Chopra might For the most part in this book Capra is simply looking at the interesting similarities between these two ways of thinking and they are striking It s not like Capra is the first physicist to notice this Capra uses a lot of quotes in this book from scientists and religious figures , and here are three interesting ones The general notions about human understandingwhich are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of, or new Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought aconsiderable and central place What we shall find is an exemplification, and encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom Robert Oppenheimer, 1954 For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory we must turn to those kinds of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence Niels Bohr, 1958 The great scientific contribution in theoretical physics that has come from Japan since the last war may be an indication of a certain relationship between philosophical ideas in the tradition of the Far East and the philosophical substance of quantum theory Werner Heisenberg, 1958And here is a picture of Niels Bohr s coat of arms, featuring the yin yang symbol and the words contraria sunt complementa, meaning opposites are complementary At the end of the day I simply think about this book as an interesting musing on different ways of thinking about the world and different ways of getting to answers,and some of those answers happened by complete chance there is so mystical connection implied here to be correct or at least in the same ballpark To me, it also underscores what a spriritual endeavour science potentially can be This book would have been better called The Buddha of Physics , or something like that Throughout the whole book there is hardly a single reference to taoism, and certainly no understanding of taoism and its relation to other asian religions.The great majority of the spiritual religious references in this book are from Indian Buddhism and Hinduism A mild smattering of zen Hardly any Chinese Buddhism.I found this book incredibly boring I think I actually started skimming towards the end, whi This book would have been better called The Buddha of Physics , or something like that Throughout the whole book there is hardly a single reference to taoism, and certainly no understanding of taoism and its relation to other asian religions.The great majority of the spiritual religious references in this book are from Indian Buddhism and Hinduism A mild smattering of zen Hardly any Chinese Buddhism.I found this book incredibly boring I think I actually started skimming towards the end, which for me before I had a daughter was pretty extreme I think I found one interesting idea in this whole book, the physics concept of bootstrapping, which took up nothan one or two sentences and a footnote.If you are really interested in learning how taoism, or asian mysticism in general, relates to modern concepts in physics, the Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav is much much better