Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness

Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness

by B. Alan Wallace
     
 

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Bridging the gap between the world of science and the realm of the spiritual, B. Alan Wallace introduces a natural theory of human consciousness that has its roots in contemporary physics and Buddhism. Wallace's "special theory of ontological relativity" suggests that mental phenomena are conditioned by the brain, but do not emerge from it. Rather,

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Overview

Bridging the gap between the world of science and the realm of the spiritual, B. Alan Wallace introduces a natural theory of human consciousness that has its roots in contemporary physics and Buddhism. Wallace's "special theory of ontological relativity" suggests that mental phenomena are conditioned by the brain, but do not emerge from it. Rather, the entire natural world of mind and matter, subjects and objects, arises from a unitary dimension of reality that is more fundamental than these dualities, as proposed by Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung.

To test his hypothesis, Wallace employs the Buddhist meditative practice of samatha, refining one's attention and metacognition, to create a kind of telescope to examine the space of the mind. Drawing on the work of the physicist John Wheeler, he then proposes a more general theory in which the participatory nature of reality is envisioned as a self-excited circuit. In comparing these ideas to the Buddhist theory known as the Middle Way philosophy, Wallace explores further aspects of his "general theory of ontological relativity," which can be investigated by means of vipasyana, or insight, meditation. Wallace then focuses on the theme of symmetry in reference to quantum cosmology and the "problem of frozen time," relating these issues to the theory and practices of the Great Perfection school of Tibetan Buddhism. He concludes with a discussion of the general theme of complementarity as it relates to science and religion.

The theories of relativity and quantum mechanics were major achievements in the physical sciences, and the theory of evolution has had an equally deep impact on the life sciences. However, rigorous scientific methods do not yet exist to observe mental phenomena, and naturalism has its limits for shedding light on the workings of the mind. A pioneer of modern consciousness research, Wallace offers a practical and revolutionary method for exploring the mind that combines the keenest insights of contemporary physicists and philosophers with the time-honored meditative traditions of Buddhism.

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Editorial Reviews

Metapsychology
I recommend Hidden Dimensions to all interested in the most illusive of phenomena, human consciousness and its relationship with the rest of the universe.

— Rob Harle

Journal of Consciousness Studies
An ambitious book... timely and important reading for anyone interested in consciousness.

— Daniel S. Rizzuto

Network Review
Uniquely authoritative.... I know of no other work on this subject with these attributes.

— Chris Clarke

CHOICE
Insightful... interesting and thought-provoking.

Choice
Insightful... interesting and thought-provoking.
Metapsychology - Rob Harle
I recommend Hidden Dimensions to all interested in the most illusive of phenomena, human consciousness and its relationship with the rest of the universe.

Journal of Consciousness Studies - Daniel S. Rizzuto
An ambitious book... timely and important reading for anyone interested in consciousness.

Network Review - Chris Clarke
Uniquely authoritative.... I know of no other work on this subject with these attributes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231512206
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/08/2007
Series:
Columbia Series in Science and Religion
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
17 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

Arthur Zajonc

This is a wonderful, strongly argued, and long-overdue book that challenges many of the 'idols' of our own time. It is an original contribution to the literature, one which not only compares Buddhist philosophy with Western science but which sets out to do far more. It includes first-person, meditative inquiry as an essential part of its method, and does so in an intelligent and sophisticated manner. In this book B. Alan Wallace makes an important and provocative foray into an arena and an approach to research that has been explored far too little.

Arthur Zajonc, Andrew Mellon Professor of Physics, Amherst College, and author of The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama

William Waldron

A concise, challenging, and likely controversial work that eloquently articulates both critical perspectives on and positive suggestions for the current study of consciousness.

William Waldron, Middlebury College

Meet the Author

B. Alan Wallace spent fourteen years as a Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama. He then earned his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College, and his doctorate in religious studies from Stanford University. His Columbia University Press books are Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge, and Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground (editor). A prolific writer who has translated numerous Tibetan Buddhist texts, he is the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://www.sbinstitute.com).

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