The Unconscious Quantum:

Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology


Victor J. Stenger
Prometheus Books 1995 ISBN 1-57392-022-3

From the jacket:

Today the public is bombarded with books promoting a New Age metaphysics ostensibly based on the most recent developments in physics and astronomy. A new holistic paradigm has become popular, one that claims an intimate spiritual connection between individual mind and the fabric of the universe. The term _quantum_, taken out of its original context, has become the mantra of this new metaphysics, which purports to find a convergence between a picture of reality presented by physics and the world view of traditional Eastern mysticism.

What do the great discoveries of physics in this century tell us about the ultimate structure of reality? Are mystical interpretations of the universe supported by such concepts as the big bang, anthropic coincidences, black holes, and chaos theory?

As the research of physicists becomes ever more sophisticated, the average person finds the significance of the latest findings increasingly difficult to comprehend. And this lack of understanding in the public mind is made worse by the misleading claims of persuasive lecturers and popular authors, whose interest is mainly to capitalize on trendy ideas rather than the consider scientific evidence objectively.

In this fascinating and accessible book, physicist Victor J. Stenger guides the reader through the key developments of quantum mechanics and the debates over its apparent paradoxes. In the process, he critically appraises recent metaphysical fads popularized by such authors as Deepak Chopra and Fritjof Capra. Dr. Stenger's knack for elucidating scientific ideas and controversies in language that the nonspecialist can comprehend opens up to the widest possible audience a wealth of information on the most important findings of contemporary physics.

Stenger makes it clear that current scientific hypotheses about the material nature of reality are all we need to explain the available evidence and that mystical notions say more about the human need to believe than about the fundamental makeup of the universe.