Summary: NEW PHYSICS AND THE MIND
A surprising strand of modern physics, since its inception early in the twentieth century, has involved links between physics and human consciousness. NEW PHYSICS AND THE MIND explores these links, especially as they are informed by recent decades’ discoveries of equally surprising new physics phenomena.
The book is divided into four parts: Entering the Twenty-first Century, Physics and the Mind, New Physics, and Speculations. Each part contains from five to fifteen chapters.
Here’s the story line.
Part One, Entering the Twenty-first Century, brings all readers to a common footing. After all, some readers will be physicists. Others will have read a few or many popular-audience science books, perhaps even books entirely on point to the question at hand: what’s going on at the forefront of modern physics? Still others will be intellectually curious but without much background in science.
So Part One begins with a plain-English summary of the theories of relativity and of quantum physics. Then it discusses how physicists feel about these theories, and what these theories suggest to physicists about what still needs to be resolved, what to study next. String theory, which mainstream physics views as the best shot at the twenty-first century’s theory of everything, is presented next. But so are the dissenting views—views of physicists who claim that quantum physics forces us to a new sense of reality, and also views of the holists, who think that reductionism is taking us along the wrong path.
From the beginning of quantum physics in the early twentieth century, physicists have found, strangely, a role in physics for human consciousness and the mind. This role has in fact been too strange for mainstream physics, which has proceeded without the mind.
Yet from the beginning, some physicists have explored how physics and the mind interrelate. This is Part Two, Physics and the Mind.
Theories about physics and the mind simmered in the background for most of the twentieth century, but they heated up again especially with the 1989 publication by a prominent mathematician and physicist of The Emperor’s New Mind, which placed consciousness and the mind at the center of modern physics’ most important current questions.
At the same time, late in the twentieth century, a series of observations and theories arose, not related to the mind or consciousness, but purely on the agenda of mainstream particle physics and cosmology. Fifteen of these phenomena are discussed in Part Three, New Physics.
The term “new physics” has been used frequently in physics, in fact ever since the dawn of modern physics at the beginning of the twentieth century. But today new physics means phenomena that challenge the mid-twentieth-century’s standard models of particle physics and cosmology.
Many of these new physics phenomena have become widely known even among nonscientists. Black holes, dark matter and dark energy, parallel universes, even extra dimensions have all achieved some prominence as items of general news.
Physicists throughout the world are seriously studying these phenomena as well as other phenomena that have not yet achieved the same level of general awareness. Many of these other phenomena bring quantum physics to the macroscopic level of everyday existence, and this is surprising, even disturbing. Quantum physics has been understood to operate only subatomically. Some physicists studying the phenomena of new physics think that radical revisions are required to our standard approaches to physics.
And Part Four, Speculations, is a countdown—a hidden physics countdown of ten radical theories of new physics. These theories, barely noticed by mainstream physicists, are the life work of a small number of radical theorists.
Counting down from Radical Theory #10 through Radical Theory #1, we find physicists who turn quantum physics on its head, who create new understandings of physics from elements of new physics, and who bring the mind and consciousness into central roles.
Radical Theory #1 incorporates every element of Part Three’s new physics, and is also a theory of mind physics. This theory, far outside of standard physics, is presented in NEW PHYSICS AND THE MIND as an alternative to today’s mainstream approach to a twenty-first-century theory of everything.
new physics + the mind + holism - reductionism
= new physics and the mind
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