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Review: The Dancing Wu LI Masters

This is a book that lightly, and perhaps appropriately, suggests a connection between eastern religions and the developments in 20th century physics, notably Einstein's theories of relativity, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, and the collective effort, from Max Planck through Einstein to Nils Bohr and many others, to develop quantum theory, quantum mechanics and other dimensions of "quantum" reality.

 

The fundamental issue is that logic breaks down in the quantum world. This is explained well.  Quantum reality deals in probabilities, not certainties, and phenomena that could be waves or could be quanta or particles, depending on when they are measured.

 

There is a huge quotient of the subjective in quantum thinking, which is to say that the observer alters that which is observed, and that which is observed has a somewhat uncanny similarity to the lightning fast disjunctures that characterize the human mind.  We think about one thing, then another.  We flash from mood to mood.  We imagine impossible things. We dream in gravity-defying dimensions that also take us back in time.

 

The eastern religions enter the picture describing everything that we take note of as illusion...or a veil...or the Tao...the path...all in motion...all self-transforming...all becoming as opposed to all permanent and present.

 

Sometimes books like this one capture us because we think they will be fairly easy primers, sexed up with lots of provocative speculation.  This isn't that kind of book. It's dry and demanding in places, necessarily so.

 

When it was written, string theory wasn't around.  A lot of other things weren't around either. But it's still a good book if approached with a certain diligence.  There's little doubt that we do live in a quantum world, but we are insufficiently educated to understand that.  Breaking the news to the great uneducated public is something Zukav does well.