This is an interesting book... probably because it is written by an interesting author.
The author is an Indian, and a thoeretical physicist, specilizing in Quantumn physics. He is also very interested in philosophy and practicing meditation and have connection with mythetics... This kind of cross-cultural and cross-subjuect background gives the author a special insight into this hard-to-explain quantumn physics. In short, we are the universe.... or, to be more precise, the universe is conscious through us.
Hm... let's start from the hard physics. Well, when we go to quantumn physics... it is not as hard and solid as other parts of physics. Quantumn physics shows us that, an electron (or photon, or other very small particle) actually shows both wave and particle property, depending how you measure it. Oh yes... for people who studied physics before, we are all too used to see the "subject" as a "closed system". A trolley roll down a slope no matter how we observe it... using ticker-tape timer, or timed flash-light with camera, or whatever... the trolley still roll down the slope in the same way no matter how we measure it, no matter if we measure it. This is the deterministic part of physics. Once you know the beginning condition and all the slope informaiton, you can predict the end result with crystal clear accuracy. This is a sunny physics world... everything is predictable.... everything goes on plan.
Well, NOT in quantumn physics.
First of all, welcome to Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle, which states that it is impossible to have the location and momentumn (that is, speed) both right. Once you measure the location, you are not sure about the speed. Once you measure the speed, you don't know where the electron is!
To make it worse, the same electron could behave like a particle, or a wave, depending how you measure it. If you measure the electron as wave, it behaves like a wave. If you measure the electron as particle, it behaves like a particle! If this has not drive you nut yet, think about this: if you do not measure a electron, it is just a collection of probability. It could be anything at anywhere with a spread of probability.... Gee... what does it mean???
Well, I can assure you that even the physicists are very confused about this. Many of the greatest scientist (like Feymann) proclaim on the weidedness of quantumn physics. And, I have read a lot of popular science book about quantumn physicis, many of them do not even mention or highlight the impact of observer into the system. These physicist obviously only want to calculate the quantumn physics, not willing to explain what it is... Think about it. How to explain this very peculiar feasure of electron to layman?? Maybe you have to say:
It is not a wave
It is not a particle
It is not both a wave and a particle
Nor is it neither a wave nor a particle....
My dear fellow Buddhist.... this sound shockingly familiar, isn't it??? This is exactly they way Buddha explain what is nibbana!!! Oh... for the greatest man ever lived like Buddha, how can he explain to farmers, hunters, or even philosopher on what he have personally experienced directly!
Well... in this book, the author made a bold claim: Observation make all the difference. Before the Schrodinger's Cat is being observed by any conscious subject, it is hang in the coherent superposition of a half-dead and half-alive cat! Coherent superposition means that it is in a fuzy, undertermined state of 50-50 life and dead. This coherent superposition only collapse into one reality (either the cat is dead or still alive) when it is observed by a conscious observer! So how could a cat be half-live and half-dead??? Well... do you experience youself as being alive all the time??? Hmhm... I am not talking about sleeping. You don't feel alive all the time even if you are awake, aren't you?? Ever heard of existential anxiety?? This is the anxiety arose both because we exist, and we don't feel like existing.... I suppose people who read books and also care to read Anobii should get what I mean here... So... this is obvious now, isn't it. We are not conscious of our body all the time. Actually, we RARELY conscious of our body. This actually explain why the watched pot DOES boil. We "think" we keep watching the pot, but we are not. We are incapable to be fully concentrated wtihout break... well... unless you are a very experienced yogi.... Schrodinger said: "Observations are to be regarded as discrete, discontinous events. Between there are gaps which we cannot fill in."... So... event collapse during the gaps, so.... pot boils, cat dead, we age and dead...
So... go back to the cat, where is this half-live-half-dead cat before we peek into the box?? It is... according to monistic idealist, in transcedental state... Yes, TRANSCENDENTAL... and it is spoken by a physicist. I am sure the author is not in the main-stream physics. So, it implies that our consciousness is also transendental... and when we observe the cat, the coherent superposition collapse since when we observe, we made a choose. We choose if the cat is dead or alive. So, our observation is just to make a choice and recognize our choise.
Another very interesting and important is Wigner's Friend paradox. what if the observer ask a friend to observe the cat and then report back to Wigner?? Is Wigner's friend stays in a state of suspended animation until Wigner ask him the cat's status? What if Wigner and his friend make different choice? Who's choice counts?
Well, the paradox is resolved if we assume that.. gee... this is shocking.... that there is only one subject, not separate subject (or individual human) as we nomaly understand them. As Schrodinger said, "Consciousness is a singular for which there is no plural.".... Oh... my dear Buddhist friend.... doesn't it remind you on the attma of Hindu religious belive?? That, we belongs to the bigger self, and through meditation and asthetic practice, we could return to the bigger self... the universal self.... gee...
So, the author said: I CHOOSE, therefore I am.
And, he define unconscious as: there is sonsciousness but no awareness. According to Idealist, consciousness isthe ground of being. It is omnipresent, even when we are in "unconscious" state.... Ohoh!... Goenka say: Our so-called "unconscious" is never unconscious. Our "unconscious" is aware of our bodily sensation 24x7. It never sleep, always aware of sensation, and react blindly on the sensation. It crave for pleasant sensation, and have aversion on unpleasant sensation. This blind reaction feed the shankara, and make the endless viscious circle...........
Also, about the maximum speed in this world. The author finally resolve my puzzle here: Einstein said: nothing in this world could exceed the speed of light. However, we know that correlated photon act realtime to each other, no matter how far they are apart. That means the photon could communicate instantly, much quicker than speed of light!!! HOW COULD THIS BE?? Is Einstein wrong?? NO, the author said: Eistein is right... But the communication between correlated photon does not happen in this world. They are transcendental... Oh... this word again. The famous Aspect's Experiment actually prooved this non-locallity. Non-locality meansan instantaneous influence or communication without any exchange of signals through space-time; an ubroken wholeness or nonseparabilithy that transcend space-time... Gee... you may well call this "Trancendental Realm", God if you like. It sounds supernatural for me....Continua