Monday, 30 March 2009

Win a chat with Manjit Kumar!

In association with Icon Books and The School of Life, Waterstones are offering holders of their loyalty card the chance to win one of five School of Life 'expert conversations' in London with Manjit Kumar.

See the full competition here and good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Andrew

    I am assuming that you are associated with Icon books and will therefore be able to foreward appropriate enquiries to the author of this brilliant book. If possible I would like the following to be forwarded to Manjit. It is possible that he will be interested:
    Dear Manjit Kumar

    I have just finished reading your book ‘Quantum’. I am thoroughly familiar with the scientific and philosophical terrain as I have just finished an eight year research project writing a detailed and rigorous exposition of the interconnections between quantum physics and Buddhist philosophy. I did not think I would find much of interest but was mistaken, I thought your work brilliant and it gave me a new perspective on some significant aspects. I believe the book I have just finished writing to be the most extensive, detailed and rigorous book about quantum physics and Buddhist philosophy. My book shows, with help from the remarkable work of the quantum physicist Professor Henry Stapp (and David Bohm, John Wheeler and many others), that many of the significant insights of quantum theory were prefigured in Buddhist philosophy.

    I am in contact with the respected quantum physicist Henry Stapp, author of `Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics` and `Mindful Universe`, he has so far read both my overview and my chapter on `karmic resonance`. He responded by saying that he considers the content of the book to be `important`, he also says:

    `You have done a very nice job of bringing together the words/ideas of many scientists in support of the idea that the underlying basis of the causal structure of reality lies at the level of mind rather than matter. … You do a valuable service in pinpointing this particular strand of eastern philosophy that seems to mesh so well with quantum theory.`

    Professor Stapp is currently reading another chapter.

    The Buddhist philosopher William Waldron, author of `The Buddhist Unconscious` has responded by saying that from an initial look at my material it appears to be `interesting` and `moving in the right direction`; he intends to look at my work in greater detail when he has time. Another significant Buddhist philosopher Karl Brunnhoelzl, author of the magnificent `Centre of the Sunlit Sky`, has said that he thinks the work looks `fascinating` and intends to read in more detail during March. The acclaimed Buddhist translator and author Jeffrey Hopkins has looked at my overview and replied that he finds my work `fascinatingly provocative`. I am expecting further feedback from other significant quantum physicists and Buddhist philosophers in the near future. Also the controversial biologist Rupert Sheldrake has read my overview; and he has responded by saying that my work is `interesting and exciting`. He furthermore considers that my work deals with `important issues in the detail they deserve`. Sheldrake is significant because of my presentation of the connections between quantum evolution and Buddhist views of evolution.

    In a recent article in the New Scientist a physicist writes that:

    … we now have to face the possibility that there is nothing inherently real about the properties of an object that we measure. In other words measuring those properties is what brings them into existence.

    The recently performed experiments that have demonstrated lack of inherent reality of the measured properties involve testing a special formula at the quantum level; if the `numbers add up` then `we have to abandon the idea of an objective reality`. When the experiments were performed the numbers did add up and the conclusion that has to be drawn, according to one of the quantum physicists involved, is that:

    Rather than passively observing it, we in fact create reality.

    This insight into the lack of `inherent existence` is the hallmark of emptiness, the central concept of Madhyamaka, the central doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism. Emptiness is the realm of potentiality, hovering between existence and non-existence (the realm indicated by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle) that underlies all phenomena. The Mind-Only school adds to this the insight that it is the mind that is interdependently instrumental in bringing phenomena into existence:

    ..all these various appearances,
    Do not exist as sensory objects which are other than consciousness.
    Their arising is like the experience of self knowledge.
    All appearances, from indivisible particles to vast forms, are mind.

    It would be easy to think that such interconnections are coincidental and intriguing but not necessarily indicative of any deep connection. My research, however, shows that this is not the case. I was astonished to find that when the quantum perspectives of physicists such as Henry Stapp, David Bohm, Amit Goswami and John Wheeler were interwoven with the Mind-Only discourse a scientific-metaphysical `theory of everything` of astonishing detail, precision and depth resulted. As I pursued my enquiries I became convinced that the Tibetan philosophers must have known about the quantum nature of reality in a very precise manner. When I read the beautiful and inspiring `Mountain Doctrine`, translated by Jeffrey Hopkins, I realised I was correct. This insight became one of my favourite chapters of my book - `The Empty Wave of Reality`- how astonishing, the fourteenth century Buddhist philosophers knew about the quantum wavefunction! They called it `the element of attributes` or the dharmadhatu. Through painstaking and careful analysis of the evidence it became clear that it must be the case that enlightened beings do not collapse wavefunctions!

    Some significant publishers such as Routledge, Columbia and Wisdom have indicated that they might be interested but require support from established researchers in the field. I note that you have degrees in both physics and philosophy, which quite obviously makes you perfect for this role. I am wondering whether you might possibly be interested in looking at some of my work? Further details of my work can be found on my website – www.quantumbuddhism.COM; the `.com` is important because of surrounding imitators.

    Graham Smetham