Ken Wilber, ed.: Quantum Questions

Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists

Shambhala, 2001 (revised edition) (1984)

Back Cover:

Science and religion are often viewed as antagonists in the quest for truth. It may come as a surprise, then, to find that the leading physicists of the twentieth century were sympathetic to a mystical worldview. In this collection, Ken Wilber brings together the writings of eight great scientists – Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Einstein, de Broglie, Jeans, Planck, Pauli, and Eddington – with the aim of addressing several important questions: Do the findings of modern physics support the teachings of ancient mystics? How does the scientific method compare with contemplative techniques in the quest for truth? Is there really a “battle” between these two approaches to investigating reality? In revealing some answers, Wilber also points the way toward a genuine reconciliation between science and religion.

Back Cover, first edition:

The popularity of recent books such as The Tao of Physics attests to the unprecedented interest in the relationship between modern quantum physics and mysticism that has arisen in the past decade. And yet nowhere before have th thoughts of the original founding physicists themselves been presented. Quantum Questions brings together for the first time the mystical writings of the world’s great physicists – Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Einstein, de Broglie, Jeans, Planck, Pauli, and Eddington – all of whom express a deep belief that physics and mysticism are somehow fraternal twins.

The seminal thoughts of virtually every major physicist involved in the discovery of quantum physics and relativity are presented here. What their essays show is that each of these remarkable men, without exception, came to believe in a mystical or transcendental world view that embodies the world as a spiritual, rather than material, phenomenon.

Written in completely nontechnical language, the writings collected here are not only accessible, but also eloquent, profound, and brilliant. The selections were made by Ken Wilber, a distinguished scientist in his own right, who also edited The Holographic Paradigm, and is the author of Up from Eden, No Boundary, and A Sociable God.

JOB’s Comment:

An anthology with the texts of the physicists themselves, with their own formulations, is obviously of central importance when their positions on the issues indicated by the blurbs have caused so much speculation and such far-reaching popular applications. It should be noted – since the blurbs do not mention it – that neither the physicists nor Wilber simply take the position that quantum physics in itself supports a mystical worldview. As I said in my post ‘An Open, Intelligible, and Semiotic Universe’, this fact points to the need for a discussion of the distinct and inevitable role of philosophy in the debate about the relation between science and religion or mysticism, which in turn of course calls for a clarification of the nature and reach of philosophy.

1 Response to “Ken Wilber, ed.: Quantum Questions”

  1. 1 Swedish Dissident February 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Gediget. Kul att du tar upp Wilber, en ganska intressant tänkare.

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"A Self-realized being cannot help benefiting the world. His very existence is the highest good."
Ramana Maharshi