Gary Zukav: The Dancing Wu Li Masters An Overview of the New Physics

Something Zukav does well I can t even dignify this book with an inclusion on my science bookshelf Surely the most dangerous rhetoric is that which sounds plausible Dancing Wu Li Masters does the whole Ancient Chinese Secret treatment of particle physics that was so popular during the 1970s Unfortunately I worry that too many who read this bestseller were irrevocably taken with an esoteric transcendental and ultimately fallacious interpretation of contemporary science This book was first published in 1979 much has transpired since then so it is dated In layman s terms the author compares Eastern beliefs psychology and uantums physics Interesting book but I wasn t as wowed by it as some were If this is so then the distinction between scientists poets painters and writers is not clear In fact it is possible that scientists poets painters and writers are all members of the same family of people whose gift it is by nature to take those things which we call commonplace and to re present them to us in such ways that our self imposed limitations are expanded Those people in whom this gift is especially pronounced we call geniuses3 Stars I m glad I read it Yesterday I read some scathing comments about this book and the closely related The Tao of Physics in Woit s Not Even Wrong Apparently there used to a be an approach to uantum mechanics called S matrix theory which was popular among left leaning physicists in the early 70s Woit refers to The People s Republic of Berkeley It was something to do with abolition of the aristocracy of particles which I must say I didn t completely get but ou can see how this might appeal As I understand it the basic idea was not to talk about possibly intangible inte The happiest thought I take out of this book is the fact that science is no longer taking a direction opposite to that of religion philosophy or spirituality all the noblest endeavors of mankind were fundamentally tied together after all It was just that we with our obsessive propensity to classify and divide had made the artificial boundariesThe only complaint about the book is the fact that it goes into needless depth about the fundamentals of classical physics and then skims over the new physics to an extent Also Zukav seems to feel that repeating an idea or concept three times is the best way to convey it to the lay personExcept for these peeves it was magnificent to look at Einstein Bohr Heisenberg etc not as scientists discussing theories and experiments but as philosophers arguing over the nature of reality and mysticism The reader has to keep in mind that this is by no means a very up to date book and Einstein and his contemporaries star in the narrative than CERN or Hadrons or Higgs But this does not take away the fact that the new theories though radically departed from what was new physics at the time of publishing of this book still corroborates his base arguments That too in even weirder and psychedelic waysThe I read in the realm of new physics the I am convinced that all truly fundamental scientific theories tend to follow a life cycle rejection ridicule incredulity acceptance dogmatism degeneration overthrowal and finally resurrection This is the case with all true ideas so it might be with our vedic and oriental philosophies too The physics classes and laboratories of this century might have meditation lessons and Swimming In The Flood yogic experiments Science might finally grow up enough to explain to lay people what only mystics andogis could experience we might finally evolve the language and the concepts to explain and understand the structure of the universe without experiencing it we might know nirvana without feeling it Is that an uplifting or depressing thought I am not sure. Ple believe that physicists are explaining the world Some physicists even believe that but the Wu Li Masters know that they are only dancing with it The new physics of Zukav's 1979 book comprises uantum theory particle physics and relativity Even as these theories age they haven't percolated all that far into the collective consciousness; they're too far removed from mundane human experience not to need introduction The Dancing Wu Li Masters remains an engaging accessible way to meet the most profound and mind altering insights of 20th century science Mary Ellen Curtin.

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Nsical leaps from point to point to his annoying tendency to follow each mention of matter with pun to his pseudo knowledge of uantum mechanics and belief that randomness free will to his decision not to explain the uncertainty principle in any way that might make sense and make it seem less mystical to his just plain terrible writing and awful irrelevant uotations I can safely say that this is the worst piece of snake oil I ve ever read granted I didn t finish it so maybe the last 100 pages were all about how the first half was a complex joke It also brought back horrific repressed memories of reading The Holographic Universe a book in which the author had absolutely no knowledge of how either holographs or the universe might possibly workIf The Lords Of Destiny you want uantum mechanics read ED by Feynman Ifou want to believe that electrons are spiritual entities just go ahead and believe it But don t rewrite the history of physics to back up our case it doesn t work You silly silly New Age people just stop It s embarrassingalthough Ben and I did have fun reading parts of it out loud to each other and laughing hystericallyALSO WHY IS EVERY CHAPTER LABELED CHAPTER ONE Well I read this book at the advice of Jeff Sneider who recommended it highly I agree This book while difficult in places does lead me to uestion my view of reality which has been purely Newtonian read the book to understand I d rate this book right up with Godel Escher and Bach I will think often about it It may be very well be true that everyone lives in Aristotle s metaphorical cave seeing shadows of the essence of reality Actually uantum mec Made an otherwise complicated subject readily readable for me even eager for The simple analogies and examples created that feeling of an epiphany as in OK I get it now BeautifulSince it s been over 30 ears since I read this it s time to re new Can never know too much about uantum physics Or its relationship to philosophy 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 uantum theory uantum mechanics and other dimensions of uantum realityThe fundamental issue is that logic breaks down in the uantum world This is explained well uantum reality deals in probabilities not certainties and phenomena that could be waves or could be uanta or particles depending on when they are measuredThere is a huge uotient of the subjective in uantum 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 timeThe eastern religions enter the picture describing everything that we take note of as illusionor a veilor the Taothe pathall in motionall self transformingall becoming as opposed to all permanent and presentSometimes 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 Its dry and demanding in places necessarily soWhen 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 uantum world but we are insufficiently educated to understand that Breaking the news to the great uneducated public is. Master Al Huang said that the Chinese word for physics is Wu Li patterns of organic energy Journalist Gary Zukav and the others present developed the idea of physics as the dance of the Wu Li Masters the teachers of physical essence Zukav explains the concept further The Wu Li Master dances with his student The Wu Li Master does not teach but the student learns The Wu Li Master always begins at the center the heart of the matter This book deals not with knowledge which is always past tense anyway but with imagination which is physics come alive which is Wu Li Most peo.

When a writer can make something I believed inaccessible to me seem like dinner conversation in which I can participate I m thrilled to the core Thanks to Gary Zukav Without him many other books I ve read would never have made sense at all How could I have approached The Elegant Universe without having read this first How could I sit down at Thanksgiving with my high energy physicist brother without having read this book This is probably as good as a physics for the layman book can get But that doesn t mean it s perfect Far from it in factThe strength of the book is Zukav s review of the history of physics He does a good job setting up and explaining the major breakthroughs so that Hosts (Repairman Jack, you the reader can appreciate their significance in pretty substantial ways That s uite a feat His clarity gets weaker as he starts to go into the weirder aspects of uantum mechanics though At times he s so eager to jump to the scientific and philosophical ramifications of uantum mechanics that he sprints past the reader s understanding I re read and re read and re read passages until I finally saw that he had left out certain points that would have made things much comprehensible had he been carefulThe biggest flaw in the book is his hippie obsession with his Wu Li metaphor At times it s elegant and beautiful but often than not it s annoying and overblown He s too eager toammer on about particles acting as if they were conscious ties between uantum mechanics and telepathy and on and on He s not a scientist so he s free to make these leaps of imaginative fancy but I was constantly rolling my eyes whenever he started to wax philosophic about some new wrinkle in uantum mechanicsThe other thing that grates is that he thinks the book is very funny He even writes in the introduction that he s amazed and so pleased with how funny the book is that it is in fact funnier than he is in real life Mr Zukav It s not funny His humor is cloying and totally unnecessaryStill if Siege of Heaven (Demetrios Askiates, you re interested in the history of physics from Newton to Einstein to the birth of uantum mechanics this is the book to read But oddly enough I d recommend thatou read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a primer to this book Zen covers a lot of the difficult philosophical underpinnings that Zukav has integrated into his book And Zen is a better introduction to those ideasThis summer apparently will be the summer of physics I ve figured out a logical progression0 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance1 The Dancing Wu Li Masters history of physics good discussion of Einstein good intro to uantum mechanics2 A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking deeper discussion of Einstein s space time intro to uantum gravitation3 The Elegant Universe Brian Greene superstring theory of uantum gravityTo some degree each of the three physics books cover the same ground but Zukav excels at surveying the history of physics and at describing Einstein s three important contributions His intro to uantum mechanics is good enough but that will be covered in detail laterHawking rushes through the history of physics so ou really need Zukav as a primer But Hawking then goes much deeper into the implications of general relativity s space time I m halfway through it now and it s pointing towards a unification of general relativity with uantum mechanics aka uantum gravitationI began reading Brian Greene s book but realized that Zukav and Hawking really must come first Greene also surveys the history of physics but does so briefly His discussions of general relativity also aren t as robust as Zukav or Hawking s And since string theory is the final theory it really should come last anyway This is the worst book ever written From his completely nonse. Gary Zukav has written the Bible for those who are curious about the mind expanding discoveries of advanced physics but who have no scientific background Like a Wu Li Master who would teach us wonder for the falling petal before speaking of gravity Zukav writes in beautifully clear language with no mathematical euations opening our minds to the exciting new theories that are beginning to embrace the ultimate nature of our universeuantum mechanics relativity and beyond to the Einstein Podolsky Rosen effect and Bell's theoremAt an Esalen Institute meeting in 1976 tai chi.

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Gary Zukav is the author of The Dancing Wu Li Masters winner of The American Book Award for Science; Soul Stories a New York Times bestseller; and The Seat of the Soul a New York Times USA Today Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly #1 bestseller His books have sold millions of copies and are published in sixteen languages He is a graduate of Harvard and a former US Army Special Forces