The Tao of Physics

"The Tao of Physics" (full title: "The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism") was a 1975 book by physicist Fritjof Capra, published by Shambhala Publications of Berkeley, California. It was a bestseller in the United States, and has been published in 43 editions in 23 languages. The fourth edition in English was published in 2000.

Origin

The following excerpt from "The Tao of Physics" summarizes Capra's motivation for writing this book.

The book grew out of an inspirational moment Capra had while under the influenceof psychedelics. Capra later discussed his ideas with Werner Heisenbergin 1972, as he mentioned in the following interview excerpt:

I had several discussions with Heisenberg. I lived in England then [circa 1972] , and I visited him several times in Munich and showed him the whole manuscript chapter by chapter. He was very interested and very open, and he told me something that I think is not known publicly because he never published it. He said that he was well aware of these parallels. While he was working on quantum theory he went to India to lecture and was a guest of Tagore. He talked a lot with Tagore about Indian philosophy. Heisenberg told me that these talks had helped him a lot with his work in physics, because they showed him that all these new ideas in quantum physics were in fact not all that crazy. He realized there was, in fact, a whole culture that subscribed to very similar ideas. Heisenberg said that this was a great help for him. Niels Bohr had a similar experience when he went to China. – Fritjof Capra, interviewed by Renee Weber in the book "The Holographic Paradigm" (page 217–218)

As a result of those influences, Bohr adopted the yin yang symbol as part of his family coat of arms when he was knighted in 1947.

"The Tao of Physics" was followed by other books of the same genre like "The Hidden Connection", "The Turning Point" and "The Web of Life" in which Capra extended the argument of how Eastern mysticism and scientific findings of today relate, and how Eastern mysticism might also have answers to some of the biggest scientific challenges of today.

As a trendsetting title, this book has the distinction of being the first "The Tao of" book in a parade of many on unrelated subjects by other authors (not including the classic religious text Tao Te Ching).

Criticism

Physicist Jeremy Bernstein chastised "Tao of Physics": [Jeremy Bernstein (1982) "Science Observed", New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-07340-9, p.333-340]

At the heart of the matter is Mr. Capra's methodology—his use of what seem to me to be accidental similarities of language as if these were somehow evidence of deeply rooted connections.

Thus I agree with Capra when he writes, "Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science but man needs both." What no one needs, in my opinion, is this superficial and profoundly misleading book.

Physicist Leon M. Lederman criticized both "The Tao of Physics" and Gary Zukav's "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" in his 1993 book "" [Leon Lederman (1993), "The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?", New York: Bantam Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-31211-3, p. 189-193]

Starting with reasonable descriptions of quantum physics, he constructs elaborate extensions, totally bereft of the understanding of how carefully experiment and theory are woven together and how much blood, sweat, and tears go into each painful advance.

Notes

References

*"The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes", edited by Ken Wilber, Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala, 1982, ISBN 0-394-71237-4
*cite book | author=Woit, Peter | title=Not Even Wrong- the Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law | publisher=Basic Books |year=2006 |id=ISBN 0-465-09275-6

Editions

*"The Tao of Physics", Fritof Capra, Shambala, 1975
**Shambala, 2nd edition 1983: ISBN 0-394-71612-4 Bantam reprint 1985: ISBN 0-553-26379-X
**Shambhala, 3rd edition 1991: ISBN 0-87773-594-8
**Shambhala, 4th edition 2000: ISBN 1-57062-519-0
**Audio Renaissance, 1990 audio cassette tape: ISBN 1-55927-089-6
**Audio Renaissance, 2004 audio compact disc (abridged) ISBN 1-55927-999-0

ee also

*Quantum mysticism
*The Turning Point (book)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tao-Te-King — Tao Tö King série Taoïsme Courants Textes Personnalités Notions et pratiques Divinités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tao-Tö-King — série Taoïsme Courants Textes Personnalités Notions et pratiques Divinités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tao-tö king — série Taoïsme Courants Textes Personnalités Notions et pratiques Divinités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tao Te Ching — Tao Tö King série Taoïsme Courants Textes Personnalités Notions et pratiques Divinités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tao Te King — Tao Tö King série Taoïsme Courants Textes Personnalités Notions et pratiques Divinités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tao To King — Tao Tö King série Taoïsme Courants Textes Personnalités Notions et pratiques Divinités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tao Tö King — Le Tao Tö King, Tao Te King ou Daodejing (simplifié: 道德经, pinyin: dàodéjīng) est un ouvrage classique chinois qui, selon la tradition, fut écrit autour de 600 av. J. C. par Lao Tseu, le sage fondateur du taoïsme, dont l existence historique est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The 36 tattvas — In Kaśmir Śaivism, the 36 tattvas describe the Absolute, its internal aspects and the creation including living beings, down to the physical reality. The addition of 11 supplemental tattvas compared to the IAST|Sāṃkhya allows for a richer, fuller …   Wikipedia

  • The Dispossessed —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Emperor's New Clothes — ( Keiserens nye Klæder ) is a fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about an emperor who unwittingly hires two swindlers to create a new suit of clothes for him. The tale was first published in 1837 as part of Eventyr,… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.