THE DREAMING UNIVERSE: A Mind-Expanding Journey into the Realm Where Psyche and Physics Meet by Fred Alan Wolf

THE DREAMING UNIVERSE: A Mind-Expanding Journey into the Realm Where Psyche and Physics Meet

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New Age border-crossings that blur more than clarify where physics and the dreaming psyche meet. As in The Eagle Quest (1991), physicist Wolf extends Jung's idea of synchronicity to explain the connection between an individual's dream and the ""dreaming universe."" He finds Freudian dream theory analogous to, and as limited as, Newtonian physics -- it's no surprise that Jung in turn is praised as being analogous to Niels Bohr, ""the father/mother of quantum physics."" Reverting to ideas explored in Parallel Universes (1989), Wolf considers the ""essential mystery"" at the heart of quantum mechanics, using a variety of coyly autobiographical anecdotes to suggest that the dreaming brain, by entering the unconscious mind, is experiencing synchronicity. It's this kind of sloppy mixture of anecdotal and scientific material that keeps New Age thought on the fringe. It doesn't get any better when Wolf throws in superficial chapters on ancient views of dreams, the research of neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet, and Crick and Mitchison's theory that ""we dream in order to reduce faults by feeding in certain 'unlearning' inputs that poisoned the unwanted modes."" In each, the analogies are all simplistic and reductive. Wolf claims that dreams are ""an altered state of conscious awareness,"" equivalent to a ""quantum mechanics of dreaming."" But his thinking is confused; sometimes he uses quantum physics as a model or a metaphor to understand dreams, but ultimately he wants to posit a world in which there is no outer world of space and time separated from the inner world of mental activity, but only a third ""imaginal realm...of the big dreamer."" Subjectively anecdotal, dilettantish wish-fulfillment.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster