BEYOND THE QUANTUM by Michael Talbot


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In days of yore there was a college slogan that said, ""Everything correlates."" That would hold for any professor who would trace, say, skirt length in 1950 to events in 1066. For science writer Talbot the new slogan is ""Everything interconnects""--the whole universe, down to the merest quantum. And what is interconnected is Information. That is the message of this foray into the philosophy of some well-known scientists who speak out on the Deeper Meaning of it All. Talbot himself is hardly neutral. Early on he tells about the poltergeist who dogged his youth, a usually benign specimen who knocked and rapped and scratched a bit, in addition to the minor mischiefs of breakage and teleportage. (Later on, there is even some guidance about how you and your friends can create your own poltergeist.) Mostly, however, Talbot begins with the paradoxes of quantum mechanics (wave-particle duality; Schrodinger's cat; uncertainty) or electronics (tunneling effects) and uses these, plus biological puzzles, as springboards to discuss the theories of researchers who have crossed the borders of science into metaphysics: David (implicate order) Bohm, Rupert (M-field) Sheldrake, Ilya (self-organizing universe) Prigogine, John (mind-body duality) Eccles, Lynn (Gala hypothesis) Margulis and others. The problem with such a mÉlange is just that: Talbot has mixed too much into the stew (including phenomena that scientists can explain). Then he has extracted a universal principle--his ""informational flux,"" ""software,"" ""meaning-sensitive intelligence""--as the ultimate reality, beyond matter and energy, beyond the quantum. To assert such a universal removes paradoxes, causality, dichotomies, etc.--and leaves what? All or nothing at all. Take your pick.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1987
Publisher: Macmillan