ELEMENTAL MIND by Nick Herbert


Human Consciousness and the New Physics
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 A physicist's daring investigation of mind and its relation to matter. According to Herbert (Quantum Reality, 1985, etc.), the famous ``Turing test''--in which a computer is considered to be conscious if it can talk like a human being--``misses the point.'' The true measure of consciousness is ``inner experience,'' which robots and computers just don't have. But what is inner experience--and how does it arise? In this wide- ranging study, Herbert looks at consciousness from ``inside'' (our felt experience of sensations, emotions, memory, etc.) and ``outside'' (how scientists perceive the brain). Two basic models arise: monism (matter and mind are one) and dualism (matter and mind are separate). Although Herbert never baldly states his position, he enthuses at length over a new twist on dualism that he calls ``quantum mind.'' Drawing on subatomic physics, he finds the mind to possess free will and ``connectedness'' with other minds. A fistful of odd experiments back up his argument, ranging from the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment--which seems to demonstrate the reality of nonlocal connections--to his own invention of a ``metaphase typewriter'' driven by quantum events, through which ``discarnate beings'' can send messages to the human sphere. Future experiments, Herbert suggests, might include telepathy machines and spirit communicators--all logical, if startling, extensions of the basic premise that mind is as fundamental and free as matter. Leading edge or lunatic fringe? Opinions will differ, but Herbert proves to be a reliable guide on this journey through the looking glass.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-93506-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993