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The Self-Aware Universe

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  785 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence, declares University of Oregon physicist Goswami, echoing the mystic sages of his native India. He holds that the universe is self-aware, and that consciousness creates the physical world.
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 21st 1995 by Tarcher (first published 1993)
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Feb 20, 2014 Rama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A journey through consciousness and physical reality

This book is a conscious effort by the author to provide a link between the physical reality and consciousness. The first half of the book presents conceptual part of quantum physics in which he discusses the uniqueness of quantum world and how it differs from classical reality. The introduction to quantum physics is very well presented. The second half of the book discusses as how consciousness figures in the depiction of reality, and in the p
Mar 31, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Amit could define what consciousness is there would be, to quote Darth Vader, "No Conflict".

But perhaps that is the final, ultimate rub. What IS consciousness? Can you measure it? Can you show me the math behind it? Well, not yet anyway. Can you deny it exists? Of course not. So we say that consciousness exists because we know it exists, without proof, without measure, without quantifiable and repeatable results. In my day we called that circular logic, not science.

That his discussion of qua
Goodreads or Firefox "ate" my review, which I spent half an hour on. I am not going to write another one.
The author, famous/infamous for his appearance in the film What the Bleep Do We Know?, begins with a fascinating premise-that the only metaphysical interpretation of quantum physics that accounts for all data is monist idealism. This monist idealist interpretation of quantum physics is akin to the worldview of Advaita Vedanta, in which there is, absolutely speaking, one fundamental reality-Mind/Conciousness (the Sanskrit word is Atman or Brahman, depending on whether one approaches it from the p ...more
Kenneth Bachmann
I'm not sure where to begin. Like so many of the books on my shelf that have been written by scientists, notably physicists, the promise of a meaningful synthesis of quantum theory, quantum mechanics, and the science of consciousness leave readers deeply disappointed. These authors consistently seem to promise far more than they are capable of delivering. In this particular case, and I leave open the possibility that my mind could change since I have only read about 60% of this book so far, my f ...more
Apr 09, 2016 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not yet convinced Here's a dilemma: Most psychologists are materialists and consider thoughts and consciousness to be epiphenomena. An epiphenomena is one that occurs parallel to the phenomena under study.It's there, but psychologists can't measure it like behavior, or treat it like a physical object. It's ephemeral, and undescribed. Materialists deal with matter, and thoughts aren't that. Whatever thoughts may be, they are not something that materialists are comfortable with examining.

Quantum p
God dammit. I thought I was getting a science book but this is hippy dippy. Oh well, I'll keep going until I can't stand it anymore. Should've noticed that one of the reviews on the back was from Yoga magazine.
Fred Joy
Mar 03, 2008 Fred Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenging, intriguing, fascinating. Try watching "What the bleep do we Know" first.
Katie Curlee Hamblen
Want to change the way you think about everything? Well, here you go.
Feb 08, 2008 Evan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
incredibly wordy but pretty interesting.
Nov 29, 2011 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
The books main argument is against "material realism" and in favor of a more holistic approach to reality in which our individual consciousness is responsible for creating external phenomena.This aim is achieved by invoking the Copenhagen Interpretation which is an outdated concept that wasn't even taken seriously at the time is was proposed as it was unable to explain what happens when conscious observation is absent, but here we have god collapsing the the "wave packet" of information to keep ...more
Sep 11, 2010 Noah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scientists and anyone who wants to meet God in the mirror
Recommended to Noah by: Peace Is the Way: Bringing War and Violence to an End by Deepak Chopra
I was intrigued by this book as soon as I learned about what it was about in Peace Is the Way: Bringing War and Violence to an End by Deepak Chopra. The book's main theme is pretty simple: the fundamental building block of reality is not matter (atoms or energy, e=mc2) but consciousness. The results of quantum physics experiments can only be explained by the existence of a conscious observer outside of space time, namely the one universal consciousness, or as some people call it, God.

Because of
Jun 23, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thesis of this book is that consciousness is the ground of all being and our self-consciousness is That consciousness. Down with matter! Up with brains! Or, well, at least the ‘quantum brain-mind’ as Goswami puts it.

Matter versus mind is one theme explored in depth in this book. Is consciousness epiphenomena of matter/the brain or is it more fundamental and the brain is merely its worker bee, its interpreter of the rest of the explicit universe springing forth from… consciousness?

Wait a seco
Jun 02, 2012 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the goal that this book has, however I don't know if it quite achieves it.

The book seems to be split into two parts. The first part is more of a physics explanation, and this is the part I feel was the weakest. Goswami is a physicist, and I think because of that he doesn't elaborate as much as he probably should in explaining some of these physics concepts. It wasn't until Von Neumann machines were discussed about four separate times that I actually started to glean what they were
Oct 30, 2009 Alison is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty cool and got me on to many other books(both a good and bad thing). The author tries his best to simplify and go slow explain his position and what he's trying to seek an understand. He talks of dream trying to not only understand what consciousness is but to debate and explain it to the various groups able to deicfer any of it.He goes through pscyhology philosophers, and scientists unable to really make a fit but yet there's someone in his dream representing consciousness as ...more
Doug Dillon
Jun 14, 2012 Doug Dillon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this instance, the book cover really does tell the story--All of Existence looking back at itself. Goswani and his co-authors put forth the concept that consciousness is indeed the basis for All That Is. Building on the extensive work already done in Quantum Physics, the authors help give readers meaning and purpose to their existences. This book effectively links mind and body in such a way as to establish a joyful connectivity between all things.

Clearly written, the authors entice readers w
Katie Sibley
Sep 30, 2012 Katie Sibley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswami is a book for thought. Given, it gave me plenty of headaches and deep consideration into the world around me and the reality or illusion of it all, I thoroughly enjoy this book. It delves deep into the ideas of quantum physics and mechanics, monistic idealism, consciousness and the way that all of these things play into our lives and into what is actually happening around and inside of us at all times, on both a micro and macro level. Though it may be a lo ...more
Roberta Grimes
Amit Goswami is a physicist who understands many of the implications of quantum theory. His book is a little tough for non-physicists, and because it takes into account only Eastern religious teachings it can be a struggle for the rest of us to grasp. Still, it is fascinating support for the fundamental truth that Consciousness is all there is.
Romann Weber
This would have made for a relatively interesting article. Instead, it's a padded-out, confounding slog that loses the plot within its first few chapters. I had to throw in the towel at the 200-page mark.
Aug 26, 2014 mj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Difficult to follow. Core concepts not explained well, the push to consider matter as made from consciousness is the crux, but there's no empirical support for the idea. Abandoned after two chapters.
Sep 29, 2012 Gregory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a kind heart Dr Goswami displays

The Self-Aware UniverseThe Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswami

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a kind heart Dr Goswami displays

View all my reviews

Jun 07, 2014 Averill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid" a few years back, and I remember dredging thru what seemed like countless hours of paradoxical back and forth. It's apparent the Amit Goswami got a kick out of that book. His writing style attempts to mimic G.E.B., and I feel falls flat. That being said, I did like the book over all. The idea that a non-local conscience is holding our reality together rocks ,and totally answers a ton of questions. But alas, as in reading the likes of Michio K ...more
Ivan Figueroa-Otero
I resonated with his manner of analyzing the harmony of science-spirit dualism.
I don't recommend this book unless you are prone to looking at the universe in a spiritual light. The author has attempted to use the inherent mysteries of the quantum world to suggest that everything is connected in a wonderful conscious mashup with purpose and spirit - I suspect that this is a uniquely human emotional interpretation of the universe rather than a window into some heretofore unperceived aspect of reality. Don't let the fact that Goswami is a trained physicist fool you into think ...more
Leland Gilsen
Lots of poor assumptions
May 11, 2015 Kasey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The idea that consciousness conforms to the laws of quantum physics was purely fascinating. However, the author starts by giving an overview of the basics of quantum physics which I found confusing and hard to follow. Fortunately, I was already familiar with most of the concepts but if this had been one of my first books on the subject, I would have been very frustrated. Once he got into the theoretical part, however, the book became much more compelling.
Mar 15, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly great book. Heady at times and hard to get into at first for me, but once I focused and sort of gained an idea of the terminology being used everything I read had a sense to it. There are some really great moments in this book about the creative process and what it takes and what it affords. I plan to put some of my notes from the book up here and review it in a greater extent when I can.
A great read, but it can be a bit confusing if your not a physics buff. I personally have to keep the laptop near by when reading to look up physics terms that I am not familiar with.
Although, when the author touches upon human perception of matter it gets really interesting!
Jul 30, 2011 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
right up there with "the tao of physics" and "the holographic universe." relatively easy to read and comprehend with little training in quantum physics.
Ricardo Acuña
Jun 12, 2015 Ricardo Acuña rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, spirituality
Some parts difficult to follow, because it goes too technical for me. But the provocative idea of a new paradigm to join science and religion is interesting.
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Amit Goswami is a nuclear physicist and member of The University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics since 1968. Dr. Goswami is a revolutionary in a growing body of renegade scientists who in recent years have ventured into the domain of the spiritual in an attempt both to interpret the seemingly inexplicable findings of their experiments and to validate their intuitions about the existenc ...more
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“Naturally we project that the moon is always there in space-time, even when we are not looking. Quantum physics says no. When we are not looking, the moon’s possibility wave spreads, albeit by a minuscule amount. When we look, the wave collapses instantly; thus the wave could not be in space-time. It makes more sense to adapt an idealist metaphysic assumption: There is no object in space-time without a conscious subject looking at it.” 2 likes
“Consciousness is the agency that collapses the wave of a quantum object, which exists in potentia, making it an immanent particle in the world of manifestation.” 2 likes
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