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The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,023 Ratings  ·  53 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.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 21st 1995 by TarcherPerigee (first published 1993)
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Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Goodreads or Firefox "ate" my review, which I spent half an hour on. I am not going to write another one.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-reality
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 rated it really liked it
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
Kenneth Bachmann
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Fred Joy
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Challenging, intriguing, fascinating. Try watching "What the bleep do we Know" first.
Katie Curlee Hamblen
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Want to change the way you think about everything? Well, here you go.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
You might be surprised to learn that I have only just finished reading this book, the beginning of which was over twelve months ago. There's a very good reason for this: It's pretty heavy going. The Self-Aware Universe is a book about quantum physics, and as such if you are not trained in physics then you will need to grapple with some pretty intense new terminologies, concepts, and ways of thinking. For advanced readers, it's a good chance to stretch your brain.

Even if you are familiar with qua
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Janice(JG) George
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So, the thing we're looking for is the thing that is doing the looking... interesting dilemma. Goswami uses the first half of the book to explain some basic physics and quantum theory. It is the development of quantum physics, he says, that has given us a means to discuss something science has avoided up til now -- what is consciousness? I was hanging on by my fingernails trying to wrap my head around physics and quantum physics explanations and examples for several chapters, but the end result ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Steve Payeur
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I gave this book five stars because of the importance I perceive the subject matter has, not necessarily that every aspect of the book was perfect, but it was very good at what it set out to do, which is close to my heart - another reason for the rating. It set out to unite science and religion, approaching from many angles with appropriate-depth explanations of many facets from quantum physics (a main staple of the book) through consciousness, perception, religion, where our sense of self comes ...more
Doug Dillon
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2008 added it
Shelves: unfinished
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.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
incredibly wordy but pretty interesting.
Luc Vors
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I actually modeled a character in one of my books after Amit Goswami. Amazing insights in this book.
The author writes for New Scientist magazine and is a good presenter of scientific information to a non-specialist audience. In this book, he shows this same skill of explaining some surprising (and under-reported) experimental results from the sciences of physics, neurobiology, and experimental psychology. He does a little less good a job explaining philosophical arguments which start with the ancient Greeks up through modern times. For someone who has not previously studied these things, this ...more
Bo Garner
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zen
I really liked the first part of this book. It did a great job of explaining how quantum mechanics redefines classical reality. It really made me think about the inter connectedness of all beings and how physics can be used to prove this concept. Wonderful and thought provoking. I really enjoyed how he even discussed Zen. A practice near and dear to my heart.

The second half, however, was much less science and more speculation. Too much talk about mystics, etc. I feel for the author though. Tryi
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting idea. Can’t really comment on the validity of the science behind it, but it’s worth a read and to be given some thought.
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Having read the Quantum Doctor first, I felt half of this book was repetitive of what I had already learned and the other half was more philosophical than I cared to study right now.
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2012 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 15, 2007 is currently reading it
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
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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

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
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
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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.” 3 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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