I read 60 of the 553 pages of INCOMPLETE NATURE- a slow and difficult slog. I stuck with it for 60 pages because of the subtitle- HOW MIND EMERGED FROM MATTER.
The question that has been intriguing me since I began studying quantum healing in relation to fibromyalgia is the opposite of the subtitle. – HOW MATTER EMERGES FROM MIND. Author Terrence W. Deacon starts with classical physics, with the idea that MATTER is preeminent. Quantum starts with energy – and with the observer effect. The observer effect describes how our observational viewpoint changes what shows up in the material world. From this perspective, its obvious, even if stunning, that MIND can produce MATTER. Taken to a greater extreme, some say that Matter, the world we observe, is entirely a function of our conscious observation.
Part of what captures my imagination about the quantum understanding is that its so simple once a person sees it. Deacon’s INCOMPLETE NATURE is decidedely not simple. With deference to Deacon’s positions at Cal Berkeley, I think he’s chosen a difficult starting point, and I think he’s chosen it because he’s still working from the old and classical physical worldview – that matter is the most basic element of our existence. Deacon acknowledges the Cartesian split between mind and body, but he seems to me to still be working from within that split. His theory of absence and potential seem far more complicated than need be, provided only that Deacon would change his starting point to quantum and the observer effect. To title a book INCOMPETE NATURE may say something more about the theory being incomplete, than about nature itself being incomplete.
Thanks to Deacon for a huge philosophical effort. Worldviews do matter – in fact, they might make all the difference. In my work with people with fibromyalgia, worldviews can be the difference between pain and health. More reading ahead – its a wonderful journey. Tying worldviews to actual physical improvements in well-being makes all this reading so very rich.
All the best,