Big news! Also, kind of weird news.
Now-atheist me has gotten a second edition of the book written by previous-religious-believer me back in print. It took me many years to do this after the initial publisher went of business, but I finally got around to it.
(Note: the paperback version was available May 8 on Amazon, but it took this long for a Kindle version to be prepared, then linked to the paperback listing on Amazon.)
Yes, Amazon has "God's Whisper, Creation's Thunder: Echoes of Spiritual Reality in the New Physics" available for $13 in paperback and $3.99 for the Kindle version.
I readily admit that it is more than a little strange for an author to republish a book that he currently doesn't believe is true -- at least a considerable portion of the book.
But since I'm scientifically minded, and there's a lot of science in the book, I figured that: (1) Many people would be interested in reading my take on how a particular form of mysticism relates to the new physics, and (2) Since science always is open to new possibilities, there's a small chance that what I believed some 25 years ago actually is true, even though I've deconverted from my belief in Sant Mat as practiced by Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
In another post I'll write about how I edited the book to be less preachy, shorter, and simpler. For now I'll be content with sharing the back cover copy -- which is the same as what appeared on the first edition published by Threshold Books.
In this ground-breaking study, Brian Hines shows the connection between the findings of the new physics and the insights of the great mystics. He presents the theories of contemporary physics with elegant simplicity and a sense of humor that makes for an intellectual tour-de-force.
In addition, the experimental methods of contemplative meditation are described in detail to show how one can confirm the facts of spiritual science. While quoting from the mystics of the great traditions, the author has chosen the great 12th Century Sufi mystic, Jalaluddin Rumi, as the mystic scientist par excellence.
As the new physics attempts to describe the subject of its experiments and theories, it is forced to resort to the language of poetic metaphor to convey its speculative concepts. Physics now deals with what cannot be perceived but only inferred, and the myth of the materiality of existence is dissolving.
The spiritual “scientist,” on the other hand, explores through his or her own being levels of reality which both encompass and transcend the laws of science. By refining the instrument of human consciousness according to verifiable principles developed over countless centuries of experimentation, the spiritual scientist seeks an empirically rigorous and objective experience of reality.
The reader will find his or her appreciation of these two fields deepening as the core principles of both are analyzed and compared. Viewed in this light, modern science is no longer seen to be in conflict with faith and spirituality. A seeker after truth can learn about both material and spiritual planes of reality with complete confidence that knowledge of one is consistent with knowledge of the other.
In truth, there is only one Law running throughout all of existence, one Voice producing all of the myriad sounds. When God whispers, creation thunders.
Human awareness can be trained to be part of Cosmic awareness by discarding energy sapping emotions/acts like lust, anger, excited state of mind, gluttony etc. Himalayan yogis some of them are receiving energy directly from sunlight without food, they are called sun gazers.
Posted by: vinny | June 05, 2018 at 12:26 AM
It was a good book the first time around, and I'm excited to read the new edited version (kindle... I travel the country for my work).
Would you consider a candid and updated introduction by the author (looking back)? One that, perhaps, acknowledges progress in the fields of neuroscience and physics, and possibly, the perspective of a true, mature Atheist (creation is still sacred, maybe more so today, and its mysteries just as wonderful, and miraculous, if we understand that term no longer as supernatural, but more wonderfully part of nature, without the overlay of an all judging personality, or conceptions of "holy" that condemn rather than elevate, and a culture bound morality that inevitably leads to bigotry, territoriality and bloodshed)? The book would have a broader appeal to the non - religious, and it would establish your version of Atheism as inclusive of religion and spirituality as natural steps toward this more inclusive objectivity. We let go of beliefs, and embrace Truth.
I just plugged down $12.99 for Evan Thompson's Walking, Dreaming, Being in Kindle. It's beautifully written but way too conceptual, focused on details that undermine his own thesis. And his own personal experiences way too limited.
I think you have an opportunity here, Brian, building upon a beuautiful work from your own hand.
Posted by: Spencer Tepper | June 05, 2018 at 11:07 AM
I'm working my way through your book and it did strike me in a completely different way today.
It is elegant in its prose. But it's logic, at least in the first few pages, seems hopelessly flawed.
"Materiality can be observed and measured with the physical senses of sight. hearing, touch, small, and taste. This distinction is important because it separates material science from spiritual science."
This may be a case of reductum ad absurdum. The "material sciences" measure many things well beyond the range of the physical senses. From the distant cosmos to subatomic waves of pure energy, to brain waves and the firing of dendritic interlaces, science extends our vision and understanding. And in distinction to your claims, it often does so measuring indirectly. We learn about gravity from objects that fall or move in space, not a direct measurement of gravity waves.
When you wrote this you faulted, I believe falsely, the physical sciences for being unable to measure spiritual events because they have no apparent measurement in physical reality.
Today you fault spirituality for exactly the same reason. Despite your development, your reasoning remains based in the same argumentation. Earlier you constrained science to what could be measured at the time. Today you constrain spirituality because of those same constraints.
But in both cases the argument is premature. Your argument extends well beyond your evidence.
Even thoughts are correlated to biochemical events. What happens to us is connected to this world. Spirituality and all the classic experiences noted repeatedly in mystic literature and mythic symbols throughout recorded history must at some point find measurable correlates.
You quote Max Planck
"Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and, therefore, part of the mystery we are trying to solve."
This echoes the same argument for analogous reasoning made by Thomas Aquinas, when he wrote that God cannot be understood by deduction, since God is not a reducable element that can be manipulated, but is in fact greater than this creation. And this echoes Kant's argument that reason cannot accurately extend too far beyond its premeses of common experience to explain metasphysic experience.
But as the tools of science are honed in studying mystic experience we certainly can and will gain greater insights into it.
All the modern research into meditation and its physiological effects are evidence, hard evidence of this.
I think the same flaw in reasoning from your book pervades your current thinking.
You once dismissed scientific inquiry as too limited to capture the full range of reality. Your argument then seemed to be 'If science can't test it today, science must be too constrained to witness true mystic experience' .
You now dismiss mystic experience for the same reason. You seem to now be saying 'If mystic experience can't be tested it must be false, non-existent.'
Brian, I hope you can see both of these are unscientific and fallacious claims, based as they area on a single false premise: Your arguments are too final for either science or statements of divinity, based as they are on flawed human limitations, either in meditation or science. But in both cases development invalidates that argument.
You site Joe Rosen's definition of science based in the study of what is reproducible and predictable (reliable).
All meditation practice and specifically the internal experiences that accrue must at some point meet these same criteria in order for the practitioner to conclude they are witnessing truth.
Your approach to criticizing science as a means of creating a space to defend meditation is based on a flaw that had to crumble at some point.
I wonder why you would choose to write this book without first having a thorough grounding of spiritual experience that met the conditions for reliability and repetitive reproducibility at your volition, so that you could test it, and get beyond imagination and subjective experience.
Posted by: Spencer Tepper | June 25, 2018 at 01:05 PM
Reading further, the schema you create for objective vs subjective reality is out of date. The two are no longer seen as distinct. You try to define subjective as ephemeral and capricious, and objective as more permanent and causal. But in the details of your definition lay a bias for the physical sciences alone as objective, and the cognitive sciences as merely subjective.
Our capacity to measure one thing and not another (so far) does not make something objective or subjective. All of it is objective, but most of it is not yet within the realm of objective measurement.
Did the subatomic world become objective with measurement? Was it subjective before that? No. It was just as objective as before, merely unknown. Unknown, but objective reality.
Indeed the act of measurement, whether that is by instrumentation or just using our own senses, involves constraining and filtering a holographic reality of immense data through a single pointed lens down to a two dimensional focused image. That isn't real. It's just the best image we can comprehend. And it doesn't look at all like unfiltered reality.
Reality is an immense and out of focus blur of non linear multi dimensional information, not the quantified objectified, two dimensional picture we filter and focus down to. That process isn't reality. And our capacity to do that doesn't define objective or subjective.
Indeed the distinction of internal reality and external reality is just a convenient concept, not an actual physical distinction.
This is the logical flaw that underlies your schema.
A cognitive scientist sees the products of imagination as direct and predictable outcomes of events, conditioning and biochemistry as objective as rain falling from a cloud. Your suggestion that these things belong in a different, less "physical" category that somehow is free of the laws of reality or cause and effect is not defensible. The symbols of the mind follow their own laws, but those laws are as immutable and amenable to objective study as the laws of physics and no different qualitatively than the different laws governing different aspects of the biochemical realm, or the nuclear realm, or the astrophysical realm.
Posted by: Spencer Tepper | June 25, 2018 at 10:24 PM