What The Bleep Do We Know?
“What the bleep do we know?” is an excellent text written by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente. This text examines questions of uncertainty, the nature of reality, and how mental, physical and spiritual forces relate and interact in shaping the human reality. The book touches on basic scientific principles and tries to reconcile them with the spiritual life. It can be said to be a self help and a spiritual guide. The answers are details and needs attention to understand. The book examines scientific and spiritual questions which when answered will embrace science and religion.
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In 289 pages the authors tackle twenty four topics which shed light on the relation between science and religion and how the two can be reconciled. At the introduction one of the authors, William Arntz, writes about the birth of the ideas to produce a movie about science and spirit. On page ix he confesses that at first it was a little movie however it gave the sense that there existed large interests among people for knowledge especially on a different way of looking at their lives and the world in general. He goes on to introduce his coauthors of the book as well as the movie which was released at the same time (Arntz et al., x).
Arntz (2007) goes on to explain the success of both movie and the book. He claims that the book is already translated into seventeen languages from the English language. Their target is to reach out to one hundred million people through the movie and the book. He also comments that the work they have done has received extreme reactions: either in complete support or in complete opposition with little opinions being in between. This especially applied for the movie which was released earlier. Arntz (2007) claims that they were not surprised by the huge success of the movie based on this book because they knew they had done enough work on the movie. However he writes that two surprises were encountered: an opposition was initially expected from the religious groups but instead against the expectations there has been a lot of support. The other surprise was that the scientist community refuted that work.
Next he writes about the views of the other authors majorly concentrating on how the information was collected from different specialists in the course of preparing to make the movie. He writes that in the interviews they held with Greek Chorus of Scientist, mystics and philosophers were quite engaging to the extent that, “the film crews ended up jumping in and asking questions” (Arntz XIV). He further writes that the film crews were not familiar with the materials but, “when they got exposed to these ideas and concepts, they couldn’t help but get jazzled and start to wonder about the possibilities” (Arntz XIV). He then argues that this book was written because many people have a great interest in these subjects.
What Is A Great Question?
This is the first topic tackled. There are two other questions added below this: why should we bother? And, what makes it great? The authors start by briefing on a short anecdote of a tiny spaceship landing next to with a coffee table with a book which has some answers to some questions. The authors then move forward to explain how a great questions act as the can opener of consciousness (Arntz 2). Most of the great discoveries were possible through the asking of questions. All the knowledge has its beginning in questions. From the book it is argued that asking a great question is actually an invitation to an adventure. This adventure, as the chapter continues to elucidate is what makes us not to ask questions. Asking questions opens one up to a range of all possibilities (Arntz 3).
The book next moves to examine what makes a question great. The text is very clear on its answer: one that can your life once it is acted upon. Therefore a great question can be any question as long as it can change the course of your life. The book takes a philosophical angle to trying to explain why most people would rather not ask the great question. The reason is because they prefer staying in the comfort zone rather than go out to seek for trouble. In most cases people will run away from it and confronted on when a life threatening occurrence takes place (Arntz 4).
The text further moves further to elucidate on the beauty and joy of questions. Answering questions helps one to get a sense of direction. The text further explains that it is not bad when the questions are not answered. An example of Albert Einstein is given. He once asked a great question which he never got an immediate answer. For ten years he hanged on to the question and out of that came the relativity theory.
Science And Religion
At this point the text focuses on showing the relation between science and religion. Specifically it looks at the separation between the two. The title in the text is introduced by a thought by Alfred North Whitehead, “in formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of defeat: but in the evolution of real knowledge, it marks the first step in progress toward victory” (Arntz 11). Then the text gives an opening clarification claiming that spirit and science are two approaches to getting the truth. The two have a common objective which is searching the truth about the universe which we live in. They seek to answer the great questions and can be viewed to belong to the same coin belonging to the two sides (Arntz 12).
The text moves further to dig into then distant about the way people lived and how they obtained knowledge. On page fourteen, the text the authors wrote, “the goal of science in all these culture was to gain knowledge in order harmonize life with the great forces of the natural world and the transcendent powers that all cultures sensed behind the physical world” (Arntz 14). The rest of this chapter contains arguments which show the interrelationship between the religion and science. A good example is given of a once great scientist, Isaac Newton; despite all the knowledge he had concerning the universe he confessed in his major scientific work, “principia mathematica” that,
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being, and further he goes on to describe the being as, eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient. He governs all things and knows all things that are and can be (Arntz 19).
The authors narrate how the later scientists led to the bitter divorces between religion and science. With the discovery of the particles there were arguments from scientist questioning the omnipresence that Newton had presented in his work. They claimed that a particle could not be in two places at the same time. This led to the splitting between scientific and religious worlds (Arntz 20). Then the text moves to examine the possibility of reconciliation. Through a series of questions the authors shows the very possibility of the two sides of the coin reconciling (Arntz 20).
This is yet another topic that is featured in this book. A quote is given by Henry Ford, “I am looking for a lot of me n who have infinite capacity to not know what cant be done” (Arntz p. 25). The book starts by showing the difference between a theory and a paradigm shift. Unlike a theory which is set forth to be proved and then rejected or embraced the paradigm shift is not set for proving but a part of life. To better explain this they explain it in terms of belief systems. These beliefs are part of our lives and we can not reject or disapprove them. The text then moves ahead to view the scientific world in the same light as paradigm shift.
The book carries an examination of how quantum physics can be applied in the world we are living in. It invites the reader to make an assumption that the world we are living in is a big machine with everything inside including the human beings being machines. The book moves to view different types of paradigms (Arntz 35). After reviewing the topic of paradigm the book moves next to look at the reality.
What Is Reality?
Under this there is an opening quote from Fred Alan Wolf, “what I thought was unreal now, for me, seems in some ways to be more real than what I think to be real, which seems now to be real” (Arntz 37). This chapter reviews the reality of the paradigm shift. It then moves forth to look at the levels of reality. It moves ahead to examine whether reality is a democratic process or not. The chapter closes with a list of issues which one can think about (Arntz 47).
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Sight And Perception
Under this the authors examines the relationship between the sight and perception. They basically try to answer the question, how can sight and perception change somebody. The chapter starts by discussing how the brain processes what is seen. Then the authors argue that the brain is not capable of differentiating between an action seen and one which is visualized (Arntz 53). On page 53 the book lays a claim that, “perception is a complex and many faceted process that starts when our sensory neuron pick up information from the environment and send it, in form of electrical impulses, to the brain” (Arntz 53). The at this point narrates a very exciting research work carried out on new born kittens. The kittens were placed in experimental environments which lacked vertical lines. The kitten after some weeks were placed back in the normal environment and it was discovered that they could be able to identify vertical objects with vertical dimensions. On this they quote Candace explaining that even in the real life, the human eyes see so much what we choose to we choose to see what we want (Arntz 54). The authors move forward to discuss emotions and perceptions, paradigm and perceptions and creating your own world.
Quantum Physics And Observer
The book looks next at the quantum theory which is claimed to be quite exciting. Niels Bohr is quoted saying that for those who are not shocked at the quantum theory probably did not understand it. Under the chapter of the observer, the authors try to show that the observer will affect the observed. The measurement problem is looked at in the context of the present time and then the Copenhagen interpretation is given. This interpretation presents the radical idea that an observer has inescapable influence over the observed. The concept of Neorealism is also presented as argued out by Einstein who had disagreed with the idea of common sense reality does not exist on its own. The chapter goes further to explain how consciousness creates reality, how much does the observed gets influenced by the observer.
Consciousness And Mind Over Matter
The next chapter is on consciousness and looks at the possibility of consciousness creating reality. The book then argues that it takes the observer to create the reality. On page 85, a pertinent question on this light is asked, how will that change your perception of reality” (Arntz 85). In answering this, another question is asked, if it takes the observer to create reality, how focused of an observer are you? On the chapter of mind over matter the authors still carries on the argument about perception. They argue that one can only change the his/her perception and not the physical world (Arntz 103). Under this various aspects which keep holding people back from consciousness are looked at and examined. The authors add another chapter on this to discuss how consciousness creates reality. In this flow one gets to understand how from observation, one is led to all the way the reality. The book discussed lastly how can create reality. The authors are careful in tackling this chapter and at the end of it they are able to show that it is possible for one to create their reality. The next question anybody will ask at this moment is discussed in the next chapter.
Why Aren’t We Magicians?
In answering this question, the authors take the reader on a series of facts. On page 146 the authors talk about personal obstacle which harbor people from achieving the reality they wish to see. They explain the issues of self doubt whereby someone doubts his/her capabilities of achieving something. This makes people to work towards achieving what they wish to and as a result it becomes impossible for them to be satisfied with what they wish to see. The world we live either does not seem to give us a chance to achieve the reality. The people we associate with have adapted some values which act as obstacles.
Quantum Brain, Brain And Emotions
What is needed is a quantum brain. Such a brain is able to operate independently with any obstacles. Such a brain will be able to carry out the process of achieving the reality without necessarily succumbing to the doubts which are present. The authors also go into detailed discussion of the brain and its operations. There also basically looks at human emotions and shows how important they are as far as creating the reality is in question. They look at the scientific explanation for the same and on page 186 they wrote, “Emotions are the chemistry to reinforce an experience neurologically; we remember things that are more heightened and more emotional” (Arntz 186).
Desire, Choice, Intent And Change
Here the authors look at the way to meeting the reality. First they look at the desire and explain from various angles. In this explanation the significance of a desire is brought out. They explain that desire, “is a mechanism for me to examine myself and reflect my understanding into” (Arntz 210). They systematically show how the chain flows to lead to reality. Next the book examines the paradigms and looks at the entanglement. Under the entanglement chapter, the authors examine how our thought can be controlled towards achieving the reality we wish to see.
The Final Superposition
This is the final chapter on this book. The authors on the page 264 talk about superposition of multiple possibilities. Under this chapter the authors also write about living fully. The chapter also invites the reader to test the principles and possibilities of the realities which have been set forth by the book. In this sense it will be possible to find out what is real. The book on page 273 discusses the quantum feast.
The authors make a major assumption of the readers. They assume that all the readers have a basic scientific background which they can use to understand to understand some of the concepts which are presented in this book. There is a need for more elaboration of the quantum theory upon which this book is based other wise it is an excellent text which helps one to think and take a step of changing life. Incase of those who have a scanty scientific background I will recommend watching the film which is based on this book and also looking at the Alexander Bruce; definitive unauthorized guide to what the bleep do we know. This review will help one in understanding the scientific principles which are set forth in the book.
This book based on a film released for the first time in 1994 is a thought provoking book which tries to provoke people to think. It shows that the universe is wild and unpredictable. It also shows that the same world is full of potential. The book after showing this proves the reader not to live a limited life in a world which is full of opportunities. Generally, the book provokes the reader to take steps into changing his ways and life by asking him the great question. The book tries much to reconcile religion and science. There numerous views and quotes in this book from famous scientist. Basically the book looks deeply at how quantum physics is related to the real world. The book offers ways and tools which ca n be used to reexamine one’s life.
Arntz William, Chasse Betsy, and Vicente Mark. What the Bleep Do We Know: Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering Your Everyday Reality, 2007, New York, NY: HCI.
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