Book Review – The Buddha and the Quantum: Hearing the Voice of Every Cell

This week’s book, The Buddha and the Quantum: Hearing the Voice of Every Cell by Samuel Avery was a selection for the book club I am a part of. I thought it deserved a review here because I imagine a lot of people are interested in the intersection between Buddhism and the field of Quantum physics. 

Well, this book claims to show the connection between meditation and physics. The author does not claim to be a buddhist or a physicist, but puts together a theory using modern physics to explain our reality of consciousness. 

Sounds interesting, right…well, this is one of the most boring books I have ever read. And let me tell you, I put in my effort on this one. I both bought the book and used my audible credit to get the audio version to try to wade my way through this relatively short thesis.

So, what’s the problem? First of all, you need a much deeper understanding of physics than my one class years ago in high school permitted me. I usually can catch on quickly, but it becomes clear relatively early on in this book that Avery is not a teacher – he seems to be a born and bread philosopher and this comes across greatly in his writing. 

I feel like I wanted to disagree with many of his points in this text, but I don’t have enough of a classical or modern physics background to point out exactly where I didn’t agree. It felt like some parts of this book may have been talking about how I view consciousness and the world, but it did so in a way that was so physicsy (yes, I’m inventing words now), that I just couldn’t understand it.

If you are looking for a book that shows how modern quantum physics is explaining what mystics have believed for centuries – this is not it. If you are looking for philosophical ramblings on physics and consciousness – go out and buy this book! 

For us non-physics peeps, what this book is missing is practical examples to put these abstract concepts into terms that we can understand. When Avery talks about how a video camera produces an image on a television screen and his first experience with this as a child – I was engrossed and could understand what he was talking about. Unfortunately, this is not how the book progresses and the practical examples are few and far between.

Overall, I would not recommend this book to most people. You have to be a special type of individual to really appreciate this text. 

Do you have any books which explain modern quantum physics in terms peeps without physics backgrounds can understand? Any recommendations? 

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