November 1, 1993
Perhaps nothing in nature is more mysterious than the human mind. Where does it come from? What makes it work? And where does our consciousness go when we die?
Written in an extraordinarily lucid style, Elemental Mind is a brilliant and audacious attempt to arrive at a solution to the “mind/body problem.” Until now the debate has been dominated by two major conjectures. One holds that the mind is the result of certain complex biological interactions; the other asserts that the mind is the “software” the controls the brain’s computerlike “hardware.” This book presents a third hypothesis – one that boldly casts aside traditional explanations about inner mental states. And it does so by drawing on sources as diverse as Vonnegut and Heisenberg, not to mention imagined encounters with an entrancing, highly intelligent robot named Claire.
Founding his argument on the three key features of quantum theory (randomness, thinglessness, and inter-connectedness), Nick Herbert explores the intriguing hypothesis that, far from being a derivative phenomenon, mind is a fundamental process in its own right, as widespread and deeply embedded in nature as light or electricity. In his fascinating and iconoclastic view, mind is indeed elemental – and it interacts with matter at an equally elemental level.
Elegantly written and startlingly original, Elemental Mind offers a new approach to the riddle of consciousness, which has challenged philosophers and scientists for centuries. Its implications are nothing short of revolutionary.
Nick Herbert has a doctorate in physics from Stanford University and is the author of two previous books, Quantum Reality and Faster Than Light. He has directed physics seminars and international conferences on quantum physics at the Esalen Institute in California. He lives in Boulder Creek, California.