There are two huge gaps in scientific theory. One, the contradiction between classical and quantum mechanics, is discussed in many publications. The other, the total failure to explain why anything made of atoms (such as ourselves) can be conscious, has little acknowledgement. The main thesis of this book is that to be conscious at all, you need an unconscious mind. The author explores the idea that this mind sometimes makes contact with a whole unknown world, sporadically revealed by paranormal effects, but perhaps discoverable by hitherto uninvented scientific instruments.
The book looks at the notion of the unconscious mind, one of the most important hypotheses of the twentieth century. Psychiatrists often deploy it rather informally, but there is no accepted theory of it. No region of the human brain seems to hold it. The author delves into the notion that the unknown world exists and is very weakly coupled to the physical world. He ponders the properties it may have to allow this coupling, looks at several paranormal effects scientifically and points out that many of them seem to imply brief but dramatic changes of the forces between atoms—a possible effect of the unknown world, unexamined by physical science.
About the Author:
David E. H. Jones is a British chemist and author, perhaps best known for his weekly lighthearted, provocative scientific column, started in the mid-1960s in New Scientist under the pen name Daedalus. In the 1980s he transferred the Daedalus column to Nature and The Guardian, where it continued for many years. He published two books with columns from these magazines, along with additional comments and implementation sketches: The Inventions of Daedalus: A Compendium of Plausible Schemes (1982) and The Further Inventions of Daedalus (1999). He has worked in academia, industry and television. Jones’s most notable scientific contribution as Daedalus is possibly his prediction of hollow carbon molecules before buckminsterfullerene was made, and long before its synthesizers won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of fullerenes. Other than Daedalus, in scientific circles he is perhaps best known for his study of bicycle stability, his determination of arsenic in Napoleon’s wallpaper, and for having designed and flown an experiment to grow a chemical garden in microgravity. In 2009 a documentary film about his work and inventions, Perpetual Motion Machine, was made and shown at the Newcastle Science Festival, 2010.
“In eighteen short chapters plus five technical appendices covering statistics (‘star’ card guessers guess 4% better than chance), quantum physics, including Schrodinger’s cat, the decline of determinism, the brain considered as an information and data storage device and the Anthropic Principle, he attempts a ‘take’ on the subjects of his title. Jones provides a well written summary of our knowledge of the physical world. This knowledge is based upon repeatable experiments and accurate predictions unaffected by our moods and desires, indicating that the physical world exists independently of our private observational selves. . . . He likens our predicament to living inside a diving bell enclosed by a nonphysical unknown world. He postulates that to be conscious . . . requires the pre-existence of a unconscious mind. . . . Without an unconscious mind a conscious mind is not, according to Jones, possible, and it the unconscious mind that can sometimes communicate with the unknown world outside the diving bell. It the unconscious mind which can sometimes offer revelatory insights into the questioning conscious mind as in the ‘AHA’ moment of scientific discovery. . . . Jones enjoys attaching numbers to things and offering statistical estimates.”
~Robert A. Charman, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research