Monday, May 3, 2010

A Short Look at a Short Book: Peter Kreeft's "If Einstein Had Been a Surfer"

I wanted to put the book title above in italics or underline it, but Blogger setup does not support that even by cutting and pasting.  If someone knows the trick, I'd appreciate knowing how to work around this.  Oh, but I can do it here!!  If Einstein Had Been A SurferOh, no!  That was supposed to be in italics, but the Amazon link will only let me underline it.   Does this level of focus on italics indicate an obsessive-compulsive disorder?

So, about the book.  I have a love-hate relationship with this beginner's guide to a subject that baffled even Einstein.  It is the author's redaction of conversations by three "friends" relating to what Einstein called the "Unified Field Theory."  Others have since called it the "Theory of Everything," and, in this book, Libby suggests calling it, "The Universal Wave Theory."    The three in conversation are a Christian who is a scientist with a  theology degree, a Muslim philosopher/scientist, and a Christian surfer/poet/psychologist/psychiatric social worker.  Obviously religion plays a large role in their discussions.The conversations introduce some of the hows, whys, and problems of the theory at a very basic level.  My brain would normally quickly send me signals to stop reading this subject matter.  However, the book manages to provide information at a level I could understand and enjoy.

While I found useful, thought-provoking information in the book, I too often found that the interactions of two of the participants (Isa and Libby), were negative to the point of distraction.  Isa whips out his religion constantly in a most unbending manner, using it to rudely bash beliefs and ideas presented by the others.  He appears to have little respect or even liking for Libby.  Libby does, however, often go off on tangents.  The surfing analogy was useful, but overdone to the point of distraction.  Her attempts to be the intellectual laid-back surfer end up making her look like a bit of an airhead.  The list of jobs Kreeft attributes to Libby indicate she has had some trouble deciding what she wants to be when she grows up.  She actually refers to herself as "surfer girl" at one point. [Note to Libby:  You are grown up now!  You are a woman!  If you must define yourself first and foremost as a surfer, fine.  Just drop the girl.  With all the credentials and jobs listed, you've got to be at the very least in your late twenties.]  Libby also has the unattractive feminist habit of attacking what she thinks may be anti-feminist remarks rather than dealing with them in a reasoned manner.  As a result, Evan, the last member of the trio must not only contribute his viewpoint, but also serve as moderator (referee?) for the group.

That said, the book had some significant pluses.  The simplified explanations of concepts and theories offered throughout the book make this difficult subject absolutely approachable. The book introduced me to the idea that the mechanics relating to waves may extend much further than I had imagined.  There are light waves, sound waves, brain waves, etc.  But Isa brings up the idea of thought waves and soul waves.  Libby mentions that emotions come in waves.  The what if's of these ideas inspire me! The waves discussion and the one on synchronicity alone made it a powerful read for me. Throughout the book, however, novices will gain useful information and clearer understandings of some complex issues . 

I now not only know that a unified field theory will require that ordinary physics, quantum physics, ordinary conscious, and unconscious be unified, I care enough to want to know more.
If Einstein Had Been a Surfer: A Surfer, a Scientist, and a Philosopher Discuss a "Universal Wave Theory" or "Theory of Everything"

If anyone else has read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. إذا كان لديك وقت قصير للتنظيف ، فلا تهتم اليوم بهذا الموضوع ، كل ما تحتاجه للاتصال بشركتنا ، وسنتولى المهمة بأسرع وقت ممكن وبأفضل جودة.
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    شركة تنظيف منازل بجدة
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    شركة النجوم لخدمات التنظيف