Here is the book that brought the mystical implications of subatomic physics to popular consciousness for the very first time—way back in 1975. This special edition celebrates the thirty-fifth anniversary of this early Shambhala best seller that has gone on to become a classic. It includes a new preface by the author, in which he reflects on the further discoveries and developments that have occurred in the years since the book’s original publication. “Physicists do not need mysticism,” Dr. Capra says, “and mystics do not need physics, but humanity needs both.” It’s a message of timeless importance.
First published in 1975, The Tao of Physics rode the wave of fascination in exotic East Asian philosophies. Decades later, it still stands up to scrutiny, explicating not only Eastern philosophies but also how modern physics forces us into conceptions that have remarkable parallels. Covering over 3,000 years of widely divergent traditions across Asia, Capra can’t help but blur lines in his generalizations. But the big picture is enough to see the value in them of experiential knowledge, the limits of objectivity, the absence of foundational matter, the interrelation of all things and events, and the fact that process is primary, not things. Capra finds the same notions in modern physics. Those approaching Eastern thought from a background of Western science will find reliable introductions here to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism and learn how commonalities among these systems of thought can offer a sort of philosophical underpinning for modern science. And those approaching modern physics from a background in Eastern mysticism will find precise yet comprehensible descriptions of a Western science that may reinvigorate a hope in the positive potential of scientific knowledge. Whatever your background, The Tao of Physics is a brilliant essay on the meeting of East and West, and on the invaluable possibilities that such a union promises. –Brian Bruya