Do you ever meet people who make your resume look one-dimensional, or for lack of a better word, light? If you have so far escaped this humbling experience, let me introduce you to Drs. Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow, authors of War of the Worldviews.
Dr. Chopra is often described as one of the pre-eminent leaders of the mind-body-spirit movement. He is a medical doctor (endocrinologist by education), public speaker and published author of over 60 fiction and nonfiction books that have been translated into more than 85 languages. After a 12-year career practicing conventional medicine, Dr. Chopra shifted his focus to alternative medicine and the Ayurvedic practices from his native India. He now owns and runs the Chopra Center, a medical center that focuses on the connection between the mind and body, and he speaks internationally about the importance of mental health.
Dr. Mlodinow took a different life path. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics and taught at four universities before leaving academia for Hollywood. He sold a screenplay six months after moving to Southern California and continued to write for multiple television shows while researching physics on the side. In 1993, he left Hollywood for the world of gaming and became a producer, executive producer and designer of many award-winning games. He then left gaming and to become the Vice President of Software Development and Vice President and President for Math Education at Scholastic, where he wrote his first book, Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace. In 2005, he returned to academia, teaching at CalTech, and has authored eight books, including The Grand Design, which he co-authored with Stephen Hawking.
In War of World Views, these two revolutionary thinkers debate through a series of essays from opposite sides of the spirituality and science spectrum. They attempt to answer questions that are at the crux of the human experience such as:
- "How did the universe emerge?"
- "What is the nature of time?"
- "What is life?"
- "Did Darwin go wrong?"
- "What makes us human?"
- "What is the connection between the mind and the brain?"
- "Is God an illusion?"
Dr. Chopra argues that a collective consciousness permeates the universe and the organisms within it. This consciousness lends the world that we experience elements of creativity, organizing power, correlation, and subjectivity. Dr. Mlodinow, on the other hand, argues from the podium of science as he draws from his extensive background in modern quantum physics. Surprisingly, these two brilliant minds show that even polarized views can find common ground.
But not everyone believes that there is room for compromise in the debate between spirituality and science. Where do you stand? Does commonality imply faulty or convenient logic, or a lack of conviction? Or does discussion leave room for both science and spirituality to have a say in explaining the world we experience?
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