Gary Zukav’s timeless, humorous, New York Times bestselling masterpiece, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, is arguably the most widely acclaimed. The Dancing. Wu Li Masters. An Overview of the New Physics. Gary Zukav. A BANTAM NEW AGE BOOK. BANTAM BOOKS. NEW YORK • TORONTO • LONDON. The most exciting intellectual adventure I’ve been on since reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”—.

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It is possible that this is not Zukav’s fault–that he does believe that the philosophy he expounds masteds necessitated by the findings of quantum mechanics. Sep 13, Ethan rated it liked it. Front cover of Bantam paperback edition.

Mathematics is not a single monolithic entity where everything has to play by the same set of rules; it is just a toolbox of useful abstract systems that mathematicians are expanding in an ongoing effort. Well, probably saved fo Physics used to be my favourite subject in my pre-engineering career sadly, Engineering did kill that part in me which thought academic study can be someone’s career. Many people believe that “discovery” is actually an act of creation. In one sentence, this book had similar effect on me as far science is concerned, as Sophie’s World had on me for Philosophy.

The explanations were thorough and clear.

According to quantum mechanics there is no such thing as objectivity. So I pulled from the bottom of my rack a book that I had bought almost mastrs years ago, but never dared to read.

Since he calls mathematics a language, and says that a language “is constructed of symbols”, then it would seem to follow that he doesn’t believe quantum logic is mathematics. The scientific process of testing ideas and rejecting those that don’t match up with experimental results takes place for the most part out of sight of nonscientists, who see only the consensus that gets built up and refined over time, but someone who claims to be writing a book to expound physics to the lay person ought to be willing to go behind the scenes enough to see the full process.


Great introduction to physics for someone who has no idea how it applies to everyday life. In fact, it is really the same proposition as “we are a part of nature” I’ll discuss this further belowwhich Zukav lists as a “discovery” of the new physics even though it was perfectly obvious to the old physics as well.

Surely, the most dangerous rhetoric is that which sounds plausible. Scientists have to be willing not only to propose new ideas, but to reject them when they are shown to be untenable, and that will be shown by experimental results regardless of how the scientist feels about the idea.

Here are some notes on particular scientific misunderstandings or omissions that I spotted in the book. And maybe this is just too much of me getting in the wa It was tough reading a book concerning “new” physics written over 30 years ago. I’m not a math person, well, at least I haven’t been in almost two decades. Their field of vision is relatively narrow; their energies are directed toward applying what is already known.

However, as soon as he begins talking about philosophy, he seems to forget all that knowledge and just assume that anything goes.

The distinction he draws may be useful when trying to understand what he calls the communication problem between the two groups what C.

As a plain statement about whether suitable inertial reference frames frames in which the principle of inertia holds–bodies not acted upon by any external forces remain either zukwv rest or in motion in a straight line at a constant speed are known, this is simply false.

The Dancing Wu Li Masters

Except for these peeves, it was magnificent to look at Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg etc not as scientists discussing theories and experiments but as philosophers arguing over the nature of reality and mysticism. Throwing around vague terms, or terms that can have several significantly different meanings, without defining them precisely may be a common practice in certain types of philosophy, but it isn’t science.


The fact is that the philosophical view he expounds is not required by quantum mechanics; it is not a consequence of the experimental knowledge we have of quantum systems, but only of a certain philosophical viewpoint that some people have taken towards the theory itself, and that view is most emphatically not a consensus view.

There is a similarity between thought and matter. Aug 05, Steve rated it really liked it. The biggest flaw in the book is his hippie obsession with his Wu-Li metaphor. It is rather ironic, then, that the actual ideas about which Zukav and others like him make so much philosophical heavy weather do turn out to be quite simple–so much so that in fact they are platitudes when stated plainly and also have nothing to do with the difference between the old and the new physics, as I observed above.

And that very well may be the exact point of the book, I’m aware. It is true that there were not yet any spacecraft in the late 19th and early 20th century, when these issues were being debated in physics, but Newtonian physics predicted quite clearly what would be observed in one, and those predictions were correct as far as the inertial nature of the reference frame.

Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (Perennial Classics)

I’m halfway through it now and it’s pointing towards a unification of general relativity with quantum mechanics aka quantum gravitation. On the other, it was really snooty about “those close-minded scientists” in a way that really made me angry.

It is possible that he is trying to make a philosophical point: What we take to be true is what we believe.