August 15, 2008

Review: Embracing Mind: The Common Ground of Science & Spirituality (B. Alan Wallace)

For what seems a long time now, science and spirituality have seemingly been at odds, with each one trying to cancel out the other, especially in Western society. However, that hasn’t always been the case, nor does it always have to be.

In Embracing Mind: The Common Ground of Science & Spirituality, Wallace traces scientific methods back to their Christian roots (!), and goes on to further explore the split between the two and how it came to be. The book then examines the role of the mind in scientific exploration, something that Eastern science and spirituality has spent much more time exploring in depth, and without the schism found in the West. Fans of The Universe in a Single Atom by His Holiness the Dalai Lama will enjoy this book a great deal; Wallace seems to follow up on the ideas presented by His Holiness and take them a step further, demonstrating that it is possible to live in a world where science and spirit exist as a compatible whole. This book will sit on my bookshelf in my “My All Time Favorite Books” spot for sure. On a related note, teachers of the Theory of Knowledge class in International Baccalaureate schools should really look into this book. The first two sentences of the introduction read: “How do we know things? How do we decide that something is true?” The book then goes on to set up some excellent possibilities for linking questions between the sciences and the humanities with a good dose of ethics tossed in. Printed on acid-free paper from Shambhala Publications, and available from the Shambhala Publications website or from your favorite, local, independent bookseller.

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