Fred Alan Wolf. The Yoga of Time Travel: How the Mind Can Defeat Time. Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 2004. Paperback, 258 pp.
Fred Alan Wolf has made a name for himself as the author of a number of highly readable popular books on quantum physics. In this latest book, he re-treads by now well-trodden paths of quantum-theoretical explanations, but with a twist: He focuses on time travel (which, at least according to Einstein, appears to be possible) and links this scientific feat with the ancient Indian teachings of Yoga.
As the yogis have known for a long time, matter is a matter of mind. That is to say, our experienced reality is very much overdetermined, if not “created,” by the mind. I think Wolf has assimilated the basic tenets of some of the yogic schools very well and therefore is able to illuminate time travel from a yogic perspective. He writes sympathetically about Yoga and its great adepts and their teachings about transcendental Reality and enlightenment, as well as karma and reincarnation. He correctly characterized the ego (or self) as the culprit behind the creation of the illusion of space-time. When the ego is dissolved through yogic means, he notes, time travel becomes possible in which the mind is “projected” into the future and the past.
Wolf believes that nonlocal consciousness is the transcendental agent that makes choices followed by consequential actions at the physical level. From the perspective of most schools of Yoga, doership is absolutely denied of the transcendental Being. Since Wolf does not make it clear with which Yoga system (darshana) he resonates, it is difficult to appraise his explanations from a yogic perspective. But his foray into metaphysics and spirituality is in any case riddled with difficulties.
Evidently, Wolf is struggling—like any other metaphysician—to make sense of a situation that, I believe, is inherently paradoxical. He does so valiantly and with some laudably original illustrations and metaphors. One of the problems, as far as I can judge, lies in the conceptual gap between physics (even of the quantum variety) and metaphysics. But efforts like Wolf’s are fertile ground for further deliberations by those who are not necessarily familiar with the latest thinking in avant-garde physics. Certainly I have enjoyed reading his book and following him along some quite tricky pathways of inquiry.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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