Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Review of The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Improve the Way You Think, Live, and Love by Mel Schwartz

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Genre = Psychology
Book Club Event = Book List (01/20/2024)

Watch Short Review


“What we think of as reality is actually no more than the current worldview.  Yet as each new theory and discovery arises, we reenvision the world and how we come to live in it, and our new vision has profound consequences on most aspects of our lives.” – Mel Schwartz, Chapter 1: The Promise Of The Quantum Worldview, Page 5

“We often seek these exciting, uncertain experiences as compensation for living lives dulled by our need for certainty and predictability – a need that tends to rule our thinking and decision-making.  When we become addicted to this need, we live out our lives in a formatted way, less present and mindful than we could be.  Being bound up in the straitjacket of certainty makes us like a character in a novel for whom the plot is already written.  We’re simply living according to our script.” – Mel Schwartz, Chapter 2: Why We Need To Embrace Uncertainty, Page 11

“You are more than your experiences, and an infinite potential awaits you as you allow your identity to evolve.  Once you learn to see how your beliefs are informing you, you are free to break into new terrain and achieve a defining moment.  Witness your thoughts and recognize the story they are telling you.  Don’t confuse them with the truth.  You can learn to rewrite your story.” – Mel Schwartz, Chapter 3: Recovering Our Lost Potential, Page 30

Excerpts With Permission From The Author


Is This An Overview?

The way the individual perceives the world depends on currently available information about the world.  As discoveries are made that change the understanding of reality, so does how people perceive the world, how they filter information.    Changing how they interact, think, and live.  In this way, did quantum physics effect psychology.  Ideas from quantum physics such as uncertainty and inseparability effect everyday experiences.  Quantum physics perceives the universe in a state of uncertainty, which implies a state of pure potentiality.  Which informs the core of the Possibility Principle, which is that possibility brings with it more possibility. 

The implicit elusiveness of certainty can constrict behavior and bring with it anxiety.  Embracing uncertainty gives the individual control over their life by taking up the opportunities life provides.  Reconsidering the value of uncertainty is an application of quantum physics, another is inseparability.  The mind creates divisions without realizing it.  Divisions can be helpful, but often are not.  There is synergy between the divided parts, that make them greater as a whole.  Fragmented knowledge misses vital information contained in the other parts.  A group of people might be composed of individual units, but they are not separable.  The way each individual treats others, affects others and oneself.  Someone else’s problem, effects oneself.  Mistreating others, hurts others and oneself.


Why Embrace Uncertainty?

People seek certainty, but can become dependent on the predictable.  Seeking certainty can create anxiety, because certainty is often elusive.  Seeking certainty can prevent the individual from being present in the moment.  Seeking certainty means becoming stuck in the familiar, which means that the individual will miss valuable life opportunities. 

People seek uncertainty in compensation for their lives being more certain and predictable.  Uncertainty attracts attention and engages the individual.  Uncertainty needs to permeate life more generally, as uncertainty implies possibility.  Changing perception and thinking from fixed to a flow of possibilities.  That the individual has the ability to create their own outcomes.

Thoughts create reality, and are a reflection of the past.  Changing thoughts means changing how reality is experienced.  To let go of previously wrong beliefs, and constraining behaviors.  This should be based on positive self-reflection.  Reflection that overcomes negative thoughts.  There is more to an individual than just experiences, as there is infinite potential.  Beliefs inform identity.  The individual can learn to rewrite their story.  To not confuse beliefs with truth. 


How Are Things Indivisible?

Indivisibility is another idea from quantum physics.  Dichotomy of though, seeing things in contrast with another to differentiate things shapes reality.  Looking at the opposition can lead to forgetting about another path, where the oppositions can coexist.

The whole is more than the sum of its part.  The parts are connected to a system.  Even with knowledge, too much specialization and fragmentations leaves each part without vital information.  Reality is more complex and pluralistic than a desired simple solution with clear morals.

The perspective of Indivisible wholeness and participation implies that doing harm to another is a form of self-harm.  The brain can microwire itself through neuroplasticity, without the need for drugs.  Microwire itself based on how each individual treats another, which effects their own body chemistry.  Illusion of separation occurs when thinking that someone else’s problems, especially that of a partner, are separate from the individual’s. 



This book does not add new understanding to quantum physics or psychology.  What this book does is combine them.  Enabling a reflection on ideas from a different perspective.  Sometimes it can be easier to understand the application of quantum physics to psychology if the reader knows some quantum physics, but that is not necessary. 

There are limits to potential change.  There are physical, biological, psychological limits to change.  Change that is possible also takes time.  Individuals need time to transform themselves. 

Some of the references and explanations are culturally specific.  Their applications need to adjusted for cultural relevance. 

Uncertainty might need to be embraced, but does not mean certainty is valueless.  There is value is certainty such as limiting the amount of energy the brain uses to think about the interaction.  Enabling more energy to be devoted to more uncertain interactions.   

Science is an ongoing trial of limitations, which includes quantum physics.  Some observations and comparisons lack scientific rigor.  There are many other explanations for the events.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•How did the author come to unite psychology and quantum physics?  
•How does quantum physic apply to psychology? 
•How do scientific discoveries change behavior? 
•How do beliefs effect behavior?
•What is the Possibility Principle?
•Why embrace uncertainty?
•Why is separation an illusion?
•Are things inseparable? 
•Why does the mind create divisions?
•How does how a person treat someone effect themself? 
•Why seek certainty?
•How to use self-reflection? 
•What is the epidemic of emotional and psychological unrest? 
•What should therapists focus on when they are helping someone? 
•What is other-esteem? 
•How to have a conversation? 

Book Details
This Book Was Provided By The Author 
Publisher:               Sounds True
Edition ISBN:         9781622038633
Pages to read:          166
Publication:             2017
1st Edition:              2017
Format:                    Hardcover 

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          4
Overall          4