Photo Credit: John Hunt

Title: Kabbalistic Panpsychism
By Dr. Hyman Schipper
Published by John Hunt Publishing, 224 pages

 

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Professor Hyman Schipper is a man on a mission. While at times it might seem to some that scientific theories are at odds with Jewish thought, Dr. Schipper suggests that many areas of cutting-edge quantum physics are actually indistinguishable from well-established concepts in Kabbalah. He is currently focusing on how the conflation of science and Kabbalah provides novel insight into the enigma of consciousness.

Dr. Schipper is a clinical neurologist and neuroscientist, as well as a Professor of Neurology and Medicine at McGill University and a Senior Investigator at the Jewish General Hospital’s Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in Montreal. For many years, Dr. Schipper has been conducting fundamental and clinical research in degenerative and developmental disorders of the brain and mind. When not engaged in these activities, he often studies Kabbalistic texts.

Over the past decade, Dr. Schipper has published a series of scholarly articles demonstrating a number of similarities between quantum physics and ideas at the heart of ancient Jewish mysticism.

Armed with this novel synthesis of physics and Kabbalah, Dr. Schipper set out to tackle a topic that has baffled science and philosophy for centuries – the nature of consciousness. Defying the mainstream materialist view that consciousness is solely a property of advanced brains, Dr. Schipper adduced considerable evidence from Kabbalah in support of panpsychism – a theory gaining popularity that argues for the existence of consciousness as a fundamental ingredient of the entire Creation on par with space, time, matter, and energy.

Dr. Schipper expounds on these concepts in his new book titled Kabbalistic Panpsychism: The Enigma of Consciousness in Jewish Mystical Thought. He builds a holistic framework explaining consciousness based on the tenets of ancient Jewish mysticism as informed by recent developments in quantum mechanics and relativity theory.

Kabbalistic Panpsychism posits the existence of an infinite, Divine consciousness that is progressively expressed (revealed) in all domains of the Creation – to a minuscule degree in inanimate matter, to a greater extent in plants, even more so in animals, and reaching a pinnacle in human beings.

Kabbalistic Panpsychism neither seeks to prove nor disprove quantum physics or Kabbalah. Dr. Schipper aims to show that, notwithstanding the radically different terminologies employed, both disciplines may be converging on the same understanding of reality, an idea some may find revolutionary.

While the topics explored in Kabbalistic Panpsychism are fascinating, it is not a light read. Dr. Schipper’s writing style is academic, although he explains scientific concepts and the Kabbalah in a clear and engaging manner, beautifully illustrated with visual aids that enable them to be readily grasped by readers of varied backgrounds.

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Bracha Halperin is a business consultant based in new York City. To comment on her Jewish Press-exclusive tech columns -- or to reach her for any other purpose -- e-mail her at brachahalperin@hotmail.com. You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter at: @brachahalperin.