cover image The World Itself: Consciousness and the Everything of Physics

The World Itself: Consciousness and the Everything of Physics

Ulf Danielsson. Bellevue, $18.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-9542-7611-6

The world is not a simulation, computers don’t think, and there’s no such thing as free will, according to theoretical physicist Danielsson’s heady English-language debut. “Everything is physics and... there is no reality outside of matter,” contends Danielsson, weighing in on the nature of alien intelligence, the separation of body and soul, and other scientific and philosophical debates. Genetic code, he suggests, implies that life may simply be a way to disperse information in the form of DNA, but he qualifies that, unlike machine code, when it comes to DNA “there is no clear boundary between the code and that which interprets the code.” Danielsson posits that the supposedly universal laws of physics may differ in other realms, but humans may never be able to visit these corners of the “multiverse” because the differences in how matter behaves could cause the atoms in one’s body to come apart. He attributes the “beauty” some researchers see in mathematics to the limitations of the human mind and asserts that superior intellects would view such theorems to be as trivial as basic arithmetic. There are some mind-bending ideas and the philosophical reflections on math and physics are stimulating, but general readers will likely find the abstract discussions hard to follow. Still, this pensive take on physics has much to offer. (Feb.)