Quantum Warrior The Future Of The Mind – Mathematician Jan von Neumann was an undeniable genius whose many achievements contributed to the development of quantum mechanics, computing and the atomic bomb. One of the first game theory textbooks, he took a cold analytical approach to a range of poker situations, including bluffing and the prospect of nuclear annihilation. However, von Neumann’s deep understanding of physics and rational utility did not preclude something else that was most important to him: his love of driving and the joyous promise of being terrible at it. .
In 1933, von Neumann, who had left Europe to live at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, failed his driving test so badly that he had to bribe the examiner to get his driver’s license. Every year he found an excuse to buy a new car, preferably a big Cadillac. “I was on my way,” he told his disbelieving friends, recalling another incident. “The trees on the right were passing me at a regular 60 mph. All of a sudden one of them was right in my path. BOOM!”
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Quantum Warrior The Future Of The Mind
This is one of several vivid anecdotes in Ananya Bhattacharya’s book Man from the Future, which is ostensibly a biography of von Neumann, but is more an exploration of the ideas and technological research it inspired.
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Noting the book’s remarkable title, Bhattacharya writes: “Von Neumann’s mathematical contributions in the mid-20th century seem more impressive every year. His thinking is so relevant to today’s challenges that one wonders if he wasn’t a time traveler quietly planting the ideas needed to shape Earth’s future.
During von Neumann’s lifetime, before his influence was fully understood, he shined not as a time traveler but as an alien—a so-called Martian, the nickname of the Hungarian-Jewish immigrant, Eduard. Teller, who worked on the secret atomic bomb project at Los Alamos. Intellectually omnipresent by nature, von Neumann theorized about the “Hungarian phenomenon” (a shorthand term for the scientific achievements of von Neumann and his compatriots), arguing that it was due to the combination of Austro-Hungarian liberalism. And feudalism provided certain avenues of success for the Jews and removed them from the levers of real power. Von Neumann said this created a “sense of extreme uncertainty” and led him and his fellow Martians to believe they had to “create an emergency or perish.”
This is a man who may have been waiting out World War II in Europe, but he is remembered as “a witty, money-loving, optimistic man who firmly believed in human progress,” according to a lifelong friend. . It was a dark and introspective assessment. . Bhattacharya, a science journalist who also holds a Ph.D. In physics, we do not deal with these apparent contradictions. We fast-forward through the first three decades of von Neumann’s life—born in Budapest in 1903 and a mathematical prodigy who led a very privileged life—before landing at Princeton, where his real influence began quickly.
Ananio Bhattacharya, author of A Man from the Future: The Imaginary Life of John Von Neumann. Credit… Kay Ritzler
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Von Neumann came of age when mathematics was not considered a “practical” profession. He also studied chemistry with his investment banker father – banking was another field in which he later became interested in mathematics. After arriving in the United States, von Neumann spent nearly a quarter of a century at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he had Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel as office neighbors. From New Jersey, von Neumann traveled the country teaching and consulting, eventually at Los Alamos. Bhattacharya cites von Neumann’s report to the US Navy, which describes how the “angle of impact” can cause a bomb to detonate fatally. The message may have been written for a military audience, but von Neumann is so excited by his idea that he resorts to exclamation points.
Bhattacharya suggests that such an outspoken treatment of “right moral questions” gave von Neumann a reputation for ruthlessness and support for the logic of “preventive war”. He advocated destroying the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal with a surprise attack (“If you say why not bomb them tomorrow, why not today?”)—a position he later backed away from. However, Bhattacharya, like von Neumann as a “Central European”, believed that people cooperate for mutual benefit, which was incorporated into his approach to game theory. So who was it? An up-and-coming Central European or a staunch Cold Warrior?
He was, as Bhattacharya says, “a complex character,” and the book contains fascinating glimpses into the strangeness and complexity of the human being. But “Man from the Future” sometimes seems so focused on explaining that future — recounting the fate of von Neumann’s ideas before his death from cancer in 1957 — that the man himself loses sight of himself.
Bhattacharya’s ability to tease out complex scientific concepts left me ambivalent. On the one hand, what we see of von Neumann points to someone so remarkable that I wanted to know more. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for closely watching the brain activity of a man whose daughter once said, “My father’s first love in life was thinking.”
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Moreover, von Neumann, ever the problematic pollinator, may have confirmed his biographer’s approach: “He was busy with many other things, and for an hour or two he lectured on information and entropy, on the connections between or logical patterns of thought. . Then whisper again and let the stunned participants discuss the implications of what they said for the afternoon.
Jennifer Salai is a New York Times book critic. He was previously a columnist and editor for Book Review. His work has also appeared in Slate, New York, The New Yorker, and Harper’s Magazine, where he was editor until 2010. More information about Jennifer Salai
A version of this article appeared in the New York edition, Section C, page 4: Mocking Genius Themes. Reprint order Today’s newspaper prepayment. I had the pleasure of seeing John Kehoe http://www.learnmindpower.com and his beautiful wife Sylvia last week in California. He is as inspiring as when I first met him in Australia in 1985!
Here’s a roundup of gems and some great wisdom that John shared with us in his latest groundbreaking book!
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“Our thoughts are the most powerful creative force in our lives. Learning to work with thoughts in quantum ways—beyond simple positive thinking—awakens a whole new life of power and possibility within us.” (p. 14)
We all have an energy signature, a resonance, our own personal vibration that absorbs the life, situations and events we experience.
John Quant teaches the Mind Power System: “…we will learn to feel with the body, perceive with the spirit, blend energy with the mind, and tap into the hidden power of our unconscious.”
I highly recommend this book and all of John’s work to anyone interested in personal empowerment and creating future realities.
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I look forward to seeing John and Sylvia again at Quantum Warrior Week 2012.
Every step taken, no matter how small, is one step closer to realizing your dreams, and every victory you celebrate adds exponentially to your enthusiastic signature.
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