|The Lonely Ranger of Quantum Tantra?|
Nick Herbert, the Lonely Ranger
of Quantum Tantra
Physicist Nick Herbert, venturing upon a brave path, has committed his life to re-enchanting the physics of a poetic and erotic dimension.
Nick Herbert was one of the most promising physicists in the world of quantum mechanics, with a PhD from Stanford University and a solid academic career. He developed new magnetic materials and optical devices; he pioneered in the development of ink-jet printers and contributed to the interpretation of John Bell's non-locality theorem. But, at some point during the second half of the 1960s, he decided to abandon academic research and pursue his own path.
His holistic vision of physics, where consciousness plays the leading role in nature's composition, has led him to mould an animistic universe, in which the mind permeates nature on all levels. This important notion, shared by some physicists like David Bohm and Wolfgang Pauli, erupts in Herbert, who developed a new poetics of physics in order to create an affinity between the universe and its evolution.
Far from science's mainstream constrictions, Herbert has diverged into a dimension where eroticism and poetry are fused with physics and arcane science. He calls this "quantum tantra", a ludic-cosmic vision of reality. This tantra happens in the most basic substrate and it appears in the most intimate union at the bottom of matter, in the quantum void where the energy that invigorates the cosmic machine bursts forth. Herbert announces in a playful and irrepressible vein "we want to have sex with atoms".
Perhaps what makes Herbert all the more interesting is the manner in which he sets a living example of Schlegel’s words: "if you wish to penetrate the secrets of physics, allow yourself to be initiate in the mysteries of poetry", which is the same as saying that in order to understand something it is necessary not only to observe it, but to be able to enter into it and possibly to create it. A Romantic like Schlegel, Herbert makes a call to understand nature as seduction.
If science has been able to tame nature (perhaps too well), it is now time to learn how to seduce it, to see it not as a series of dead parts, but to approach it as if it was Our Loved One's body, and this not as metaphor or mysticism but something that extends into physics. Few conventional scientists will be interested in or have the ability to partake in this type of science. For this new type of work (and new play), quantum tantra will call forth a new type of genius, men and women, Scientists/Lovers of the Cosmos, brave athletes of heart and mind.
Unveiling a new type of physics in which nature is viewed as a living being (or a goddess) with whom one can have a thorough exchange, a much more significant relationship than mere observance, Nick Herbert has established himself as a person at the forefront of the transformation of science's dominant paradigm.
Last night, recoiling from the tedious task of finishing some necessary paperwork, I decided to indulge instead in a bit of ego-surfing. Googling my own name and a few key words, I was surprised to run across the above analysis of my work on an art-dazzle site designed to publicize the luxury hotel complexes of Brazilian mega-developer Alan Faena in Miami Beach and Buenos Aries. I was initially flattered by this high-brow review but my next thought was that one of my old buddies (or girlfriends) from Stanford had landed a prestigious job at the top of the literary food chain and was using his or her position to play a prank on a former classmate. Nick Herbert and Karl Friedrich Schlegel joined together in the same sentence?--a fine joke indeed!
Sadly, the author of this charming little piece is not credited. Many thanks, anonymous angel! You did a first-rate job of characterizing Nick Herbert's difficult-to-describe quantum tantric quest.
Besides the quantum tantra review, the Faena site has published hundreds of fascinating little essays, including The Luminous Dance, a list of the world's best beaches for observing bioluminescence; Arthur Schoperhauer on The Art of Telling the Truth; WH Auden's Daydream University; Salvador Dali's illustrations of Alice in Wonderland ; the origin story of San Francisco's Church of St John Coltrane; Anais Nin on the mystery of ordinary life; and the poetry and prose of Marilyn Monroe. Alongside Malcolm X, the religious rebel, and Pancho Villa, the heroic bandit, Nick Herbert, the Lonely Ranger of quantum tantra, fits right in. You can access all these essays thru the Faena art archive but searching for and linking to a specific essay is difficult -- at least for me. The archive begins in May 2012 and the quantum-tantra review appeared in April 2013. Hey, Faena people, your scintillating archive is begging for a good indexing.
With or without a convenient search machine, the Faena archive is a dangerous time trap for Internet procrastinators -- offering up hundreds of greasy, salty bits of brainy snack food to tempt the curious mind. The more you eat the more you want. You have been warned.
Finally the Faenasphere's flattering review of my ludic-cosmic pretensions raises an important question: If Nick Herbert's the Lonely Ranger, then who is quantum tantra's Tonto?