The Dancing Wu Li Masters
Front cover of Bantam paperback edition
|Media type||Print (hardcover & paperback)|
|LC Class||QC173.98 .Z84|
The Dancing Wu Li Masters is a 1979 book by Gary Zukav, a popular new age work about mysticist interpretations of quantum physics. It was awarded a 1980 U.S. National Book Award in category Science.[a]
The toneless pinyin phrase Wu Li in the title is most accurately rendered 物理 in Chinese characters, one Chinese translation of the word "physics" in the light of the book's subject matter. This becomes somewhat of a pun as there are many other Chinese characters that could be rendered as "wu li" in atonal pinyin, and chapters of the book are each titled with alternative translations of Wu Li, such as "Nonsense", "My Way" and "I Clutch My Ideas".
The author participated as a journalist in a 1976 physics conference of eastern and western scientists at Esalen Institute, California; and he used the occasion as material for his book. At the conference, it was said that the Chinese term for physics is 'Wu Li', or "patterns of organic energy." Zukav, among others, conceptualized 'physics' as the dance of the Wu Li Masters – teachers of physical essence. Zukav explains the concept further:
- The Wu Li Master dances with his student. The Wu Li Master does not teach, but the student learns. The Wu Li Master always begins at the center, the heart of the matter...
- The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (1979). New York: William Morrow and Company, hardcover: ISBN 0-688-03402-0, paperback: ISBN 0-688-08402-8, 352 p.
- This was the award for paperback Science.
From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories, including several nonfiction subcategories. Most paperback award-winners were reprints of earlier works; this one was eligible for both awards as a new book.