- Imagine you have worn a virtual reality headset all your life. What happens if you take it off?
- Do we see the world as it truly is? In The Case Against Reality, pioneering cognitive and visual scientist Donald Hoffman challenges one of our most deeply held assumptions and says: no, we see what we need in order to survive. Evolution1 has shaped our senses to keep us alive, but not to see objective reality. Our perceptions are instead an interface that hides the truth, but helps us navigate the world around us.
- As Hoffman explains, the objects we see are not unlike icons on our computer screens: shaped like small folders, but the files themselves a series of ones and zeros too complex for most of us to understand. And spacetime itself is the computer desktop.
- Drawing on thirty years of Hoffman’s own influential research, as well as evolutionary biology, game theory and neuroscience, The Case Against Reality makes the mind-bending yet utterly convincing case that the world is nothing like what we see before our eyes.
- ‘A masterpiece of logic, rationality, science, and mathematics. Read this book carefully and you will forever change your understanding of reality, both that of the universe and your own self’
→ Deepak Chopra, Author of The Healing Self
- ‘Hoffman’s truly radical theory will force us to ponder reality in a completely different light. Handle with care. Your perception of the world around you is about to be dismantled!’
→ Chris Anderson, Author of Ted Talks
- ‘Think you know what’s really out there? Read this breath-taking, whistle-stop tour of a book that illuminates all the profound weirdness masked by our experience and assumptions’
→ David Eagleman, Best-Selling Author of The Brain and Incognito
- ‘A fresh view into who we truly are - one that transcends the perceptions that we accept as reality. Hoffman unapologetically takes us down a rabbit hole where we learn that all reality is virtual and that truth lies solely in you, the creator’
→ Rudolph Tanzi, Co-Author of Super Brain
- ‘Captivating and courageous ... anyone who reads this book will likely never look at the world the same way again. Hoffman challenges us to rethink some of the most basic foundations of neuroscience and physics, which could prove to be exactly what we need to make progress on the most difficult questions we face about the nature of reality’
→ Annaka Harris, Author of Conscious
Preface – xi
- Mystery: The Scalpel That Split Consciousness – 1
- Beauty: Sirens of the Gene – 22
- Reality: Capers of the Unseen Sun – 40
- Sensory: Fitness Beats Truth – 53
- Illusory: The Bluff of a Desktop – 75
- Gravity: Spacetime Is Doomed – 94
- Virtuality: Inflating a Holoworld – 115
- Polychromy: Mutations of an Interface – 136
- Scrutiny: You Get What You Need, in Both Life and Business – 155
- Community: The Network of Conscious Agents – 178
Appendix. Precisely: The Right to Be Wrong – 203
Acknowledgments – 207
Notes – 209
Index – 237
Allen Lane (13 August 2019)
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)