[EPUB] ✰ The Reality Bubble By Ziya Tong – Horse-zine.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Reality Bubble

  1. says:

    Just as rocks hurtling at supersonic speed find it hard to penetrate Earth s atmosphere, unwelcome facts and unfamiliar ideas almost never make it through the membrane of the reality bubble It shields us from thinking about forces out there that are seemingly beyond our control and lets us get on with the business of our lives. As a science journalist and long time host of The Discovery Channel s science programme The Daily Planet, I expected Ziya Tong s book The Reality Bubble to be a science heavy, fact filled look at some of the unexamined realities of today s world But that s not quite what this is although there are many, many interesting nuggets to be found here, this is of a wake up sheeple call to arms against those invisible processes behind modern life that Tong herself has identified as the greatest threats to our planet where our food comes from, where our energy comes from, and where our waste goes It s an oddly specific thesis, repeated a few times throughout, yet it doesn t quite get fleshed out by the body of this book With a persistent default to the Argumentum ad Naturam logical fallacy that whatever is natural is automatically superior to anything made by humans , Tong s main point seems to be that we should treat animals and our planet better which conclusion it would be foolish to argue against I didn t think the book was well organised, I didn t think that Tong made any kind of persuasive argument, and without offering any solutions for a different way of doing things, I was left with the overwhelming feeling of, Well, what was the point of that Note I read an ARC and passages quoted may not be in their final forms The first section of the book had the most interesting sciencey facts, and there were many bits that made me think and which made me believe that I would enjoy the whole thing We tend to forget that on the scale of living things we are massive To us, reality may seem human sized, but in truth ninety five percent of all animal species are smaller than the human thumb. And While we can t say for certain whether reality exists independently of an observer, what we do know is that the physical world is far stranger than what our eyes perceive For one thing, we commonly think of our bodies as separate and distinct from the external world, but modern science tells us that there is no out there indeed, there is no place where your body ends and the world begins. In retrospect, this first section on Biological Blind Spots seems intended to prove that humans are both insignificant in the scheme of the wider universe and unentitled to claim supremacy over the Earth and its other inhabitants Part Two, Societal Blind Spots, focusses on where our food comes from, where our energy comes from, and where our waste goes, and it is mainly about pollution and climate change and the mistreatment of factory farmed animals I don t eat mammals myself, but I found the phrase, Most bacon comes from pigs that were put in a gas chamber , to be unnecessarily provocative, but I was downright offended by the following a few pages later After the Second World War and the Holocaust, we may have thought that the grotesque horrors of gas chambers has been ended, but for animals the method was reintroduced in the 1980s and 90s, and gas chambers are widely used to this day Controlled Atmospheric Stunning CAS is considered a humane method for rendering pigs and poultry insensible before slaughter But inside the gas chambers themselves there s incredible suffering. To make this equivalence between the methodical extermination of humans and the modern attempt to provide a stress and pain free final few minutes for the animals we eat was deeply offensive to me and Tong had pretty much lost me from that point onward Along the same lines, in writing about pollution, Tong quotes paleoclimatologist Curt Stager as saying, Look at one of your fingernails Carbon makes up half of its mass, and roughly one in eight of those carbon atoms recently emerged from a chimney or tailpipe And in another alarming passage she writes There is one Matrix pin drop before we move on Because half of the nitrogen in our food chain is now synthetically made, half of the nitrogen in your DNA comes from a Haber Bosch factory.I did find it surprising to read that a full two percent of the world s energy use is devoted to the Haber Bosch process which synthesises nitrogen from the air which enabled the green revolution which led to nothing but too many humans overburdening the planet damn the eyes of Haber and Bosch both , but after the first section of the book which stresses that every atom in our body was formed in the nucleus of some long dead star I couldn t get myself worked up about where the nitrogen or carbon now in my body had found itself recently That Matrix pin drop drama feels as beneath an author trying to make a serious argument as referencing the Holocaust while discussing abattoirs The final third of the book, Civilizational Blind Spots, reads like your typical defense of tearing down Capitalism The first chapter of this section laments the invention of timekeeping because once time could be measured, the hours of a person s day could be bought and sold which led to today s rat race and the second laments the invention of measuring lengths because what could be measured could suddenly be owned, from a family s plot to a nation s borders At the end of each of these chapters, Tong points out with a dire warning that since the nanosecond and the metre now have standardised measurements based on atoms and wavelengths, they have been completely removed from the human scale, making these artificial constructs utterly invisible to us To which I say So what The book ends with the most pernicious reality bubble of all The idea that any of us could possibly own anything Tong apparently finds it ridiculous for a person to believe they have any say at all about where their possessions go after they die I agree with Tong that there s something wrong with a system that sees the top twenty six richest people have as much wealth as the bottom fifty percent, and it feels loathsome to consider ghost homes investment properties owned in major cities by the super rich most of which sit empty for the majority of the year while thousands go homeless , but I don t know if the solution is to ban ownership I m not sure if I completely understand the point she is trying to make in the following Property, whether it s an object, a cow, or a slave, does not have right of movement without the owner s consent It cannot change its conditions even if it s unhappy, because it has no rights The key point here is that rights are incompatible with ownership when it comes to living things After all, if rivers and chimpanzees have rights, what s next Will our bacon and eggs demand freedom Our lumber and paper Our leather shoes and our wool sweaters All of this life, or extinguished life, is defined as our property to do with as we please To begin to question that fundamental authority of our ownership of life would be to upend our whole system of thinking That s because the core tenet of our entire economic system can be eviscerated by asking one simple question, which is What does it even mean to own something anyway I appreciate that these are all themes that Tong is passionate about, but they didn t add up to some meaningful, eye opening experience for me I reckon that the only readers Tong will be able to wake up with this book is those who already consider themselves woke.


  2. says:

    If I can recommend one book to my friends this year it would be this one Please have a read and then re read again.


  3. says:

    If the history of science over the last 450 years has taught us anything, it is that there is a major mismatch between perception and reality The invisible forces so important to our understanding of the world from heliocentrism and gravity to evolution and microorganisms were discovered only by scientists bold and radical enough to see what everyone else was blind to It is only through the extension of our senses and the transcendence of our cognitive limitations that we have made any progress in our knowledge of the world at all That human sensation and perception is limited is a major understatement humans can see less than 1 percent of the electromagnetic spectrum visible light , making us literally blind to 99 percent of it Other animals can not only see better and farther than us, many have greater sensitivity to a wider range of colors while others can see ultraviolet and infrared light and even magnetic fields We are deaf to most frequencies and incapable of experiencing many smells, tastes, and sensations We are blind to the smallest scales and to the trillions of bacterial cells that inhabit our bodies and to the farthest reaches of the known universe 46 billion light years across These blind spots collectively and colossally distort our picture of reality While evolution has equipped us, like other animals, with a niche psychological profile that allows us to navigate the environment and survive, our sensory apparatus provides access to only an infinitesimally small sliver of reality This small sliver is the psychological bubble that we all inhabit, and if we want to learn about the true nature of reality, that requires viewing the world through the corrective lenses of science In The Reality Bubble, Ziya Tong equips the reader with these corrective lenses, exposing 10 blind spots that persistently deceive us By understanding our limitations, we come to see that reality is not what it seems, and that we have to work hard to overcome the biases that consistently plague the human mind Science, while fundamentally provisional, is the only reliable method we can use to get closer to the truth In the first part of the book, Tong covers three biological blind spots that would have us believe that we are the centre of the universe, isolated and separate from the world around us, and superior to all other creatures We not only have the perceptual limitations mentioned above, but we also have a sense of exceptionalism that tells us that the universe revolves around us, that everything happens for our benefit, and that we are the only animals that have the capacity to feel, think, and communicate As Tong shows, this is demonstrably false, and she covers many fascinating studies in animal behavior and physiology that demonstrate that animals likely experience rich emotional lives Emotions did not spontaneously generate themselves exclusively in human brains to think this would be to believe, as Tong states, in a form of neo creationism or in a decapitated theory of evolution As the primatologist Frans de Waal wrote, this type of thinking accepts evolution but only half of itIt views our minds as so original that there is no point comparing it to other minds except to confirm its exceptional status Our shared evolutionary history with other animals means that our emotional profile is also than likely shared, and although we can never know exactly what it s like to experience the world from an animal s perspective, we can be reasonably sure that there IS a perspective, and that animals are not simply biological robots.This recognition of animal emotion transitions us into the second part of the book, where Tong investigates another blind spot where our food comes from If we could all spend a day at a factory farm, we d all probably give up eating meat, but since we don t, we stay blind to the suffering of animals and go on accepting the view that humans have a right to own, enslave, torture, and sell life But that s just the tip of the iceberg regarding our social blind spots We are also blind to where our energy comes from and where our waste goes, and of course, to climate change You can t see carbon dioxide concentration or experience global average temperatures, so it s no wonder that it is so easily dismissed or ignored, regardless of what most experts in climate science think.The third part of the book covers intergenerational blind spots, including our distorted conceptions of time, space, ownership, and money The key idea is that we are so used to the way things are that we not only stop questioning them, we re not even aware that things could be any other way This is of course why philosophy and science are so important They keep active inquiry alive and inoculate us from those who seek to exploit our complacency for their own benefit No wonder tyrants have no use for philosophy, science, reasoned debate, or the institutions that support them We all live in a consumer society that is largely materialistic because we all believe that this is the best way to structure society Most of us don t even give it a second thought We divide our days into 8 hour shifts and produce massive quantities of things that don t really make us happier or fulfilled We then consume them to no end, throwing away millions of products we once clad for but have grown numb to, all the while making the rich richer and polluting the planet Perhaps this isn t the best way to structure society The counter argument, of course, is that life has gotten appreciably better life expectancy has increased as has leisure time, literacy rates, and access to knowledge, while violence, war, and poverty have all declined Surely we ve done some things right, and although we have some blind spots, the tone of the book misses this optimistic picture There is something to be said of this view, but it does rely, quite uncomfortably, on the outcomes of climate change if the consequences are anything near as bad as predicted, all of our gains will have been achieved at the expense of future generations So while we can celebrate our progress and accomplishments, we should take seriously the idea that we should probably stop destroying the planet and all of its non human life, in addition to the idea that wealth could be equitably distributed and that our lives should be oriented around something meaningful than the latest iPhone iteration My only complaints about the book are that it didn t cover enough psychology and it ignored one of our biggest collective blind spots religion First, one might expect that cognitive biases and fallacies of reasoning would occupy a prominent role in the book, but most of the content is sociological rather than psychological This isn t really a big issue, but it might not be what you re expecting There were moments where I felt that the author could have delved deeper into the psychology, especially that of conformance, as one example.Second, it was surprising to me to not see any space dedicated to religion in the section on intergenerational blind spots If anything can distort reality and run counter to the ideals of science, and to the stated ideals of the book, it is religion The author is willing to expose any views not entirely consistent with reality yet is unwilling to address the elephant in the room that is religion I understand that this is a touchy subject, but science is about delivering uncomfortable truths The author praises radical thinkers that subvert common views with rational science, yet is unwilling to do so in this area Remember that the first part of the book discussed biological blind spots that would have us believe that we are the centre of the universe, isolated and separate from the world around us, and superior to all other creatures Funny, because this is exactly what most religions do Christianity, for example, makes the rather humble claim that God in his infinite power and wisdom created the entire universe just for us So religion can not only distort reality, it can also cause serious social harm after all, if you think that God has a plan to return to earth and save all of humanity, you re not going to be especially concerned with something small like climate change Considering the ubiquity of religion, it seems like maybe this is something the author should have addressed.


  4. says:

    The research that went into this book is awe inspiring but perhaps, summer was not the best time to read it I learned many tidbits but found it required a great deal of focus which I struggled with I probably would have liked to rank this as a 4 for research but the 3 was related to readability I think many would struggle to get through the important messages and I would have liked to give it a 3.5 That being said, I will think differently about eating chicken, try to eat with a vegetarian focus and buy local as much as I can I was already concerned about plastic but will be vigilant in considering my purchases and adopting a minimalist lifestyle except maybe books


  5. says:

    Wow In just about a week I finished reading The Reality Bubble It is quite incredible and has stirred a lot of thoughts in me from philosophy and my human rights work Especially in the final couple of chapters I found myself thinking beyond ownership of physical property but also of mental property our ideas that we often cling to our ideas concepts and especially to our concept of ourself That clinging might grow stronger when we lack other input to build our ideas and identity eg how emotionally a financially poor and less educated white supremacist will cling to their idea of supremacy because they lack proof of supremacy from any other form of evidence But even there we can t rest on our own supremacy when we are educated and financially comfortable Scientists and thinkers too cling to certain ideas Look eg at Anselm s ontological proof for the existence of God, or Descartes argument for God using the deceiver approach ultimately their preconceived image of God is what they found because they made presumptions despite their claims effort not to Modern science attempts similarly to challenge a theory through experiment and it is those moments where experiments fail that new ideas in science seem to be born The veil gets lifted, so to speak One of the things about this book is that, in a way to counter the clinging to ideas because we lack other information, Ziya Tong provides so much to the reader She gives the tools to develop ideas and concepts with data for lack of a better word.Anyway these were thoughts I was struggling to keep clear from my head while reading so I could be in the moment and take in what was said in the book But having completed the read I think I can say them I love a book that inspires thought


  6. says:

    Could not put it down There is so much important knowledge in these pages and told in such an entertaining way.Every now and then a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perceptions of the world and how I relate to it This is one of those rare, and precious books As a society, we really are living in a fantasy of our own making, and the author shows us exactly how in so many different ways When it comes to reality, what we see is not what we get and as humans, our perspective is not the only one It is a critique on the humanist world view that, despite our unique talents as humans, our species is the only one that matters and our perspective is just one amongst the many species with whom we share this planet with What we experience and believe does not track onto the world that we are actually living in and how those misperceptions are having a profound impact on other life forms, the environment which sustains us, and our physical and mental wellbeing I d recommend this great book to anyone interested in science or philosophy or those who just want to consider our universe from a different perspective.


  7. says:

    This book is full of interesting thoughts and tidbits, but ultimately it s lacking structure and a clear focus Yes we have many blindspots, but biological blindspots are very different to willful or forced upon blindspots Our senses and brains create a very specific umwelt for us that hides many aspects of reality that science now can reveal But the realities that a capitalist society chooses to obscure the meat industry, plumbing, finance, climate. are created, and we are mostly happy to ignore them This book read like snippets of many other books I ve recently read, and I can t blame it for that, because these are all good topics to attack But it absolutely didn t need those two chapters on the history of measuring time and space.


  8. says:

    I am in awe of this book I have never been moved to write a review but this feels like such an important read that I had to give it praise I have learned so much and Ziya has opened my eyes to the big and small all around us I will not only be re reading this as soon as I m done, but will be telling everyone about it.


  9. says:

    I consider myself to be curious and reasonably well informed, yet Ziya Tong s booked managed to burst several reality bubbles that I didn t realize I had And even in the subjects I was generally aware of, she offered new and interesting depths An important book for anyone who s not content to sleep walk through life.


  10. says:

    Don t get me wrongI really enjoyed this book It wasn t what I was expecting at all, but nonethelessThe author tells us that nobody talks about the 22nd century probably because nobody expects mankind to make it that far It s going to be a battle for sure but at least Ms Tong elucidates many of the pitfalls and always keeps it interesting.


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The Reality Bubble download The Reality Bubble , read online The Reality Bubble , kindle ebook The Reality Bubble , The Reality Bubble 1329da7204cc From One Of The World S Most Engaging Science Journalists, A Groundbreaking And Wonder Filled Look At The Hidden Things That Shape Our Lives In Unexpected And Sometimes Dangerous WaysOur Naked Eyes See Only A Thin Sliver Of RealityWe Are Blind In Comparison To The X Rays That Peer Through Skin, The Mass Spectrometers That Detect The Dead Inside The Living, Or The High Tech Surveillance Systems That See With Artificial IntelligenceAnd We Are Blind Compared To The Animals That Can See In Infrared, Or Ultraviolet, Or InDegree Vision These Animals Live In The Same World We Do, But They See Something Quite Different When They Look AroundWith All Of The Curiosity And Flair That Drives Her Broadcasting, Ziya Tong Illuminates This Hidden World, And Takes Us On A Journey To Examine Ten Of Humanity S Biggest Blind SpotsFirst, We Are Introduced To The Blind Spots We Are All Born With, To See How Technology Reveals An Astonishing World That Exists Beyond Our Human Senses It Is With These New Ways Of Seeing That Today S Scientists Can Image Everything From An Atom To A Black HoleIn Section Two, Our Collective Blind Spots Are Exposed It S Not That We Can T See, Tong Reminds Us It S That We Don T In The St Century, There Are Cameras Everywhere, Except Where Our Food Comes From, Where Our Energy Comes From, And Where Our Waste Goes Being In The Dark When It Comes To How We Survive Makes It Impossible To Navigate Our FutureLastly, The Scope Widens To Our Civilizational Blind Spots Here, The Blurred Lens Of History Reveals How We Inherit Ways Of Thinking About The World That Seem Natural Or Inevitable But Are In Fact Little Than Traditions, Ways Of Seeing The World That Have Come To Harm ItThis Vitally Important New Book Shows How Science, And The Curiosity That Drives It, Can Help Civilization Flourish By Opening Our Eyes To The Landscape Laid Out Before Us Fast Paced, Utterly Fascinating, And Deeply Humane, The Reality Bubble Gives Voice To The Sense We Ve All Had That There Is To The World Than Meets The Eye